I was very excited to get my…
I was very excited to get my Sea Eagle, but quickly ran into a series of frustrating experiences.
First off, it took me 3-4 times to learn how to pack everything back into the carry bag. It looked so simple on the video!! I realized that I needed to fold the outsides in towards the middle and fold it as tight as possible for everything to fit.
The second occurred after my first exhilarating sail down the Delaware River. For some inexplicable reason one of the tubes would not deflate. I still don’t know what happened, but I had to load the partially inflated boat into my Highlander. Very frustrating. I tried again once I got the kayak home and it deflated fine.
The third occurred after I took the kayak to the bay side of Sandy Hook, NJ. While the ride was great, and the boat very stable in the bay with mild waves and great sail, cleaning the inside of the boat from the sand on the beach was a ROYAL PITA!!!! I had taken an old shirt to wipe things down and merely brushing the drain holes to get sand away from them removed one of the drain hole covers from the tab that held it in place to cover the drain hole. What poor quality for something one does not want to lose, like a drain cap. So again, since there was no way to clean the kayak once out of the water, I didn’t want to fold it into the bag, only then to have to reclean it once I got home.
To add to the RO YAL PITA experience, once I dragged the sandy kayak down my steps to get it washed out, not all the sand would wash out. Grains “hid” under the removable floorboard and stubbornly stuck to every nook and cranny of the 16 drain holes and their covers. Given the flimsiness of the drain cover attachment bands, I could not get the kayak clean when it was wet. So, I had to leave it for days propped up off the ground in the shade until I could get back to my weekend house. Then gingerly wipe off the dry sand move the unwieldy deflated kayak to a flat area of the yard to pack it away for next use. What an ordeal.
Undaunted, I took the kayak to the ocean side of Sandy Hook. We went to the wrong beach; in that it was probably 200-300 yards from parking lot to surf. With beach equipment and kayak equipment that was a very difficult walk there and back.
Don’t get me wrong. It was totally exhilarating being in the ocean in a kayak with a sail. I was in my own slice of heaven, soaking up the sun, having fun, listening to tunes, taking pics, surfing waves and sailing. Absolutely as good if not better than the ride waving video on the website. The ability to ride in this way was half the reason to buy the Sea Eagle in the first place, and this exceeded my expectations.
So, the other main reason was portability. I described the difficult walk above [next year will get a big sand wheel wagon] but one must either clean the kayak at the surf or take it unfolded and unclean back to the parking lot. The sand on the beach makes cleaning at the surf exceedingly difficult, even lying on two sheets. Pulling the kayak on a two-wheel kayak transport back to the parking lot after my second ocean excursion was also difficult. So, portability is poor given the need to clean the kayak before packing and the difficulty in getting this done someplace right out of the water, especially after being in the sea!!
Another worry was how much damage I was causing the kayak by having it be in the sun at the beach for a few hours as the warning is not to leave it in the sun. I thought that was for a really long time. But it seemed like the Sea Eagle lost a fair amount of air pressure after a combination of surfing and being a few hours in the sun. What am I not supposed to surf then hang out at the beach? Does one need a kayak cabana to protect it, or does one have to drag out the pump and do that again?
My efforts regarding customer support were mixed. I got no help when I asked about how to fold the kayak other than being told to watch the video. When asked about the drain hole cover attachment the tech person said it was a poor design and could not be fixed. When I discussed the mixed bag of using the skeg in the river, he suggested I try shaving off the bottom of a skeg as the tip probably did little to help with keeping on track, but would increase the ability to paddle I shallow water. I have not tried this yet. But he sent me a modified skeg and that was really positive. And when I did speak with people, they were nice.
One other issue that I have not broached with the staff is how vulnerable the kayak might be to critters. There are warnings about not having the kayak be exposed to creatures like mice as they might like the vinyl. Living along the river there is lots of wildlife, so I am afraid to leave it out for several days. Can I leave it on the ground? Do I need to cover it from the sun if I leave it on the dock? Do I have to bag it after each use? Can I store in in a wooden shed outside, or do I need to store the large bag inside the house? If a mouse chews it is that covered under warranty?
Overall, I did not return the Sea Eagle because of the fantastic ocean and bay experience. And it is really comfortable to sit in. But I chose to more often use my beat up 10-year-old Perception Sport with the Sea Eagle sail on the river. It tracks far better upstream along the bank, and the sail is fun and challenging. I might try the Sea Eagle down the Delaware above the Water Gap this week, but that is a big trip. I know what I have I store for me with the poor portability and cleaning issues I outlined above. Hopefully, it will be great fun and only a little pita.
I was going to add this review to their official site but it limited me just after the RYAL PITA sentence.
I had my original Sea Eagle…
I had my original Sea Eagle 330 for over 12 years, it survived hard paddling and finally tore the front out and it was time for replacement. I upgraded to the 300X and love this new boat. I love the removable skeg, and the tough skin. I use it on the Rio Grande in Northern NM. I replace the skeg to use in lakes for the enhanced tracking. I have paddled it in high winds, which admittedly is tough in ANY boat! I have recommended this boat over and over to people I know, and they also have been happy with the purchase
Fantastic! I've owned my…
Fantastic! I've owned my 300x (and a 380x explorer also from Sea Eagle) for the last three years. I've had it on the ocean battling 5' waves, flooded rivers, whitewater, and flat lakes. It is amazingly well constructed, light enough for me to handle by myself, packs down easily, and is very stable. I adore this kayak. It is also extremely comfortable; drop the seat and take a nap on the lake in your boat! I can't recommend it enough.
i'm a small paddler of 66kg…
i'm a small paddler of 66kg - 70kg (145lbs - 154lbs) i have paddled the 300x on the sea in flat to moderate conditions.
i have also done grade 2 white water so far and it really is safe and stable,
as long as it is not to windy this craft will track very well with out the skag,
an electric pump even the smaller ones make it easier to inflate and just top up with manual pump,
deflates and packs away fast.
i bought a shorter paddle than the one it comes with and feel it helps my paddle of this craft.
Excellent experience. Rides…
Excellent experience. Rides well, tracks well, as stable as a hard-shell. Pumping the 5 compartments takes me longer than they say, so I bought a cheap $10.00 pump on Amazon that I plug into a converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Huge forward step.
On the other hand, it deflates really fast. I recommend drying it off first with a towel, Windex for dirty spots. I lay it out when I return home to dry thoroughly.