Interview with Tom Derrer of Eddyline Kayaks E-mail
Saturday, 07 April 2012 07:23

This month we will be interviewing Tom Derrer, owner and founder of Eddyline Kayaks.

tom derrer of eddyline kayaks

Eddyline has been building sea kayaks for a long time geared toward the recreational paddler, why the shift toward the kayak fishing market?

Tom Derrer: Well I guess I don’t see it as a shift really just an additional direction.  Our main line is still Sea Kayaks and Sit Inside recreational kayaks.  The decision to do a sit on top was complex, but primarily driven by our East and West Coast reps and a number of our Dealers and customers.  Our technology is not low cost and there are a lot of sit on top kayaks out there so we knew this boat had to be pretty special.

Your new 12’ Caribbean kayak appears to have a well thought out fishing platform, where did these design elements come from? 

Tom Derrer: We looked at the dazzling array of equipment that has been developed, read many blogs and magazines, and talked to active anglers on both coasts.    There are so many popular and differing styles used that our conclusion for this first kayak was to design as many options as possible into the shape of the cockpit for the user to customize his or her boat.

Did you get incite from kayak anglers and if so, who?

Tom Derrer: Particularly helpful were Dan Arbuckle from Headwaters Kayaks in Lodi California and John Shein from the Kayak Fishing Store in Fairfield, NJ..  Additionally we queried numerous dealers as to the preferences of their customers.

Can you explain to our readers how your kayaks differ from typical roto-molded plastic kayaks and what the advantages are?

Tom Derrer: The polyethylene plastic used in roto-molded boats has two primary virtues:  relatively low cost and high impact strength.  Beyond that it is a soft material that has low dimensional stability, low heat distortion temperatures and low abrasion resistance and is very difficult to repair.  When abraded, it develops small hairs that ultimately reduce the efficiency of the hull. 

When Eddyline pioneered the thermoforming of kayaks in the mid 90’s we were coming from a 25 year history of high end composite kayaks. We wanted a technology that would produce comparable quality with less environmental impact.

Thermoforming allows us to use a variety of materials to obtain optimum properties.  Materials such as high strength ABS and Acrylic are fused together into a cohesive piece. The result is good impact strength, ultra high UV Stability, high gloss and very high abrasion resistance.  In addition the material is inherently more stable in high temperatures.  And, it is easily repaired if an accident does occur.  Numerous folks report to us that the finished surface of our material simply moves through the water more easily.  We refer to this property as lubricity.

The thermoforming process does produce a lighter product but how much lighter than a similar roto-molded kayak?

Tom Derrer: Our Caribbean kayak weighs 45 lbs.  Looking at roto-molded boats of similar size the range of listings seems to run between 55 and 70 lbs.. 

Kayak anglers are tough on their boats, is this a concern for thermoformed kayaks?

Tom Derrer: Many of our customers are tough on their boats.  Hard use is different than abuse of course.  We see very little damage that results from normal use.  Most of what we see are accidents such as driving over the bow line or boats falling off of cars onto concrete.  Generally folks consider our material quite durable, and the good news is if you have an accident the repair process is not difficult.

What warranty do your kayaks come with?

Tom Derrer: Our warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship for a period of three years to the original owner. However, I should say that our customer service is some of the best you will find.  Eddyline considers every owner very important and we go well out of our way to make sure our paddlers are taken care of, original owners or not.

How is your entry into the fishing kayak market going?

Tom Derrer: Having just released this model in November, we are extremely pleased with the response and the level of excitement and enthusiasm amongst paddlers as well as our dealers. 

The buzz is that Eddyline will be soon coming out with a new 14’ fishing kayak - can you share a bit about it?

Tom Derrer: Yes, we are targeting a release in June or July.  This boat will be longer and a bit narrower and have a few additional features for the fisherman such as a protected “rod pod” for storing rods under deck.  It will also have a longer cockpit and tank well.  Of course it is still under development so we are inviting feedback from anyone interested. Our phones are pretty busy so please put your ideas in writing and email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Comments  

 
0 #1 Dan Arbuckle 2012-04-11 21:35
So awesome. Tom is going to change fishing kayaks forever. Nothing beats the way an Eddyline paddles. Glad to be a small part of such a great project!
 

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