IMHO, I didn't see any real conscientious effort in Matt's "initial" response to try to answer Keith's question. Even his final remarks saying we might..., or maybe in the future we'll.... seemed to come grudgingly and fell short of what I expect from HOBIE.
This issue is quite clear to me and Hobie, so perhaps I didn't write enough about how I "understand"... How I "know what you have experienced", but I have answered questions on this subject before, so this is not a new to me with the Chekika post on the subject. The AI product has been out there for over 3 years now and has been very well received, as is. What I read in the Chekika post was an assertion that Hobie had a "problem" and I was compelled to respond. What I stated in return is the reality of what this is... it is simply a sailing characteristic of this model. When you come in guns-a-blazing and demanding that something needs to get done and this is now a "problem" ... that got my attention. It isn't fair to accuse us of a failure to properly design this product for the purpose and conditions that you choose to sail. Everyone's experience is different and it is impossible to foresee and to design a sailing product for all extremes. Understand as well, I don't appreciate the personal nature of your tactics.
You say my "effort" is lacking somehow? My "job" at Hobie is not answering posts although, I now have over 4,500 posts and responses in these forums. More than anything else, I do this out of the love for the product. I have personally built these forms up from nothing to what they are now. Yes, most posts here are answered by users. That is what a community forum is all about. I try to review ALL of the forums for topics that need specific input from the company when it is possible for me to spend time here. I also review all of the sailboat issues on a regular basis, but I can not read every post due to time constraints. When threads get long... I don't always keep track of the directions they turn. As many know... I also moderate the forums and review posts on my own time on evenings and on weekends in an effort to make the experience here as smooth, and helpful for those that need help 24-7 and come to the forums to get it... porn and spam free too. I have heard from many others that this type of direct company involvement in forums is very rare. Yes, as this thread shows, I expose myself to personal attack at times, but the goal to me is a better experience on Hobie products and, that, I feel is worth it. I gather a lot of information here that gets transmitted to the company for review and lots of that finds its way into future products and product changes.
What I "officially" do at Hobie: I am not a forum clerk. I am the Director of parts and accessory sales. I am also the Warranty department manager and technical issues manager. I have a hand in design of products as do most of our top staff. My experience is as a life long boater and sailor, Hobie (16) owner since 1976 and working with a dealership starting in 1978. Then the factory managing warranty starting in 1988. I have sailed, built, repaired and raced (up to National and World level) just about every Hobie product we have made. I have extensive experience with every kayak product as well and that includes lots of time on the AI. I also own and surf a Hobie Maui, so I truly paddle, pedal and sail Hobies. I have a LOT of experience with the products and I know how to sail.
Polecat, I try to get clear and informative information to Hobie owners through these forums... that is my purpose, to help make their experience better if possible. I try to gather new information and opinion where it can help Hobie do a better job. I will state the facts when needed to defray misconceptions. That is what I have done here, but rest assured, I do listen.
I appreciate the passion that we all have for this great product and will strive for more accessories and improvements where possible. Everyone must understand that not all ideas are practical or possible in short term or, in some cases, possibly at all. What we WILL do is continue to develop the Island concept. Its a good one.