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I want to share a thought about something that doesn't happen very often in this day and time. In my search for my perfect kayak after doing some research and a lot of web hunting I decided that Seda would be an excellent choice.
Through e-mails and phone calls I came to being on a first name basis with "Jim" at the Seda headquarters. This guy is the "BEST". He never had anything else but friendly, enthusiastic and very helpful advice for me. From my first communication I made it clear that due to my finances I wouldn’t be spending any money with Seda directly.
That never mattered to him, he always treated me like it was his pleasure to do so. I eventually came to the conclusion that my best choice was a demo Vagabond that was on the Seda headquarters ‘bargain’ list. However, in clear black print it said ‘no shipping’, customer must come in to look at demos. This would be impossible for me to do living in Tampa, Florida.
I e-mailed Jim and asked him to work with me on this and included my number. He didn’t reply to my e-mail, nor did he wait to hear from me. He called me, not to say, rules are rules……but rather to tell me he had received my e-mail. He then politely allowed me to explain about my skill level, places I would be paddling, places I’d like to paddle eventually. After I was done, he once again honestly provided informative feedback. Never did I get put on hold, never did he talk to someone else at the shop with me on the phone. Never did I get the feeling that I a limited amount of time to explain myself.
Before we hung up I was the proud owner of a soon to be delivered gorgeous demo Vagabond. He even offered customizing the craft for a very fair additional charge, which made the already modest cost even more attractive. Never did he try to push every product on his sales sheet on me. What’s more he included at no charge, things that were offered in print on the Seda website at ‘additional costs’. As I’ve read in previous posts about Seda, “The folks at Seda are the best”. And I can personally say, “Jim is the greatest”. Wish they had a factory in Florida.
And the Vagabond is roomy. Boasting an oversize cockpit -- there's room for you to pull your knees up; you can even find a place for your cigar -- there are few boats easier to load or enter. No hatches to leak or lose, and no rudder to foul or jam. Simplicity itself.
There is a downside, of course. No compromise is perfect. On days when the wind threatens to snap the tops off the pines you'll wish you had that rudder. In heavy whitewater you'll wish that you could make the big cockpit smaller. And if you only weigh 100 pounds and never carry anything but a sandwich and a camera, you'll be better off with something else.
For long tours in mixed water and all weathers, however, the Vagabond can't be bested. Deck cargo? Tie it on. Ten days food? No problem. The complete works of Anthony Trollope? Be my guest (but get the paperback edition). Sea kayaks and their offspring are wonderful things -- light, lithe and fast -- but there are still places where you'll want the "heavy brigade." The Vagabond is just about the last of that breed. Happily, it was also one of the best.
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