Name: jmcphoto1

Most Recent Reviews

After years of struggling with $20-25 cockpit covers from a variety of suppliers, which with the boat on the car at speed flew off (wound up stretching bungees across the cockpit coaming to keep them attached, they stay put but eventually cause tears in the nylon) even when tightening the internal shock cord to the point that it was nearly impossible to get the cover on. Then I found the $30 Seal Standard cover which has a non-slip covering of the shock cord which reduces the fly off problem but is still made of a water resistant(?) nylon that regardless of how may times I spray them with waterproofing, leak when the kayak is upright and there is a downpour which puddles on the cover.

I bought another used boat and went to buy another Seal Standard cover and happened to notice the Seal Deluxe Cockpit cover for $40 and found all my prayers answered. It has the same non-slip shockcord cover as the Standard, but adds the following features. It appears to be made from the same heavy duty material as river rafts and dry bags, have not had a problem with water seeping through whatsoever. There is a clip on the grab loop for attaching to front deck bungies. Finally there is a nylon strap that is attached to the middle of the deck cover and has an adjustable quick release buckle for encircling the hull to prevent the cover from being pulled off regardless of how fast you drive down the highway.

As Seal makes these in a variety of sizes, and has a fit guide for virtually any kayak ever made, as my other covers wear out or I wind up with a new boat needing a cover it will always be the Seal Deluxe Cockpit Cover. Worth the $10 premium offer the standard Seal Cover, worth ten times the typical cheapie cover.

Follow up to previous review. Current web site listing reflects actual 33oz weight (If you take the time to convert grams to ounces). Shortly after posting previous review I was contacted by Tad from CKS about what I felt was excessive shipping. He explained that there was a glitch in their online ordering program and I was charged the premium for a single piece paddle (length of package) charged by the shippers, (the last I checked this is still there) and refunded me the $13 charge. Rating for CKS jumps 10 of 10, just contact them if you order a two piece paddle and are charged the premium shipping or call the order in. Chad says they usually catch the error. I had ordered medium width grip, and the hang tag says it is medium width, but it is actually the wide grip. Chad from CKS said they have experienced this problem where Seven puts the wrong hang tag on a paddle, so Seven still gets a 7 for lack of care to details, I think my hands would get wet less often with the medium grip, but I hesitate to return it to CKS because it wasn't their error and I have used the paddle for nine months. Again CKS = 10 (Thanks Tad) Seven Paddles = 7.

All literature and hang tags list a 1 pound, 12 ounce weight (28 ounces), mine is 33 ounces, 18% heavier than advertised. Still the lightest 100 buck paddle around. Bought mine online from CKS, and they charged oversized shipping of $24, I measured and weighed shipping box and got $7.00 by FedEx Ground which they used. I feel this is a rip off and will be my last CKS purchase. Also they gave no choice on grip width, I appear to have gotten the wide grip, which puts my hand in the water when leaning for a turn. Wish I had known Gaylans locally had the paddle with narrower grip for the same price, and no shipping ripoff. Wish the feather was a few degrees more, but have tried the adjustable feather paddle and fastener always snaps open during use, no matter how much adjusting screw is tightened.

I suspect the problem described below by robertec is created by the poly of the saddle and the poly of the boat hull chaffing, I first experienced this problem with another set of poly saddles (from a company on Long Island that is no longer in business.) creating gray patches on the yellow hull of my Loon 138. I tried solvents and rubbing compounds to remove them to no avail, will try some sandpaper. To remedy the problem I contacted cemented some closed cell foam to the saddles, gray foam appx. 1/8" thick with one smooth surface and one suede like surface (up) and this at least seemed to not make the gray patches worse. The foam did not seem to effect sliding the kayak on, but actually seemed to grip the hull better as they were cinched down. As the fleet grew I acquired a set of Thule Stackers and have the original saddles flanking that to support the hulls of the stacked boats and have not noticed any graying where the hulls contact the saddles on my two shorter yellow boats. (Yes I have a fleet of bananas, better to be seen by the power boaters and jet skiers, easily the most visible color on the water and not in the red/green colorblind range.)

I purchased a set of Land Sharks to haul the Loon and as the gray patches didn't appear to worsen, I did not bother adding the foam pads. I recently purchased another banana and after the first trip did notice the same type of gray blemish. Back to the foam pads, and I did find a better (neater) of attaching the foam. It is a product called Visual Pursuits Galerie Mount, intended for mounting photographs. It is available in camera stores, marketed by BKA should your local store need to order it. It is available in 8X10 and 11X14 sheets in packs of 6, one 11X14 sheet does 2 saddles, and is a ultra thin polyester film on with contact adhesive both sides, covered with a heavy release paper. This also works well for adding padding in the cockpit or under the front deck. Make a cardboard template of the saddle and cut the pads to size with a scissors or exacta knife. Cut the Galerie Mount from the same template, remove the release paper from one side and press it to the smooth side of the foam, if you gently set it in place you an reposition it (same when applying foam to saddle) and once positioned, apply firm pressure for permanent seal. Repeat the same process on the saddles making sure they are clean and free of 303 or the such. I was able to mount the pads on the saddles mounted on the rack on top of my mini van. The whole process takes about 15 to 30 minutes and is much simpler than my instructions may lead you to believe.

The Land Sharks do hold the kayak extremely securely, had the kayak on the rack for a month long trip to Florida, with some warm sunshine without any oil canning at all. I agree with the previous poster ti would be advisable to keep the hull and pads as clean as possible and those with composit hulls may still want to use a soft cloth between the pad and the boat. My brother just purchased a set of Rode Gear Universal Saddles for his Surburban factory rack and we will be padding those this week. These appear to be made by Yakima (store brand?) with wide U-bolts and only $60 for the 4 saddles complete with straps and front and rear tie-downs included. Not much more than the foam blocks and a muchmore secure way to carry a kayak.

Just purchased a Sky last Friday, currently the 5th boat I own (total investment including skirts, paddles and covers less than $2000), and have sold an additional 4 boats during the 6 years I have been recreational kayaking. (Guess I'm sort of like a little kid who has kittens continually following me home.) The preceding post points out a few problems I have experienced since getting started paddling. First of all 250#s is probably pushing the limit of a 9'6" boat, though the poster did find it fun safe and stable on lakes and rivers (for which it was designed), until he took a self rescue class. Sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Unfortunately a lot of the rules and techniques that apply to traditional kayaks don't necessarily apply to recreational kayaks. In the six years that I have been paddling, I have never fallen out of one of my boats. I did attempt to roll my Zydeco in a pool and found out the large cockpit makes a roll impossible but a wet exit automatic. These boats are not intended to follow the course of Leif Erickson over vast expanses of open water and to require a self rescue means you have done something real stupid, probably requiring an automatic nomination for the Darwin Awards. Haven't had a chance with the Sky yet but I have filled my Loon 138 and Zydeco completely with water and they float. Bailed them with my half gallon poly laundry detergent bottle (with the top cut off) and have been able to get back in to complete the bailing without a paddle float. Would I try this in the open ocean in difficult conditions, no, would I take these boats there, no way? Would I fly fish standing up in my Loon, sure, would I try that in a 20" beam sea kayak, no way. Traditional kayakers tend to look down their noses on the recreational boats, but if you use them for the purpose they were designed you can have lots of enjoyment and get a bit of exercise along the way, and explore little ponds and channels that would be nearly impossible in a traditional sea kayak. If you want to tackle more than class 2 whitewater, get a white water boat, my own personal rule of thumb, if I can't paddle it up stream, I probably shouldn't attempt it down stream (small short chutes the exception).

Back to the Sky, fun boat, a little faster and better glide than the Zydeco, and able to handle my 220# nephew, though I would advise him to get a slightly bigger boat if he wanted to carry any gear, and it would be his only boat. Lacks deck rigging and a drain plug (which I will add myself for around $10) but for a $350 boat a real bargain (I bought a like new rental unit for $230, put more scratches on it myself in the first 2 paddles, a bargain I couldn't pass up). 9 out of 10? There are no 10s.

The Old Town Loon is not an unsafe boat! The method of attaching the grab loops has been changed on all Loons that are currently being sold, the bow and stern have been pinched so the grab loops go through solid polyurethane. I have a four-year-old 138 that had he old style grab loops. After years and hundreds of times of being used for front tie down line the front holes did get loose and in heavy weather could take drips, though less than from the paddle.(e-mail me if you have an older loon, its easy fix but takes a bit of time to explain) Since the holes are only an inch below the deck the only way I could imagine the rear loop taking on large amounts of water is if the boat was so badly trimmed to the rear the stern was nearly below water. (The cockpit is more than half the length of the boat; so if paddling solo with the rear seat all the way back this is possible). As to the cockpit being too narrow and hard to get in (18" for the Loon, 19" for the Pungo) I have never found a kayak easier to get into or out of than my Loon. The Loon is indeed a foot and a half longer and 10# heavier (5# for a solo 138 to compare apples to apples) than the Pungo. I currently own four kayaks by four different manufactures; the Loon is the most versatile, most comfortable, and most stable and my favorite. I'm sure the Pungo is a great boat, but so is the Loon family of boats. Sure I'd like the Loon to be 10-15#s lighter, but that's the only complaint I truly have, but I'm sure a kevlar Loon would would be beyond my budget.

A previous reviewer stated, "The Loon can warp-mine has a 2' long…

A previous reviewer stated, "The Loon can warp-mine has a 2' long slight indentation. I discovered the store where I bought it from didn't want anything to know about repair or replacement-I will never buy from them again."

All plastic boats will dent, warp, or oil can if improperly stored on the keel or tightened too tightly in the car especially on the foam blocks. Using saddles that only contact the hull at the chines allow stability on the rack and virtually eliminate the possibility of oil canning. Had my Loon 138 and Dagger Zydeco on top of my van for three weeks this winter during a Florida trip this year, without the evidence of any denting even though one boat or the other was often on the rack for several days at a time. Without having to over tighten the tie downs the boats were extremely stable even at 75MPH. The Loon is actually less prone to denting than other boats I have owned by Perception, Walden, Hydra, and Dagger. Always store the boats on their side or end and never on the keel. Check the keel line when accepting the boat from a dealer, get it out of the shipping bag. If they've stored the boats in a pile with the keel across another boat(I've seen this)a new boat may be warped or dented as you take it out the door. Over tightening on v foam blocks can cause dents before you even get home.

Now the reason for this review, if your boat is dented there are several possible cures, best results as soon as dent is found. Turn boat upside down on a warm sunny day, often minor dents that haven't been left to set will often cure them self. Stubborn dents can often be urged along with a hairdryer in cool weather. For real stubborn dents in the cockpit area you can use a firing strip (1X3) whose length is several inches wider than the cockpit rim. Measure the distance to the center of the keel, estimate the depth of the dent+1/2 inch and cut another piece to the total of the two measurements and wedge into the center of the dent at the keel line. This should cause the dent to bulge slightly and follow directions above for minor dents. Sorry for the long winded post, but this problem has been brought up several times. BYW the Loon is my favorite of the 4 boats I currently own, used for wildlife photography, camping, fishing, and just to get on the water to paddle. If they come out with a 138 Elite, like they have with the 111, at about 40 pounds I'll probably sell of a couple of my boats. At nearly 60#s with rudder and other rigging I've added, the weight of the 138 is my only real complaint that wouldn't allow a 10 rating.

Have a Loon 138 and wanted something smaller for exploring creeks and channels through wetlands and swamps. Use it for wildlife and nature photography, fishing, and just getting a little exercise. Boat is stable, tracks well, turns easy with a sweep stroke, and moves along for its length, although there is not much glide, so its good for exercise if you paddle briskly. Only complaint is drop down design for cockpit rim with channel that collects any splash and makes nylon spray skirt difficult to keep put. All in all a fun, light, little boat. Also use it for getting others involved in paddling, a real confidence builder for a first timer. Previously owned a Keowee, Naturalist and tried Swifty, like the Zydeco best.