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Submitted: 03-19-2008 by Boxxer
I am writing this review based on a relative lack of experience. Some of you out there have paddled many boats and have plenty of experience, the Fathom is actually my first sea kayak. I upgraded from a tandem perception. So I cannot offer the in depth comparisons that I read about this boat (which was a large part of why I bought it) Initially we were looking at getting into sea kayaking as both of us are avid backpackers and have backpacked the back woods of Michigan, and thought it would be fun to try all of our trips (Pictured Rocks, Manitou Islands, Isle Royale etc.) by kayak. The determining factors for the boats were based on:
- All around Durability
- Customer Service
The three MAJOR deciding factors were price (we're poor college students), weight (multiple mile portages rule out an 85 pounds roto-barge) and customer service.
We decided that boats in the 45-55 pound range were what we were looking for, which immediately lead us to Hurricane Kayaks and their Tracer, after looking at a few of them and reading the reviews here at Paddling.net we both agreed that although they met most of the parameters, we read the customer service wasn't that great and getting replacement parts was difficult, and also that their lightweight boats were fairly fragile.
We decided that it would be best to take a trip outside our town to look at other dealers that carried brands we did not have here locally, this lead us to both the Perception Eclipse 17 Airalite and the Eddyline Fathom and the Eddyline Fathom LV.
The Perception compared to the Hurricane was much more robust and it appeared VERY durable, but sitting in it felt like I was sitting in decent fishing boat, the thing was HUGE. I also was not very impressed with the neoprene deck covers, too complicated with too much to go wrong. The other downside with the perception was the foam bulkheads, I had the foam in my last Perception and I am not that big of a fan.
This lead us to the Fathoms, gorgeous boats the fit and finish were great, they had the hard chined hull instead of the soft chine that the other two had, and also both had a model that would fit both of us (the Fathom for me, and the Fathom LV for her). The weight was on par with 50 pounds for the Fathom and 47 for the LV and the lengths of 16.5 and 15.5 didn’t make me feel like I was paddling a barge.
We spent a good deal of time talking to a guy named Josh at The Outfitter of Harbor Springs and he gave us the rundown of the company as it compared to others, and how Eddyline had lead the industry in thermoforming . I mentioned that we had compared the three boats and he said that the Eddylines were far more durable and the customer service was 100 times better. He mentioned that if we lost a hatch cover he could have a replacement here in a day.
Although both of the boats were significantly over our budget we both felt we were getting a better product for the money and felt confident with our purchase.
Coming from my backpacking background, obviously I have had some run ins with companies who’s products had failed and their customer service departments had made all the difference. Companies like Mountain Hardwear, I snapped a pole on one of their tents and needed a replacement for another trip less than a week away, so MH overnighted me a whole new set of poles free of charge. Companies like that are the companies that I feel confident doing business with.
Upon getting the boats home, we logged onto Eddyline’s website to register our boats. About an hour later we got an E-mail from Lisa Derrer (The Derrers founded and own Eddyline) welcoming us to the family. Later in the week a mysterious package came in the mail from Eddyline, It was two free hats and a postcard that was hand signed by every individual person that had built each boat.
Its not often that you get contact from the owner of the company, and even more rare to see a company take the steps reach out to the customer when there is nothing wrong. Like I said before, I haven’t even had the chance to paddle the boat yet (water is all frozen in at the moment) and I am already thoroughly impressed with Eddyline as a company.
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