Dear Wilderness Systems

-- Last Updated: Dec-13-06 4:25 PM EST --

I understand you've started up a new plant. Hope you've gotten most of the bugs worked out.

I ordered a new composite Tempest 165. Love my plastic one so much I want one in composite.

I don't need it fast. I do need it good.


Dear Kudzu
Along with your plea, offer up incense and send flatpick a case of his favorite beverage.




– Last Updated: Dec-20-06 5:59 PM EST –

What's your favorite, Flatpick? I hope it's not too expensive.

I'll do the incense thing and I'll do the mantra thing both.


brown liquids
Steve (flatpick) lives in the land of great coffee and micro brew beer.

He drinks coffee- thick, not the stuff that looks like water from rusty pipes- but not beer, unless it is root beer.

A better way is to remember that he drinks brown liquids. If it is flat, it has caffeine, if it has bubbles, it has sugar.

He gave up alcohol many years ago.

Being a past shop owner, he does care a lot about quality (he had to fix a lot of goofs from nearly every company you can imagine, no one was exempt).

I don’t know how much he can influence the QC at Wildy, as that may have more to do with the bean counters than it does the devotee to the sport.


Why would you think a bean counter

– Last Updated: Dec-20-06 7:46 PM EST –

would sanction poor quality when a potential loss of volume could render a company unable to fully absorb it's overhead costs and provide an operating profit?

The cost of market share diminution (depending on the magnitude) can be much greater than the cost of mold refurbishment or added QC diligence.

If the intent of the company is to cut through the fat and into the bone so that it can be sold by investors in a few years, then caveat emptor (is that the correct wording and spelling for "buyer beware"?).


– Last Updated: Dec-20-06 7:48 PM EST –

don't listen to that kid writing about wanting a pamlico 140 in his stocking.

otter’s right-o
tho I have been known to drink a lil’ red vino for me health. That’s what Cindy says!

concerning my experience and attitude about QC he’s right too. I bring to the CWS table a desire to produce the best boats we can. Sturdy boats that work well in the enviro. I GET to prove and test ‘em till they work. and then it’s up to a strong R/D team to put together the package. it helps to be a solid paddler and have a paddlin’ boss and team. lots of testing. he was just here for a week and I was there for 3 in NOV.

Bean counters keep us in line and like to see the numbers at the wholesale/ retail level. it don’t take a rocket scientist to understand how poorly a bad boat will do in the market. and when it’s just as much work to build a bad boat, we’ll take the good boat. or try!

I’ll burn some inscence and say a prayer to the resin gods for ya Rex-o!


Quality is important
Quality is important and as one who has narrowed the choice of a sea kayak to either a Perception Avatar 15.5 or WS Tempest 165, you can bet I’m reading all I can regarding opinions about the quality of these boats.

If I’m paying upward of $1500 for a boat the quality better be there.

As one who has been a Quality Technician for over 18 years with a medical device company, I can assure you it’s important to all involved, as one day one our products may be used on a friend, family member, or ourselves. If it doesn’t function it could cost someone their life.

When I purchase an appliance and they try to sell me a product contract, “in case something fails”, I say “No thanks. If your product has the potential to fail that quickly and it does, I will bad mouth your product for a LONG time.”

I couldn’t wait until I could afford a Maytag washer, but now I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for another one. We recently got rid of an old Fridgidaire refrigerator (was here in the house when we bought it in '76) that was made in 1936. It still ran but the door gasket was finally wearing out and the motor on it ran almost continuosly.

If it good, we praise it to the rooftops. If it’s bad we tell others not to waste their money.

That’s how the word gets out. Make it well or you lose more than one customer. Current and potential.

I hope you didn’t toss that 1936 Fridgidaire.

I understand they are a collectors item now and some folks refurbish them like an old car.


I just purchased a 2007 tempest 165 pro in fiberglass and it was prety much flaw less, two small rough spots in the cockpit floor that a couple minutes with sandpaper took care of, most people probably wouldn’t have even noticed them.

How ever the dealer had a kevlar that was rated a secound from the factory and on this boat there were several rough uneven spots on the hull deck.


Flatpick- buy the company or start

– Last Updated: Dec-21-06 9:31 AM EST –

your own. It's really not as difficult as one may think. Get a couple of partners including strong financial and salespeople, and visit a friendly, yet aggressive, bank that would not require you to infuse too much equity.

WS/Confluence may be too large of a nut to digest but a new company with your designs may be an attractive option. There are many auctioneers selling used molding equipment at extremely favorable prices (check Dovebid or Winternitz websites [among others]). The mold financing may be a small problem because banks do not like to have molds as collateral.

I met you at Canoecopia last year and you still seem young enough to have motivation.

I assume all the WS products are patent protected. Since you designed certain of these products, I do not think it would be unethical to circumvent the patents utilizing slight product modifications (a patent attorney could best advise on this).

It appears that you have an eager market and a loyal following here on WS may need you more than you need them.

You would think so
Yet lots of NDK owners I know joke constantly about their boats’ lack of QC, and almost wear their flaws like badges of honor. (In all fairness, the new ones have improved)

Same with lots of old-school Harley riders. They claim the older bikes’ flaws give them “character”. My dad used to ride one, and it was a great source of joy for him to have to tinker with it after every ride just to keep it running.

And don’t even get me started about American cars, especially ones from the 1960’s to late 1980’s…

You can get away with bad design and/or QC if you build a cult status around your product, and can even make it work to your benefit.


(Who also was a QC tech years ago, whose employer lost all their gov’t contracts to their only competitor, who did not even have a QC dept & weren’t certified to produce for the gov’t)

well now…
I may appear young enough to be ‘motivated’ and I am but…I also enjoy working for ‘the man’ right now.

I owned my own kayak shop for nearly 20 years and the last thing I want to do at this stage of me life is take on another company. employees, banks, investors…no thanks.

I now live out in the ‘sticks’ and get to paddle almost constantly. and the oysters ain’t toooo bad…reminds me I got a batch smokin’ right now. gotta go check…and then it’s a Solstice celebration expedition to long Island.

sorry but ‘Steve’s Quality Kayaks’ ain’t gonna happen.


I remember…
I remember a sign once that said “The only thing more overrated than having your own business is childbirth”.

I’m 27 and enjoying working for the “man” for a bit. I do network engineering and administration. Went freelance for a while, great money, awful hours. Had a kid and went to work for the “man” (in this case its a nonprofit org, but still).

Freedom isnt the same, money sure isnt, but I get to go home at 5, and you dont really appreciate that until you really havent have it.

self employeed
means you ONLY have to work half-time.

that’s 12 hrs. a day…12/7…everyday. so that makes for a 84 hr. work-week or 4368 hr work-year.



pay ALL your own Soc. Sec…file quarterly…etc

I now work for the man and even have insurance with dental…

Best Wishes


Glad you are content- regards

“like childbirth…”
“pay ALL your own Soc. Sec…file quarterly…etc

I now work for the man and even have insurance with dental…”

Even after paying my own share of SS AND insurance (without dental though), I’m still far ahead of what I can get working for the “man”. No regret. And will continue as long as I can. Oh yes, I pay to have others to do the tax filing and such so I don’t end up working 12-16 hours a day.

I choose my working hour except when I need to interact with my clients. So even though my hours are not short, it’s efficiently used so that I’m not chipping into my “leasure” time. I decide how mach vacation to take, how long it last. As a result, I take more vacation than most people. Granted, I’m not rich enough to retire and take vacation all the time.

Like child birth, it’s over-rated for some. But for others who has the aptitude, it lives up to the expection and more.

I heared you!

The other kids say you’re not real but I know you are.