Submitted: 08-23-2008 by Bill
Let me start off by saying that I am new to kayaking. I will not be able to offer any expert advice, however, I can share my reasons for picking the 14' Eddyline Equinox (thermoformed - Eddlying calls it Carbonlite 2000)
My wife and I did a L.L. Bean Kayak Walk-On Adventure - that little taste of kayaking hooked my wife and me. I then began to read and research as much about kayaking as I could over two months (never knew a kayak had two stability factors – initial and secondary) plus I learned much more, including different opinions (skeg or rudder). Followed that up with a day class on kayaking and two weeks later a half-day private class (we did wet exits and rescue techniques). We rented a couple of times going out to local lakes and then decided that we should buy our own boats.
I am either at the top of the middle age bracket or at the beginning of the senior bracket; in any case I am no longer at my peak strength ability. So knowing that I would be carrying these on top of my vehicle and wherever we would put in, weight become a major issue. All of the boats that we had used so far had been polyethylene boats and most were 50+ pounds, I also saw some weighed less. The qualities of a thermoformed boat were generally less weight, extremely durable, no hull distortion or warping from heat/storage/transportation, etc.. Fiberglass and Kevlar provided the lightest boats and are strong but appeared not as forgiving as a thermoformed boat. With a budget in mind and my experience level as a beginner I could not justify a high-end fiberglass/Kevlar boat. So I narrowed in on thermoformed boats – wanted to demo boats from Eddyline, Hurricane, Swift and Delta (I know I’m missing somebody). Found one kayak dealer who carried the first three boats I listed. I was unable to find anyone who had a Delta that I could demo – I would have like to try one.
Of all the boats that I tried, different models from each of the manufacturers’ I narrowed in on a length, I wanted something larger than 12’ but not something as big as a 17’. I finally went back and forth between the Eddyline Equinox and a Swift Saranac (both the 14’ and 14.6’). The Swift felt more stable in general, the Eddyline less so, however, in testing both in different conditions I found the Equinox a better tracker and was very easy to turn (tried a little edging – not a lot mind you).
I bought the Equinox and have taken her out several times, and each time I go I feel more and more comfortable with the boat. Just an FYI, I am 6’2" (long torso) and weigh between 190-195 pounds. Comfort wise (cockpit) it feels not too tight or too loose.
The only reason I give her a 9 and not a 10 is I’m old school and nothing can be perfect? So far I just haven’t found any faults… maybe next year I’ll have to update this review to a 10.
Can’t wait to take her out again.