Sunday, February 6, 2011

High-Quality, Sustainable Stand Up Paddles at a Welcoming Price Point

After getting to know Meg and Dave Chun a little better lately, I’m even more excited about KIALOA’s new IKAIKA line.

The Chuns are passionate about sustainability. I really don’t think Dave could sleep at night if KIALOA were to release a paddle that would one day wind up in landfill. Yet they also understand that the cost of a premium paddle might be daunting to beginners in this economy. They want to make the sport accessible to as many people as possible.

So Dave made it a mission to come up with a way to produce paddles at a price point low enough to be welcoming to beginners while also staying true to KIALOA’s core values of Po’okela (excellence) and Malama (stewardship).

The result is the IKAIKA line – Pupu, Hapa, and Lau Lau. Each paddle is very affordably priced yet also delivers a level of performance, durability, and visual appeal that will make you proud to keep it in your family’s paddle quiver for generations to come. They’re simply great paddles. And for the price, they’re unbeatable.

To achieve lightness (for performance) and strength (for longevity) that would meet the tough KIALOA standards, Dave used CRFT (Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic) technology to construct the blades of all three paddles. 

Ikaika means “strong” in Hawiian, and each paddle in the IKAIKA line is virtually indestructible. Dave had a lot of fun demonstrating this to us the other day by bashing one of them with a hammer and then holding it up to reveal that zero damage was done. 

Another cool thing about the IKAIKA collection is that, while all three paddles have that distinctive KIALOA look and feel, Dave managed to pack an impressive amount of variety within the lineup.

Now, not only can paddle shoppers find excellent quality and durability at a low price point, there’s also an array of choices within that price range -- different blade sizes, construction, and colors, different shaft construction, different palm grips, and different prices.

The lowest-priced paddle in the IKAIKA lineup is called the Pupu (which means "appetizer") in Hawaiian. The Pupu shaft is 100% fiberglass. The pretty green 8 inch wide blade is 100% solid CRFT. 
Pupu Stand Up Paddle by KIALOA - the first paddle in the IKAIKA collection.
Pupu Stand Up Paddle by KIALOA - the first paddle in the IKAIKA collection. 

Next comes the Hapa (Hawaiian for half and half), so called because the shaft is 50% carbon and 50% fiberglass. The pretty blue blade comes in both Small (7.5 inches) and Large (8.75 inches). The blade is cored CRFT.
Hapa Stand Up Paddle by KIALOA - the first paddle in the IKAIKA collection.
Hapa Stand Up Paddle by KIALOA - the second paddle in the IKIAKA collection.
And for the finale, there's the Lau Lau (the name of a Hawaiian dish). The Lau Lau has a 100% carbon fiber shaft and a cored CRFT blade. The blade is black and comes in both Small (7.5 inches) and Large (8.75 inches).
Lau Lau Stand Up Paddle by KIALOA - the first paddle in the IKAIKA collection.
Lau Lau Stand Up Paddle by KIALOA - the third paddle in the IKAIKA collection.

Read this part if you're like Chip and enjoy knowing how stuff is made:

Basically, CRFT technology combines the performance of glass and carbon fibers with the strength of thermoplastic polymers. Over the last 25 years, CRFTs have been used in aerospace and defense applications. More recently, the technology has been adopted by other industries (car manufacturers like Ford and Toyota use it to reduce vehicle weight without compromising strength). KIALOA is pioneering the use of CRFT technology in paddle manufacturing. 

Known as "super-charged plastic," CRFT is extremely stiff, impact and corrosion resistant, and impervious to water and most chemicals. Yet it's 40-60% lighter and significantly less expensive to work with than competing materials. What's more, it doesn't produce any volatile organic compounds like the ones given off in the production of fiberglass products.

Read this part if you're like Lainey and enjoy knowing the meaning behind a name:

IKAIKA means "strong."  Kai Ikaika (“strong water”) is also the name of Portland’s KIALOA-sponsored dragon boat team.

Pupu is the Hawaiian word for appetizer. Items such as sushi and poke are “light pupus.” More substantial pupus like huli huli chicken and teriyaki beef are know as “heavy pupus.”

Hapa means half or part. The term is used when referring to fractions (as in hapalua which means 1/2). Hapa is also used to refer to people of mixed ethnicity (as in hapa haolie). Hapa is also used in such terms as hapa nui (majority), hapa ʻuʻuku (minority), and hapa makahiki (semi annual).

Lau Lau is a savory, quintessentially Hawaiian plate lunch dish that consists of salted butterfish, and either pork, beef, or chicken, wrapped in taro and ti leaves and usually steamed on the stove. Hawaii Magazine calls it "Hawaiian food Nirvana," and according to their recent poll, it's one of the five most popular Hawaiian plate lunch dishes. Lau Lais is usually served with a side of rice and macaroni salad. Dave knows a song about the Lau Lau. Hopefully, it'll be included in the upcoming IKAIKA video. 

"It’s not all that difficult to figure out why laulau has endured as a favorite Hawaii dish since ancient times. Besides its savory, uniquely Hawaiian taste, it’s also, arguably, Hawaii’s first real mixed plate. Laulau is a complete meal—pork, chicken or beef, salted butterfish and taro leaves wrapped in ti leaves and steamed. (In ancient times, it was cooked in an imu, a Hawaiian underground oven). Served piping hot when every ingredient within the ti leaves is cooked to tender, salt-kissed perfection, laulau done right is Hawaiian food nirvana". - HAWAII Magazine, March 2010.

Dave’s passion for sustainability has inspired me to be a more conscious consumer (and I was pretty good before). Click here for a moving reminder of the fragility and wonder of our precious planet.

Stay tuned for video of Dave Chun himself talking about the new IKAIKA line.

All three IKAIKA paddles are now available both in store and online at Stand Up Paddle Flatwater.

Questions about the IKAIKA line? You're welcome to ask them in the comment box. If you're one of the few who already have a brand new Pupu, Hapa, or Lau Lau, we'd love to hear what you think.

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