Jeff Taubes is the person behind the “Sunbaked Life” fake identity
Last update: January 2017
A man named Jeff Taubes, from Cape Coral, Florida, confessed in writing that he was the person who had posted in October of 2015 a malicious YouTube video that he deceptively called a “review” of his Wavewalk 500. Jeff Taubes posted that video using the fake identity ‘Sunbaked Life‘ that he had initially created in order to blackmail Wavewalk into shipping him a kayak free of charge.
Jeff Taubes admitted being Sunbaked Life after we exposed him and his blackmail scheme publicly. He also posted under another fake identity (“Jeff”) two near-identical malefic and deceptive reviews on a website named Yakangler that’s plagued with a variety of fake kayak reviews.
Summary of Facts
Jeff Taubes bought his Wavewalk 500 in Februray of 2012, as part of a batch of W500 kayaks that he ordered as Wavewalk’s dealer in his area.
None of the W500 kayaks that he sold while acting as a dealer in 2012 and 2013 developed any problem. He still sent fishing and rigging stories to this blog in October of 2014, a year after Wavewalk made the Saddle Bracket a standard feature in all W500 kayaks, and sent him one free of charge, with a strong recommendation to outfit his W500 with this bracket.
Out of all the W500 he sold to clients in his area, only Jeff Taubes’ personal W500 developed problems, because he abused it, failed to comply with Wavewalk’s recommendations and stark warnings, and failed to take care of the problems in time, and in the way that we instructed him, even after these problems had become evident.
Jeff Taubes made a series of errors of judgment with his W500, and one of his recent errors was posting online deceptive and defamatory information, as part of his blackmail attempt.
Despite the problems with Jeff Taubes’ W500 that he bought in February 2012, he still fishes out of it.
Anyone who has questions about Jeff Taubes’ defamatory video and reviews is welcome to call or email us, as well as look at over two hundred W500 customer reviews featuring the author’s full name and state, and pictures »
In his YouTube video, Jeff Taubes tells about problems with his Wavewalk 500. He described his video in the following text: (quote)
“This is a video showing the failures I have had in the hull of my wavewalk 500 and the repairs I have had to make in order to keep the wavewalk usable. If any more problems develop I will add more videos.”
But this video is not a review. It is part of a failed extortion scheme that morphed into a sick personal vendetta –
As soon as that video came out (2015), we were able to identify Jeff Taubes’ voice on it since we spoke to him several times on the phone when he was Wavewalk’s dealer in his home town, Cape Coral, in Florida, in 2012-2013.
Moreover, just before this video appeared on YouTube, Jeff Taubes had emailed us pictures of exactly the same things that he showed in this video, and he threatened us that if we didn’t send him a “replacement boat”, which he insisted that he deserved, he’d post negative information about Wavewalk on the web, and thus hurt our company’s reputation.
Jeff Taubes planned to hurt our business, and he emailed us a blackmail ultimatum, in a style and language reminding of movies and TV series about blackmail. In his email, he threatened us that he’d propagate negative information about Wavewalk on the web if we didn’t respond to him by a certain time of the next day – in a typical extortion style.
The year after (2016) Jeff Taubes sent a series of rude, harassing and defamatory emails filled with rants and accusations to all Wavewalk’s dealers. That act is the reason we think he no longer thinks in blackmail terms (crooked but ‘rational’), and he has switched to a “vengeance” mode, namely irrational and unhinged. He now seems to just want to hurt Wavewalk, regardless of the possible dire consequences to him if our company decides to take legal action against him.
Why did Jeff Taubes ‘Sunbaked Life’ post this YouTube video?
From what Jeff Taubes says in his YouTube video, he keeps fishing out of his poorly repaired W500, but what he doesn’t say in his video (among other important things) is that he demanded from us that we ship him a new Wavewalk 500 kayak at no charge, to replace the damaged one that he’s been fishing from for years. Jeff Taubes chose to post under a fake identity so that no one except us would identify him as a person who’s engaged in such an illegal behavior. He planned to tarnish Wavewalk’s reputation without compromising his own, personal reputation. He failed.
In order for his video to produce the required negative effect on people who watched it, Jeff Taubes has to conceal material facts, which he did.
Jeff Taubes purchased his Wavewalk 500 from us in February of 2012, and at that time he became our dealer in SW Florida, DBA Florida Fishing Kayaks. He served as a Wavewalk dealer in his area for over a year (2013-2013).
We became aware of a potential problem developing in his Wavewalk kayak shortly after he started using it, as we could see it in the pictures that he emailed us from time to time in his fishing and rigging reports. We used Jeff Taubes’ pictures to develop the content of his dealership’s website and to advertise it on Wavewalk’s blog.
Once we recognized the problem in Jeff Taubes’s W500 kayak, we talked to him about it and offered to send him a saddle bracket at no charge. We strongly recommended to him to apply it on his W500 kayak in order to solve this problem, and prevent it from developing.
The Saddle Bracket product had been under development since 2010, following an initial request by Gary Rankel, from Florida.
Gary, who had the flush mount rod holders at the back of his Wavewalk 500 pointing backward, in parallel, and not sideways at an angle, as we usually install them.
Gary had asked us to find a way to prevent the tips of his long fishing rods from accidentally touching each other, which could happen if the hulls splayed even to a small degree. Gary served as the patient ‘beta site’ of our R&D for the Saddle Bracket, which later became an optional accessory for the W500, and ended as a standard feature in the third quarter of 2013.
We needed Gary for this because we were looking to make the bracket as non-intrusive (namely small) as possible, so we needed someone to test it continuously, which is not possible up here in Massachusetts, where the fishing season is much shorter due to our long winter season.
Gary got his ‘zero splaying’ bracket, which served as basis for the first commercial bracket.
Later, we introduced a slightly wider bracket that we dubbed ‘Relax Fit’ that allowed some splaying in order to offer more stability. The current generation of W500 bracket descends from that ‘Relaxed Fit’ version, and so do the molded-in and wooden brackets of the W700.
Jeff Taubes chose to ignore our recommendation – He didn’t want a bracket on his W500 because he liked it splayed.
Interestingly, Jeff Taubes still blames Wavewalk for the “lost stability” of his W500, as the bracket that he ended up installing prevents its hulls from splaying. He dislikes the bracket so much that in a recent email to us he wrote, among other things (quote):
“… A saddle bracket would never stop this [cracks in the upper part of the saddle] and it is my belief that the bracket is causing this because the former pressure has no place to go.”
Our response to his thought was a warning (quote):
“Removing the saddle bracket from your kayak without replacing it by another saddle bracket of similar dimensions and strength would be a grave mistake on your part, and we strongly recommend that you don’t do it.
Jeff Taubes’ latest thought on the subject of applying a saddle bracket in the W500 fits a pattern already established in a series of misguided thoughts and actions on his part. Our response reflects our concern that he would keep making severe mistakes and blame us for them.
Needless to say that at that time, both our warnings and recommendations on this subject of saddle brackets featured on Wavewalk’s website, on the Product Page itself.
Since Jeff was our dealer at that time, we were regularly in contact with him, by email and by phone. Jeff Taubes did not heed to our warning even after he outfitted his W500 with a powerful 2hp outboard gas engine and a custom made transom motor mount shortly after he had gotten his W500, although we had warned him again about this issue on that particular occasion, and renewed our recommendation to outfit his Wavewalk 500 with a saddle bracket, in order to protect it from the extra stress that could result in cracks in the hull next to the saddle.
What does Jeff Taubes have against saddle brackets?
In his Sunbaked Life YouTube video, Jeff Taubes says that after he had outfitted the kayak with the saddle brackets that we had sent him, the kayak has become less stable. This sounds like a complaint, and it confirms our initial understanding that this W500 kayak was splaying badly before the cracks appeared. It also matches what Jeff Taubes told us, namely that he liked the extra stability that he gained from his Wavewalk 500 splaying under the extra load that he applied to it, as the kayak’s compressed basis became overly wide.
As kayak manufacturers, we deem such attitude and behavior to be irregular and careless. Such behavior automatically voids our commitment to product support and replacement (quote):
All our products are guaranteed for materials and workmanship quality under normal and reasonable usage conditions.
Being Wavewalk’s dealer, Jeff Taubes had to know about these conditional terms, and he sold several Wavewalk kayaks to clients in his area, none of which has come to us with any complaints. By refusing to apply the bracket, he chose to use his W500 in a manner that was neither normal nor reasonable.
Note that also we know of a case in which cracks in the W500 saddle appeared after the boat had been strapped to a vehicle by means of ratcheted straps that were over-tightened too a point where the kayak was pressed downward so much that it caused its hulls to over-splay. Since this action had been repeated over a long period of time, the huge and prolonged mechanical stress led to the formation of tiny cracks below the saddle.
Once the owner of that kayak outfitted it with a saddle bracket, sealed the cracks with Goop (waterproof adhesive), and began strapping the boat to his vehicle less tightly, the problem has gone, completely. BTW, excessive tightening of the straps is known to cause problems in other types of kayaks, as well as in canoes.
No W500 outfitted with a saddle bracket that we know of has shown stress problems such as Jeff Taubes describes. Since he describes cracks appearing both in the front and rear ends of his W500’s saddle, before he applied brackets, and later in the middle, we must conclude that he had caused extreme damage to it before starting to fix it properly, namely with a bracket. This notion of extreme prior damage is reinforced by the fact that in his video (min 0:38), Taubes says that he had applied silicone in the cracks in order to try and seal them before he eventually solved the problem with the brackets that the manufacturer (namely Wavewalk) had sent him. This is also what we remembered from our conversations with him.
In sum, Jeff Taubes had tried to fix the problem in a way that was contrary to our recommendations to him, and by that he considerably aggravated the problems in his boat.
The W500 saddle bracket becomes standard
Before November 2013, we used to offer the bracket as an option, together with information about load, usage, and possible complications. We also offered it as a way to fix such problems after they had developed.
In November of 2013, we decided to stop offering the Wavewalk 500 saddle bracket as an option, and we integrated it into the boat’s design, as a standard feature. Since then, all W500 boats that we’ve shipped have featured a saddle bracket, standard.
More on what’s behind Jeff Taubes posting his ‘Sunbaked Life’ YouTube video
Per his previous threats, he initially did it to embarrass Wavewalk, hoping that by doing so, he’d force us to send him another kayak.
Jeff Taubes is a seasoned professional salesman who’s been in the mattress and furniture business for years, as well as in the mold and mildew treatment business, regardless of his activity as a Wavewalk dealer. As a professional salesman and businessman, he must know that in case of a dispute between a client and a vendor, the client can file a claim in a small claims court, and if they deem it excessive or ineffective, the client can contact their local BBB office and file a claim there. But Jeff Taubes did neither, and instead, he chose to threaten us that he’d post online negative information about our company. Posting under an alias also allows him to keep fishing out of his Wavewalk 500 that’s outfitted with two saddle brackets that we sent him at no charge, even though he had failed to heed our warning and follow our recommendations.
There is a veiled threat in what he wrote on YouTube (quote): “If any more problems develop I will add more videos.” He wrote this although we had previously informed him that the pictures he had sent us recently (2015) showed that he could improve the way he fixed the cracks in the kayak’s saddle. We explained to him how he could do it, and that it would take no more than a couple of minutes to do, but he chose not to follow our recommendations, again, as we can see in his video.
We conclude from this fact that protecting his W500 kayak and properly fixing it is not Jeff Taubes’ first priority, and it never was.
We also deduct from it, as well as from his previous unusual behavior in this matter, that he must have always imagined that he could misuse his W500, fail to properly fix it, and eventually manage to force Wavewalk to send him a replacement kayak, by hook or by crook. It is our understanding that such attitude can explain that pattern of behavior on his part.
We believe that his last abusive email from 2016, which he sent to all our dealers under his own name, marks a change in his attitude, which is now motivated purely by blind vengeance for the fact that Wavewalk did not yield to his blackmail effort, and exposed both his identity and his malicious plan.
We’d like to use this opportunity to state that we see it both as our our duty and pleasure to support our clients, even years after they’ve purchased a boat from us. Whenever we’re called to, we make exceptional efforts to support our clients, well beyond our written policy, because we see a sale as the beginning of a relationship with the client, and not as a conclusion of one. In fact, we have many clients who’ve purchased multiple boats from us over the course of more than a decade. See over two hundred clients’ Wavewalk 500 reviews here »
We thought of Jeff Taubes’ demand for a replacement boat as unjustified and frivolous, and his threats to hurt Wavewalk’s reputation as unfair and illegal, and therefore unacceptable to us.
We disapprove of such behavior, and we posted this information on our website in order to present our side of the story, and show that we have nothing to hide, and that we stand by our clients, our products and our policies.
Judging by Jeff Taubes’ email to us from June 2016, and his use of extremely foul and abusive language in it, we concluded that he was becoming aware of the fact that Wavewalk will not yield to his blackmailing effort. He also seemed to be annoyed by this article that we posted about his video on our website.
We offered Jeff Taubes to remove this article from our website in exchange of him removing his defamatory video from YouTube, and he has chosen not to do so.
His 2016 email to our dealers marks a point where he no longer appears to act against Wavewalk’s interest in an attempt to gain something for himself. Instead, his most recent actions are pointing to an increasingly irrational and erratic pattern, and to complete disregard for the law, and consequently for his own interest.
As one of our dealers wrote to us after reading Jeff Taubes’ last email: -“He must want to be sued.” We hope that he will soon realize that he can’t keep behaving in such and extremely irregular way.