Keen fisher Wade Kalajzich hauls in a national design award for rod case

Michael RobertsMidwest Times
Wade Kalajzich with a SCUTE fishing rod case.
Camera IconWade Kalajzich with a SCUTE fishing rod case. Credit: Picture: Michael Roberts

A 10- year journey learning the nuts and bolts of the design and manufacturing industry has seen a Geraldton man recognised for a national award.

Wade Kalajzich is a keen fisher who became fed up with breaking his expensive fishing rods during transit.

Whether it was a manufactured case or a piece of polyester pipe, nothing seemed to protect or store his equipment efficiently on the bumpy roads of outback WA.

So he decided to get to work building a fishing rod case that would stand the test of time.

The first couple of years were spent researching materials and manufacturing methods before a chance meeting with sought-after designer Adam Goodrum “solved a few issues”.

Mr Kalajzich even built a 3D printer and taught himself how to do 3D modelling so he could start printing prototypes.

“I wanted it to be side opening so you cannot damage your rods putting them in and out,” he said.

“It’s quite ridiculous how much people spend on rods and then don’t look after them.

“It’s the only rod case in the world that has some suspension or way of holding the rods still so they can’t bash each other.”

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Mr Kalajzich worked with Perth tool makers and a Queensland extruder to source materials, with the first batch of rod cases finally ready to go 10 years after the initial idea was birthed.

The finished product, Scute, recently earned recognition at the 2021 Good Design Awards, winning Best in Class in the Product Design category.

The Good Design Awards judges said Scute showcased “a clever use of materials and a carefully considered design process”.

“This beautifully designed and constructed aluminium extrusion fishing rod case is strong, lightweight, and separates individual rods,” judges said.

“With no glue, screws or welding, it is easy to disassemble and 100 per cent recyclable.”

The product has been granted patents in US, Australia, Europe and Japan, with a first batch of 70 selling out quickly, according to Mr Kalajzich.

He said he’s simply happy the product works the way it was designed to.

“It’s simple and robust — I don’t think you can break them,” he said.

“In a safe road environment we jettisoned it off the roof at 80km and there was no rod damage. I did this for myself and it’s turned into something else.”

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