We were humbled to receive the below email from one of our customers recently. Stories like David’s mean the world to us, and we wanted to share it with you in case any of the ideas, or just David’s spirit, could help or inspire you in some way:
I trust this note finds you well and thriving amidst this challenging world with COVID-19 and all.
My name is David Mercer, a longtime student of John Carmody. If the name doesn’t connect, maybe some of the alterations I’ve requested on my various boats from P&H will: performance seat with the Aries type cockpit, not installing the seat to allow for positioning the seat laterally to allow for the 25 pound lighter weight difference on my left side and most recently… the incorporation of d-rings in the front and day hatches of my new boats to allow for connecting ballast far to the port side.
I’m writing with a much belated thank you! And, in the process, want to convey what a huge impact your accommodating my specific needs and paddling P&H boats have made in the quality of my life.
I lost my left leg to cancer more than 43 years ago at age 27. I was very active and athletic before the surgery and was driven to not let the amputation slow me down. Prosthetics were not as adaptable and innovative during those times. I tended to sports where the mobility was provided. I actively pursued downhill skiing and was addicted to speed. The same with water skiing. I was riding a bike during the summer without my prosthetic but I had been in search of another sport that wouldn’t rely so much on my lower body.
My introduction to sea kayaking was quite by accident some ten years ago. My wife and I had rented a cabin on a small pond in New Hampshire that had two of what I now understand to be plastic sea kayaks filled with leaves under the cabin. I paddled every opportunity I could grab that week, while taking care not to ignore my wife. I was like a fish taking the bait. The hook was set.
Returning home, it didn’t take long to find a rental for the remainder of the summer. I spent that summer on the numerous flatwater lakes in our area. I was getting the added exercise and loved paddling. It was on a lake paddle that I bumped into a group of kayakers. Conversation ensued and I was convinced to join them on a sea journey. I had no idea what I was getting into. That trip convinced me I needed a drysuit and possible lessons or coaching. Through a twist of fate the drysuit connection happened to be a P&H paddler – Suz Hutchinson. Suz introduced me to P&H boats and John.
John has been an extraordinary coach and mentor guiding my development and progression in the sport. I quickly realized how much I didn’t know and actively pursued a course to increase my knowledge and skills.
I swear by the Swede form design of the P&H brand. It has been an extraordinarily stable platform as I deal with the significant lateral weight differential. Additionally, once having been exposed to the more aggressive thigh braces and being able to adjust them individually I have been able to more easily adjust for the mass difference from my natural leg to the prosthetic side. This has significantly benefited me by being able to develop a reliable roll. The d-rings allow me to come close to a neutral position without the need for excessive leaning by adding weight to the front and day hatch without concern that they will move around.
P&H became a socially acceptable addiction. My current collection includes Carbon-infused versions of: Cetus MV, Aries 155, and Volan MV. I also abuse a Delphin 155. My son-in-law paddles a Cetus MV and I just ordered a Virgo for family use.
Kayaking has become a healthy obsession and one for which I am forever grateful. I was on the water 106 days last year while maintaining a fulltime work schedule. The opportunities afforded me by the sport, impacting my physical conditioning, mental health and attitude are immeasurable! I firmly believe that the tangible returns of enjoying international paddling journeys, paddling with our local club, pursuing individual skill and leadership knowledge through the BCU system, rock-play and surfing would not have been available had I not had the good fortune of being introduced to P&H boats. I am a grateful and committed customer.
Deepest thanks Graham for all your help along the way!
Thank you, David!
If you have any custom requests that’ll help you get on the water more comfortably, please do get in touch: https://www.phseakayaks.com/contact.php