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Innovation Grant for PPE Supply Chain

October 01, 2020

We’re proud to announce we’ve received an Innovation Grant for PPE Supply Chain from HTDC and the State of Hawai’i. The grant is a game-changer for us and will allow us to scale up our face shield production to tens of thousands per day. With the use of the funds, we’ll be hiring 30-50 people over the next 6 weeks.

During the initial stay-at-home order in March, we layed off 17 people and completely shut down our canoe building business. We thought it was the end of our business. One of our employees had the bright idea to donate our unused PPE that we use for canoe building to local hospitals. In dropping off a few thousand dollars in tyvek suits, gloves, and respirators, we saw the shortage situation first hand. It spurred us to want to help more, and in a couple of days, we figured out a way to make a face shield using material that we had in the shop. We planned to make a few hundred.

Within a week, we hired our outrigger canoe manufacturing team back, and in two weeks, we had shipped more face shields than we had canoes in 13 years. It both gave us a concrete way to help with the pandemic and also allowed us to keep our people employed.

We now have over 800,000 face shields on order and have been ramping up production as much as possible to meet that demand. But, given our machine, space, and labor constraints, we are currently maxed out at 10,000 weekly face shields. The HTDC grant enables us to pursue several large equipment purchases to produce up to 100,000 face shields per week by the end of October from our Kailua warehouse. Our goal is to produce 900,000 face shields by the end of the year while continuing to produce four or five outrigger canoes per week. Not only will this increase PPE capacity in Hawai’i, but it enables us to help provide needed jobs.

With increased manufacturing capacity and efficiencies, we’ve reduced our prices significantly to $4 for any quantity and will be giving away ten thousand free shields over the next five months to anyone in Hawai’i that needs them. We’re also making replacement screens available for $2 -- allowing the reuse of the foam band and elastic strap. Which is a feature we haven’t seen in the world of inexpensive face shields.

We hope that improving public health conditions in 2021 will reduce the demand for face shields. However, the equipment purchases enabled by the grant increase our resilience in future pandemics, as we will quickly be able to transition back to face shields in the unfortunate event that they become necessary again.

We feel fortunate to have received the backing of HTDC and the State of Hawai’i, and will use this momentum to help Hawai'i in the best way we know-how. Designing and manufacturing products in Hawai’i is what we've done since 2007 and will continue to do for the rest of our lives. The HTDC grant increases our community’s resilience while encouraging economic diversification and keeping our front line workers more protected. We’re thankful to all of our loyal customers who have enabled us to survive as a company for all of these years, and we’re thankful to be part of the HTDC program and do our part for Hawai’i.

If you’re interested in joining our team through the end of the year at our Kailua facility, please email keizo@kamanucomposites.com with a brief cover-letter and resume. Starting pay is $15 an hour, with higher paying positions available, as well as bonuses for night time work and production incentives. And if your organization is in need of face shields and can’t afford to purchase them, please email us at aria@kamanucomposites.com with an overview of what you do and how many you need. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to provide everyone who needs a shield, but we’ll do our best!

Shop hours

May 16, 2020

We are open, however due to social distancing requirements and because our Kailua shop is a manufacturing facility, please make appointment before visiting. Thank you!

We're Hiring

May 15, 2020

Our goal here is simple -- to build awesome products and do it locally in Hawai'i. We aim for ridiculous perfectionism. We use all the tools and technology available to us. And we strive for sustainability, happy customers, and happy workers. And, if you like building things, we’re hoping that you might want to join us.

It's not easy work. Manufacturing is challenging, difficult, and often frustrating. But it's also rewarding in that we get to make the things we want in the world. There is value in that, and deep satisfaction in continually improving everything we do.

We know Hawai'i faces difficult economic challenges ahead, and we want to be part of the solution. If you share our values and want to build products people love, email a cover letter and resume to keizo@kamanucomposites.com. Please note that we're listing many positions below, but we cannot fill all immediately. We will be hiring slowly to stay within our financial constraints.

All positions pay $15-25/hr depending on experience. We are very willing to teach and train people with no direct experience, but we like to see some examples of work, art, or projects that demonstrate your skills, ability to learn, and passion. Experience and interest in paddling is always a plus.

Composite Technicians

All technician roles have a certain amount of overlap. Eventually, people can learn all or most of the skills and cover most positions in the shop, but usually specialize in one or two areas.

Small Parts Technician

We are looking for someone to manage small parts production. Responsibilities will include rudders, paddles, and other accessories we make. Tasks include mold prep, maintenance, spraying, laminating, resin infusion, trimming, sanding, coating, gluing, and managing all aspects of delivering finished products. There will be lots of sanding and many paddles involved!

Finishing Technician

We are looking for someone to be a master canoe finisher. Taking the canoe from the mold to a shiny product ready for the customer can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of our work. Tasks include detailed inspection, wet sanding, buffing, stickering, repairs, rigging, polishing, grinding, cleaning, organizing, and anything else that can help build great canoes. This person is the gatekeeper of our quality.

Spray Artist

We are looking for someone to take our painting operations to the next level. Must be meticulous about design and able to think steps ahead, planning and executing complex canoe paint jobs. Our techniques are a bit unusual in that you spray a mold, so you never see the final product until days after your painting is complete. Must be able to function at high speed and under pressure to get creative ideas done within the timeframe that the medium allows.

This position can be full time, and canoe painting can range from 3-5 days a week. Some days are easy (all white) and can be done in 4 hours, while others require 15 hours of attention. Usually, intricate designs can be done over two days, but working late is not entirely unusual.

The goal is to find someone to push the envelope with designs, but also someone who can deliver reliable and consistent results. This step is one of the critical steps in our process and drives our success or failure. Other responsibilities will include mold prep, mold upkeep, maintenance and management of paint equipment and supplies, repairs, finish work for canoes, and other products.

Laminating Technician

Laminators put our canoes together piece by piece. It's a skilled craft, taking raw materials and precisely putting all the pieces together to make the structure of a canoe. Tasks include prep work, mixing resin, laminating, vacuum bagging, opening molds, and cleaning.

Process Engineer

We are looking for someone to help with continuous improvement in all areas of our shop. Experience with CAD, CAM, composites, and a technical background is desirable, but most importantly, we need someone with the ability to solve problems and execute solutions.

Work may include all aspects of taking a product from the design phase to production. Projects include tool design, fabrication (sanding and all), template setup, CAD, CAM (CNC machine toolpath programming, and operating).

We might need a new fixture, or a custom rolling cart, or heating and curing solution. Can you make it happen? A tool or a jig might break. Can you fix it or make a better one?

Time in the office and on the shop floor is roughly equal and keeps it interesting.

VP Operations and Other Senior Positions

What we do here is, in many ways, absurd. Manufacturing in Hawai'i is an unusual thing. Our competition says it's impossible. But we are crazy or naive enough to believe we can build an organization that's vertically integrated and sustainable. We design, manufacture, and sell the world's best outrigger canoes. We have an inherent belief that advanced manufacturing and technology can enable us to create sustainable products in Hawai'i. If you think you can help us achieve these goals, please email keizo@kamanucomposites.com.

Nanahope Unlimited Outrigger Canoe For Sale

July 08, 2019

Nanahope was designed to be an all around performance canoe. It's great in flat water, upwind and downwind. It's well suited for medium to light crews due to a relatively long and narrow waterline. It has aluminum iako and through bolt rigging. The construction is all carbon, epoxy, and foam core. The hull weight is approximately 205 lbs. It's painted white with Awlgrip Marine Paint.

We believe it's one of our best canoes to date and will remain competitive for years to come. It's for sale and can be customized with decals. Price is $19,000.

Email info@kamanucomposites.com if you're interested or would like to know more!

Video of sister canoes, Nanamua and Nanahope in 2014:

Nanamua & Nanahope from Makana Denton on Vimeo.


March 15, 2019

Today, we would like to introduce you to ‘Elepaio. It’s the final design in a long line of unlimited sixman prototypes we’ve built and raced since 2010. We're confident that it's our fastest canoe yet, and we’re ready to share it with the world.

For more information see our updated page here or email us info@kamanucomposites.com.