For the purpose of this article we will be looking at the TAHE range which we stock. Many of you will be familiar with the TAHE range of kayaks as it has been around for many years, previously under the BIC Sport name. TAHE are a French brand and have their own manufacturing facility in Vannes, Brittany.
Manufacturing - Made in France
The difference between TAHE kayaks and many others is in how they are built. Most kayaks are rotomolded, where as TAHE use a process called Thermoforming. A lot of manufacturing is very labour intensive and typically creates a lot of waste but the way these kayaks are built is quite the opposite. They use big machines to melt pellets of plastic and then press them into a sheet. These sheets are then pressed into moulds to create the top and the bottom of the kayaks. Finally the two sections are welded together.
Once this section of the process is complete, the staff at the factory cut off the excess plastic which is then ground up and put back into the process to create new sheets. They then add all the fixings and finishing touches. It is an impressive process to watch!
This of course only applies to the rigid models. The inflatables are manufactured in Asia.
Single Seater Kayaks
This is quite a broad category with big variations between the models in terms of performance and who they are aimed at. Some are focused on stability for recreational use whilst others are designed to handle more open water and track better.
The TAHE Ouassou is probably one of the most well known and best selling sit on top kayak models of all time. It is a simple design with a short wide shape and a flat bottom. This makes it incredibly stable and easy to use in recreational conditions. Perfect in flat water and for playing at the seaside. The short length also makes it very manoeuvrable.
This kayak is very popular at rental centres due to how easy it is to use. Being relatively small also makes it light and easy to handle off the water. The built in moulded handles also help with this.
There is a small seat up front for a small child, which can also be converted into a hatch. There is some space on the back to store gear too.
The TAHE Bilbao is another classic design which has stood the test of time. These have been very popular for a long time. This kayak is longer than the Ouassou and features a more V shaped hull. This means that it has less stability initially than a flat bottom, but it handles chop much better. Sitting in the water as opposed to on top of the water means it bounces around much less in choppy water, but also it tracks much better. This makes the Bilbao the perfect kayak for some touring, exploring the area and other activities like fishing.
The bow (front) handle together with the stern (back) wheel make the Bilbao easy to manoeuvre on try land. It is noticeably heavier than a Ouassou though.
Breeze Full HP1
The Breeze Full HP1 is the smaller version of the Breeze kayak. The Full HP part of the name comes from the fact the kayak is made using drop stitch technology for both the floor and the sides. It is the most rigid inflatable kayak technology we have seen.
Two Seater Kayaks
This category more broadly means two paddlers, as opposed to seats. They are designed to be paddled by two people at once, and do not really work with a single paddler, as you would be sat too far forward, or too far back to paddle effectively.
This is the recreational model in the range. It follows many of the same design elements of the single seater Ouassou, with its flat bottom, wide hull. It excels on calm water, providing a very stable platform. This is ideal for mellow days out and in rental applications. The TAHE Trinidad is one of the lightest two seater kayaks on the market, and it has moulded handles which make it easy to transport off the water. There is a child seat up front too.
This is much bigger than the Trinidad, and follows a similar design to the single seater Bilbao. The differences between the Ouassou and Bilbao pretty much apply to the Trinidad and Tobago. The main difference of course being the deeper V shaped hull which helps it handle choppy water and track better.
A unique part of the Tobago design is the hump in the middle. This is designed for a child to sit on, and it gives them a vantage point over the front paddler, so they are not just staring at their back unable to see where they are going.
There is another spot up front for a child too, meaning that the Tobago could handle two paddlers plus two children.
This is a much newer design which also features some very unique design elements. Starting up with the fact that it has a middle seat. This means this kayak can be paddled as a two person kayak with one sat at the front and one at the rear, or a single paddler sat in the middle position. This makes it very versatile and a great buy for families who might want those options.
The general design of the Borneo is not hugely dissimilar to the Tobago in terms of the hull being V shaped. It is a larger kayak which handles chop well and tracks well.
The Borneo features removable wheels which are much larger than those on the Bilbao or Tobago, making it move better over rougher terrain. By removing them once in the water, they do not affect the tracking or create drag. The Borneo also has heaps of storage space.
Breeze Full HP2
Like the HP1 this is a drop stitch kayak which can be inflated to high pressures giving it a very rigid structure. Much like the Borneo, the Breeze Full HP2 is designed for two paddlers, but features a middle position which can be used to allow a single paddler to use the same kayak. This way there is loads of room to stow kit making it perfect for solo adventures. This versatility makes it the most popular size in the range.
Three Seater Kayaks
These are pretty big long kayaks and not the most common purchase.
The Kalao uses a very similar design to the Trinidad, but is stretched out to accommodate a third paddler. Due to the sheer length, these are fairly heavy kayaks. The flat bottom design is ideal as stability is key when you have three people trying to paddle.
Breeze Full HP3
This is the one for families. The Breeze Full HP3 model allows three paddlers, and provides loads of space for kids. It is build the same as other Full HP models using drop stitch sides and floor to create a rigid structure.
TAHE kayaks do not ship with back rests. These are ordered separately. Kayak backrests help provide a bit more support and comfort. There are three models in the range.
Power Back Rest
This is the simplest model, and it just offers back support. They are the cheapest, but also the best for those looking towards more active/faster paddling.
Standard Back Rest
This model offers a back rest for support, but also a padded seat for extra comfort. The seat is nice for longer paddles.
Ergo Back Rest
This is based on the standard design, but using memory foam to offer the best comfort and support.
TAHE split their kayak paddles into two ranges. The Beach range and the Breeze range. Both of these come in various configurations and lengths, the difference is in the blade design.
BEACH paddles focus on durability and value for recreational users looking for reliability and ease of use. They come in various lengths, with either 1, 2 or 4 pcs, all with Aluminium shafts.
Ideal for recreational users looking for value and durability and those looking for a versatile paddle that can be taken apart for ease of storage.
The Breeze models feature a higher aspect paddle blade. They come as a 2-piece take-apart kayak paddle for touring and recreational paddling. Ideal for kayakers who want to explore further from shore and those looking for a versatile paddle that can be taken apart for ease of storage.
Safety is paramount when out on the water. Unlike surfers or paddleboarders, we are not tethered to kayaks, so wearing a buoyancy aid is important. TAHE provide a range of options at different pricepoints for both adults and children.
The kayaks are designed with bumpers and wheels to aid transport and durability. These wear over time and need replacing.
One of the benefits of owning their own factory and controlling production is that spare parts are really easy to get hold of. We stock a full range of spare parts and accessories.