So I need a new kayak. Back in the day (15 years ago) I was a sponsored paddler (which meant free to cheap boats and free beers from Chan, great era!) with Wave Sports, but since I turned into a climber/paraglider pilot the days of cheap boats are well behind me. Anyone who wants to pro deal me a boat let me know, but I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen (Note--I just bought a boat--full retail pop, so it's too late anyhow). I keep reading reviews on-line for information about the new boats, but most of the reviews on-line are written by people who are sponsored by the company who made the boat they're paddling (gee, now that's unbiased and useful information!). How about this: if you want to write a review at least put on the TOP of the review thatyou're owned by the boat company and have no impartiality whatsoever--don't add that disclaimer sometime after the original review, way down below the meat of the text.
And then there are the reviews written by people who actually bought boats; with rare exceptions, everybody loves their boat. This is very sweet and nice, but for christ's sake it's the internet, be bitter, have opinions, mouth off, actually have an issue with something! The average kayaker on the internet is a pale shadow of the average climber, paraglider, mountain biker, hell, even phone user that uses the internet. I wanna hear that this boat SUCKS, and why!
But the worst reviews are written by those looking to get sponsored; they are desperate for free plastic like a junkie for heroin, and they will write nothing but flowers about the smelliest ass-product imaginable. You total chumps! Let's have a little integrity here; I understand if a sponsored athlete doesn't want to piss his sponsors off, but if you can't write something sort of realistic then don't write it at all. As anyone I work with at Arc'teryx or Black Diamond knows, I pull no punches on product design, and I'm not happy until the thing actually works like it's supposed to. If it doesn't work well then I don't go writing glowing reviews of junk on the net, that's not how it's supposed to work. Maybe kayak companies are different and expect total slave-like submission from their sponsored paddlers? Something is weird in kayak review land, and it makes finding real information about boats near impossible.
There's only one solution to a situation like this: I'm going to write my own reviews. I've paddled five boats in the last month, including the one I bought. Stay tuned for the first review, which will be short and not so-sweet, kinda like the boat it's about.