reviewing a boat is a subjective process. Indeed, it is going to depend a lot on the reviewer, their experience level, and the paddling conditions they encounter. What Iím trying to figure out is: how to make the reviews better on the website? Iím not suggesting we force a format on anyone. I think that while there is some good info scattered amongst the reviews, itís a bit frustrating to find it.
Thereís lots of ways to go about buying a boat. The salesman at the store can recommend one. You can ask a friend or well respected paddler and get what works for them. You can go into it totally blind and say ďwhat the heckĒ it either works for me or Iíll just resell it and call it a learning experience. You can buy the latest greatest thing just because it is the latest greatest thing. You can buy it purely on the reputation of the manufacturer. You can demo a bunch of similar boats and end up buyng the cheapest one. Or you can buy a boat because it has a cool paisley design on the hull and a pretty metal fleck deck. Iím pretty sure Iím guilty of all of the above when it comes to buying boats at one time or another.
The boats that I end up keeping and paddling over and over again are the ones that meet my needs and paddling style. I left comfort out of the review but that is something thatís a big factor also as I get older. I do think boats are designed for a particular market. How well do they perform for their intended purpose? Thatís what landed me on pnet originally, but didnít really find the kind of info I was looking for.
If entry level canoes and kayaks sold at discount and sporting goods stores get people out on the water, in boats that they can afford, and those folks are happy about it, then I think the manufacturer has succeeded. The boat deserves a ten if it has truly met its purpose. But the fact that people are on this board asking and looking for info tells me that theyíre interested in finding out something more than what floats, is readily available, cheap, and possibly legal in some parts of Nevada.
Comfort and durability are big with me. I like a boat I can sit in for most of the day and my butt doesnít hurt. I like throwing my paddling gear around, paddling up onto shore, parking on rocks, dragging my boat etc. I learned a long time ago Iím not a composite kind a guy. Thatís why I put durabllity in my review format but if I was going to do a lot of portaging I think I could learn to take care of my stuff and paddle a composite. In that case comfort overrules durability. Iím going to add ďcomfortĒ to my list.
Many of the magazines are great at publishing specs on a select group of boats from companies that pay for ads in their publications. ďBuyers GuidesĒ donít cut it for me. Itís the issue that hangs around the longest because it goes unread. We can do a better job because there are more of us and we actually paddle the boats we write about.
What is important to you? If we were rating hotel rooms we could probably agree on some common criteria: cleanliness, helpfulness of staff, value, location etc. What floats your boat? Just water?
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