Most Recent Reviews
First: Carbonlite 2000. The boat is light and stiff with that well made composite boat look. The top deck, always a SOT concern, was solidly rigid due to its geometry and construction detail, showing almost none of the flex apparent in even heavily built poly SOTs. It is thoughtfully outfitted with bungees, functional hatches and retractable carry handles. The hull is hollow throughout its length, like most SOTs. There are no bulkheads between access hatches so don't count on anything remaining dry just because it is in the boat unless you use their accessory front hatch bucket, and even then. I suspect this boat will remain fairly dry inside, but water always finds a way into through hull fittings. A stern drain plug takes care of whatever gets in.
The seat is, without question, one of the most comfortable and functional SOT seats I have ever tried. It is light and strong, gives solid wrap around back support, yet does not interfere with proper torso rotation. It is plenty wide, positioned so it is easy to enter and exit. The innovative clip, straps and deck eye system make it quick and easy to attach/remove or adjust for tension, without a lot of clumsy supporting structure. The back itself is notably stiff, no flimsy material prone to collapsing or shifting while in use. The slightly raised seat deck area provides a drier ride without unduly affecting center of gravity. The paddle holder system is clever and functional as is the tackle box (or lunch dry bag) holder.
Although seemingly designed and marketed as more of a fishing kayak, my evaluation was as a general recreational/sea kayak. Many folks likely to buy one will use it that way. Why a SOT? For their own individual reasons, many prefer a SOT to a SINK. I paddled the boat on Chesapeake Bay, wind ~6-8 kts, waves about 1 ft up to 2 ft across sand bars and tide current.
The hull resembles a quasi cathedral design, but with a finer entry and stern and a strong, stiff center line with rounded chines. It positively *looks* stable, and delivers. I was a little concerned about secondary stability while trying leans in calm water; "fishing" SOTs often have a problem here. But once I had it in 1-1.5 foot waves it proved its mettle. Into quartering waves, with following seas, and darting through troughs with waves abeam demonstrated that the boat had predictable and responsive secondary stability. I was impressed.
The Caribbean 14 shows surprising quickness in acceleration, easy to maintain speed and it tracks straight even without a rudder. It did not show a tendency to weathercock. It sustains a good glide. What all that translates into is more efficient paddling requiring less effort and correction strokes. Moreover, it did not have a tendency to "plow" when turning like many shorter SOTs but handled turns well, although learning to edge it takes some getting used to if you paddle standard sea kayaks. No problems here. It was easy to rudder with the kayak paddle when surfing in for beach landings; again the seat back design was an asset. Bow draws and stern pries were responsive and predictable, a properly executed sweep would spin the boat easily. Good design job, Eddyline.
I thought lacking thigh strap attachment points was an oversight by Eddyline, but it didn't seem important in milder conditions or for normal surf launches. I look forward to trying the boat in larger quartering/abeam waves and surf soon to see if it remains an issue. A slight shifting of seat force often proved adequate for edge control. Resting your knees on the gunwales helped too. And therein is one of the design issues I had...
The foot/leg wells on this boat are crazy narrow. I don’t think unless you have the skinniest of bird legs will you be able to keep your knees down comfortably. Forget any hope of using the accessory center console cover. If you have a large leg calf, this area was not well thought out. The foot braces, an excellent general design, take up about 3" total width, space that was already reduced by narrowing the hull from the Caribbean 12. Their locking mechanism projections extend ~into~ the foot/leg well, not down when locked, making it a sawtooth irritant. A simple engineering change could easily fix it and increase leg room. Rather than the current footbrace, a newly designed attachment using the same pads that fits into the top accessory track rails would provide adjustability and extend leg length 2-3". Plus, with no need for the current footbrace system, another 2-3" width in the leg well would open it up and remove that sawtoothed irritant. I can only guess that such an accessory would be cheaper to manufacture and install over the current footbrace too. My friend finds it fine for her, many will likely do so as well. Try it for your fit. I would fabricate something like I mentioned and remove the current one (the boltheads are inside the hull requiring a long reach). I know many kayak fishermen tend to be bigger guys who would likely choose this boat over alternatives. For the record, I am one of those bigger guys at around 6'3" and 275. If this boat is aimed at that market somebody on the design team needs to rethink this.
This is a great boat! I think it will be very successful, not only for those who like to fish but especially for those preferring a SOT for recreational use/light seakayaking fun. Women will especially like its light weight and ease of handling to load/unload on their cars. Most poly SOTs are too heavy to handle comfortably, and no other lightweight SOTs compare for rigidity, stability, performance or build quality of this boat.
While all the models had their respective merits and drawbacks, I chose to get a Paddleboy Fat Boy because it seemed to meet my needs, fit a variety of larger boats well (Dagger Legend 16, Eddyline Nighthawk 175 and Tarpon 160), and most importantly was on sale and I could apply an additional 15% discount coupon to it, with free shipping. That dropped the price to just over $100; such a deal. And it was something different than the rest of the crowd already had, so we had yet another comparison option!
Even though I liked the C-Tug for its innovative design and construction, especially the pad supports, the tires kept coming off. This is apparently a problem that they know of and are working to correct. Plus, it was a good bit more expensive without the sale/discount.
I am quite pleased with the Fat Boy. It is remarkably easy to set up and use, accommodates wider/larger boats well, seems to be robust remaining in place over rough terrain (*if* you follow the directions to adjust the height for your boat and pull it up until it contacts the boat gunwales so there is no side-to-side motion/trapezoidal collapsing possible!), the minicel foam on the bottom provides secure support, it is quick to disassemble, collapse and stow. It is a bit large to carry in any kayak, but in reality all carts of any design take up a lot of room. One thing I did like over the center designs is that when you collapse it you can wrap the bungee cord around the frame to hold it closed and roll it back like a wheeled walking stick rather than having to pick it up and carry it like the center fit models.
I inflated the tires to 5# under max pressure and they are holding solid after a month. They work very well and pull easily, whether over hard, uneven terrain or soft sand. Yes, they smell when new. They all do. It will go away eventually. Washing them off helps. The stems were easy to access and attach a fill fitting (I used one of those emergency car tire ones you plug into the lighter, took 30 seconds to fill). If the fittings have receded slightly when totally deflated just pull them up with your fingers or hold them with a pair of needle nose pliers to attach the fitting. There will be plenty to work with after partially inflated.
Regarding a possibility of trapezoidal collapsing for narrow boats, I tried adding a short section of thin 1" blown foam split pipe insulation to the upper support arms. Voila! They may interfere with collapsing the carrier, but are easily removed or moved.
I rank it a 9 out of 10 only because stowing it aboard is a not as easy as I would like it to be. It's not an option I would use often, but I'm not entirely sure any other competitive model (e.g. the C-Tug, my second choice) would be any better. The tire size is a factor more than any other.
Mid-Swift Graphite 2-piece w/ new Feather-lock new ferrule system, 240cm. One cool thing…
One cool thing about Eddyline/Swift is that you don't hear a lot of hype about their products. But if you did, you could believe it all when it comes to this paddle!
This paddle is light (very light!), strong, has exceptional balance and swing weight, the ferrule lock system is solid, easy to use and easy to keep clean. The ability to set feather at 0, 45, 60, or 75 degrees is a great feature from a user friendly perspective, however most experienced paddlers will usually set it at their one preferred angle. I was glad to be able to duplicate the 45 degree angle of my Lightning.
Eddyline reportedly redesigned the Swift's blade shape in 2004. They really got it right. The carbon fiber blade is quite stiff, showing no flutter and a very solid "hold" feel in the water, even if you're not paying attention and hit it off angle. Exit is clean and low drag/no vibration, with very little drip. The shaft is very stiff, slightly ovalled, has just enough surface texture to provide a good tactile grip feel, even if you got your hands all greasy from putting sunscreen on your girlfriend's back. This paddle is very light, but its design and stiffness left me with no fatigue or wrist/elbow shock after my initial 3 hr paddle with it.
And you gotta love the cool holographic thread design!! I think it actually attracted a school of curious rays out on the Chesapeake. It certainly provides an extra measure of visibility over plain black graphite models.
I have been using a Lightning Expedition weight paddle for many years now. Anyone who knows Lightning paddles appreciates them for their quality and regrets they are no longer in production. This new Swift Graphite will give it a much deserved rest.