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Submitted: 01-22-2007 by benzech
Came with 2 "delux" seats and 2 paddles. Took it out on Jordan Lake - a large reservoir in central North Carolina. The first problems I noticed is that there is no strapping to fix the seat position - it just kind of sits in the boats bottom. This in combination with the fact that there are no foot pegs means you have no way to brace your back or your feet. The consequence is that leg and back fatigue are almost immediate. The supplied paddles are very heavy - probably 5+ pounds so add on arm fatigue. Next problem - it blows around like an out of control sailboat in a light lake-breeze. Paddling away from the boat-ramp I noticed that I was barely matching the force of the wind with my paddle strokes.
Now for the big problems: Undiscouraged I planned a tandem paddle with my brother on the nearby Eno River for the next weekend. Our run on the Eno offers up to class 2 whitewater and the SE 330 is rated for up to class 3 (laughs). Immediatley following put-in we capsize. The boat is extremely tippy and unstable, even with its wide beam. I can't fathom why the boat is supplied with 2 seats because its way too crowded for 2 people - leg positioning was a nightmare. Anyways... determined to have a good time on the water that day we set off in the cramped boat, jerking this way and that to keep the thing from tipping again. Lo and behold the second set of riffles appear and the boat bottoms out. OK - no problem to make a short portage. As we get underway again in deeper waters however, brother comments that the boat appears to be sinking in the back. I chuckled and said, "no it can't be." After all the Sea Eagle is made for class 3 so some small riffles should hardly pose a problem. A few moments later Brother chimes in again: "No. Its definately sinking" We ground the boat on the riverbank and flip it upside down. My heart sank at what I saw - One of the tracking skegs that are built into the bottom of the boat had apparantly caught on a rock and ripped right along the seam. A 3 inch gaping hole in the bottom air-chamber was the result. I deemed the craft unfit to carry us to the take-out (with the combined weight of us it was about 1 inch from getting swamped). We carried the crippled boat up the bank and found an old abandoned log cabin. From the look of the empty beer cans on the floor it looked like it had been the early '80s since anyone had been there. We stored the boat in there and gathered what we could carry. What followed was a 2 mile hike over extremely rough terrain - steep gulleys and rock bluffs. We barely made it back to the put-in before sunset, all the while cursing Sea Eagle.
About 2 months later my girl and I went back there and found it in the old cabin, undisturbed. We carried it out of there (good thing my girl is tough!). I Packed it up in the box and returned it as defective for a full refund. Ive learned a lot about boats and paddling since then and I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy a Pamlico 120 by Wilderness Systems next. All things considered I highly disrecommend the SE 330 and I would be wary of any Sea Eagle products. That boat was merely an over-priced pool toy! Don't be like me and get caught up in thier clever marketing. Its not worth it dude, just don't do it. Save your bucks and get the hardshell.
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