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Name: George S.

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Good looking lightweight kayak. However.....

Like some other reviews I have posted, this one is based on testing rather than owning one. I really like the looks. It is very lightweight and has some great colors. This kayak will turn heads. The seat was one of the few that my wife found comfortable, and it is removable. I like the easy access of the hinged hatch covers, instead of rubber caps. There are gear tracks mounted on all side and the front middle for GoPro, rod and cup holders. I'm not sure I would make use of any of these, since I am a recreational paddler. Now, here is the bad (as I see it), therefore why I did not purchase one for myself.

My wife and I tried the Tupelo LT three different times at 3 different places, along with the Tupelo 12 and 12.5. We came to the same consensus. These models don't track real well and are slower than what we were expecting. I believe it is a result of the tri-hull design, which makes it very stable. The outside hulls don't run parallel with the center, thus doesn't glide as nice as other boats we've tested. The wind and current pushes this kayak around and we found ourselves having to constantly correct its course. I was also disappoint in that it doesn't have a front bulkhead. Instead, for support is a block of foam between your legs, which doesn't allow you to stuff a small cooler up front. No cup holder is provided without you having to buy an aftermarket holder to mount on one of the gear tracks. They do include a plastic water bottle that is bungeed to the foam block. It is not easy to get to and difficult to slide in and out of two very tight bungees. This setup will not hold any other container very well, other than theirs. That means you would have to empty our drinks into their plastic bottle. The sides of the cockpit are a bit flimsy, if you are going to use them to lift yourself up and out. Not as bad as the Hurricane Santee, but not as sturdy as Eddyline and other composite kayaks such as Current Designs or Swift.

I really wanted to like this kayak, since it is made in America, so good looking and reasonably priced for a lightweight.

Great looking, tracks well, fast, lightweight, but...

My review is based on extensive testing of this kayak and other like it... and not as an owner. First of all, you must know what I look for in a kayak, which may not be your thing. Though I am in pretty good shape for 65, my shoulders are not getting any stronger, yet I plan to do many more years of kayaking on mainly flat water. So, lightweight (less than 40 pounds), comfortable seating, easily gliding, good tracking and turning is important to me. I have to say that the Hurricane Santee kayak look good, track and glide very well, turn rather easily, and seems to need very little water to float. I like the flat bottom hull with the keel that runs the full length. Much like the old Grumman Canoes. Some deep V kayaks that I've tested, also track and glide well, but sit lower in the water, where underwater logs or rocks could be an issue. However, there are several things about the Santee Sport that keeps me from making the purchase. The cockpit is way too large. Thus, no bungee tie down on the bow where it is most needed. I also use the front lip of the cockpit to lift myself up out of the boat, but it is too far away to reach on this model. I also lift myself up off the seat using the sides. However, this kayak flexes so much that you think it will break. And, from reading some reviews, including ones for the Santee 116, 126, and 126 Sport, apparently that does happen. Hurricane could take notes from Eddyline, which is a very sturdy composite. Then, I had wondered if the Santee 116 or 126 would have been any sturdier on the sides, since the cockpit is not as long. However, I never got to see or test one. The closest dealer over 50 miles away only carried the one model(116 Sport), and I would have had to purchase another just to see it. I do not plan to spend that kind of money on a kayak if I don't get to see or try it first. Next, the back of the airestream seat seams ok, but the bottom padding feels a little thin and hard. I can't imagine sitting comfortably for hours like I do. My wife was very uncomfortable in this seat. Because of the thin padding mounted down in a recess, there was pressure on her hipbones. Possibly a much thicker pad would lift one's bum out of that recess. I had no problem, but then I have no hips. Wilderness or Jackson, though very different designs, are much more comfortable. Lastly, the hatch on the Sport is very small. And, the hatch on the 116 and 126 is not only small but still a rubber cap. Not like Wilderness Pungo or Jackson Tupelo hatch covers which are large, oval with double lockdowns. I wanted so bad to like the Hurricane Santee 116 or 126, but at this time I cannot. I wish that I could take features from different manufactures to create my perfect kayak that would give me years of paddling enjoyment. One last thing, and this may only pertain to my area. I live in Erie, PA where we not only have Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay, but many inland watershed, lagoons and small lakes. A composite kayak would do very well here. Yet, besides the dealer 50 miles away in Franklin, PA where the composite won't do well due to fast rivers, rapids and rocks... the next closest dealer is 142 miles away, in Canada. Hurricane is missing out in this area of Erie, Cleveland and Buffalo.