I thoroughly recommend the…
I thoroughly recommend the Santee 126.
I live in Sydney Australia, 69 years, 178cms and 78kgs (5 foot 10 inches and 172 lbs). I paddle in estuaries and tidal rivers. Not all the US and Canadian lightweight kayak brands are sold in Australia.
I have only been paddling for about two years. The Santee 126 is my second boat after starting with a Cobra Escape SOT and having started paddling in various loaner and hire kayaks. I have had the 126 for about two months, paddling most weeks.
The Santee 126 is a great boat, especially for an older person like me.
I needed a kayak I could get on and off my car’s roof racks by myself, so I was looking for something under 20kgs (40lbs). And I needed a stable boat; I wear hearing aids which cost a lot more than the boat, so I am not keen to take any unplanned swims. And I needed a boat with enough speed / glide so I could better keep up with my weekly paddle group of fellow retirees. And I needed a boat that was comfortable to sit in.
The Santee meets all those key criteria.
I had considered purchasing a Santee 126 Sport with the assurance of a larger cockpit if I did tip, but following the advice of the experienced paddle store manager, I have found the 126 cockpit to be very spacious and comfortable. The 126 also has the advantage over the Sport model of front (diagonal) deck lines, to which I have added an extra bungy line straight cross the boat and from which I carabiner attach a pouch for easy access to my water bottle and a mesh bag for any other small comfort items I might want to use. There is also plenty of room beyond my feet to place a 5 litre dry bag to easily get to my phone and snacks without beaching in order to access the rear hatch.
My Santee 126, manufactured mid-2020, came with a different seat to the Airstream featured in all the online videos. This different seat is however well aerated and comfortable. There is also no forward hatch, but I don't need one.
The Santee’s ABS thin plastic hull and deck are more flexible than I had expected, which is a little disconcerting when pushing myself out of the boat or even if pushing the bottom of the boat when in the water. The absence of carry handles mid-boat does make it a little tricky to lift and carry (don’t try it with a cockpit cover on the boat). And the near-flat 'vvv’ hull makes loading onto some roof rack fittings harder work, and does not lend itself to the boat being as speedy as others, but it does make for great stability. The tracking is reasonable but not great, I just focus a little more on direction. And finally, the absence of a useful water bottle holder is to be noted, but which I have rectified (above) and there is plenty of room behind the seat or in the cockpit.
I thoroughly recommend the Santee 126; when I get to about 75 years, I expect to replace the 126 with the lighter and shorter Santee 116!
Terrific kayak. I already own…
Terrific kayak. I already own a Wilderness Systems Sealution which has been on numerous week long trips in the upper midwest. Great boat (kevlar, rudder), but I now keep it in Door county, Wisconsin and wanted a smaller and less expensive kayak for our home in the Madison area.
I am now 70 and wanted a boat that was relatively easy to load and unload off my Crosstrek. After scouting around and checking with the staff at Rutabaga Paddlesports and taking a test paddle, I purchased the Santee 126. I think the smaller cockpit provides more control than the Santee 126 Sport.
I have used the boat a lot over the past couple years. It tracks well without a rudder, is very comfortable, and is light as advertised (40 pounds). It is perfect for taking 1-4 hour day trips on the Madison lakes or surrounding rivers and smaller lakes. The small storage area is very convenient. Both the foot pegs and the seat are easily adjustable. This boat has exceeded all my expectations for a fun and easy paddle, relatively inexpensive, and light. I love the Santee 126.
This kayak was perfect for…
This kayak was perfect for it's purpose - getting me introduced to kayaking. had never kayaked before, and was sure I would like the sport, but didn't really know what aspect of it I would enjoy the most. Consequently I got a Pungo 120 ultralite - wide and stable with a huge 50" cockpit (I have back/mobility problems and am 6'3" with 36" inseam). The Pungo had to be return as it had a design flaw causing cracks to develop in the ultra thin ultralite plastic where the handles attached.
So I looked for an alternative. It had to be reasonably light. I am 63 and cannot imagine I will be able to lift much more than 40lbs on to the roofrack when I get into my 70's. I wanted something recreational and stable with decent mobility. The 43" cockpit is long enough for me to get my legs into easily and the 28" width gives it super secondary stability. I feel really comfortable when the lake starts getting rough and the 40 lb boat is relatively easily to hoist on my shoulder.
Paddling wise it is an extremely agile kayak. The plastic is not as tough as one of those tough plastic or fibreglass sea kayaks, but it can take the odd scrape here and there. It can feel tippy at first, but the secondary stability is unbelievably good. I have been in some bad wakes in rough weather and the boat never comes close to tipping. The boat obviously weathercocks slightly in wind, but tracking is better than I expected for a 12' 6" boat intended for recreation.
Its only drawback is speed. As it turns out, I have discovered what turns me on the most about the sport: speed! I love to go down the river and into the lake and go as far as I can for 2-3 hours. I just like the feeling of being in my own head for 3 hours, concentrating on the paddling and the calmness on the water. I tend to average 6km/hour (3.7mph) if I go out for 3 hours. So far I have about 40 hours paddling this boat and, but for the lack of speed, I love it.
I would like to do a bit of expedition paddling. The Santee has two bulkheads, but the front bulkhead is not accessible for storage. The rear hatch takes quite a bit, and there is some rudimentary elastic rigging in front of the cockpit. The seat is very comfortable - it's an airestream seat that is quite adjustable and has adjustable back and thigh support. Unfortunately the seat attachment bracket attached to one side of the boat snapped, but customer service quickly sent me TWO new sets of replacement brackets and hardware (hopefully I won't need the spare set). It was easy to install. They also sent two sets of 4 pads. Two get stuck on the base of the hull under the seat and two get stuck on the underside of the seat. (So I still have a spare set of 4) They line up so when a big guy like me throws his bum on the seat, there are two sets of two pads to slow the sudden downward movement of the seat and reduce the stress on the side brackets. I haven't had a problem since installing the "upgrade". I don't know if they will now come standard on new kayaks, but they should. If anyone is over 200lbs and thinking about buying this kayak, they should ask about the pads, otherwise the stress might be too much for the side brackets.
In conclusion - this is the perfect lightweight recreational kayak. It will not break any speed records, but it seems relatively quick for its length and breadth and it handles the waves ok. I am now looking to upgrade to an intermediate/entry level surfski that will go a lot faster, but that's a story for another day. I heartily recommend this kayak for anyone that likes touring and exploring at a relaxed pace, rather than fitness or racing.
Love it !! Glides like a…
Love it !! Glides like a dream!!
Tracks well, very light due…
Tracks well, very light due to thermoformed deck and hull, stable. Holds enough gear for an easy night or two out, great for day trips or just a couple of hours. This isn't a whitewater rock-hopper, so don't treat it like one! It should last for many years if cared for properly and not abused. Great kayak.
I have had my Santee 126 for…
I have had my Santee 126 for 5 years now. The main reason I bought it is because of it's lightweight, I'm in my 60's, and I drive a lifted Grand Cherokee, so I was trying to keep stress off of my back. After doing research it was a toss-up between a Hurricane and an Eddyline. A local EMS had a sale going on and Hurricanes were on sale, so I jumped.
I've been very satisfied in pretty much every aspect of this kayak. It's not the best at anything, but it is quite acceptable at everything. It's fast enough, tracks straight, and is quite stable. I have used it very carefully in many "non-recommended" ways, and it has stood up to everything. I often paddle small rivers sometimes clogged with downed trees and strainers, and sometimes end up pushing myself over barely-submerged logs. I do NOT do rocky rivers and rivers with rapids with this kayak.
The only incident I've had with it happened on land. In taking it off of the roof one day my friend, who was on the stern end, had the handle slip out of her hand and the stern dropped onto the pavement from about 18"-24". I gave it a quick look and everything looked fine so we put in the water. This was just a 2-hour flatwater paddle. Turned not to be fine. When we got back and went to pull the boats out the entire rear compartment was full of water. It was easy to fix, and I also added a protective strip to the entire keel. That was 2 years ago and there have been no problems.
I also have a 17' Dagger, a 13' Perception, and a 10' Future Beach which I usually use for beginner paddlers. It's also what I use on rocky rivers. The Santee is always my go-to kayak when the destination is right.
I wanted a light, versatile…
I wanted a light, versatile kayak mostly for short paddles on Madison lakes and surrounding area. I got rid of a bulky and heavy fishing kayak which I seldom used, and the Santee 126 has proven to be just what wanted. Easy to get on and off top of car alone. Paddles easily and tracks very well with no rudder. I keep a really good kayak (with rudder) in Door county for longer trips, but this has proven be perfect so far. As with previous reviews, I am cautious about putting too much weight on cockpit, but after several paddles this has not been a problem. Great boat for the money.
I simply love this kayak ! …
I simply love this kayak ! Second kayak after a Cabellas Emotion Guster angler 10 ' , which was a decent boat but somewhat heavy. This Hurricane Santee 126 is a super light kayak and easily carried to and from water . Once in the water it floats like a dream , gliding through with minimal effort. I am super happy with this boat and haven't thought twice about the purchase and can't wait to get out there again .
The Hurricane Santee 126…
The Hurricane Santee 126 Sport is a very stable, easy to carry, maneuver and paddle, The Sport version makes it very easy to get in and out of, lots of room for various items, and has plenty of room for our dog.
I'm 5' 7" 125lbs. The seat position has it perfectly balanced front to rear, so tracking is very good, but it barely drew any water with me in it, so it rode high. The high-ride height combined with the 28" beam made it a stretch to paddle comfortably, I have the right length paddle, but I'm also a weak paddler. Things may have improved over time, but I opted to get the Sojourn 126 instead, which was designed for smaller paddlers .
I purchased Santee 126 in…
I purchased Santee 126 in 2013. Shortly into it's third season (2016) the kayak developed a crack in the bottom of one of the many scratches the underside of the boat had developed over it's short time of use. Additionally the seat was mounted Crooked and had to be taken out a remounted at the dealership. Hand made quality at its finest. The kayak has now developed it's third crack/hole. I would say the revolutionary new material this boat has been manufactured from is not good at all. The company website mentions their boats are extremely durable but are not recommended for whitewater. I have never used my Hurricane in whitewater but it still has cracked from gentle touches with the bottom here and there.
Awesome light weight kayak.…
Awesome light weight kayak. Great for older people. Easy to get in and out of. But the hatch isn't 100% waterproof and the footrests suck. They are very easily snapped backwards. The only way to fix them is to take completely off and reattach. Overall worth the money!
Picked up my kayak back in…
Picked up my kayak back in February and have used it several times in the Indian River Lagoon, Blue Cypress Lake, Fort Drum Marsh. The kayak is super light and easy to carry. Even though it is light you still have to be careful in windy weather if you raise it too high in the air the wind can easily catch it and make it feel much heavier.
Getting in and out of the kayak is easy although I do find that the sides of the kayak give a little too much for my liking. Nothing has cracked but it sure does bend when I push on the side to lift myself up. The main storage compartment is large and remains water free. The smaller front compartment is nearly useless due to its location. I think it's better as an air compartment to aid in flotation in case it goes under.
I am new to kayaking but I do believe that the kayak handles well and is well suited for the lagoon and lakes nearby. The available colors are bright and shiny, the hull is white and so far is holding up well. The seat is comfortable and the adjustable backrest is a big plus.
I would recommend this kayak but if possible try out before you purchase it. I purchased mine from Orchid Island Bikes and Kayaks here in Vero Beach, Fl. With their help I was able to purchase the kayak that was right for me.
I was looking to replace two…
I was looking to replace two ancient Necky Manitou Sports. I was at the kayak store looking to get two Neckys. I spotted the Hurricanes. I had always liked the way they looked with the white hull and brightly colored decks. The sales person told me all about the Santee 126's, light weight, stable, great tracking and easy to get up to speed, and great stability. They were way more expensive than the Necky's but I do not regret the purchase. I got two of them one for my wife. We took them on several lake trips first. Flat water and no wind. The boats were like a dream to paddle. Tracked so well and the glide was amazing. My wife was able to open the hatch and retrieve snacks while under wayl. Great great great. Next was a trip down the French Broad river in Asheville NC. Boats were easy to maneuver around the rocks. We both for stuck on the rocks and I was worried that the bottoms of such light weight boats would be all torn up. I need not have worried. When we got to the take out point the bottoms had very light scratches. No worse than any other boats we have had. The seats are comfy and adjustable.
Now the bad.
When you are adjusting the footrests there is a plastic rod that you have to twist and move forward or back. This mechanism is fragile. The little clip that holds it in can easily be snapped off. It can be snapped back in but be careful of that. Being such a light boat, it doesn't have the solid feel of a roto-molded boat. You can push in on the deck and it will give. But it seems sturdy and strong. I am not sure that I trust the seams around the hull and deck or the seams around the bulkheads, so far though they are holding up just fine. Drink holders are off to the side and under the deck, not ideal placement. Lastly they are expensive.
Light light light light!!! Pretty pretty pretty. Tracking and stability for days. Glides forever. Very good secondary stability, you can carve it if need be. Two bulkheads front and rear for floatation. Front bulkhead has a small hatch below decks.
Would have given this boat a 10 if it wasn't for the flimsy feeling of the thin materials. But I guess that is the trade off for such a light boat. Would for sure recommend this boat to a friend.
My daughter bought me this…
My daughter bought me this beautiful kayak for Mother's day three years ago and I love it! Glides through the water with ease, tracks well, comfortable seat. best of all, I can carry it myself and I'm 62! Looking forward to many more great years with my Hurricane kayak
This is hands down a great…
This is hands down a great kayak for the rec user/ long daytripper. Light weight, easy to paddle, easy to maneuver and fast. But still stable enough for a beginner. I looked for literally 6 months and tried out different brands before settling on the Santee 126. I already had a Dagger Blackwater 12.5 but needed another so my son and I could each have one. This fit the bill perfectly.
While it won't handle rough white water or rocky conditions as well as my Dagger, that is not what I bought it for or it's intended use. In rivers where I am not going to scrape the bottom constantly or in lakes this kayak excels. Though I don't live near the ocean, I am certain this would do well in bays, backwaters and near the coast as mine has handled the chop and waves of a nearby lake with ease.
Oh, and this is definitely one of the best LOOKING kayaks out there as well.
Haven't tried an overnighter yet, but sure this yak can handle it.
Only complaints, and they are minor ones, is the lack of a drain plug and no cup/ bottle holder. But for all the other fine features,including generous storage space in the stern bulkhead, this is a true keeper.
My thanks to Dave at D&D Outfitters in Cincinnati for answering my many questions and helping me select this fine craft.