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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:24 am 
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Tom has a point. Those that don't have a crack problem don't post that they don't, which artificially makes the problem seem more universal in a forum like this.

I just visited my dealer regarding my third cracked hull, and they have submitted a new claim to Hobie for replacement (thank God my 2-year hull warranty doesn't expire till 5 days from now).

But when I mentioned this forum and what seemed like a lot of people with cracked hulls, they replied "Oh? What models?". Clearly, my dealer is NOT seeing a lot of cracked hull complaints funneling through them.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:16 pm 
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"Enough" could be one. It isn't. It could be 20%. It isn't that either. "Enough" is more than one with people talking about it. I don't care if the rate is as low as one in 10,000. If I am the one and the problem relates to a manufacturing defect, I expect the company to stand behind that product whether it shows up in the first week or the fifth year. "Enough" is one customer being told that it will cost them an extra $1100 to have a functional boat. If that customer is me, then it is "more than enough". :)

I don't care about how many are out there without an issue. Hobie should. They should look at it and determine the failure rate from this problem. If the number is really small, then they should eat it when the problem crops up by replacing the hull without trying to charge the customer over $1000. If it's a really small number, it shouldn't cost them much to stand behind the product. If it were my company, that is what I would do for the good will, positive press, and recommendations that it would generate. Also, because it is the moral and responsible thing to do. I would have bought a Revolution already if I had heard that there was this occasional problem, but that Hobie acknowledges it as a defect, and agrees that the hull should last a lot longer than that without a problem if there is no abuse. Even if the failure rate were as high as 1%, which I doubt to be the case, I wouldn't be put off because Hobie would make good if I drew the short straw.

In terms of failure percentage, I doubt anyone knows accurately. There are too many variables. How many boats are out there that get used a few times and then rot in a garage for years? How many have small cracks that take on a little water, but the owner doesn't chase it and just figures it is normal flow past a hatch? We don't know anything about things that aren't surveyed or reported. I agree that there are a very large number of boats out there that don't have a problem. That allows one to argue the semantics of "manufacturing defect" versus "design defect", or whatever other phrase you'd like to use. It doesn't lessen the impact on the unlucky customers who experience a leak.

I also find it a bit odd that I have seen a few posts, here and elsewhere, from people claiming to have replaced more than one hull. Are these people more vigilant to start, and then super-vigilant after a first failure? Are they unusually strong-legged or clumsy in the way that they insert the drive into the hull? Is there something that they do to make the problem more likely to occur?

When a customer buys a kayak, they have an expectation of how long it will last if reasonably well cared for. My expectation is that I would get at least ten years out of a hull if I wanted to, or that I could trade/resell it at some point along the way if I wanted to upgrade. What's your expectation?

-bob


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:01 am 
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bsee wrote:
When a customer buys a kayak, they have an expectation of how long it will last if reasonably well cared for. My expectation is that I would get at least ten years out of a hull if I wanted to, or that I could trade/resell it at some point along the way if I wanted to upgrade. What's your expectation?bob
Bob, a lot of folks don't distinguish between buying a paddling kayak where the hull merely serves as a container, and buying a Mirage Drive where the boat is an active part of the propulsion system. It's easy to forget that the 1/2 inch square nose of the drivewell receives about 5000 to 7000 pulses per minute and is the point at which all the leg thrust is transferred. How it lasts depends to a large extent on how it's used. An active cyclist with turbofins who likes to go fast will put a lot more pressure on this point than a casual user with standard fins.

Does that mean Hobie has a design flaw or a defect? Not necessarily. By its nature, PE flexes and just like virtually all solid materials, if you flex it enough, it can crack. Over the years Hobie has made great progress on strengthening the drivewell nose. They've improved the materials, the molding process, and they have reinforced the drivewell with additional material and by spreading this load. That's probably why the newer boats are better in this regard. They continue to improve the product every year.

Most Hobie Mirage Drives last a long time. They hold their value well. But it is still possible to break one. Hobie makes no restrictions or limitations with their warranty as to user, amount of use, or how many owners there have been. There isn't another warranty in the business that good. No shipping fees, no processing fees, the company stands behind their products, period. There are "lifetime" warranties out there that don't even begin to compare.

So when you're buying a Hobie Mirage Drive, you're buying a unique capability. If you don't agree or can't see it, then you can find some excellent paddling kayaks for less money that you can pass on to your heirs. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:12 am 
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My 2 cents on the subject:

I think I qualify as the biggest abuser of Hobie products ( LOL). I have had 5 Hobie Kayaks since 2007. My highly modified Tandem Islands see a lot of stress above and beyond the call of duty. ( See viewtopic.php?f=69&t=33720 ) .
I have had one Tandem Island hull replaced because of scupper hole damage (under warranty), but other than that have had no difficulty with Hulls cracking (around drive wells). My opinion is Hobie has progressively improved on their design re-enforcing areas where needed to lessen the failure rates over time (very admirable). If I had to guess, I'm sure the failure rate of drive wells has gone down considerably from the earlier 2007 designs (which I owned) just by looking at the ongoing design improvements( I am a plastics design engineer). I think we can safely say the book has not been finished yet, the brilliant engineers at HobieCat are continously improving upon an already great product as a direct result of the feedback us users relay back to them in a positive manner. A perfect example of this continous improvement is demonstrated in my brand new 2012 TI design. As stated above my first TI (purchased in May 2010) had a catastophic failure at the scupper holes and the hull needed to be replaced. My new hull has a re-enforcing sleeve installed in the same scupper holes, and the hull thickened in the area where my previous hull failed. This was never advertised and barely mentioned. I can spot another 5 or 6 major improvements to the design since 2010 such as the new rudder system, the re-enforced weld on the front AKA cross bar/mast holder, The improved and re-designed knuckles on the AKA bars which are now much stronger, The improved bungy attachement on the AMA's, The new V3 mirage drives with the guide pins (thank you), the flotation blocks in the hull, Improved steering handles (with knobs 'an option'), improved rotating collar on mast, and many more things I have not even found yet. Another thing I noticed when installing my bow sprit from the old TI is the distance from the bow to the front AKA cross bars is now 3/4 of an inch shorter, and the hull nose doesn't sway back and forth and leak like the older hulls did when stressing the nose with my massive sails, the front hatch no longer leaks, improved attachement of the hull bottom to the mast holder cup, improved attachment of the front AKA cross bar to the hull top, etc. Thats just what I have found so far.

Here is a video of my first sail with the new boat


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Roadrunner, I have to disagree with you, and especially the condescending feel of your post. Your post is an excuse, a justification, nothing more. It doesn't hold water for me. All customers aren't the same. They won't use the boat the same, they won't have the same expectations. Why should I care if Hobie provides support to replace parts for someone who spends six hours a day pedaling 5+ MPH with turbo fins for two years straight? That's not me. What I care about is that I don't end up buying a boat for $1500 or so (I'd buy a leftover...) and then a couple years later have to spend $1100 to replace the one part of the package that I wouldn't expect to wear out.

As far as the turbo fins increasing stress, that is clear. On the other hand, it's a product that Hobie sells for that exact purpose. We're not talking about an unauthorized customer modification here. If the hull isn't built to handle it, then Hobie shouldn't sell it. It doesn't matter, though, that's a side issue. If I were to stick with the standard fins and have a leak in the drive well of a Revolution after three or four years of casual use, would Hobie replace my hull for free? If the answer is no, then I will stick to paddling. It is no surprise that I was offered a "deal" on a 2009 last year from a serious saltwater fisherman who buys a new boat every two years to stay in warranty. That's great for Hobie, but not so much for the guy who is spending $1300 on a well-used boat with no warranty.

Yes, there's a difference between the stresses on a paddle boat versus a pedal boat. As a result, there should be a difference in the construction to account for that. Do you expect that the transom of a power boat is more likely to fold up than that of a rowboat? Would you write it off as just something that happens because of the additional stress of having a motor, so the owner should just pay for another hull? The responsibility should fall to the manufacturer to make it work if they are going to sell it for that purpose. If you tell me the boat is rated for up to 25 HP, then I expect it not to break when I put a 25 HP engine on it, at least as long as I don't wrap it around a piling or buoy. Does Hobie warn buyers about not accelerating quickly, especially with turbo fins? Do they set max recommended speeds or cadences?

I can appreciate that Hobie continues to improve the product. There's no doubt about it. They are very smart people and they care about getting it right. I just stand by the belief that they should do more for the unfortunate few who have a problem.

Oh, and kudos to Hobie for allowing conversations like this to occur here. I'd love to buy their product, but I am not going to do it without a stronger warranty on the hull. The warranty on the rest of the parts is just fine.

-bob


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Bsee

I can't understand where you are coming from - we have never charge someone $1100 for a 3 year old hull out of warranty (I know that this poster who started the thread is claiming that we did, but it was a 5 year old boat - and he wasn't the original owner - and you have to add frieght and tax - so maybe it got to that point, or maybe his dealer added handling fees, I don't know - we have tried a few times now to know who Mr Bill is - who his dealer is, and he has never gotten back to us to explain this thread - and so it goes, it just continues and grows every day) the fact is we do use a pro-rated cost scale on boats that fall outside of warranty... this is on a case-by-case basis, but in order to pay $1100 it would need to be about a 7 year old kayak (and a 2nd owner). (keep in mind I am not including freight or taxes so maybe that's a difference?)

I think that you are delaying a purchase until someone tells you that you will never have a problem, and you will never have to pay something to replace a hull when or if that something does happen. (that just isn't possible, so I think your expectations are unrealistic) We do want to earn your business, and I am 100% confident that you would absolutely love a new Revo... nothing else on the market compares to a Mirage - if you are still paddling, you are missing out on the Mirage experience big time.

The percentage of warranty is way less than any industry standard - but as is the nature of forums, you only hear about the issues - that is normal - we don't try and shy away from defects in kayaks - it happens...it isn't a design flaw as you try to point out - rather there are numerous factors that you aren't considering. And a warranty is just that - it is to protect the purchaser from a manufacturing defect down the line - most defect will show up early in the boats life, hence the 2 year stated warranty - for 95% of people that's all they need, but on occasion there could be a problem which develop much later on, and for that reason we go beyond. Look around at any other product made - try and find a company that does more than we do.

I'm fairly confident that you will probably reply back to my post - and you might even not be happy with my reply, and might even take it wrong or get mad - but believe me when I say that we are all working here to make the best products we can. Designers - sales staff - factory employees - and us office jockeys - we all love Hobie - I personally have been on some type of Hobie product long before I worked here (30 years of Hobie use - 12 years here working at the company) - so I know that the people here at Hobie Cat Co Oceanside CA. all care a lot about the brand. We are people who try our best day in, and day out. This particular thread is going nowhere quick, and I would like to see it die on the vine - it isn't accomplishing anything.

We do monitor the forums and reply when we need to - but my belief is that this is a 'User' forum, and we just let most things just slide on by - I am not a company spokesman - and I don't want my opinion here to be taken in any other way than it being my personal opinion that this entire thread is just getting silly.

We have never charged someone anything that wasn't fair - and our stated warranty get's extended double triple the written time frame - that is well beyond what any other manufacturer would ever offer it's customers.

RoadRunner is an awesome Hobie ambassador for us as well, and I think most everyone on this forum will agree to that - I think that you should read what he said again, and re-think your response to him.

This thread should be ended now - but something tells me it will continue on and on - but the reality is that Hobie Warranty goes above and beyond to help customers who have an issue, and we always try our best to resolve them quickly and fairly.

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http://www.hobiecat.com/
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, Jaques. I don't have time to reply now, but I will later. There is new information in what you have posted and I think you're mistaken about this thread.

-bob


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:17 pm 
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Hello everyone. I have a 09 hobie outback and with my new turbo fins, it developed a crack on the front side of the drive well. I took my outback to my local dealer (not the same folks I bought it from) who offered to submit a claim. I just learned that Hobie will be sending a new hull, even though I am out of warranty. Granted, there have been many similar hull failures, but I am very impressed with Hobie's customer service!!

Great work folks!!! Keep it up. You now have a customer for life and a strong advocate!

Mike Borean
Murhpys, CA


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:27 pm 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
Just a thought on the hull cracking problems for the Hobie team:


As a plastics Engineer I have to deal with and solve plastics problem all the time. This is just a thought about something to try, if you were to mix about 5% long strand fiberglass (long strand is about 1/8 inch long) in with the resin when you pour the boat, it should eliminate the plastic creap (what I suspect is causing some of the cracks), you may also want to sample short strand (about 1/16 long) and determine which works better for your purpose. The hull would end up much stronger yet still flexible. It's only a dollars worth of fiberglass, it may make a large difference (strengthwise). With just 5% glass this should not effect the shrink rate enough to worry about (everything will likely still fit).
I'm sure you guys have probably tried something like this, just in case you haven't I'm just throwing it out there. The only downside would be the surface finish may be a little less shiny. The glass should not effect the impact strength.

You can order the glass fiber from your plastics supplier, they will likely supply samples for free, and advise how to mix.

It would work especially well with your process because you use powdered plastic instead of pellets, this makes mixing easy and can be done right in your plant in a mixer.

I have had a broken hull myself (scupper hole failure), and it's not fun.

Like I said I'm just throwing it out there, trying to help.
Bob


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:47 am 
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Hi I bought second hand a Hobie Outfitter? in Portugal which I have had 2 years no problem use. However, a crack has appeared at the front of the boat in the front drive position. I tried a hot plastic weld which worked for 15 minutes then the water came pouring in again. During the weld I noticed a cavity right by the front drive mounting underneath and the crack is about 1.5" long and goes right through the hull! I imagine this part of the hull should be pretty solid to deal with the torque of the drive system but this front part (impossible to get to from the inside) looks more hollow and weaker.
I am going to try another hot weld with more material as I cannot think of any other way of making a repair. Can anyone help??? I guess I have no warranty is there any special deal on a hull only (colour blue)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:21 pm 
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Jacques, your post was thoughtful and, to me, had new information, so I wanted to reply. Sorry about the delay.

Jbernier wrote:
Bsee

I can't understand where you are coming from - we have never charge someone $1100 for a 3 year old hull out of warranty (I know that this poster who started the thread is claiming that we did, but it was a 5 year old boat - and he wasn't the original owner - and you have to add frieght and tax - so maybe it got to that point, or maybe his dealer added handling fees, I don't know - we have tried a few times now to know who Mr Bill is - who his dealer is, and he has never gotten back to us to explain this thread - and so it goes, it just continues and grows every day) the fact is we do use a pro-rated cost scale on boats that fall outside of warranty... this is on a case-by-case basis, but in order to pay $1100 it would need to be about a 7 year old kayak (and a 2nd owner). (keep in mind I am not including freight or taxes so maybe that's a difference?)


This is the first that I have heard the $1100 number disputed or, in fact, any of what you wrote here. The concept of a pro-rated cost scale for replacing older boats with defects is appealing. I understand that you state later in your post that you aren't acting as a company spokesman, and I suspect Hobie doesn't document this because they don't want to be bound by it. I appreciate the company's preference for flexibility and the ability to apply such a policy on a case-by-case basis, but if Hobie is going to spend the money providing the support, they might as well get the credit for doing it, especially if it could swing a sale. This policy certainly would matter to me.

Jbernier wrote:
I think that you are delaying a purchase until someone tells you that you will never have a problem, and you will never have to pay something to replace a hull when or if that something does happen. (that just isn't possible, so I think your expectations are unrealistic) We do want to earn your business, and I am 100% confident that you would absolutely love a new Revo... nothing else on the market compares to a Mirage - if you are still paddling, you are missing out on the Mirage experience big time.


I think your statement here is unfair and borderline offensive. What I was, and still am, looking for is Hobie to take responsibility for certain major failures of boats beyond the stated warranty period. In fact, just one type of irreparable and catastrophic failure that seems to occur with enough frequency to be troubling. As I wrote in my other posts, I have no problem at all with paying for repairs on other small parts that are wear items. The only data I had suggested that people who buy a used boat and then have a problem beyond the two year warranty period were forced to basically pay full price for a replacement hull.

Jbernier wrote:
The percentage of warranty is way less than any industry standard - but as is the nature of forums, you only hear about the issues - that is normal - we don't try and shy away from defects in kayaks - it happens...it isn't a design flaw as you try to point out - rather there are numerous factors that you aren't considering.


I will take your word on percentage of warranty relative to industry standards, but the rest is a question of semantics. I will stand by my opinion that the failures in the drive wells are a design flaw. I believe we all agree that there are hulls that crack there. I also believe we agree that certain pedaling techniques and other conditions create stresses that will make a hull more likely to crack. It sounds like one of those other conditions is that the more powerful the fin, the greater the stress and more likely a crack will form. Hobie has tried various updates over the past few years to strengthen this area and solve the problem. Clearly, someone thinks a better design is out there waiting to be found. Hobie won't find it by magic. Hard to tell if a problem with as many variables is fixed until it has field use, so there is no blame to be placed for updates that don't solve the problem. If there are other factors that aren't being considered, you would be better served to spell them out than to just make an assumption of ignorance.

Jbernier wrote:
And a warranty is just that - it is to protect the purchaser from a manufacturing defect down the line - most defect will show up early in the boats life, hence the 2 year stated warranty - for 95% of people that's all they need, but on occasion there could be a problem which develop much later on, and for that reason we go beyond. Look around at any other product made - try and find a company that does more than we do.

I'm fairly confident that you will probably reply back to my post - and you might even not be happy with my reply, and might even take it wrong or get mad - but believe me when I say that we are all working here to make the best products we can. Designers - sales staff - factory employees - and us office jockeys - we all love Hobie - I personally have been on some type of Hobie product long before I worked here (30 years of Hobie use - 12 years here working at the company) - so I know that the people here at Hobie Cat Co Oceanside CA. all care a lot about the brand. We are people who try our best day in, and day out. This particular thread is going nowhere quick, and I would like to see it die on the vine - it isn't accomplishing anything.

We do monitor the forums and reply when we need to - but my belief is that this is a 'User' forum, and we just let most things just slide on by - I am not a company spokesman - and I don't want my opinion here to be taken in any other way than it being my personal opinion that this entire thread is just getting silly.

We have never charged someone anything that wasn't fair - and our stated warranty get's extended double triple the written time frame - that is well beyond what any other manufacturer would ever offer it's customers.


There is no doubt that the employees at Hobie care. There is no doubt that there are reports of Hobie going beyond the letter of the warranty. Unfortunately, it isn't predictable that Hobie will do this for any customer at any time. From things read elsewhere, it seems that some dealers are better connected than others in terms of getting such service for their customers. Maybe that's at Hobie's end, or maybe it's at the dealer end. Either way, there's a perception that all customers and dealers aren't equal. That's good for the dealers that can claim a better ability to get customers taken care of, but not for Hobie or for other dealers.

As far as what Hobie charges, they charge what they charge. They feel it is fair. Does the buyer? At least the guy who started this thread didn't think it was fair. Admittedly, this is now a questionable reference point, but "fair" is subjective. Some would consider it fair to charge full price for a hull that is a few days out of warranty. Others would disagree.

Jbernier wrote:
RoadRunner is an awesome Hobie ambassador for us as well, and I think most everyone on this forum will agree to that - I think that you should read what he said again, and re-think your response to him.


I appreciate your perspective based upon history, but I will stand by my interpretation of his post and response. Some people have a chip on their shoulders with regard to this problem or any criticism of the Hobie product. If they want to be a positive brand ambassador, then they need to find a way to respond to such issues with kindness rather than animosity.

Jbernier wrote:
This thread should be ended now - but something tells me it will continue on and on - but the reality is that Hobie Warranty goes above and beyond to help customers who have an issue, and we always try our best to resolve them quickly and fairly.


I appreciate this perspective.

As a side note, the post from airstream13013 has me thinking. It sounds like there could be a list of things to do / not to do in order to minimize the chance of a problem. I have heard cracks blamed on things like the larger fins, high acceleration rates, too long a pedal stroke, and mis-aligned drive insertion. Are there other things to be avoided?

-bob


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:39 am 
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Anybody who has read our forums thoroughly will see that we acknowledge and confirm over and over again that we feel a drive well failure is not acceptable. We have FAQ posts about reinforcement kits and extended warranty terms to address the issue from many years ago. Why is this still up for debate? Quite honestly, I think we sometimes suffer from competitive stirring of the pot by reps from other companies.

Yes, we have had drive well failures. And... if you read these forums you know we have exceptional warranty coverage to address them.

Fact is... we build a LOT of boats. We have built a TON over the many years since introducing the Mirage product line and you will find that a VAST majority of claims being discussed are on older product.

We have made many, many changes to process, design and materials to address this. A majority of the issues were corrected back in 2007. That is 5 years ago... we continue to support older boats through our warranty policy.

We have this 99.9% behind us now. Even though the failure percentage vs production was pretty low... Now failure rates are much, much less. The products being built in the past few years are not experiencing the number of issues we once had. Will we experience problems again? Probably. Even paddle kayaks have warranty issues. That is what warranty coverage is for. Warranty helps to correct problems that are caused by material and workmanship. Understand that Roto molding is part science and part art. No two boats are alike, so there continues to be a slight possibility of a failure, but we promise to take care of it.

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Matt Miller
Director of Parts and Accessory Sales
Hobie Cat USA


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:40 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
My Adventure suffered a couple of very large holes in the hull today. I just set out at had to turn right around because I noticed the bow up and stern down (submerged in fact). I had the amas and akas from the AI conversion on, but no sail today. I think it took on so much water so fast that if I hadn't had the amas/akas on it would have gone to Davy Jones Locker in fact. I am just glad the holes were big, otherwise I would have discovered a major problem somewhere far from shore - I was headed across a 2 mile stretch of water between Florida and Georgia. After a bit of a panic and pedaling like crazy back to the beach, I successfully dragged a heavy kayak plus about 2 or 3 hundred extra pounds of water several inches deep out onto dry land... not easy! It turned out to be rather large holes in both scuppers caused by a combination of 90 degree heat day after day down here in sunny Florida and what I would say is just normal use of the Hobie plug in cart. I am always careful loading and unloading on my Trailex trailer, but it is my belief that after so many repetitions loading / unloading an AI (my Adventure usually has the amas, akas, mast, and a few pieces of gear on it) in the Florida heat, the scupper holes just get worn out or something. I had even heard of scupper hole failures, so I thought I was being careful. A design defect is what I'd call it. You cannot expect this area to hold up with that thin a wall.

I swung by my local Hobie retailer, Black Creek Outfitters in Jacksonville. They are going to "go to bat for me". Nice people. Hopefully this will be resolved to my satisfaction. I took some photos and looked at the plastic in that area. Gee. That area clearly needs some beefing up. It looks quite flimsy to me. It is a 2012 Adventure that I upgraded to an AI. I'll keep you posted.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:26 pm 
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My 2012 TI has the re-enforced scupper tubes ( black tubes in the scuppers). Does the newer AI's have the re-enforced scuppers yet ?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:02 pm 
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I don't know about the AIs and mine started out life as an Adventure anyway.


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