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Seahorse is owned and operated by the Scherer Family who live in the original birthplace of kontiki fishing - Tauranga, New Zealand. It's also where all Seahorse products are designed, developed and built. Being close to the beach, and being kontiki owners ourselves, we are able to continually develop the Seahorse product range to ensure we bring you the best kontiki products on the market.
The Scherer family and the Seahorse team use the Seahorse products whenever we can, and we use our experiences, both good and bad to develop new ideas to help improve the Seahorse Kontiki experience. It also means we know what we are talking about, so we can answer any queries or questions you may have.
Kontiki fishing is a unique Kiwi pastime which has been popular since the early 1900's and possibly earlier. It is possible the idea has come from the Pacific Islands including New Zealand. Kiwi's have made it an enjoyable pastime and we now see Seahorse Kontiki's on beaches all around the world.
Originally kontiki fishing used sail rafts or inflated tyres with sails to pull longlines from the beach, and these early longlines had a hundred or more hooks on each set. Given the success we have now with only up to 25 hooks, it makes you wonder what they did with all the fish!
The south-westerly winds that are common in the Bay of Plenty, and with it's long sandy beaches, the Bay of Plenty provided the perfect conditions for the development of the early sail Kontiki's. The Mount and Papamoa beaches provided the early Kontiki fishers a great place to develop their ideas and prove this method of fishing could be very successful. In many ways, these early Kontikis looked like Thor Heyerdahls' raft he used to journey from South America to the Polynesian Islands. It was called Kon Tiki after the Inca Sun God Viracocha, for whom Kon Tiki was said to be an old name.
The early kontiki units had many interesting systems to improve their performance. These included using barley sugar sweets (a hard boiled sweet) as timers, and dropping sails to make the retrieval easier. The sweets would slowly dissolve in the water and once dissolved, the Kontiki sail would drop sometimes releasing a weight to anchor the fishing line once the wind powered Kontiki was well offshore. However there was always the problem with the kids eating the sweets on the way to the beach.
During the 1980s and 1990s, kite fishing became a popular method of beach fishing, and due to the improved performance it almost took over from the sail rafts method. But kites still suffered the same problems of having to rely on offshore winds to operate, and these generally only happened midweek when you were at work.
Motorised kontiki's, both petrol and electric, have been around in numerous home-made forms since before the 1970s, all of which tried to overcome the problem of relying on the wind. Motorising the kontiki and winch created their own problems. In general, the machines were temperamental and required the knack of the builder to keep them running. From the late 1990s, a number of these home-builders started selling their units in small numbers but none of them provided the performance and reliability demanded by the fishing public.
Seahorse Equipment started developing and selling electric kontiki's and winches in 2001. The business was started by a marine electronic's expert and a commercial longline fisherman, who both had a desire to build and sell reliable electric kontiki's. They were able to bring the best commercial practices to recreational longlining and develop a reliable control unit. Between them, they managed to build the first Seahorse™ system with a 30lb thrust motor. With waterproof components, reliability and performance that outstripped anything else available, the Seahorse system became an instant best seller. Within six months, Seahorse had become the number one kontiki manufacturer in New Zealand, and the world.
In 2003, Seahorse introduced the plastic roto-moulded body made from polyethylene, and a new, improved control unit. The control unit monitored the status of the batteries and had an electronic timer. This was what the New Zealand public was waiting for, and these improvements resulted in Seahorse Kontikis being used everywhere.
In response to demand from West Coast fishers, the more powerful Seahorse™ 46 Kontiki was developed and released to the market. It quickly became the kontiki of choice for West Coast fishers who chased the big fish off the wild West Coast beaches. The aluminium framed traceboard was also introduced enabling traces to be attached quickly and safely.
Come 2006, the Seahorse business was sold to the Scherer family who are the current owners of the business. Since 2006, neither of the previous owners have had any involvement with Seahorse, nor have they been involved in any of the ongoing product developments.
For the Scherer family, 2006 was spent learning the ropes and making ongoing improvements to the range of Seahorse™ products which included increasing the battery capacity to 22 amp hours.
2008 included ongoing development of the Seahorse™ Electric Kontiki. A semi-translucent body with an improved hatch sealing system is one of the latest developments along with the introduction of the latest in electronic control units. These developments will improve performance and reliability, and give you the machine you need to fish when and where you want.
In 2008, South Islanders rediscovered the success of Kontiki fishing due to the introduction of the set net ban. We continued to receive excellent reports of big snapper being caught as far south as Hokitika as well as good catches of Elephant fish and Rig.
In July 2008, it was finally decided the old factory was getting too small for us, and we moved into our new factory and showroom in Tauriko, Tauranga. This was three times as big, and it has allowed us to improve our production methods and spend more time developing new ideas and products. This involves a lot of time sitting on the beach fishing, but someone has to do it.
2010 saw the result of a lot of reseach and testing of new products. We have introduced our motorised beach trolley in March, which is proving very popular with those who have used it. It is doing everything they want from it.
2011 saw the development and introduction of the GPS Seahorse™ Kontiki, with the GPS controlled autopilot system. We had a waiting list of over 200 orders when the GPS Seahorse™ finally was launched onto the market. It proved to a be an instant success because it did want everyone wanted. It when straight in the direction you wanted it to go. This year also saw the first KariKari Kontiki Klassic, and Seahorse sent along a team to enjoy the fun.
2012 kept us very busy building the GPS Seahorse Kontiki's trying hard to catch up with the back orders, which was finally achieved in April. And the demand continued throughout the year. 2012 closed with the promise of a long hot summer, which we got. Late 2012 also saw a change in the workshop with Mikki, Michael, Mike and Mike (Brownie) joining the Seahorse team. Having the 4 Mikes made life easy on the name front, and allowed the workshop to improve it's production and quality.
2013 saw the summer just going on and on, with excellent fishing all the way to June. The motorised Trolley has been upgraded and now has reverse, a great help for getting out of the garage. The winch buggy was introduced in June and is proving very popular. The Mikes (now down to 3) kept the ongoing improvements happening, improving the quality of the Seahorse products to new levels. The GPS Seahorse™ 46 Kontiki has quickly became our number one seller, with customers very impressed with it's performance in all conditions.
2014 has been flying pass quickly, and it saw Seahorse attend it's first overseas trade show in Brussels with Seahorse Europe. Seahorse™ is now taking the Kontiki fishing concept to the rest of the world. Tracey and I also went to Florida to research the beaches for their suitability for Kontiki fishing. Plans are underway and the Secret Squrrels have been busy at work making improvements to the GPS Seahorse Kontiki and the Seahorse Winch.
2015 has already seen a major development. Seahorse has purchased Wavefisher Kontiki's. It's a little bit like histroy is repeating it'self. Seahorse was originally started by Mike Finnegan and Grant Simpson, and in 2006 the Scherer family purchased the business from them. A couple of years ago, Mike Finnegan and Ben Felton started Wavefisher with the idea of bringing a new small lightweight easy to use Kontiki to the market, as they viewed the current models as too heavy for some users. Wavefisher was growing, and the decision was made to offer it to Seahorse, and the sale was made.
We see the Wavefisher kontiki fishing system fitting nicely into the Seahorse stable of kontiki's, and it provides a lot of advantages to certain users looking for a lightweight easy to use kontiki. Seahorse will continue to provide support and servicing to all existing Wavefisher customer, and we plan to continue to develop this fishing system. We also see certain parts of the system working well with the current Seahorse products. We have re-branded the wavefisher to the New Seahorse™S30, as it will be replacing the current 30lb thrust models. Check out the product pages to see this innovative new kontiki, winch and traceboard.
We have finally made the big step and have our USA website www.seahorsekontiki.com up and running ready to serve our USA based customers. We have selected the STD and S30 kontikis as the best suited for the local conditions. We will be basing ourselves in Florida, and will be happy to help customers anywhere.
The future looks bright for Kontiki fishers. Here are Seahorse we are always looking at ways to improve how things work. We are always developing new ideas and new technques to improve your fishing experience. Some of the things we try don't work, but others do. The ones that do work, we develop and improve to a point where we feel comfortable we can offer them to you, and we know they will work.
If you have any idea's or suggestions we are happy to hear them. As we are the leading Kontiki manufacturer in the world, we have may have already research the idea. Either way, we are happy to discuss openly about it and see where it takes us.