tautologies wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:49 pm
magnusod wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:01 pm
With this in his user info "Brand Affiliation: NONE F--- the corporate world". Seems like he's on a mission...
I saw that...wonder how he imagines new kites being made?
Matteo maybe you care to comment? I'm not trying to take the piss, but I seriously want to understand.
Thanks for calling me out on this and I will oblige your curiosity in as simple of a post as I can. I am hoping to not be accused of TL;DR by iriejohn. Honestly, this story would be much longer and much more boring than the below, though I feel I am leaving out many details that I would gladly fill in if asked.
I started out with HQ kites on land. But I just did not really enjoy the feeling of that kite and I wrongly attributed it to it being a low cost brand.
So I decided to go to the most expensive brand of foil kites - Ozone. I thought this was the way to go as I was holding to the belief that quality and service goes with higher price. That is where my education in corporate kiteboarding began. The stopper ball on two Ozone bars both failed. Apparently the plastic they used was not "low temp capable" of holding together. There was no question on whether it was a warranty claim as the first ball failed in the first few sessions and the second one showed cracking before disintegrating completely. Though this was a part that I was capable of making myself, I did not want to have a home made part on a kite with less than 10 sessions on it. Needless to say, that warranty claim did not go well. Most of it had to do with the US distributor of Ozone at the time. But I still never saw a replacement part for 2 brand new kites I had purchased at retail. In the end, I wound up with home made stopper balls anyway. Ozone, even when I finally was fed up with the US distributor and was working with Ozone in Europe, failed to ever get me my parts.
The above experience taught me to not buy into the "most expensive gear is the best" mentality. So I quickly ditched Ozone for HQ, but they did not have inflatable kites at the time. This left me searching for another brand for my next tube kite purchase.
So I went with Best kiteboarding, thinking that they could not be as bad, and I did not want to pay for service I might not receive anyway. Unfortunately, I happened to wind up with the 2010-2012 Best bar Chicken Loop releases. These were of a design that I admired at first, but then came to realize were of a faulty manufacture AND design. The CL release put a piece of plastic in tension where any plastic material's dimensional instability resulted in inevitable failure - and very early failure for heavier weight kiters. That is one of the big engineering "no no's" of plastic as plastic is not dimensionally stable and is extremely susceptible to elongation when in tension in almost every plastic formula.
On top of that, there was also a skipped step in manufacture of the stainless steel stopper ball at the end of the CL line. Without chamfering, the sharp edge cuts the line and renders the CL release unable to reload. Given that this is on a "release to both front lines tensioned" safety system, the kite can wind up on either side of the window without the kiter being able to steer it one way or the other or predict which way it would initially go. Think raking the beach with your kite.
Funniest thing about it was that, on another forum, I went back and fourth with Brian Scall (Best customer service), about this. In the end, I figured out that Best was lying to all kiters about this particular issue and how common it was. Here is what I eventually found.
"Since I have happened across 2 (2 YEARS LATER IT WAS 6)
defective ball stoppers in a row (AND ONLY ONE HAND PICKED PROPERLY CHAMFERED ONE)
that Brian says have only an occurrence of .05%, I bought a lottery ticket."
Best was telling me that the defect was only .05% (hmmmm 1 in 2000????) and I happened to have the experience of 6 out of 7 being defective. So they lied to me, and all of Bests bar users.
Though my issue with Ozone was never life threatening, my issue with Best WAS, and it did endanger innocent bystanders with no recall on this issue. Of lesser note, it also endangered our beaches with dangerous gear that should have been recalled.
Also of note in my experience, is that I did deal with some great HQ Kites gear. But they kind of succumbed to the same corporate mentality that took so many riders from Ozone to HQ around the time I was having issues with Ozone customer service. This was a pretty big lesson in kiteboarding for the industry, though it seems that corporate kiteboarding has a short memory. And this lesson was not new. But it cost Ozone probably 10 foil kite purchased from me alone. Add to that the number that were swayed, by hearing my story, in favor of other brands instead.
But my experience with Best was much more damaging, not really to Best, but to the corporate kiteboarding machine. Given that a company with such a good start, would endanger lives and access to kiteboarding spots, I felt it necessary to call every company out without regard for brand loyalty. It is apparent, given my experience and the experience of most other kiteboarders, that the bottom line of corporate kiteboarding is the most important part of kiteboarding to those corporations, not the rider.
So that is the best I can do for a quick synopsis of my experience with customer service across a few of brands I have used. I have had other issues, but the above are the main "eye openers" that explain most accurately why my "Brand Affiliation: NONE F--- the corporate world" is as it is. This is also why I would like to stay on the kiters side instead of the corporate side of kiteboarding. Kite companies don't care, on average, about their customers. I would challenge anyone to prove me wrong with multiple examples.