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Submitted: 06-29-2005 by mark briese

I ordered a new Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5 in their Modulus construction in March of 2004, at our annual Canoecopia extravaganza in Madison, WI. I had done a lot of research in looking at what the various manufacturers had to offer, and felt I had made a well-reasoned purchase. The product was well-crafted, offered cutting edge technology, and used construction methods that were environmentally responsible. This was also my first kayak (FYI I am 56 years old).

I received the boat in May of 2004 and was off paddling the waters of southeast Wisconsin, mainly on Lake Michigan, soon after delivery. The boat performed very well for me and brought a lot of compliments from other paddlers.

Sometime in July, the boat developed a ‘wrinkle’ on the lower hull on the starboard side, beneath the cockpit area. This progressed somewhat over the next month or so where the area affected was approximately 12 inches long by about 8 inches wide just kind of a ‘wavy’ area in the Kevlar/Carbonlite structure. It didn’t affect the performance of the boat in anyway that I could detect, but was not cosmetically pleasing. I let the problem rest over the winter months.

In early spring, I took a couple of digital pictures of the wrinkle and e-mailed them to Eddyline. I received a reply back from Joe at Eddyline soon after. He explained that they had a small number of hulls that exhibited this effect due to the interaction of the Vectran, carbon fiber, and Carbonlite materials. They had changed the layup mix and remedied the problem. Very matter of factly he said (I am paraphrasing here) ‘Well, we’ll just build you a new boat. We are moving into a new facility but should be able to take care of you in about 4-6 weeks.’ Well, the skeptic in me said ‘this was too easy’. But, I continued to use the boat and waited to hear back from Eddyline.

And hear back I did. I received the new boat in exchange for the old in early June. Yes, I already had memories attached to the first boat such as my first unceremonious broach, capsize, and subsequent wet exit in 3+ foot waves last August. But I am already attached to the new boat. Eddyline had also made some small production changes, for example, the new bulkheads are transparent.

My point for writing this story is to record this as an excellent example of superior customer service. Eddyline should be applauded for standing behind their product. And it is not just that they did that. I did not need to make repeat calls or e-mails. I was not referred to a dealer, or passed around a labyrinth of customer service persons. They listened to me and took care of my problem.

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