The one big feature that drew me to the boat was the rudderless/skegless design. I must admit I was skeptical, but this has proven to be true. I took possession of the boat as winter was closing in, so my paddling time was limited. But, we have had an amazing Spring here in the PNW, and I have been out paddling since March and finally feel like I've gotten to know this boat well enough to write a review.
I was skeptical about the non-padded seat, but I've found it is surprisingly comfortable, even for my bony butt. At first I felt I needed support for my lower back, but moved the pegs closer a half inch which puts in in a better position and ta da! perfect, no more back issues.
I have not been out in wild and wooly weather, but we share the lakes with lots of water skiers and go-fast boats and it is FUN to paddle through the wakes. In 15mph+ winds it tracks beautifully when others were using their rudders. Oh, yes, it did need the occasional corrective stroke, but overall it's a steady eddie. We have gotten to know each other better as I've paddled him more (yeah, he's a guy) and find its an almost intuitive experience.
Fast, yes, even for my relatively small motor. A younger, fitter person could really amp it up, but even for myself I find I have to slow down or wait up for others in my group. And no loss in stability.
And, this seems like a weird thing to praise, but the coaming is really comfortable, slightly rounded which makes it easy to grip, but deep enough to attach a cockpit cover or spray skirt with ease. It has a 31 inch cockpit which is perfectly adequate for most people, but I find I need to maneuver more to get in and out, but with practice it's becoming easier.
Almost gave the rating as a 9, but decided I shouldn't punish the boat for my shortcomings, so will stand by my 10. My boat has the LT layup, and I am not overly gentle, but I have no concerns about just going out and using it.
The weight is accurate, mine comes in at about 43 lbs, which for a 15'8" boat is pretty good. I keep badgering Doug about designing and marketing a 14' boat with a slightly larger cockpit, but same hull, and maybe one day that will happen and I will be first in line to buy it.
As a footnote to this very long post, a friend was looking for a new boat and tried mine out and has also bought one. We have two of the prettiest boats out on the water now. Because, oh yeah, it is pretty! and not a time I'm out on the water goes by that it doesn't get remarked on. Price is good, if you buy it during one of his sales, price is Excellent.
Maybe not for everyone, but if you are looking for a fast, stable, great looking boat, then this is definitely one you should be checking out.
A couple of weekends ago a friend had borrowed her, and the wind was really screaming down the canyon. I watched as she danced on the waves, waaaay ahead of us, making it all look easy. She is a modified Greenland style boat, and is in her element in lumpy conditions, giving a smooth secure ride and on flat water cruises nicely along. I am not a strong paddler, so refer to her as "Sadie the Equalizer" when I paddle with those who are and am able to keep up nicely.
Now for the downside, of which there is little. I had traded my Edddyline Samba for her because I needed a boat I could get into and out of more easily. For awhile that worked, but once again the body is betraying me, and its getting harder and harder to enter/exit. The cockpit is 31" long, so that is not the problem, I am the problem. My grandson is 14 and he pops in and out of her like he's on springs, so for anyone else, this is a non-issue.
The other thing, which may be a big deal to some, is the skeg box noise. First time I paddled it I thought it was a leak and I had my son check the bulk heads (bone dry, always!) and watch my waterline. I talked to the dealer about it and he just laughed and said "oh, yeah, Seda's are notorious for that." Great to know, would have been more reassuring if I'd known earlier, doncha think? Anyway, this sound, sorta like gurgling/murmering is mostly a flat water phenomenon, and after awhile it just becomes just background that is easily ignored. I like to think of it as her happily chuckling to herself as we motor along.
About the boat. Top quality boat, lives up to expectations for agility, speed and tracking. Always felt a little tender when starting out, but two or three paddle strokes and all good. Looks beautiful on and off the water and truly a fun paddle. Wonderful glide and easy to get going and keep going. That is the good.
The bad is I could never get the seat/pegs adjusted where I could paddle longer than two hours without getting squirmy in spite of a wide range of adjustability in the boat. Bought a yakpad that helped, but didn't cure the problem. I would just plain be hurting before I got out if paddled too long. The other thing is, I have a mobility issue that makes exiting a kayak difficult. Although the cockpit is 31x16 (and feels fine when in) getting out was always difficult. For some reason the shape of the cockpit and heights of the sides were really challenging for me. Notice, I said "for me". Grandson has no such issues.
I have since traded this for another brand (will review after season ends) which has the same cockpit dimensions, but I can exit this one with ease and the first trip out in it paddled 4 1/2 hours and was ready to go on. I think the placement of the thigh braces is one of the factors.
I was very reluctant to part with the Samba as I could see this as my grandson's new boat. And I really did enjoy paddling her on short trips. In a perfect world I would have kept the Samba and just get a new boat, but I was offered such an incredible trade-in that it just wasn't feasible.
I gave this boat a nine because I think its a top notch little craft, and if I had a top notch body we would have been a better match. I do think Eddyline needs to work on the seats as my son had the Journey and disliked it as well. He now has the bigass Nighthawk and different seat, no problems.
My twelve year old grandson loves paddling it (and he is no slouch at paddling) and beginners quickly feel comfortable. Large opening means I can get in and out easily, but not sloppy feeling. Only drawback is the weight. It is listed as 44lbs. Hah! Only in the imagination of the sales crew is it 44lbs, I would love to weigh myself on this scale and I would never have to diet again. Granted I am a weak sister, but both my grown sons agree that it is closer to 54-60lbs. For this reason it tends to get left at home when I would prefer to use this as the extra boat. Because of the weight, we have (lovingly) dubbed her the SeaPig and when the boys do the hauling she is the first one chosen for themselves, a guest or my grandson (if they can get it away from him).
I hope this doesn't make it sound like a beginner only boat, because it certainly is not. Both beginners and those more experienced have enjoyed using her and would highly recommend this as a nice transitional kayak.