Preparing to order 480ex

Fujitas, Chinesemade boats, etc.

Moderators: mje, chrstjrn, krudave


Hi Byron

Post by Franz »

Hi Byron.

Did you receive your Fujita yet? I purchased a 500 from Mike about 6 months ago. here are some tips:

If you haven't already, order the Fujita sea sock. It will keep the inside of your boat dry and clean.

The first couple of assemblies can be frustrating -- but it gets easier and faster. follow the instructions precisely. If the frame gets stuck while inserteing into the skin, jiggle the frame and shake the skin while inserting it. Align the frame in the skin, before putting in floor boards in cockpit. You may have to play with it for a while to get it aligned. Try inflating the sponsons a little at a time. This helps align the frame.

To remove the frame from the skin, have someone hold the skin while you pull (work) the frame out. Or use a rope and tie the skin to a tree.

You can email if you have any questions or comments.

BTW, I used to live in Twinsburg and Kent.



Re: Hi Byron

Post by Alm »

Franz wrote: To remove the frame from the skin, have someone hold the skin while you pull (work) the frame out. Or use a rope and tie the skin to a tree.
Incidentally, I had this kind of a problem with a totally different brand, but with PVC skin and long narrow hull again. Makes me think that PVC of the same strength, with protection strips in bow, stern and other abrasion points, tends to be more stiff than hypalon bottom / canvas deck of LH and Klepper or urethane/urethane skin of FC. One low-tech suggestion was lubricating the bow end of the frame with a soap before inserting into the skin. Didn't help much, though.

User avatar
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1718
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)

Post by chrstjrn »

As far as I know, Alex hasn't paddled a Fujita any more than I have-- that is, not at all. I don't have the impression that they flex so much-- they were CAD-designed and I believe that they are well-triangulated.

Too bad you weren't able to try to out the boat before ordering, but most of us ordered our first foldable in the same manner.
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.


Post by Alm »

No, I didn't paddle PE480. But it has fiberglass rods, right? Also, if it doesn't use a lever like in FC K1 or Kahuna, than longitudinal tension is - must be - less than in FC frame, allowing for more play in various directions (in addition to natural flex of fiberglass rods). But FC has a very stiff frame. LH or Folbot (traditional frames, like Kodiak or Yukon), for example, have more flex than FC, yet it's acceptable.
Interesting, that you ar right, and many of us, including me too :-), bought their first folder, and not just first one, without trying it.

Byron Walter

It will be around...

Post by Byron Walter »

...another week or so before the ship hits the harbor, or my doorstep. Mike of Fujita is in Alaska and he had to order the paddles from Werner & AquaBound. Said that it would take about a week for 'em.

I'm passing on the sock for now. Here in Ohio for the near future Illl be in pretty flat water while I work on basics. Tonight I ordered most of the basic stuff... a couple of dry bags, little and 20 liter, PFD, blunt knife, floatbags. I used the Feathercraft web site to size up the bag requirements. I'll find out soon enough if I managed to pick a good fit.

BTW, isn't there soon to be a field report on the LH Ute? It was on my short list.



Post by Christov_Tenn »

Sock'll also help keep you a little warmer in the cold weather. Does your water freeze up there? - you know, the kind that's in the lakes, not the door of your refrigerator. I took my only unplanned swim (edit) so far (end edit) in the summer waters of Alum Creek last July - I was trying not to track mud from the bank onto my boat's seat, and stepped wrong. Flat, calm, warm water and plenty humbling - bassboaters witnessed it, but were kind enough not to heckle.


Byron Walter

Oh Yeah...

Post by Byron Walter »

It does freeze in Ohio but Mr Gore has indicated that the weather will be improving over the next century. Well, at least in Ohio.

Franz, I used to live in Kent as well. I think that you are in a much nicer, if more costly location now.

But back to boats. I looked at the pictures of the frames for FC and Fujita for so long I actually dreamt about them. I imagined that the 480 frame was pretty stuff at cruising speed but sprinting speed was somewhat limited by flex (unlike the FC). In a week or so I'll find out.



Post by Franz »

My Fujita frame seems to flex a lot -- but I have nothing to compare it too.
This was my first folder, and I've never paddled one aside from this one. I also ordered it with out trying it first.

Outside of the frame, I consider the sea sock to be the best feature of my boat. When i launch the boat, my feet are either wet and muddy, or wet and sandy -- and this wet muck stays in the sock. Other wise, it would get inside the skin, on the frame, and on any gear I have in the boat. And to clean and dry inside the skin, i would have to turn it inside out. (A pain!)

The boat stays dry inside because of the sea sock, and the welded seems on the skin. (And good hatches.) And i REALLY like that. :D The sea sock is also a safety item. of course.


Re: Oh Yeah...

Post by Alm »

Byron Walter wrote:I looked at the pictures of the frames for FC and Fujita for so long I actually dreamt about them. I imagined that the 480 frame was pretty stuff at cruising speed but sprinting speed was somewhat limited by flex (unlike the FC). In a week or so I'll find out.
Flex affects not only sprinting speed; this wouldn't have bothered me personally. These boats are for relaxed paddling, and efforts are mostly needed either as endurance on long distances, or to fight unfavorauble weather, to get where you need (and stay upright). High-speed, intense work-out types normally buy some lightweight narrow hardshells - at least in my area. I mean, really narrow - 24.5" of PE480 would've been considered a wide hardshell. Back to the flex - in extreme cases (like in early versions of Folbot Cooper, for ex) it may become dangerous, affecting your ability to stay upright.

As to the seasock - I agree with guys, it's not only to prevent sinking when swamped. It also keeps mud and grit out, and in salty waters it also minimises the corrosion because much less water and salt gets in. And I agree with Mike from Fujitana, that it's more fun paddling without it. I'm using it, and I hate it, especially if have to use the rudder. Still, it's a very useful thing.

Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:00 pm

Post by berniem »

I have an early Cooper. The stiffening kit (which is now standard on all Coopers) improves the performance but it was not a problem for me to stay upright.



Post by Alm »

Bernie; with excesive flex it's OK only as long as there are no destabilising movements, like side waves. Yes, they fixed it later with that add-on kit.

Byron Walter

Fujita 480 update

Post by Byron Walter »

A few weeks ago I received my Fujita 480ex kayak from Mike Palmer of Fujita North America. The pack, frame parts, and skin all appear to be of excellent quality. The assembly instructions, however, are a model of brevity leaving a little too much to the imagination.

My first assembly attempt took about an hour and ten minutes at which point I was a sweaty mess and had to stop and attend to other matters. The yak was about 90 to 95% assembled and I was having a h*ll of a time with the cockpit chines.

For attempt number two I assembled the frame outside of the skin in order to get a better feel for things. This seemed to help and I finally got the Fujita together in about an hour flat. The fifteen foot and ten inch Fujita looks great, with its heavy duty black hull and bright yellow deck. The keel has nicely applied keel strips. There are fore and aft grab handles. All parts seem to fit precisely.

Then it rained for about a week straight. Sometimes living in northeast Ohio is just like living in Alaska, but without the ocean, rivers, mountains, bears, bald eagles, and old Subarus.

Finally we had a nice weekend and I took the Fuji to a local reservoir that meanders for about seven miles. Getting the unassembled boat from my car trunk to the launch site took thirty-five minutes. The cockpit bracing bars are great for a one-handed grab and shoulder carry (but I wouldn’t want to carry it very far this way). At this point I must thank Fuji Larry for his excellent assembly photos. My most recent set up was under thirty minutes and I’d expect twenty to twenty-five minutes to be doable.

And how does the Fuji handle? Since I’m a newb, I have nothing to compare it to, other than a RM rental kayak. But let me try anyway. I’m five six, about one hundred and fifty with size eight and a half feet. The boat seems to be a near perfect fit. Since I wasn’t using the spray skirt, I was hesitant in checking secondary stability but I suspect that initial stability is pretty good, as I did stand up in the yak without going into the drink (that twenty-four and a half inch beam probably helps). My first paddling experience was 7.5 miles in length at an average speed of 3.3 mph and a peak speed of 6 mph. I could probably add another mph to that “six” but I’m still trying to establish a decent basic paddling stroke. My primary paddle is a 230 centimeter Werner with a 220 centimeter back up paddle. The boat seemed to need a little more tracking correction that I had expected. This is probably more a function of my immature technique rather than a characteristic of the Fuji. Maybe another fifty pounds would improve the tracking? But on the other hand the boat turns quickly with a lean and a bracing stroke.

This fall I’ll stay on flat water (floatation bags are on back order). Next year I’ll take lessons because I really want to get this sucker out on Lake Erie and splash my arse off.

This form has been a great help. I really don’t think that I could have gotten the boat together without Larry’s photos. BTW, I gave the inside of the skin a very light silicone spraying which made inserting and aligning the fore and aft frame assemblies a breeze.




Post by Franz »

Congrats on your new boat.

Poor tracking is probably because you don't have the frame centered in the skin. It took me 3 assemblies before I figured it out. (This to me is the hardest part of the assembly.)

The easy way to do it is: -- assemble the boat.
-- inflate the sponsons.
-- let air out of one sponson, and you will see
how the inflated sponson will push the frame
-- Keep playing with the sponsons until you
have the frame aligned.

To check if the frame is aligned, turn the boat on the side to see the bottom. The center keel bar should be centered with the center keel strip.

To insert the frame haves into the skin, insert the frame in the skin until it gets stuck. At that point shake the frame with one hand and ruffle the skin with your other hand -- while you continue to insert the frame.

Just tricks I've picked up.


Post by larrybluhm »

Hi Byron!

Congrats on the boat! I'm happy to hear that the assembly pix were of practical use to you. I think your tracking issues should fade away as you spent time with the boat. I've never had much problem centering the skin - but I've got the older, non welded style. I hope to catch up with Franz, who is also in the Bay Area, some time to see the new skin and then have a chat with Mike at Fujita... I agree, the boat fits humanoids of our general dimensions about spot on!

Leaving Thurs. AM for a long weekend at Tahoe - go soak the boat in some fresh water for awhile...


Byron Walter

Thanks Larry & Franz

Post by Byron Walter »

I'm pretty sure that the frame is set square in the skin but the next time I assemble it I'll eyeball the skin & frame with the boat on its side just to be sure. But I'm pretty sure that it's me, not the yak.

Larry, have a reasonably dry and warm Tahoe trip.


Post Reply

Return to “Asian Boats”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users