Kevin Shaw: Money For Nothing

I found myself feeling a little sorry for the folks over at Sea-Doo this afternoon. Why my mind had singled-out Sea-Doo was due – in large part – to an anti-Sea-Doo hate group on Facebook. It’s the kind of group page that welcomes pictures from across the globe of smashed, cracked or sinking runabouts all blaming the manufacturer for its failure and interjects little else (particularly causality). Typically, I don’t give pages like these very much thought but a recent back-and-forth on a different-yet-eerily-similar Sea-Doo owner’s page made the other group’s presence all the more poignant.

“Who can tell me what ‘CM-Tech’ is?” the original post had read. I quickly provided a link to our review of the 2017 Sea-Doo GTR-X 230, the first Sea-Doo to feature the newfangled material, titled “All The Right Moves.” In it, we interviewed Sea-Doo Watercraft Global Product Manager, James Heintz who gave us a very thorough and detailed description to both the material’s compound and acrylic-coating process. Thinking I had performed my good deed for the day, I went on about my work. Suddenly, I was pinged with several questions from commenters; “That’s the wrong ski!” “So is it Polytech?” and my personal favorite, “Where did you get this quote?”

Mining a little extra patience, my responses were rather genial…at first: “The ’17 GTR-X 230 was the first Sea-Doo with CM-Tech;” “No, it’s not Polytech;” and “Again, this is a quote directly from Sea-Doo’s Watercraft Global Product Manager, James Heintz.” Unsurprisingly, people began commenting, “Is Sea-Doo paying you to say this?” “Nah, it’s just another name for Polytech;” and “Who? Never heard of him.” Some even took to messaging me privately to call me a corporate shill. Fun times, I growled to myself. Alas, this isn’t anything new for me, though. I find that I often go to the defense of the manufacturer rather than joining the mob. Mobthink often never solves anything and more often than not, makes a situation worse.

Currently, the mobs have focused their ire on Sea-Doo’s CM-Tech paint finish, particularly after Sea-Doo issued a bulletin instructing owners to not use high pressure sprayers and harsh detergents. Before that, it was Polytech. Before that, it was Yamaha’s timing chains in the SHO and SVHO engines (prior to 2017). And prior to that, it was pump “overstuffing” on the FZ series. And let us not forget Sea-Doo’s carbon seal. There will always be “something” – the story never changes. Yet, when a particular message board or Facebook group drums up enough popularity, suddenly what has occurred a few dozen times quickly becomes a pandemic effecting all persons regardless if they even have the right vehicle or not.

Back in the early 1990’s, my father bought a welding company housed in an old wooden WWII-era hangar on 223rd Street in north Long Beach, California, fixed between the whirring 405 freeway and the shadows of the high-reaching oil refineries. That summer I was employed to demolish a wing of the building, as well as relocate fabrication equipment, gather scrap and break down any other materials that he deemed as trash. Those two-plus months of demolition were some of the hardest days’ work in my life. Being only 14-years-old, that wasn’t saying much, but even as an adult I recall those days as being particularly grueling. Since then, I’ve had many physically taxing jobs: repairing roofs, clearing fields, home remodeling, landscaping, tree trimming and even repainting the landing tarmac at LAX during the middle of the night.

I cherish hard work, particularly physical labor. In many ways, I long for the days on my feet, wearing miles into the soles of my workboots and coming home so exhausted that taking a scalding hot shower was more attractive than food. Running this magazine isn’t hard work, but it’s difficult work – which is not the same. Days at the job site never entailed dancing around politics, minding what you said or fearing that you might hurt somebody’s feelings. As long as you could ruck the work and kept your bitching to a minimum, you were a good hand. These days I’m so tangled up in worrying about offending some reader, stepping on the toes of a contributor or stirring up such a ruckus that I wonder if that roofing position is still open.

The daily magazine, The Watercraft Journal and its bi-monthly-updated YouTube channel will still remain entirely subscription and membership-free. That’s something I believe in. It’s been key to our growth, our position as an industry leader in readership, engagement and usefulness to the PWC enthusiast. Whether they appreciate what they’re getting at no cost to them is an entirely different matter. It’s our advertisers who keep our lights on and it’s those companies whom have the gratitude of everyone here, and to whom we will continue to support. As they support us, we’re able to support the sport through publishing event coverage, news, reviews and interviews. So again, thank you for those reading The Watercraft Journal and thank you to those who support it.

Go Get Wet,

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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