Submitted: 09-27-2002 by Marcus Hirschberg
I have had my Paddleski for about 4 months now and have used it extensively on relatively calm lakes and rivers. I wanted an inflatable that I could carry in the trunk of my Civic since I live in an apartment and am not interested in car-topping. My final choice was between this and the Innova Sunny. Not being able to test them out I thought the paddleski would provide slightly better performance and versatility. Also when launching in the urban areas where I live I though the stability of the paddleski would be an advantage, while its disadvantage is the weight (more than most inflatables) and the packed size of a large duffel bag. Also you could argue that it's not really a kayak, which is fine and maybe true. But it sure is fun, and very innovative and durable. You can just barely fit two paddleski's in a Civic's trunk, without gear. It is really everything I'd hoped it would be. First of all I was able to purchase it brand new from a Sea Eagle dealer on Ebay (Dave) for a lot less than the company webpage-- $599. This includes the pump, two paddles, two seats, and the repair kit and carrying bag.
The boat inflates much quicker than I expected. It only takes about 5 or 7 minutes to fill it up. The design is very tough and stable. I do not have a lot of hardshell kayak experience but the performance is very good and you can paddle in about 4 inches of water. It is great fun to paddle solo though my wife and I have paddled it tandem a lot. It is nearly impossible to bang paddles. Tandem it handles more "canoe-like", whatever that means, just a little more deliberate I guess. Solo it is really a lot of fun and it glides for a ways after you stop paddling. It is wide (39") but there's probably only a total width of about 15" of pontoon in the water since you are suspended on the tough black floor of the boat. There is very little boat in the water period, especially paddled solo. The wide beam makes paddling a little different than a narrower kayak, but you get used to it very quickly and I think it's worth it for the stability and cargo capacity of this boat. You definitely want a long paddle, and the included paddles are 8'. It tracks straighter than I expected, deviating only a couple of degrees on the stroke, and it handles the wind quite well, I guess due to its not-too-light 49 lbs. The seats are just OK... I eventually bought a more comfortable seat (designed for a canoe) and adapted it to the paddleski. It carries fairly easily inflated or packed, though again 49 lbs is about the same as a comparable hardshell. Sometimes I prefer to carry it over my shoulder inflated. For long carries or the subway, you should consider a luggage cart.
All in all I am very pleased. With a single paddler you could carry a ton of gear and there is a generous number of d-rings for clipping on seats or gear bags. My wife and I are going to get a second one next summer for some camping. People just love this boat and it is easy for friends to try out with no learning curve. It attracts a lot of respectful attention. I am building a sail rig for it this winter-- it seems like a natural platform for sailing and being able to fit a sailboat in the trunk will be really nice. When packing away, the boat rolls up very easily like a sleeping bag.
My only gripe is the back carry handles can interfere a little bit with the rear paddler, only when paddling tandem. I am considering removing mine.
I love my paddleski but it is hard to find information on the internet other than the Sea Eagle website. Please share any paddleski info with me, I'd love to hear some stories!