October 5, 2012

"Dear Seaward Kayaks, Just a quick note of thanks letting you know how much appreciation I have for both the kayak I purchased from you eight years ago (a true work of art), and for your kind, stellar service...both of which are remarkable beyond belief. I've been a professional Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide for twenty years and co-founded one of Maine's leading sea kayaking tour companies (which my partner and I decided to sell a few years ago). I have also worked carefully as a skilled craftsman throughout much of my adult life where my eye has been necessarily trained to observe even the slightest attention to detail. I only mention these things to say that I honestly perceive no flaws in your impeccably crafted Shadow. I have owned this rugged yet elegantly designed boat for eight years now, in which I have spent many and extraordinarily memorable hours and miles comfortably and reliably exploring many sections of my state's legendary coastline, and this kayak has never failed me. Last summer however, and through an unfortunate set of circumstances (which are still hard for me to think and write about), the boat actually caught fire by carelessly placed rags that ignited overnight through the strange process of spontaneous combustion (Yes. It really does happen). Needless to say, I was devastated by the occurrence of the fire and its resulting and substantial damage, and only this summer felt up to the task of beginning to repair my beloved boat. The silver lining to this story though has been the assistance and generous advice I've so graciously been given by the staff at Seaward Kayaks...Nick, Doug, and Chris most notably among them. They bent over backwards, and in countless ways, to allow me the knowledge and expertise to restore the Shadow to its original splendor. At this moment, I'm just waiting to spray on the gel coat, which hopefully will happen later this week, and then I'll be back on the water in this very-much missed boat. In hindsight, I now understand the fire actually gave me some real benefits. It not only hammered home how much this divinely crafted boat means to me...and taught me some valuable repair skills I might not have learned any other way...and made me realize how important sea kayaking is to me even though it is no longer my livelihood...but it also allowed me to come into contact with the individuals that actually created this masterpiece in the first place. It has now become easy for me to see that the spirit of these boats is comprised of much more than simply the finest materials and training that go into their construction. My hat is off to Seaward Kayaks. You are genuinely an outstanding, unique company, and I take none of your kindness for granted. With my very best regards,

Ben " ~ Benjamin Thelwell


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