Submitted: 06-11-2008 by NWShetz
I recently purchased an Eddyline Fathom from the Sea Kayak Shop in Anacortes, Washington. After so many demoís (and re-demos) in so many different manufacturerís boats, I realized I had found the kayak Iíd been looking for during those many months. This was the last kayak I would purchase, so I wanted to get it right.
Iíve been sea kayaking since 1992 when I moved to the northern Puget Sound region... couldnít imagine living in such a beautiful area surrounded by water without a kayak! Until I picked up the Fathom, I had been "driving" a glass Eddyline Wind DancerÖor "The Barge" as I fondly refer to her. Her many attributes includes a very stable platform for photography, fishing, and the volume necessary to accommodate extended trips to the outback. But with all that comfort and convenience she weighs a bit much. So, when I began the quest for my last kayak, I wanted a boat with attributes similar to those of the Wind Dancer but in a more agile, scaled down, less weighty design. And I found them in the Fathom.
First Glance. The finish, lines, deck-rigging placement, hatches and craftsmanship of the Fathom pop out at you. One knows immediately this is one seriously designed sea kayak. The Carbonlite material appears identical to a fiberglass/Kevlar-finished boat. My kayaking cohorts asked, "We thought you were going to pick up a plastic boat." I simply replied, "I did." Then I started explaining what Carbonlite was and its advantages... tough stuff and lighter.
Fit. At 6í2" and nudging 200 lbs, I initially thought the keyhole cockpit was going to be too much of a tight fit. It isnít. Using the paddle to stabilize the kayak, I simply sit on the rear combing, swing my legs into the cockpit then slide into the seat. The fit feels good, reliable and secure with enough wiggle room for comfort and to stretch those legs while on the water. I opted for the backrest seat vs the back band and it is very comfortable... with height adjustment. The substantial thigh brace pads under the deck are placed perfectly and add to the overall feeling of security. Of all the kayaks Iíve tried, the Fathom fit epitomizes the kayaking adage, "Be one with your boat."
Performance. Simply put, a joy. The initial stability (static) is rated "medium" and secondary (underway) "high." I found it initially a bit "lively" compared to my Wind Dancer (24.5" vs 22" beam), but I expected that, especially with the single hard-chined, deeper V hull of the Fathom. After one outing didnít even notice. Iíve continued my photography and caught some nice bows for the camp grill... and my cohortsí stomachs. She really shines when it comes to her secondary stability! Itís what makes the Fathom such a joy to paddle. Leaning, carved turns are a breeze and one can spin her on a quarter with the moderately rockered hull. She tracks beautifully with very good speed and in contrary winds dipping the skeg keeps her tracking on line. The four-point bungees behind the cockpit work well in securing a paddle float outrigger for reentry, and rolling is virtually effortless... and even fun in the Fathom.
Tripping. I had no problem packing the Fathom for a comfortable seven-day camping/fishing excursion to the upland 25-mile long Ross Lake. I downsized my gear somewhat and was more frugal compared to what I used to pack in the Wind Dancer. And the deck didnít look like the "garage sale" I thought it would! The skeg housing does take up a little space but packing smart made it a non-issue. Even with a heavy load the Fathom performed wonderfully and responded extremely well.
And so... I would highly recommend anyone looking for a performance-oriented kayak to take the Fathom for a spin. Iím confident youíll be as pleased as Iíve become. I selected the Fathom as my last kayak for many reasons. It meets my requirements for what I like to do while Iím on the water, whether it be taking pictures, fishing or in conjunction with multiple day tripping. With its true tracking, speed and agility itís also a fantastic workout boat. Always nice to take her out on my local waters and run some sprints just to work up a sweat... exercise made fun. Another fundamental reason... the Eddyline reputation for innovation, quality, reliability and service. They sure did real good when they designed and built the Fathom.