Submitted: 07-18-2007 by GAK
Update #3 on review by GAK for StraitEdge II kayak.
Have been out on the kayak about 8 times so far, all solo except for once with a passenger, all on coastal waters.
The number one impression remains the stability of this thing. Have never felt at risk of tipping this over, no matter how stupid I’ve been. Have not tried it in surf yet.
I emailed Advanced Elements (always fast response, and informative) about the possibility of towing this thing behind my sailboat using the carry handles as the hitch point; they replied that so long as the kayak was not taking on water, and the inside remained dry, it should be OK. I looked again, somewhat dubiously at the Velcro holding the carrying handles on, but finally got up the courage to try it; they were right, it tows fine, appears very secure and has no problems tracking behind the sailboat. I have now towed it for a total of about forty miles at speeds of up to 7 knots without any problems. I managed to even wrap the kayak around the mooring line of another boat as I was towing it (Genius that I am, I forgot for a moment I was towing something and made a 90 degree turn a little to soon). After a very sweaty few seconds watching the tow-line stretch, the weight/ momentum of the sailboat literally dragged the kayak up and over the mooring line (about 2ft above sea level at that point) with no damage to the kayak or the mooring (only my ego; my buddy had the audacity to video the whole thing…).
Comfort-wise this kayak is hard to beat; the longest distance I have done was about a seven mile round trip, and it was comfortable all the way. It is not a hard kayak to paddle solo, I have not tried it with two paddlers yet. The hard shell sea-kayakers I came across who were stopping for a break partway across the harbor (yes, they got there faster than I did…) had rafted up and sat upright in their seats and ‘rested’ holding on to their neighbor’s kayak; in the StraitEdge to take a break you dangle a leg over each side, drop the seat back, lie back, rest your head on the stern inflation bag, cover your face with your cap and take a real nap; now that is what I call ‘resting’…. Every single time I have been out on this thing, I have ended up stretching out and taking a nap at some point….an ‘airbed’-on-a-‘waterbed’ is hard to beat... And not to forget ‘StraitEdge Lazy Snorkeling’; lie straight ACROSS the kayak, legs straight out one side, head and shoulders hanging face down over the other side in the water, snorkel and mask in place and drift – I suppose you could kick with fins on if you wanted to, but then it wouldn’t really qualify as a true ‘Lazy’ technique…..
I am very pleasantly surprised with the quality of this kayak. The responsiveness of customer service has been excellent; they certainly pay attention and have been very helpful. A very good product.