Submitted: 04-04-2011 by radar1
I was looking for a stable kayak that I could use either as a tandem with my wife, or solo if my wife didn't want to paddle. We already have a tandem sit-inside that works well for when we both paddle but with non adjustable seats it wasn't suitable for solo paddling. Our last few camping trips to FL convinced me that a sit-on-top for use on the beaches and for easy climbing on and off for snorkeling would be a welcome addition to our fleet. After doing a lot of research I came across the Crescent Splash II, which is billed as a tandem kayak, yet has 3 seats so you can move to the center seat when paddling solo. We could also carry a small child in the center seat when we paddle tandem which would be impossible in our tandem sit-inside.
I've used the Splash II on 3 trips now. Two were on lakes and the latest was paddling 10 miles down the Chattahoochee river. The Splash II is very stable, and it paddles well. It also tracks straight due to it's built in "keel" so it worked well with my picture taking. The middle seat is probably just a little in front of the center of gravity, so if you don't have any gear in the back you are probably riding just a tad low in front, but that was not troublesome at all. We had steady winds yesterday on our outing but they did not affect our speed or direction much so this is much better in the wind than our canoe is. We have the optional high back "Seals" seats that are very comfortable and have brass clips that allow you to switch from tandem to solo easily.
The Splash II is heavier than most sit-inside kayaks but at 66 lbs seems to be average weight for tandem sit-on-tops. Although it weighs less than my old Scanoe, it does have the drawback of not having any side handles to help one person lift it or steady it after you lift it. I can get the kayak up on my shoulders and carry it easy enough but without handles on the sides to hold onto while doing that it's pretty unmanageable. I temporarily solved the problem by wrapping one of my tie-down straps around the center and that gives me something to hold onto and maneuver easier when it's on my shoulders. I plan to install two handles that I ordered on the sides to solve this oversight.
Overall, compared to other tandem sit-on-tops I think this is an excellent value and hope to have many happy trips on lakes, rivers, and beaches.