Reason for Being
We started Kamanu Composites with the simple goal of doing something fun centered around what we loved. The canoe brought us together. It formed us as individuals and as a company. But today, it’s about more than just building canoes and having a good time. What brings us back each day is the idea that we are part of something bigger. By focusing on our craft, localism, and sustainability we aim to use this business as a means to have a positive impact on the world.
For everything that we produce, we thrive on doing each step the best way we know how. First we figure out what we want; then we design it, we build it, and we do everything in-between until a quality product is in the hands of the user. It’s a learning experience and it’s a practice in self reliance. Striving for perfection within every step of the manufacturing process has become more than just a responsibility; it’s an obsession. We believe a product should not be made for consumption, but for long term value and use. We make every effort to deliver that.
We believe wholeheartedly in local manufacturing. We don’t outsource, re-sell, or source canoes. We build them from start to finish. Materials come in and canoes go out. We believe it results in better products, reduces our environmental footprint, stimulates our local economy, and provides high skilled jobs to our community.
Every business decision is framed around a simple premise: sustainability. And that filters our every action. From our commitment to local manufacturing, to reducing our reliance on petrochemical materials, to rejecting the idea of limitless growth. We are working towards a company that’s net impact on the world is positive. We still have a long way to go, but with the right core values we believe we are pulling that goal a little closer every day.
In the end, it’s about satisfied customers, happy workers, and a healthy world.
Who We Are
Kamanu Composites was founded in 2007 by three friends pursuing a lifelong dream. Over the years it has expanded to include nineteen composites technicians and a team of the world’s best paddlers. While the company is centered out of Kailua, O’ahu, Kamanu Composites has licensed local manufacturers in France (Woo) and Australia (Kamanu Aus) and distribution networks in Los Angeles, Seattle, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Alex is a masters student studying the effects of climate change on trilobites. Sorry, it’s actually the scales of pelagic fish from cores found deep within California ocean sediment. That’s cool too. In the evenings he closes canoes.
Aria is the person that keeps the gears turning. She will draw you 100 pictures of your canoe if you ask nicely. She makes sure our office functions and keeps everyone informed. She thinks paddling is cool, but goes to kickboxing more than paddling practice. We won’t tell anyone.
Brandon can free-dive deeper than most fish. At night he closes canoes. When he's not at work or underwater, he likes to make wood carvings, lures, fish boxes, resin castings, dive floats, spear guns or whatever else pops into his noggin.
David is 18 years old and has been that age for at least a few years now. He paddles, he surfs, he played guitar at his graduation. All around talented guy that sometimes does layups and closes canoes.
Will not run with you. But he’s an amazing artist that will happily sell you some nice pottery after you buy a canoe. He’s involved in all aspects of canoe building and he spends $300,000 a year for us ordering material. Ugh. He surfs castles in his free time.
George lives for paddle-tics and to argue with Luke. Other than that he’s a great guy and a pretty good steersman. One day he will commit to paddling the solo. He’s also good at building canoes and manages our daily schedules.
Greg was ranked the 19th best archer on the planet, but unlike Scott, was only the runnerup to go to the Olympics. It’s okay, now he crushes Keizo at foosball. He's also an engineer who loves composites and helps us with process improvement and operations management.
Honu is a canoe finishing queen and a lifetime member of Kailua canoe club. She also speaks fluent Hawaiian and is much better at volleyball than Tina.
Jordan once wrote a book on how to succeed in college. And then he decided he had better things to do. He manages the evening shift making sure your canoe goes from two halves to one whole. He also manages material kits for production.
Keizo supposedly runs this place and says he has a degree in aerospace engineering. But we all know he just sits in the office and learns whatever he needs off of YouTube. When he’s not trying to beat Greg at foosball, he draws canoes on napkins and flies his drone.
Kekoa won States when he was 16 and then decided to retire from paddling. In later years he picked up canoe building and now reigns as the guy we’d send to canoe building Olympics. He's also much better at volleyball than Tina is.
Luke is in charge of our finances and helps us plan. He's also a county council member on Kaua'i. Seems like a big deal and we keep waiting for some subsidies, but apparently he can't do that. If he forgets to respond to your email, call his cell 808-635-6623 to yell at him.
Nai’a is Honu’s little bigger brother. He is also fluent in Hawaiian. When your canoe needs medical attention he’s your man. Or if your canoe needs transporting across the Pacific, he packs them in 4 feet of bubble wrap to ensure it stays safe.
Rachel is our cultural ambassador. She makes sure we don’t name our canoes something inappropriate and teaches us to make lei for our canoe blessing(s). She doesn’t always grace us with her presence, but when she does she makes rudders, amas, or finishes.
Scott is also our token Olympian. He competed in three Olympics and recently beat 19,647 people in the Honolulu Marathon (101st overall). He used to make prosthetic limbs and while we sort of wonder if he's an alien, we're happy to have him involved in all aspects of production.
Kiki has been working here for a long time. She showed up one day in 2012 and demanded a job right meow. She's been here ever since and is the only one to work 24 hours a day every day.
Spencer helps out the evening crew. He once sold a paper clip on craigslist and then bought a stapler after that. It’s been a few years of buying and selling, but now he has a 22’ fishing boat. When he’s not out fishing, he is working on completing his studies at UH.
Taylor is the guy you would meet at Burning Man. He wears headphones and dances while he does your canoe repairs. He’s also an architect and our expert at 3D printing. In his free time, he coaches kayaking and helps young students with their composites projects.
Tina pretty much grew up in this shop. She currently makes all the rudders and is involved in all other areas of canoe production. After all these years she is as obsessed with paddling as the day she started and reminds us every day to support female paddlers.
At 6’6”, he’s one super tall Tahitian and is probably the nicest person in the shop. He has a love of paddling (all Tahitians do, right?) and is excited to be around something he is passionate about during his workday.