Vajda NSW Contact - Defective Ski Model

8 years 2 months ago - 8 years 2 months ago #11408 by mirvine
All,

Thanks for the great responses. I have actually managed to speak to the right person from Vajda and without any drama all issues are going top be resolved. It turns out most of the Vajda team were on a break and out of contactable areas.

The Vajda is still by far the most comfortable ski in particular the seating position I have had a go at (and I have tried most!). I am stoked my issues could be resolved.

Look forward to trying the Hawx.

M

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8 years 2 months ago #11409 by fredrik
With such a solid brand, that´s surprising. I suggest you go up the food chain with your emails/pictures to Mario Vesley in Australia and/or the head office

(Vajda Australia, Mario Vesley,Sales, +61 (0) 450047037, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.vajdacanoes.com )

I would be very surprised if you don´t get a good follow up, as they are a large corp with a recent market effort which is not going to afford experiences like yours.

As always it takes at least 10 good experiences to balance one negative, and you obviously met a "weak link" in their chain.

Pls, let us know how it went. as the Hawx looks interesting. BTW I have no connection to Vajda :-)
The following user(s) said Thank You: mirvine

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8 years 2 months ago - 8 years 2 months ago #11418 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Vajda NSW Contact - Defective Ski Model
I bought a Vajda Orca Racing april 2011, noticed after a few months some flexing particularly in bumpy conditions and when paddling into the swell. I had numerous soft spots which was fixed and now new ones have appeared... where the ski sits on the craddle the hull also seems to have dented slightly. I weigh 76 kg so I don't think that your weight might have been the issue...

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8 years 2 months ago #11426 by AJM83
Hi mirvine and JeandeFlorette,

It's nice to hear that I'm not alone - I have had a similar issue with the same boat same layup, purchased in Feb 2011, and a replacement boat sent to me in Nov the same year now looks like it's developing similar problems.

The issue I experienced was a softening under the hull, corresponding to the exact point at which I carried the boat on my hip (from car to beach + vice versa, occasionally a longer walk of 100-200m from home to water + vice versa). Exactly as mirvine describes, the boat started out stiff enough but gradually developed the problem. I rang my local rep when I noticed hairline cracks appearing towards the edges of the softer spot. Within weeks of this I pretty much had a boat that I would not feel safe paddling in rough conditions.

I live in a different State to mirvine and my local rep was very helpful and went straight up the chain with the problem. Unfortunately this is where the real issues began.

I supplied pictures of the affected area and my assessment of what had developed in relation to the construction of the boat and how the lay-up had deteriorated over time. I initially felt that the boat was well made and well finished, but after a few months I noticed that the outer skin had "shrunk" into the inner (nomex?) foam so that I could see the foam hexagons through the composite. This had happened all over the boat but was worse on the deck, around the seat and at the nose and tail on the hull. In comparison to a carbon lay-up equivalent purchased by another local paddler, the fibreglass lay-up appeared to have much larger
foam hexagons underneath the composite surface. At least double or triple the diameter of the internal foam cells used in the carbon Vajda Orca lay-up (which you can JUST make out in some of the "dryer" parts of that boat i.e. back deck). The larger cells in the FG version appeared insufficient to support the outer composite structure, especially given the more flexible nature of the construction option I had purchased. I felt that there was 1) the wrong sort of foam in the boat, 2) too much foam in the boat, 3) not enough stiffness or thickness in general throughout the outer composite layers of the boat and 4) insufficient stiffness in critical areas of the boat.

Firstly I was told that I had probably tied the boat wrongly on my roof racks - of course after paddling for 15 years I would do this - so I sent pictures of both vehicles used to transport the boat and highlighted that the affected area did not come into contact with any surface during such transport. At this stage it had been >1.5 months since my first enquiry so I sent new pictures of the affected area indicating that, while I was now only paddling in calm conditions, the problem was getting worse. At this stage there was black tape over the cracks which I replaced regularly to prevent leakage while paddling. I provided quotes and contacts for local fibreglass repairers in case that was an option. I asked questions about warranties and to
this day am unaware of what warranties (if any) come with these boats. All this took a lot of time.

I do acknowledge that I probably should have stopped using the boat the moment the problems were noticeable. But that would have involved a lengthy spell of the water alltogether.

After another 1 month wait for a response a series of phone calls and emails ensued where one time I was assured that a replacement would be on the way, and the next time told that no it wouldn't. This went on for several months. I had basically given up and was considering my options when out of the blue a new ski arrived for me in November last year. I was told to send the old one back which I did.

Within one month of paddling my new ski a series of things went wrong:
# Rust from just about every fitting started leaking out, indicating that the fittings were not stainless. I replaced every fitting I could with stainless equivalents.
# The carbon device used to anchor the rudder (with holes for the rudder cables) cracked and I repaired it myself.
# The footplate runners started to pull out of the sides of the gunwalls. I strengthened and sprayed the surrounding area and replaced the bolt threads.
# The footplate started to bite into the footwell and gouge out chunks of fibreglass. I cut the foot plate so it was shorter and repaired/strengthened the affected area.

I basically took matters into my own hands because I knew how long it had taken to resolve the issue previously and I didn't have the time to stuff around with it again. I have had no problems in any of the areas that I fixed with the second boat since. However I again acknowledge that I probably should have simply returned the replacement boat and asked for a full refund.

Lately I am beginning to feel the familiar flex in the same area of the hull as I had problems with originally (with the first boat). I handle the boat nowadays absolutely like eggs and try and avoid any walking with it on my hip/shoulder but feel it's only a matter of time before it disintegrates again.

I really love the shape of the boat and the way it handles, especially in good sized conditions. It is a joy to paddle
downwind, it steers and tracks across waves very well. I feel that it is a true ocean craft in everything but construction.
The finish of both boats was extremely good and the comfort
exceptional. Everything about the boat is perfect for me except the construction. Again comparing to the carbon equivalent owned by the previously mentioned local paddler - his boat has fared very well and is as stiff as the day he bought it. In the same timeframe I probably will have been through 2 boats.

I'm unsure about my rights in this situation and would really like a resolution if this is a model with a flawed construction as it seems to be. I was continuously amazed throughout the whole process described above that I was able to easily spot problems with composite construction and propose/implement fixes that I felt the company had overlooked, and furthermore had to explain these problems to them and basically have to convince them I wasn't an idiot.

In summary it's probably the worst customer service I have ever received, and it looks like it will be an ongoing problem.

I'm sorry that my first post on this site has to be in this tone. I guess I'm kind of relieved that others are having similar
issues but it's no good at all. I repeat that it is a very nice ski shape and I could be wrong to judge a whole company based on this experience. I have no association with any other ski brand. I have tried not to directly name people or brands/models in this post.

Cheers,
AJM83

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8 years 2 months ago - 7 years 2 months ago #11430 by latman
I think the honeycomb print you see may be Lantor Soric www.lantor.nl/index.php/id_structuur/10599/soric.html
it comes in a few different styles and is not nomex (phenolic paper honeycomb) or foam (usually PVC or SAN type)

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8 years 2 months ago #11431 by Sandy
Having similar issues of composite "softening" with a soric cored FG layup Think Legend . I am convinced that with vacuum infusion the FG is not stiff enough and the inherent flex is resulting in deterioration of the epoxy and composite failure ("soft spots"). Vacum bagging and hand layups are generally thicker finished laminations and hence potentially stronger. My Legend weighs in at @ 12.5 K which is pretty light for FG. Not convinced that vacuum infusion is the best method for ski construction. I am thinking pre peg and bagging and "cook" may be a better way to go , esp. if using FG. Also think the addition of carbon and or kevlar is key to longevity as the flexing breakdown is mitigated by the additional initial stiffness of the laminate. All I have do to now is safe enough $ for the additional cost. Unfourtunately , with 3-4 days week paddling in the ocean....the bitchin light skis ain't gonna last for ever ! (we ought to at least expect 5-7 years though !)

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8 years 2 months ago #11436 by Brad
Hi there.
I can't see any reference to Soric core on either the Vajda or Think web sites. Can anyone confirm what the core actually is on the boats in question? My Stellar is made from F/G and Soric and it is still "as stiff as" all over after a lot of use although it is possible to see and even slightly feel the hexagonal pattern. This look and feel is totally uniform all over the hull and deck however. Hopefully the golfball like texture makes it go faster :D

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8 years 2 months ago #11437 by Sandy
Ski mfg.'s have gotten very tight lipped about their laminations composition and process. I , unfortunately have found some total crap hiding under the slick paint jobs . The hull of my legend is soric core and I can read that through the hatch. The deck is core mat and I know that from sanding off the paint and into the thin epoxy infusion ( i won't ramble on about the 1/4 inch gap in the core material and the "paste" smeared about to smooth things out.) to fix the commensurate soft spot.With light composite construction quality control is job one and it would seem that numerous ski mfg.'s have had problems riding herd on their outsourced contractors. (Lot of that going on in the global economy eh ?) Live and learn , paddle skis for a few years and you will likely amass a fair understanding of the highs and lows of high tech composite.If you have a quality product , good on Ya. If you got crap , we'll for the few thousand bucks you spent on it.....you go right ahead and bitch about it !

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8 years 2 months ago - 8 years 2 months ago #11438 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Vajda NSW Contact - Defective Ski Model
I have had this issue of "soft spots" on the hull around the area between the seat and the footplate (basically where you rest the ski on your shoulders or hips) on a Think Uno Max CG tech layup and now on a Vajda Orca Racing layup. Just wondering if manufacturers have not gone too far in trying to make the skis light. Are these ski's safe to paddle offshore in BIG conditions? I think that once you start getting flexing of the hull, it's better not to venture offshore or in any downwind conditions!

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8 years 2 months ago - 8 years 2 months ago #11439 by AR_convert
I am suprised to hear about Vajda given thier kayak building experience, the only reasons I could think there would be issues

1. Do they use these materials in the same way in kayak construction?
2. Kayaks are shorter and are exposed to less forces that ski's are subjected to?

I also heard from some local customers of Think that they had some problems with a batch of ski's but they must have looked after those customers otherwise we would be hearing about it here.

So are we back to the "Are they too light?" question again?

Maybe in some lay-ups they are, perhaps leaving fibreglass lay-ups over 14-15kg and using Kevlar/carbon to go lighter from there?

The other thing this has reminded me is that you should choose your dealer before you choose your ski, are they going to back the product and are they accessable when you need back-up!?

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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