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Expedition Description

At 18 ft long, the Expedition is designed to go fast. Built for the performance paddler, the Expedition accelerates quickly and gets to top speed in a short period of time. This boat has lots of storage and is ideal for any paddler interested in performance touring, sea kayaking and long distance cruising.

A high level of paddling efficiency enables Cobra Expedition paddlers to travel longer distances in a shorter time with less physical effort. The long narrow waterline allows the hull to slide easily, quickly and smoothly through the water. The low profile deck is a unique feature for a sit-on-top and greatly cuts down on windage. A V-shaped keel and an adjustable leg length rudder system provide improved tracking and stability.

Expedition Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • Small Rectangular Hatch
  • Cobra Rudder System
  • Venturi Kick Down Bailer
  • Accessory Eyelets

Cobra Kayaks
Expedition Reviews

Read reviews for the Expedition by Cobra Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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After a summer of paddling…

Submitted by: traplive on 10/23/2016
After a summer of paddling the Cobra Expedition alongside other smaller kayaks, I'm upgrading my previous rating. The limitations are still the same, but I find that I love the handling in wind and waves, and the speed can't be beat. If I had the money and space for multiple kayaks, I'd keep the Cobra and also have a fishing kayak.

I've paddled the Cobra…

Submitted by: traplive on 6/15/2016
I've paddled the Cobra Expedition in Hood Canal and southern Puget Sound. As other reviewers mention, this boat tracks straight and flies fast. I have not had a problem with stability, even in wind, waves and boat wakes. I find it a joy to paddle point to point. That's where the joy ends. Despite caulking and seal replacement the cockpit still fills with water. The venturi bailer was such a leaky pain that I finally took it out and replaced it with some cut up pieces of a 5 gallon bucket lid. Maneuvering in close quarters is difficult at best. The yachts in the Marina can turn around at the fuel dock easier than I can. I find myself planning turns ahead of time. Since I enjoy freshwater and saltwater fishing, I'm selling the Cobra and looking for a shorter, wider, fishing SOT. Eddyline Caribbean here I come.

I've been paddling this boat…

Submitted by: paddler236712 on 4/27/2016
I've been paddling this boat for 4 years. The first time I paddled it I was sold on it. Out after dark on a big lake. Wind came up producing large following waves. We could hear them coming from behind. The water passed by and folded over the bow. The boat never noticed. This boat is on rails and really only needs the rudder for close turns. The only downside for me is the cockpit drain. It leaks all the time and I have been unable to get a new seal from Cobra. On a 15 mile river paddle last summer I did decide to improve the seat.

I have owned my Cobra for…

Submitted by: CathyY on 7/2/2015
I have owned my Cobra for about 10 years-ish. I use it in rough waters and have always been very pleased with the tracking and speed. It's pretty, it's comfortable, it's stable, and has tons of storage for my annual 5 day camping trip. On the downside, it's very hard to turn if you're trying to turn sharp, even with the rudder; this limits shoreline exploring. It sits low in the water, and with 5 days supply, even lower. Then in rough water, the cockpit fills quickly, and you can't get enough speed for the venturi valve to work. So you have to stop, pump out, and lose all momentum. The very conditions that fill the cockpit are the conditions that prevent me from getting the speed I need to drain it. This has been by far the greatest drawback on this otherwise awesome open cockpit boat.

I have been using my Cobra…

Submitted by: paddler236076 on 12/8/2014
I have been using my Cobra Expedition in the lake and on the good side it tracks really well can get it up to a good speed. The not so good is turning, and as it so low in the water any wash goes into the cockpit, I got caught in really bad weather and to the kayaks credit, even with cockpit with a lot of water in it, I got back home. the drain works well as long as you get the boat up to good speed. I have been paddling surf ski's in the lake a lot so the Cobra isn't a problem but I wouldn't buy another one.

I have had my Cobra for…

Submitted by: paddler235401 on 11/22/2013
I have had my Cobra for several years and is a good Boat to add to your fleet.

Good speed, lots of storage, good platform for ocean fishing or diving and it gets you to your spot faster than most. Flat deck my Jack Russell loves w/added non skid surface.

Wet boat in rough conditions, Venturi leaked, sealed it. used the rudder maybe twice and dropped it, Turns like a tanker, hard to carry. But a good boat depending what you want to do.


Got this as my first yak.…

Submitted by: paddler235350 on 9/23/2013
Got this as my first yak. Love the thing but it takes on a lot of water through the hatches and rudder holes, potential leaking on scupper holes as well. Need to bail it out every 15 minutes or so, when the hull fills with water this thing gets TIPPY!!! The hatches are a pain in the butt, takes like 7 different latches you gotta open up, then turn half way counter clockwise to unlock the hatch. All that and they still leak!!!

Also cockpit fills with water as the venturi leaks, drains well when moving fast. So if you are sitting the cockpit will fill with water. Not a cold water yak unless you like a cold butt, For Hawaii/tropical climates its fine though.

Tracks well into wind and is FAST but for some reason the front keel on mine is bent to the left, making the boat have a left turning tendency, without right rudder the thing would literally go in large circles. Not too big of an issue though, doesn't seem to add much if any drag.

When the hull isn't filled with water the stability is fine for me I am 155 lbs 6'
To access to hatches you can't reach behind you or you'll get tippy, gotta sit on the side with your legs in the water for stability.

Overall I am very pleased with this yak. If I could somehow get the hull water tight it would be perfect but we all know that never happens with leaky hatches unless you weld em shut!


Bought my Expedition SOT used…

Submitted by: paddler235327 on 9/4/2013
Bought my Expedition SOT used last year and really have been enjoying it. I'm 6'1" 205lbs, and this boat feels about right for me. Never had a problem with stability, in fact I have the largest sail kit from FalconSails.com and have a blast with it, even in gusty winds Though when sailing the thigh straps are a must have.

Pros: Feels very fast, and you can really push it.
Cons: Doesn't like to turn at all, rudder seems pretty marginal (I am going to replace it) and my venturi valve leaks.

All in all a great plastic boat.


I have had my Expedition for…

Submitted by: FrankNC on 7/14/2013
I have had my Expedition for a few years. It is a fast boat that has no trouble keeping up with other boats. It carries a good load. I weigh 230 and am 5'10" and it fits me well. It takes some time to move the foot bar for different size paddlers. It is a very straight tracking boat and is stable compared to sea kayaks. It is not stable compared to most other sit on tops. Very good in choppy and rough water. I use it for sailing as well. The hatches are very tight and do not leak.

I recommend you try one, if you are on the fence and cannot get one to try you will not be disappointed if you order one.


Fantastic kayak. This is my…

Submitted by: paddler234986 on 5/5/2013
Fantastic kayak. This is my third kayak and the cheapest and best. I'm not sure if this model is still in production I had to get this one as a factory second. It's has similar lines and hull to a sea kayak but all the practicality of an s.o.t. I don't know of any other sot like it. I will in all probability keep it for life.

The latest version of the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/16/2013
The latest version of the Expedition has an updated rudder and pedal system that fixes the issues with the old (see gripes below).

The boat itself is a joy. Plenty fast and a SOT, like a surf ski, but way more practical and stable for most paddlers. Don't get me wrong, the Expedition isn't overly stable, but if you want a fast SOT for touring or adventure races this is a great choice. It may be one of the only choices left in fast SOT speed touring kayaks. Cobra's linear poly is nice and stiff which may be why they do a 19' SOT.


I've owned an Cobra…

Submitted by: paddler233961 on 4/27/2011
I've owned an Cobra Expedition for over 6 years now. I was deathly afraid of it until I received my thigh braces. Now it seems stable and very fast. I've practiced rolls in it and it does pretty well, even when weighted down with gear. I ended up sealing the Venturi plug because I couldn't keep the water out. My hatches have stayed sealed pretty well and only find minor leaking. I've done multi-day adventure paddles down the Big Manistee River in Michigan and long paddles on Lake Michigan. It does extremely well with wind and waves though I agree with other reviewers that it gets a bit dicey on a downwind trek in waves. I've used it as a workout tool and it competes well again kevlar ski's pretty well. I rebuilt my foot pedals and braces because they kept breaking. That is a major knock on it along with a flimsy rudder system. But, this isn't made to turn on a dime. Its made to go long and fast, and it does that well.

I paddled the Cobra…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/22/2010
I paddled the Cobra Expedition for nearly 2 years. It is is a kind of unique boat in that is a sit on top but can behave in many ways almost like a classic sea kayak. I used it in different sea conditions including pretty high waves with no problem (after getting used to it).

A major bad point though is the horrible leaking of the hatches. This problem, which could not be mended expect by permanently sealing the hatches, basically prevents this boat to go far & long as it is intended to do, unless it's a calm water environment.This problem also kept giving me a hard time constantly.
It is not great in surfing to the shore, but it's pretty good in riding swell.
In the end I almost stopped using the rudder and used edging to maneuver (with the help of thigh braces). it worked quite well for such a long boat.

It is very fast and (unlike most sit on tops) can rival many traditional sea kayaks. The hull it is light yet durable. The rudder system & omegas & rivets are pretty vulnerable and should be treated with extreme caution and fixed from time to time.


I bought two Expeditions fall…

Submitted by: paddler233463 on 1/7/2010
I bought two Expeditions fall of '08. My wife and I are very experienced paddlers. My first experience with the new boat, the small round hatch in the cockpit leaked in at least 20 gallons of water in 2ft seas 15mi. per hr wind. The boat was rendered un-paddleable, I had to swim it to shore. Found and fixed the leak by siliconing the hatch shut permanently.

As to the rest of the boat the rudder pedals are very poorly placed for a paddler over 6'3" Rudder is too small to be effective and very flimsy in construction. Deck mounted control lines are weak at best. Cockpit drain system is difficult to use and easily fills with sand.

High points, very fast in calm water. Toggled hatches seal well. Cobra customer service was non existent. Not recommended


I traded my old Perception…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/10/2008
I traded my old Perception Carolina plus $125 for a near perfect slate grey Expedition. The guy I traded with found the Carolina more suited to his needs and vice-versa. I have a small lake behind me and I train on it. Alot. The Perception was ok but when I really got on it I think I was getting past the hull speed of the boat. The bow wake was pretty substantial... noisy too. So I put the Expedition in the water and decided to give it a try. I'd heard that it was a bit tippy, but actually found it to be incredibly stable.... almost TOO stable. Then again, I'd spent the last month climbing back into a 17" wide Valhalla Victory Special surfski that kept throwing me out. I don't dump out of the ski anymore, and that's probably why the Expedition felt so stable. I actually trained in a gym to develop the balance skills needed to stay on the ski. I would sit on two exercise balls... my feet on one and my butt on the other... suspended in air. I did tons of practice paddling with a PVC rod and also did lots of free-weight work...in mid-air, so to speak. I highly recommend it. Anyway, at this point, I don't think I could flip this thing if I tried.

From the first stroke, the Expedition has a very specific personality. It wants to go straight... I don't have the rudder. It feels clumsy.... for about 4 or 5 strokes. It feels unbelievably fast after those 4 or 5 strokes. It's hands down the easiest boat to paddle fast that I've ever been in. It feels really good when your flat out hammering it. If you need to turn a bit, the easiest way is to just take a few extra strokes on one side. It doesn't respond all that well to sweep strokes when going real slow but who cares?

I can't wait to see how badly I whip my "flying mile" time in the Perception. If your going really fast, and you need to do a "U-turn" it feels like your trying to stop a runaway truck. Nice momentum! Just lay the blade on the water back behind your hips and flat LEAN on it. I thought I was gonna break my carbon wing trying to stop this thing. Personally, I don't think it weighs in at the advertised 48lbs, but I'm not planning on lugging it around... I'll be paddling it instead. More than anything, the Expedition is a real hoot.


I originally got the…

Submitted by: joebhamilton on 2/25/2008
I originally got the Expedition for kayaking through the surf and in the ocean. It worked ok for this purpose but it was very, very slow turning around in the ocean. I replaced the Cobra plastic foot pedals with the updated aluminum foot pedals that Cobra sent me for free. I also replaced the weak stock plastic rudder system with a Feathercraft rudder system with their tandem (large) aluminum rudder blade, which has more area and is longer than the plastic stock Cobra blade. This works better than the stock rudder system, but the Expedition is still slow turning around in waves.

I now use another sit on top in the ocean and am learning to paddle my Epic V10 sport surf ski, so the Expedition will be used more for fishing. It fits me well, allows one to sit side saddle and cast, and has a lot of (narrow) storage space under the front and rear hatches. However the 20 ft Epic surfski turns much faster than the 18 ft Expedition, so the long rear keel must affect its turning radius despite the large rudder.


I use this boat to spearfish…

Submitted by: paddler230925 on 1/7/2005
I use this boat to spearfish in NZ: unstable weather and big yellowtails!

Easy and fast to paddle, and since this time in +25knt head winds and close to 50kg of fish/gear where I manage to get back to the beach, I trust fully this kayak... even if I was singing "the yellow submarine" the whole time!

I did some modifications to organize all the diving gear on the deck, and I only get reserve gear or big fishes thought the main hatches: It is actually quite impressive to see this hatches swallow a 25kg yellowtail but I only do so if the weather is OK (if is not you must be able to bail the fish).

My only real complain is that the hatches always leak a bit, while the day hatch behind the seat doesn't seal properly and I've end up by fitting a Tupperware box on it to keep some gear dry.

The rudder is weak, and the side wings break easily: I end up by build an alloy replacement. If you use the rudder the boat slow down, and I only resort to it if is really windy.

Stable? Sometimes fall asleep while resting in between the dives... must be OK!!!

I do find the boat difficult to handle down wind with rear side swell, the stability is reduced big time and if I'm heavily loaded I end up by taking boards and avoid a swim... but this problem is probably exacerbate by all my dive gear on the deck and a cockpit full of fish and crayfish. The running water on the cockpit maintains all my catch fresh and sometimes alive...

Over all the boat is impressive... used with a wing paddle is not much out there that keep up the speed or distance this hull manage. Current, wind, swell, exhaustion... I'm always back to my launching point with out any problem, enjoying the ride, and able to reach areas that not much diving kayaks can dream of.


I have a background in…

Submitted by: paddler230323 on 8/19/2003
I have a background in whitewater and kayak surfing, so I did not find the expedition to be at all unstable or tricky to paddle. In fact, I was surprised at how stable it was.

The first time I tried one I found it remarkabley stable and fast. After two minutes, my paddling partner (my 2.5 year-old son) climbed aboard, sat in the baby-seat-shaped depression in front of the foot pedals, faced me, and we went for a very fast run out through chop on a local river. We even played "rock the boat", which involves the two of us rocking left and right aggressively. Now my son asks to go paddling almost every day; we do so often. He tells his mom that he likes the new kayak because it is "fast".

The boat does fill up with water when crashing through surf, but after paddling for 10-20 seconds or so with the venturi vent open, all the water gets sucked out. No big deal. I have paddled many miles out to sea by myself, through 3-5' point breaks off Vilano Beach. The water comes out quickly, as long as you are paddling efficiently. Handles big pushy waves well too. Very light boat. I could see how beginners might find it a bit difficult. But, if you have paddled any kayak before, and try this one, it will seem like a rocket on the water. Plastic is fantastic. Rock on! God bless you.


This is my fourth kayak and…

Submitted by: oldspooky on 8/6/2003
This is my fourth kayak and my second sit on top. My other SOT is a Necky Cruiser which I love for the narrow technical rivers of north Florida. I wanted something faster for the open gulf water and with our weather here a SOT is usable 98% of the time.

There is little in this class for competition. The Expedition is long and thin and very fast. I can keep up with the best and often lead. For its size it is very light and therefore as easy to handle as my fiberglass Endeavor. Storage is plentiful and the unusual hatch closurers for a kayak are just fine. I did add a couple of handles at the midpoint for one person loading and unloading. I also added some deck rigging for ease in reboarding from deep water; the external rudder lines are not great for anything except not being inside to foul on something. The rudder is fine though the foot control bar will not fit on all the indented foot holders that you think it would, its too short for the furthest, so tall paddlers should check for comfort length. The boat runs straight and true and the rudder only has come into play on my boat with strong current or high wind. The boat has a nice low profile for wind.

That nice low profile is also the reason it takes lots of water in anything but quiet seas. I like others rating this boat find its only real drawback being what it does or more aptly, does not do with the water that enters the cockpit. The venturi works fine when moving along but when stopped or moving slow, even after closing the valve when boat had no water, water arrives and has no good place to go. On the positive side, most of the water stays below seat level so you do not feel like your sitting in a bathtub; unless seas are running. But it is after all a sit on top. It runs sluggish when the cockpit is filled with water, but balance is ok even then. For a long, narrow and fast SOT, the Cobra Expedition is the boat.


I have been paddling my cobra…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/21/2003
I have been paddling my cobra expedition for about two months. It is fast and great fun to paddle, waves tend to fill the cockpit and its difficult to empty. Easy to carry on a car top. This is a great lake and river boat, Just the thing for this 70 year old water rat.

My current boat is a Tourer,…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/14/2001
My current boat is a Tourer, my next one will be an Expedition. I have rented it several times over a period of a couple of years. The first time I paddled it with about a month of current kayaking experience, I fell out a lot. It feels really tippy when you are a novice. About 9 mos. later I tried it again and managed not to fall out but felt tense all the time. At that time I was paddling an Explorer. Recently I rented it for a days paddling on Elkhorn Slough, at Moss Landing, and enjoyed it immensely. At this time I'd been paddling a tourer for about 3 months.

The Explorer is fast, I'm able to keep up with the front few of my club, which is almost exclusively decked boats, with only moderate effort. In other words you can paddle all day with some pretty fast boats and not be exhausted.

The unloaded explorer has next to no initital stability. This is due to an unloaded boat with a 200 lb. paddler riding on just the round bottomed part of the boat. There is absolutely nothing to keep the boat from starting to tip. Once you learn to let it go, relaxing your waist and letting you butt go with the boat while your torso stays upright, the secondary stability kicks in at about 10 or 15 degrees of tip from the horizontal. That is when the flat sponsoned sides of the boat enter the water and submerge enough to provide stabilizing buoyancy. In this position I found it turned quite well for such a long boat. I never used the rudder in the side channels of Elkhorn Slough.

I had reservations about the boat for diving because it doesn't have a tankwell. I don't use tanks, I just snorkel, but I don't like opening a hatch on the water. Once I really looked it over and discovered that the square hatch behind the seat doesn't open to the inside of the boat, but to a closed tub suitable for some diving gear or use as a live well. I would really, really like to see Cobra make this deeper as it seems to go only partway to the bottom of the boat. If I dive the Expedition I wouldn't want to put my weight belt in there because the weight would be too high. I'd have to carry it under my knees/feet in the deeper part of the boat.

It's easily the fastest sit on top that I know of available at this time. Heritage used to make a really quick one, that I never learned to stay in, but it was faster. Now a discontinued model. The only bad things are the drainaged system and the fact that the rectangular hatch tub doesn't extend all the way to the bottom of the boat.


I have been paddling my…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/29/2001
I have been paddling my Expedition for the past 7 months on lakes, harbors and the open sea. I love the boat! It is fast and can keep up with the closed deck boats without problem. I use the rudder system only in heavy winds or currents as the boat can track well by just leaning and edging. The storage compartments generally keep things dry and the hatch locking system can be adjusted if they begin to leak. My only complaints are: The wet seat in any kind rear quartering seas and the drainage system which makes it hard to launch in a high multiple wave surf. I am soon paddling a submarine. I would not trade this boat of any SOT I have seen or paddled. The venturi baling system works well when moving. Operative word is moving! Once flooded by a breaker there is a lot of water in the cockpit to maneuver.

I researched and paddled a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/13/2000
I researched and paddled a lot of sit-on-top kayaks before deciding on the Cobra Expedition. In my experience, the Expedition is by far the best touring sit-on-top in its class, if not the only one. The 18' hull is sleek and fast in the water, and slices through waves and chop effortlessly. Even though the boat tracks straight and true, I highly recommend the rudder kit. It's helpful in tight situations and long passages. The narrow beam and long water line contribute to less stability over similar boats; however, after a few hours paddling you get a feel for it and appreciate its efficiency and performance through the water. Friends have commented on the awkward design of the hatch locks (too many), but that's a personal thing. The system works fine and keeps my gear dry. The hull material is super linear polyethylene and may seem thin and weak at first, but it is strong and light, much appreciated when loading/unloading off the car. My experience with this kayak has been great, and I would recommend trying one out before purchasing any sit-on-top.

I have been paddling my…

Submitted by: paddler228951 on 10/9/2000
I have been paddling my Expedition for about 3 months and am very pleased with its overall performance. It is a bit tippy for beginners but a few hours on the water will make the practice worthwhile. The boat is fast and tracks very well. I paddle with friends with fiberglass and kevlar boats and I have no trouble keeping up. My only concern is the drainage system. The Expedition does not have scuppers for self-draining. Rather it has a mechanical bottom "vent" which clears water only down to about 2-3 inches. But overall, it is a great touring/workout boat for the money.