Homegrown: Boats Built Here in the Islands


In Hawaii there are’t many boat building companies, Makai Magazine found a duo that have a locally based company that makes boats right here in the islands.
Jacob Kahiapo of Kapolei, Oahu and business partner Henni Rall from Kwa Zulu, South Africa are starting up a company that will build an “all around” boat built for Hawaii’s demading water-people. Their company, Kaika Boats. Kahiapo said, Kaika Boats are designed and incepted by my partner over five years ago, to serve the greater Pacific area. I’ve personally been part of the build process for just over a year focusing intently on design and use for new models in Hawaii and the US.
Kahiapo said, “There was a void in the local market for a reliable, versatile, and affordable boat”. He added “Thus far, our boats have been used for the film industry, commercial tours, commercial transport, recreational fishing and more. Our distribution has settled across the Pacific in places like Palau, Philippines, Cambodia, Tonga, Fiji, Hawaii and others.

Based out of Kaneohe but are looking for larger space, all of their current models have a production time of 10 weeks. However, time can vary depending on buyers’ requests.

Kaika Boats are made by fiberglass mould process. Kahiapo said “First, the boat hull is laminated by hand into the mould using various matting, and fiberglass weaves. Secondly, hollow fiberglass stringers are made and laminated to the boat hull, filled with foam, and then sealed with our deck. From here the boat takes its final shape with gunnels, center console or cabin, accessories, and power set-up. Kaika boats are not made with any wood components keeping you worry free of rot.”

The company recommend engine power that can be varied, based on the use and model of the boat. However, as an example, we recommend our 27SP model with twin 90-115HP outboards; providing efficient fuel consumption and great top end power. With a lighter gross weight than most boats, we can power lighter while still receiving great results. Overall we push for twin set-ups; they provide better reliability and top end speed.

“As mentioned before, we design and build our boats for versatility. With Hawaii in particular these boats have been used for spearfishing, SCUBA, trolling, bottom fish-ing, popping, snorkeling, and of course ‘holoholo’ days with the family.”