Seaward Kayaks LogoSeaward Kayaks announced via their monthly newsletter that they have been invited to pitch their investment idea on the CBC television show, Dragons Den.

For those who haven’t seen Dragons Den before the idea is simple. Business owners (and weird inventors) come on the show and only have a few minutes to pitch their big idea to a group of investors (called Dragons). The Dragons decide on the spot if they are in or out. If they like your idea they make a deal and invest in your company. If they don’t like it, you get the old walk of shame... In the US you might have seen a similar version of the show called Shark Tank. Here in Canada it's promoted as Canada's most popular unscripted show with 1.3 million people tuning in each week.

This is a pretty big deal for Seaward so they have been preparing like mad for this Saturdays taping for several months when they first auditioned for the television show. “I’m president for our local Toastmasters club so the members are absolutely sick of hearing my pitch.” says Doug Godkin, General Manager of Seaward Kayaks, “That being said, the group has been great at pretending to be the Dragons and asking the tough questions to find holes in my pitch.”

Nobody at Seaward wanted to give the spicy details away about the upcoming proposal but did say that Seaward is looking to expend their kayak line into new areas and take the company to the next level.

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Doug feels that they have a decent chance of attracting the attention of at least one of the dragons. “We are very proud of the fact we are an established company and all of our kayaks are built here in Canada. There is always pressure to take the cheaper way out and start production overseas but we feel strongly about keeping the manufacturing here. For that we are looking for outside investment.”

The plan is to tap the episode this Saturday (April 6) here in Toronto and it should air sometime in the Fall. “The producers haven’t given us an air date yet. In fact, there is the possibility that we won’t even get on the air. It all depends on how well the taping goes.”

I wish the best of luck to Seaward Kayaks. With 1.3 million Canadian’s watching, this is easily the biggest audience the little company will ever have so showcase their products. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to introduce kayaking as a healthy and fun activity to Canadians.

I will post an update when we know more details about an air date and all that good stuff.

More info: cbc.ca

Photo credits: cbc.ca and Seaward Kayaks.

Published in Industry Stuff

It’s been a bad week for kayak thefts.

The Seaward Kayaks storage compound in Chemainus, British Columbia was broken into over the weekend and had six thermoform kayaks stolen.

This was posted on their facebook page:

Well, Seaward kayaks was broken into & robbed at the weekend. We have two separate fences, outer & inner, with barbed wire on them. Our compound is not easily accessed & is highly visible.

5 kayaks were stolen - all new thermoform kayaks:

Intrigue - Mango - QKN03465 I 212
Intrigue - Red - QKN03466 I 212
Halo 130 - Yellow - QKN03420 G 212
Compass 140 - Mango - QKN03461 I 212
Compass 140 - Mango - QKN03405 G 212

So, if you are offered a new thermoform Seaward Kayak, please let us know - we'd appreciated it!

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer's stolen kayaks.

Just as heartbreaking is news that Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer just had their Tahe Marine Greenland kayaks stolen from the roof of their car.

Mark posted this today:

Please be aware that two Tahe Marine Greenland kayaks have been stolen from the roof of Helen's car. One is the distinctive all black one featured in the DVD. The other is white decked and black hulled. The theft occurred on the Canadian side of the Peace Arch Border. Please spread the word!!!

I feel terrible about these thefts. If you live in the British Columbia/Washington State area keep an eye out on your local used gear bulletin boards as they are sure to end up there. It’s not like these are easy to stash somewhere...

Published in Industry Stuff

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One of the biggest initial capital expenses of any tour operator or guiding company is the purchase of their fleet of kayaks. A small fleet can typically starts at around $20,000 (10 boats at $2,000 each) and keep going up from there.

To help keep those initial costs down, Seaward Kayaks partnered up with Dominion Lending Centres and developed the Advantage Plus Leasing System. The first of it’s kind in the industry.

Very similar to leasing a car, small business owners will be able to lease a fleet of kayaks directly from Seaward for one fixed monthly cost. When the term of the three year lease is over the owner has the option to either buy the boats outright at a reduced cost or return the kayaks to Seaward and renew the lease with a brand new fleet.

Dunnville-visit-June-11-and-12-06

To get some more information about the program I contacted Doug Godkin, Director of Marketing and International Sales at Seaward Kayaks.

“Rather than tying up cash flow within the season,” Doug said, “the lease program is based on 1 days rental income per month per kayak leased.”

“Our goal is to offer guiding and rental companies the ability to continue using North American manufactured high quality fiberglassed and thermoformed kayaks. Seaward Kayaks started in the paddle sports industry 25 years ago as a primary supplier to guiding companies and we will always maintain our support and dedication to this area of the sport.”

Like anything in life, there are questions to ask with leasing compared to buying. There are a couple of questions to ask regarding the leasing program. What happens to my kayaks at the end of the lease? Seaward has indicated that at the end of the lease the operator has the ability to purchase the kayaks from the leasing company for a very small residual amount. From there the business owner has the freedom to sell the boats to their customers and generate further revenue for their business. If the operator decides to enter into another lease with a new fleet of kayaks, they can then keep their fleets rotated and new.

I think that the advantage of having a lower initial capital expense will be very appealing to new start-ups but to me the biggest advantage is knowing that as a business owner, you are going to get new boats for your clients after three years of use. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have seen tour operators and paddling schools try to put their clients in worn out and broken boats and hope they won’t notice. They do and that doesn’t win you any points.

More info: Seaward Kayaks

Update [Feb 10, 2012]: Doug Godkin from Seaward sent me this response after posting with an update:

Another advantage to the leasing program is like a business leasing a fleet of automobiles, their payments could be tax deductible as a cost of operations. This is another strong feature of the program as it keeps much more operating capital in the hands of the operator to manage the day to day expenses of their business.

Flickr Photo Credit: Dakiraun  Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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