Submitted: 07-27-2005 by Fredcamper
Let me introduce myself so you know where I come from. I have had the Paddle Ski 435 Pro Package for about one month and it is my first Kayak like device. In the past I have done several canoe trips but have not had much Kayak exposure. I have never owned a Kayak or Canoe before. I did a couple months of research before I purchased, and learned a lot of information right here on Paddling.net.
I did not buy the Paddle Ski 435 thinking I was getting a really fast Kayak. I would like a really fast Kayak, but I have two young boys who enjoy boating too and the hard shells I found did not work well for all of us. When I looked at hard-shells that would fit my need, they were 17 plus feet long and 90 lbs. That limitation suggested to me that a hard-shell might become a garage Queen.
I also was looking at Canoes due to my family situation. I find the Paddle Ski to be kind of a cross between a Kayak and a Canoe in its utility.
I am very pleased with the Paddle Ski 435. It does paddle pretty fast particularly in Tandem. No surprise, but like a Canoe it is pushed more than a hard-shell by the wind, but less than a Canoe would be. In tandem mode this is no big deal, partly because more boat is in the water. Paddling tandem loaded with camping gear would make wind a lesser issue I believe. Mild wind would not stop me from going out, unlike a canoe trip on a lake.
The Paddle Ski inflates well, 7 minutes for me. It takes no measurable time to deflate. It is flat before I have the seats put away. I am very pleased with the included foot pump. I see no need thus far for the battery inflator.
I do inflate the boat with the inflation valves in the open position, and then close the valves for the last couple of strokes. It seems faster that way.
I really enjoyed the tall back seats included in the Pro Package. These do not inflate. The seat have ample for/aft adjustment and nice back support that is very adjustable as well. Not sure yet if I will need to add some thigh support, time will tell.
I really like the AB40 paddles. The oval shafts are nice. Both the seats and paddles are keepers. I am glad not to have to upgrade that stuff right away.
This boat has the ability to use two rowing frames. With the ability to row, motor, paddle or sail it is certainly versatile. But for me, I will just be paddling for now.
Mods - It can be a pretty dry paddling experience, but I think adding a foam lip to the rear seat to lift it off the deck will make it better yet. I was disappointed not to have footrests included with this boat. I figured a "Pro Package" would have them. What am I missing? I made my own foot rests from 1 inch PVC and chain so I could adjust between adults and children. I clip both the foot rests to the front seat (one to the front seat stay for the front passenger and one to the rear seat stays for me) as that means I do not need to take them off separate, they remove with the seats.
Overall I really like the boat. I have taken it on two bike trips so far, as it packs nicely in my bike trailer. Like I said, this boat is very versatile.