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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:16 pm 
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Posts: 7
Dear Hobie,

My wife and I had the opportunity to peddle around in an i9s and an i14t this weekend. We both fell in love with the i9s. It is an extremely well designed watercraft and was a joy to use. My love is wildlife photography. I was very excited about the easy of maneuverability and the stealthiness of these boats. In all of the excitement, we were hard pressed not to buy two of the 9's right then and there. But, it seemed wise to walk away and think about it.

After much thought and research, we have decided not to purchase these beautiful little boats. There are a few factors that come into play, but the biggest one is the material they are made of: PVC.

After doing some research, it is clear why you have chosen to use PVC as the material for these boats. Many of its qualities are desirable:

PVC is:
- Relatively durable
- Relatively inexpensive
- Can be welded and patched (likely lending itself to the Hobie design)
- Fold-able
- Lightweight
- Loaded with color selections

But, we have been making an effort to understand the effect of our purchases and make choices that go beyond: "Wow! That is so cool!" That is where the downsides of PVC came in:

PVC is:
- Extremely toxic to manufacture
- Toxic post manufacture (as it degrades into the environment)
- Not Recyclable.

As people whose intent is to get out and enjoy the outdoors and its wildlife, it became clear that the exceptional design and usefulness of your inflatable boats do not outweigh the environmental cost.

We would like to encourage your product management and engineers to begin considering alternatives to PVC for your inflatable boats. My brief exposure to Hobie reminds me a bit of Apple. You create products that people want to use because they make sense. People will buy those kinds of products, even if they cost a bit more. But, Apple has been making design choices lately that help reduce their impact on the environment and their design is not suffering. Their unibody laptops cut out a great amount of toxic waste in their manufacturing and are recyclable. It is a business model that can work.

We look forward to future offerings from Hobie and hope that you value the environment you are attempting to open up to people as much as we do.

Sincerely,

Tom & Katie Talbott


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:59 am
Posts: 526
tbtalbott wrote:
Dear Hobie,

After much thought and research, we have decided not to purchase these beautiful little boats. There are a few factors that come into play, but the biggest one is the material they are made of: PVC.


As people whose intent is to get out and enjoy the outdoors and its wildlife, it became clear that the exceptional design and usefulness of your inflatable boats do not outweigh the environmental cost.


Sincerely,

Tom & Katie Talbott


Be a responsible user and dispose of the yak at the end of its life the proper manner. And enjoy the great kayak Hobie has built. Good luck and keep it green.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:07 pm
Posts: 1047
Location: Ontario, Canada
I think this is a fair letter, and I'm glad that Hobie, (who approves all first posts) had the guts to post this. I'm not sure of what Hobie's manufacturing process involves, but the letter shows a fair perspective, and I'm glad they posted it.

Environmentally we can all do better. Some of us choose to move from large SUV's to small cars, some even choose to go from small cars to bicycles. We all have tolerances for liveability and environmentally friendliness, and for many, the manufacture of these boats is within their acceptable range on the environmental / recreational enjoyment scale.

While these boats may produce pollutants in their production, they produce no emissions in their use (such as a Personal Watercraft might).

The inflatable boats are also able to be stored in a car trunk for transport, while the other models are often put on roof racks which has a detrimental effect on fuel economy compared to storing the boats inside the vehicle.

In general I think many Hobie owners are environmentally conscious people, but it's good to see reminders like this letter to encourage us to all do better.

I appreciate your opinions tbtalbott. I also appreciate the tone in which your letter was written. I hope to see you in a Hobie product soon.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:54 pm 
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Hobie Company Admin

Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 10:59 am
Posts: 9
Location: Oceanside, California
Tom and Katie,

Thank you for the explaination of your decision regarding the purchase of two Hobie i9 inflatable kayaks. We have to admit we are sad to hear you decided not to go ahead with the purchase. You are absolutely correct, you would have had a blast as they are a great product. However at the same time we totally understand your desire to be ecologically mindful when making decisions of this sort. Hobie Cat Company in many respects makes many decisions for similar ecological reasons when we can.

As an example we purchase wind generated electricity. We have installed electricity saving lighting for our factory and recently put motion sensors on all those lights so if an area is not being actively used, it automatically turns off. In our rotomolding ovens we have employed several methods to use less natural gas in heating them and have been able to reduce our gas consumption significantly. We don't make fossil fuel driven products and have begun to develop electrically powered motors to propell our products. We strive to make products that leave no carbon footprints when used and like you we are doing our part to keep our planet a beautiful, healthy place to live.

Doug Skidmore


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:07 pm
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Location: Ontario, Canada
I learned some new things by reading the previous post. Hobie should include more of that information in their marketing materials.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:09 pm
Posts: 7
Dear Mr. Skidmore,

We want to thank your organization for posting our letter, and thank you for personally taking your time to respond. It is welcome to hear that the Hobie Cat Company is making a number of efforts to reduce or offset carbon emissions. Reducing carbon in our atmosphere appears to be a worthy goal.

Since writing our original letter, we have found out that our niece, a mother of 3 (including a newborn), has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. This event, along with the fact that we have a mother who has just finished up treatment for breast cancer and know a number of other women who either recently finished treatment or are in the process, has re-emphasised our concern about what we put into the environment.

In searching for information about PVC, it unavoidably comes up that the manufacture of the material produces carcinogenic materials such as dioxin and phthalates. It also appears that PVC can continue to produce these materials during disposal and possibly use.

It is not always possible to eliminate toxic compounds from everything. Sometimes you make choices based on price or availability. We've been faced with these choices while maintaining our home. But, for items that we consider luxury items, items that are not essential, we can make the choice not to contribute to the problem.

Given all of this, we continue to encourage you to focus some of your company's obvious ingenuity towards how to deal with these issues as next steps in your efforts to keep our planet a beautiful, healthy place to live. Whether these efforts are towards offsetting the use of PVC (investing in recycling efforts or the reduction of toxic waste) or looking into PVC alternatives, we would welcome them.

Thank you again for your reply.

Sincerely,

Tom & Katie Talbott


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:09 pm
Posts: 7
Thinwater skinner wrote:
Be a responsible user and dispose of the yak at the end of its life the proper manner. And enjoy the great kayak Hobie has built. Good luck and keep it green.


Could you elaborate on what it would mean to "dispose of the yak at the end of its life the proper manner?" I've not come across a disposal method that addresses the issues I've outlined.

Thanks,
-Tom


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:09 pm
Posts: 7
augaug wrote:
I appreciate your opinions tbtalbott. I also appreciate the tone in which your letter was written. I hope to see you in a Hobie product soon.


I am hopeful as well.

Best,
-Tom


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