Kato Canoeing School
Can you share how Kuroshio came about since your first encounter with us？
Canoe SchoolMr. Kato：It all started with one of your staff attending our school session back in 1992. We were gathering information for making Japanese made sea kayaks at that time and I found out that your company was exploring ways for new business and expansion. It was a really a good timing that we met.
Then I met up with the senior executive manager of that time again and again and eventually we came to an agreement to start a project. I remember there were only small and medium size autoclaves in your workshop so you made arrangements to use a large autoclave at one of the major carbon fiber manufactures' to make the first lot. And in the following year or so, you added a medium size autoclave and expanded the tank so that Kuroshio could be baked in there.
What made you so determined about CFRP and working with us?
Mr. Kato：Back then sea kayaks were made of FRP materials which were a combination of polyester and glass fiber and epoxy resin, and carbon fiber were luxurious item only used for competitive boats. I had high hopes that Kuroshio would possess overwhelming high quality and performance compared to those made by other companies.
Making sea kayaks with carbon material was an unknown territory but what I wanted was high performance Japanese made sea kayak so I decided to go for it without hesitation. Your proposal of "Let's make the world first integrally molded sea kayak" and the idea of using hybrid material of glass fiber and CFRP for cost reduction sounded very appealing.
Let us know if there was any aspect of our work that you were feeling unsure about.
Mr. Kato：At that time methods for integrated molding hadn't been established yet so we went through many trials and errors. I was worried that because of this manufacturing cost would go up in the end.
How were your worries resolved?
Mr. Kato：We discussed thoroughly, with the manufacturing engineer joining the meetings as well. I felt that we were both really committed and had the courage to move forward so this eventually led us to the right solutions for our mission.
What other expectations do you have of us? Please tell us how you would like our relationship to grow.
Mr. Kato：I can confidently say that the current Kuroshio II is the best CFRP sea kayak in the world. However I would really like to see us make Kuroshio III which of course will exceed the current model. Appealing design, good quality and performance are obviously really important for the next model, but along with this I would like to see us establishing a system of cooperation for strategic sales and marketing which would help us share the wonderful experience of being at sea with an even greater community.