WaterSportsWhiz was founded out of frustration – Sam’s own struggles with finding accurate, trustworthy, and transparent sources of information about water sports. Our foundation – and, by extension – our core values and beliefs, rest on and revolve around the philosophy of providing high-quality information.
“I will either find a way – or make one.”
We are committed to being the trusted source you can confidently turn to for reliable insights into the water sports world, whether that’s kayaking, paddle boarding, diving or any other water-based pursuit.
In order to reinforce our dedication to excellence and transparency, the following sections will elaborate on our core writing values, editorial processes, and publishing guidelines and provide insight into how we create our content and ensure that it meets the highest standards before it reaches you – our trusted audience.
Importance of Reliable Information
Kayak and paddle boarding is our passion. Since founding WaterSportsWhiz in 2019, we’ve dedicated ourselves to helping fellow water sports enthusiasts make the most of their time on the water.
Our mission is clear:
To produce and publish the finest water sports information available on the internet. Information that not only gets you started in the water sport of your choice but permits you to excel.
We understand that our recommendations and advice impact not just your enjoyment and your wallet but your on-the-water safety, too – and we take that responsibility seriously and hold ourselves to the highest standards.
Our goal is to equip water sports enthusiasts with accurate, reliable information so that they can focus on having fun and creating lasting memories – all while staying safe out there.
Understanding Diverse Preferences
Yes, our love of paddle sports is something we all have in common. But that doesn’t mean that every water sports enthusiast out there is the same. Your needs, wants, and preferences are unique and evolve continuously; the same is true for every single one of you. Some might prefer a relaxing, family-friendly outing on a calm lake; others might be all about adrenaline-pumping whitewater rapids. You get the idea.
So, we are committed to understanding these unique interests and preferences and catering to them to the best of our ability.
The Challenge of Online Misinformation:
Everyone can start a blog these days, which is great – for the most part, anyway. The issue is that there’s no way of knowing if the people behind those blogs are actual experts on the topics they cover.
When you’re looking for guidance in the realm of water sports, being able to rely on experienced professionals is everything. Misleading – or, worse yet, incorrect – information could spell trouble when you’re out on the water.
WaterSportsWhiz’s team is committed to delivering only authentic, fact-checked, expert-written advice. Our primary goal is to offer you the most accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information and support you on your journey to discovering – and enjoying – water sports.
General Publishing Principles:
We are aware that the content published on our website has the potential to reach thousands of people every day. That’s why we feel it is our duty to ensure that the information we share is accurate, relevant, and up-to-date. We also recognize the impact our advice has on you – that’s why we publish only information that’s been thoroughly tested and researched. Our team is dedicated to checking each other’s work and fact-checking all published content.
After all, every piece of advice we share can have an impact on the reader’s real-world experiences and, most importantly, safety.
Be the Experts
There are so many cookie-cutter blogs out there; the water sports niche is full of them. You know the type – the one where you click on one of their posts, and by the time you finish reading the second paragraph, it’s already painfully obvious that the author barely – if ever – touched a kayak or held a paddle in their life.
We do NOT want to be just another one of those websites, though.
You’ll see our team out there – sun, rain, or snow (well, probably not snow) – getting wet. We are actual experts on the subjects we talk about here.
There’s a lot to love about paddle sports. But unfortunately, it seems that there’s some snobbery in it, too. We’ve seen people getting laughed at because all they can afford is a simple inflatable kayak and beginners being shut down for asking simple questions.
That’s not how we see our platform; there’s no room for snobbery and elitism here. We want WaterSportsWhiz to be a gathering place for enthusiasts of all levels. And we believe that there’s no such thing as a silly question; we’re all here to share our experiences and learn from each other!
No AI-Generated Content
It’s not that we are oblivious to the fact that AI has taken the world of content creation by storm. We get it; AI tools like ChatGPT are capable of generating entire articles in a matter of minutes – requiring nothing more than a few clicks and a short prompt.
But one thing these AI tools lack is hands-on experience – a human touch. To make matters even worse, there’s always a risk of those AI-generated articles being full of incorrect – and even flat-out dangerous – information.
All content published on WaterSportsWhiz is written – and, most importantly, fact-checked – by our team and infused with emotion, creativity, and first-hand experiences that no algorithm can replicate.
Continued Self-Learning & Improvement
The world of water sports is anything but constant and unchanging; things change – and fast. It feels like new information, trends, best practices, and techniques are revealed all the time – and don’t even get us started on new brands and product launches.
We’ve learned that what was true yesterday might not necessarily hold up tomorrow. We are committed to keeping our finger on the pulse and staying up-to-date with things, with each member making continuous learning a priority.
As the sport evolves, so does our knowledge base.
Regular Content Reviews & Updates
Every piece of content goes through a detailed review process and multiple iterations before going live to ensure accuracy and comprehensiveness. However, we’re not done with it once we hit “Publish.”
We believe that there’s always room for improvement.
That’s why our team regularly reviews and updates content based on new findings, the latest trends, changes in boating laws, and community feedback and insights.
If you do find any factual errors, inconsistencies, or outdated information while reading one of our posts, do not hesitate to reach out and let us know. You can drop us a message here; we’re always open to suggestions and feedback.
How We Review Products
Writing a review seems easy – until you’re tasked with putting together a “best-of” round-up, that is. Putting in hours of research, considering different angles, combing through existing customer reviews, and doing hands-on tests – there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes.
We’ve developed a 9-step review method in an attempt to “standardize” this process as much as possible and ensure we’re consistently producing in-depth, accurate, unbiased reviews you can trust to guide your purchase decisions.
1. Initial Research Of The Product Category
Each round-up begins with thorough research of the specific product category. We are obviously already familiar with the categories we write about – and the products within those categories do share similar characteristics – so the goal of this initial research phase is pretty simple:
We want to understand the users’ needs and expectations regarding these products, industry standards in terms of design and build quality, how the products should perform, the features we can expect to see, and average price ranges.
2. Research The Chosen Products
Once we’re done with the initial research of the product category, we can move on to selecting the individual products we’ll include in our round-up. At this stage, our priority is to choose products that are relevant and in demand; there’s no point in reviewing something that doesn’t meet previously established needs and expectations.
We typically start with a much longer list than the one you’ll see in the finished version. It’s a matter of keeping our options open. It’s much easier to narrow it down to the best possible picks as we move forward with the research and gather additional information.
3. Study The Product & Brand Reputation
We’ll research more than just the product itself. We want to know more – and we’re sure you do, too – about the manufacturer, warranty period, and return policy, as well as where the product was made. We’ll also take the time to learn more about the brand’s history and go through existing customer feedback to get an idea of their reputation and the customer experience one can expect when purchasing from the company.
4. Analyze & Verify Marketing Claims
We’re well aware of the fact that manufacturers may exaggerate – or even make false claims – when advertising their products. That’s why we NEVER take product specs and manufacturer’s claims about the product at face value. We’ll take the time to test and verify the authenticity of such claims and ensure that the specs listed match the product’s real-life performance.
5. Understand Product Positioning
This step is all about figuring out where exactly the product fits within a wider market in terms of the target audience and how it compares to similar products. There’s obviously no point comparing a low-end inflatable kayak to a composite hard-shell that costs $5000 – or a fishing kayak to one designed for whitewater environments.
Apples and oranges; you get the idea.
That said, we’ll always do our best to include products at different price points and ensure that our round-ups have something for every budget.
6. Research Existing User Reviews
Before we proceed with hands-on testing, our team will take the time to go through existing user reviews and gather insights from people who’ve already used the product in question. That allows us to learn more about potential issues you may face, things to be aware of, and, most importantly, how to get the most out of the product. Our go-to sources at this stage are not just customer reviews but forums and social media, too. The online paddling community is always happy to share real-life feedback – which makes our team’s job a lot easier.
7. Get Our Hands On The Product
We do not accept paid placements or do product reviews sponsored by the brand. Furthermore, all products we review are purchased anonymously; we do not want “special treatment” or discounts. We want to see the authentic customer experience, from start to finish – the way it looks for anyone reading our blog.
We will purchase 99.99% of the products we review ourselves. That said, we may occasionally receive a product for review; if that’s the case, we’ll make sure our readers are aware of that.
8. Use & Test The Product In Real-World Conditions
This stage is the most exciting – well, at least for us – in the entire process because it’s when we get to actually use the products we’re reviewing. It’s not all fun and games, of course; our team will actually take the time to conduct thorough tests in a wide range of conditions and see how the product’s features work in real-life scenarios, with a particular focus on common complaints mentioned in user reviews. We’ll then gather these findings to see how each product stacks up against the competition.
9. Write Our Review
Finally, we get to the actual writing. By making this the last step in the process, we can ensure that each product is thoroughly researched before we write our final reviews or give out any awards. Otherwise, we wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it to others.
When rating products, we will decide on a set of criteria and rate each product accordingly on a scale from “1” to “10.” These may vary from one round-up to the other, but you’ll find that we typically include criteria such as “Design & Build Quality,” “Ease Of Use,” and “Value For Money” in most reviews.
It’s absolutely imperative to emphasize that all product ratings are based solely on performance, quality, and value. By prioritizing those three key metrics when examining and evaluating products, we can uphold a high standard – and deliver 100% honest, unbiased reviews.
Disclosure of Free Products:
Reviewing paddle sports equipment – including kayaks, SUPs, paddles, and a wide range of gear and accompanying accessories – is a big part of the WaterSportsWhiz platform.
We primarily choose products to include in our round-ups because they are, indeed, worth recommending. However, brands may occasionally reach out to our team, asking us to review and include one of their products in our round-up.
For the sake of maintaining transparency, we will always disclose if the product we’re reviewing was received for free. More importantly, we will test each product – regardless of how it might’ve been acquired – thoroughly. We will not let the fact that we received a product for free influence our opinions in any way.
We Work in Your Best Interests:
“We may receive a commission if you click a link on this page and then go on to purchase something, but at no extra cost to you.”
You’ll see this exact disclaimer at the beginning of any post that contains affiliate links. That is to say, we keep things transparent around here – you can read our full disclosure here.
Not all links you’ll find on our website are affiliate; in many cases, we’ll include a link to a product we believe in, even if the brand doesn’t have an affiliate program. And when our posts do include affiliate links, we want to remind you that your best interest is still a priority; financial gain will always come second. Our team’s product recommendations are genuine.
Keep in mind that if you do purchase a product through an affiliate link, you will not be paying more than if you went to the product page yourself; we just earn a small commission on it.
If We Cannot Get Our Hands on a Product:
We do not recommend products that we do not believe in. In most cases, these will be products we’ve had hands-on experience with – but we’re not always able to physically test a product. There are a couple of reasons why this might happen:
- The product isn’t particularly popular
- The product is out of stock for an extended period of time
- The product is prohibitively expensive; we’re working with relatively limited resources and may not always be able to afford items that cost thousands of dollars.
- The latest edition of the product is similar to the previous one.
Rest assured that, even on those rare occasions when we’re not able to get our hands on the actual product, our reviews are still based on thorough research.
What We Never Do:
We promise to:
- NEVER publish unverified content or provide information that was not previously fact-checked and researched by our team.
- NEVER accept sponsorships and pair placements – especially not from brands we would not recommend otherwise – as we feel that this would compromise our integrity.
Feedback and Questions:
We are a community of paddle sports enthusiasts. So, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We want to hear your feedback – and we’re more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have – regarding our content.
Your insights are key to our platform’s growth and improvements.