Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The art of sea kayak reviewing

For more than 20 years René van der Zwan has reviewed sea kayaks that are available on the Dutch market. His reviews always are very extensive and thorough. Sometimes taking several months to seek out extremer conditions (6/7 Beaufort winds and heavy surf) to put them through a full test. Some of the reviews are of brands and/or models that are no longer in production, but prove to be a very valuable resource for people buying second hand kayaks.

Yesterday I read on René's blog that he has (for now) stopped the reviewing and even took all reviews off his website. A big 'shame' when one reads the reasons for this! His reviews were always honest and leaving room for manufacturer/dealer comments and even updating the reviews for modifications.

My involvement in sea kayaking by now has resulted in 'many different hats'. First and most, I am an enthusiastic sea kayaker with strong personal opinions on sea kayaking. Next, I am a sea kayak coach that has enjoyed and appreciated cultural differences of sea kayaking in (so far) the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the USA. For the last four years I paddle a sponsored Nigel Dennis Kayaks Explorer sea kayak and together with Nico Middelkoop promote and sell NDK sea kayaks in the Netherlands. And I run a sea kayak coaching and guiding business.

Whenever somebody asks me what is the 'best' sea kayak it is a question that I cannot possibly answer. I will respond with: "look for reviews and ask various knowledgeable people for advice!". Don't trust a salesman if his advice/story is not backed-up by others or in reviews. Hmm... if a salesman (me) says: "don't trust a salesman!", what to trust? Anyway, never decide on a sea kayak before you had a chance to try it out 'in conditions'. The good shops have arrangements for you to try-out their kayaks. A sea kayak is always a 'compromise'. There are many well designed sea kayaks around.

René, thank you for all the valuable and independent information over the years. I do hope that your sea kayak reviews will be available again soon on !
P.S. The Sea Kayaker Magazine Newsletter of 6 June informs us that SK is working to make their extensive archive of sea kayak reviews available on-line.

1 comment:

René said...

Hi Axel,

Thx for this comment. Your comment turns out to be valuable to me.
Thx to you and others the site is in the air again.