Author Topic: Price of paddles justified?  (Read 1638 times)

Dusk Patrol

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Price of paddles justified?
« on: March 18, 2021, 02:12:58 PM »
I'm noticing some price creep.

Black Project has released a $600 paddle.

A quick survey of other makes has them at mostly above $400. Some above $500.

Do the high cost of paddles bear any relationship to the cost of design/production/distribution?  I know the answer is yes to a degree, where they're made, etc.

But is delta between cost of mfgr and retail price on a $400 paddle $200?  $300?  $20?   

Or is it just luxury item pricing - what the market will bear.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 02:16:55 PM by Dusk Patrol »
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burchas

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2021, 02:39:45 PM »
To put it simply, If you know where to look you could find the same paddle for about $100.
The only "Revolutionary" thing about this paddle is its price, and not in a good way.

Their marketing is very effective and many fall for this hoax.

Having produced few custom paddles for my self with better materials I can tell you that the cost
of producing high-end paddles is not that expensive to justify such prices.



in progress...

jondrums

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2021, 04:40:41 PM »
I've not heard of an alternative to the kenalu mana paddle, which I am totally addicted to.  It sucks how expensive it is, but damn does it paddle well.

PonoBill

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2021, 05:25:58 PM »
The price of a mold for the KeNalu paddles was about $4,000 each when I was involved with the company, which has to have increased in the ensuing ten years. No one can make commercial quantities with one mold, the mold has to cool between uses, as we painfully learned when blades that looked lovely suddenly sprouted hickies--they were laid up in molds that were too hot and started kicking the prepreg before the mold was closed. So if the demand is high enough you need a lot of molds. You can make the molds out of plastic or fiberglass, but that's imprecise and the finish is so-so. The Kenalu molds are heated and water-cooled aluminum--no shortcuts.

The cheapest part of a paddle is the shaft, and that's expensive because you have to use mega-wide carbon fiber, and lots of it and the reject rate is ugly. 

The cheaper paddles are a LOT cheaper, in every component. You can make a paddle to sell for 100 bucks, but it will be shit. If you want to build a great paddle you need perhaps 40K worth of molds (blades and handles) and either an extensive and expensive molding capability for complex shafts or a really good mandrel production facility to buy shafts from. Really, paddles are more complex than boards. You can pump those out with EPS cores that are either molded in concrete forms or carved with a CNC. Then use moderately skilled labor to glass them--which is how boards pumped out in Asia are made. Or for that matter, how custom boards are made.

I can build one paddle in my shop for not much money--but that's meaningless. When the market was booming the prices for paddles were tolerable since some of the top-level paddles were sold direct, with no middlemen taking a cut. Facing a smaller market the dealer/distributor model is important, so every paddle needs to be marked up at least 3X manufacturing cost. Manufacturers can't undercut the dealer price or the dealers and distributors drop them.

So yeah--you pay.

Jondrums--yeah, me too. Lane makes one hell of a blade.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 05:32:47 PM by PonoBill »
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

surfinJ

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2021, 12:06:42 AM »
Not nice to hear of the price creep but we are nothing without a strong paddle.

For the moment I still have one backup for my beloved Methane which is yielding some cracking? sounds on deep digs. Seems to be a forebearer to a shaft snap.

burchas

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2021, 04:31:11 PM »
Lane makes one hell of a blade.

Nice plug for the KeNalu Bill. I too consider my Mana as one of my favorites.

I still hold firm that prices are too high considering production costs. Take for example Werner Rip-Stick. One of the best surf paddles on the market.
Super solid American made lightweight construction for a bargain price of $324 :o I got one from a dealer for a cool $300. Somewhere in there there was still a room for profit.

I'm glad someone brought that subject up, prices have gone out of control! I work closely with some of the players in the market and have a good idea about production quality/cost.
You could mark up 5x a good quality paddle and still won't end up at $600. somewhere in there there are at least $200 of BS fee.

@Dusk Patrol, It may be a coincidence but this is the 3rd time I hear someone complaining about this new trend from Black Project in past few days.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 04:33:18 PM by burchas »
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PonoBill

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2021, 05:38:52 AM »
I don't think the justifiable price is 600, but it's certainly a bit above 300 by now. My plan to lead the market was a component-based paddle with a starting price of $150, and a path to upgrade to the top level at $300. With a plastic blade that could be 99 bucks. There's utility in cheap and tough, especially if a company can also compete in the high end from the start. I've seen anyone try that.

Unfortunately, it's become a fairly dinky market at the performance end.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

burchas

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2021, 06:19:26 AM »
^True dat! The market could have benefited from a tinkerer minds such as yours.

There is a sweet spot for high end paddles with comfortable enough margins to keep dealers happy... $400 sounds about right
especially in light of the prices Black Project sells their fins with a 7x markup.
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ospreysup

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2021, 07:11:15 AM »
I am no expert and have only used a Werner and Kenalu. Kenalu allows you to expand as you need. I started with their Honu plastic paddle and Xtuf shaft. All though heavy, an excellent beginner to intermediate paddle under $200. I  swapped out the paddle for a Wiki blade about a year later. The wiki took a fin and swapped back to the plastic until my Maliko arrived. I still have the Maliko and also a Ho'ola. I liked both blades so I got a second shaft. Like SurfinJ, I am getting some creaking in my original xtuf so I am about to order a new one. The nice part is that this is over 8 years. 2 shafts $300 plus a plastic blade. Three quality blades under $600.  A Heat gun from Harbor Freight $9.00. I can not compare it to other paddles but the component aspect and quality have let me affordably option to maintain and upgrade my paddles. My hats of to Lane and Pono for their innovative design that allows for flexibility and growth for the user.

PonoBill

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2021, 07:16:35 AM »
Yea! You are literally the model customer. That was exactly the plan. It didn't get implemented completly, but the basics are there.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

Dusk Patrol

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2021, 05:16:22 PM »
@Dusk Patrol, It may be a coincidence but this is the 3rd time I hear someone complaining about this new trend from Black Project in past few days.

Looks like Black Project stumbled across the trigger price for righteous indignation...
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sflinux

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Re: Price of paddles justified?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2021, 07:25:31 AM »
Anyone know if 27North is still making paddles? 
Their kevlar paddle has been on my wish list.
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Me: 195#, 6'2"

 


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