Be dissatisfied

Got an offer on a kayak- an arctic sea hawk- .When I saw the reviews I almost got carried away. But taking a look at the reviews of other brands and models I found that every kayak is rated 7 to 10 out of ten. The comments were generally very informativ, but ; come on - give poor kayaks poor rating.

Still waiting to hear back

Long wait, not worth it, go on with life

Most reviews…

– Last Updated: Sep-02-06 5:04 PM EST –

...fall into one of three categories:

1- The reviewer is too new to the sport to know a good boat from a bad one, or know what they really want/need.

2- The reviewer is just so excited to be kayaking that the review is more about their enjoyment than about the boat.

3- The reviewer is just massaging their ego: "See how smart I am, I bought the perfect boat on the first try."

That said, even boats that I would regard as utter crap are probably perfect for someone.

The best reviews give some idea of the paddler's experience level and paddling preferences, and explain both the good and bad points of the boat in the reviewer's opinion. Absent that, a review is pretty much useless. When I see "10 of 10", I rarely bother to read the review, since it's almost guaranteed to fall into one of the above categories.

Another factor
is that it’s human nature not to want to be negative about people, or products (made, sold, supported by people) if unprovoked. “The sales people were nice, the customer service people were nice. I met some company reps at the demo day. Maybe they read the reviews. Do I really want to say that I don’t like attribute X?” I think it’s almost subconscious, as I said, human nature. I see it in employee performance reviews all the time.

For me personally, I tend to pick apart the things I don’t like, so that I might solve them properly. I think sometimes in posts it looks like I’m more negative than I really am, on balance, about the overall product.

In actual reviews, I tend not to review the stuff I tried and didn’t like, which provides bias of course. It would be a good public service to review more of the boats that we’ve paddles and didn’t like, especially if we think the boat has attributes that would be sub-standard for most any paddler. I suppose that would be mostly in the components. I suppose every hull design has a map to the perfect set of conditions and person to paddle it. Good point bnystrom about the importance of describing yourself (experience, paddling preferences, physical attributes) so that the review can be put in context.

It would be interesting if web forms for reviews were structured so that the reviewer were requested to list three things that they’d like to see improved in the product.

In cases where there’s 10s of reviews I’ve found I can glean the negatives better as some people are bound to bring them up or at least hint at them.

Paul S.

OK, kayaks stink, get a canoe!
Hows that? You happy now?

Most reviews at are done after
paddling the kayak/canoe reviewed for the first time, or not long after purchase of the craft. That’s not usually enough time to develop real knowledge of it and its good/bad points. Flush with excitement of new ownership, few willingly acknowledge the negatives. I’ve been guilty of that myself, as, I’m sure, more than one of you now with umpteen years of experience and after having owned a multitude of kayaks/canoes.

I Wrote One Early On…

– Last Updated: Sep-02-06 6:05 PM EST –

I noted the issues I had with the boat and modifications I needed to make. I gave an 8/10. I could probably have given it a lower rating but that wouldn't have been fair because the boat was too big for me and that was my own ignorance and fault to have bought it. Nevertheless, I still have that boat, sort of... It's sitting at my brother's lake house... I think it works fine for his casual paddling (plus my brother is bigger than me).

I've since resolved to not write any reviews. I don't mind posting my impressions on a thread but giving a rating has too much of a subjective factor given my perferences and the type of stuff I like to do. I don't want my review sitting on PNet forever. Plus, I doubt it will do much for most of the folks who normally read the reviews on PNet. Generally most of the readers are new to the sport. I don't bother reading reviews of boats anymore. I'd rather look at the hull design of the boat, the size and finally decide by getting into and testing if possible. If I do accept a consider someone else's review, it would only be from someone I know... as in I know the person's skill level and type of paddling s/he does.


Would you buy a kayak you don’t like?
Most people review kayaks they actually own, which is a bias anyway. If the test paddle didn’t work out, they wouldn’t have bought it at all. No review either in that case.

I like the mountain bike review site a bit better. Their format is you list seperately what else you’ve tried. That way, I can glance that part to see what the reviewer are comparing to and get a quick idea of the baseline.

I only read review that are less than 10, and only focus on what they dislike. After all, I don’t look into a boat unless there’s something I LIKE about it. (So I really don’t need to read someone else rehashing what’s so good about that boat anyway) Now what I really want to know is if there’s problem I need to look out for.

Who want’s to be seen a fool?
In: “I spent $2500 for this boat and now I find it has major problems. What a dummy I am.” Related, there is evidence that when people buy a car they spend more time afterward reading about their car than they did before. They are looking for support for their decision to drop big bucks.

agree 100%
therefore, I will do some reviews of kayaks I demo’d and didn’t buy…& will state that in a review. Perhaps they will upset some people but we are all going for different things in kayaking, and yeah, one of those things is not to feel like a fool after making a fairly expensive purchase.

a separate issue
it’s no longer about the free gift per se

now trying to find out if they’re a sucky business or not

they should take out the 1-10 rating

– Last Updated: Sep-05-06 6:38 PM EST –

I have written two reviews and I had wished there was no need to add the numerical rating nd ther reviews could be editied. I knew almost all boats get a high rating so I did not want to give a lower one since it would reflect badly in comparison. I think everyone would understand the tendecy to like the boat you have and use and to not emphasize negatives. I have also tended not to write reviews of boats I have used, but never warmed up to. For example, I own an RM Avocet and while I appreciate its qualities and it could well be my "if only one boat" boat of choice, I just have never warmed to it. I accept the NDK Explorer is a great boat and I found it made things easy, but it just gives me the impression of a dull boat. Interestingly, folks who like the boats I like tend to have the same opinions about various boats.

After all it is such a personal man's meat another's poison..that nobody should choose a boat based on the reviews of anyone and without paddling it on more than a pond and asking around for as much feedback as possible.