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I do wish to day that inflating the Paddleski 395 PS is not as easy as it appears. I was using the foot pump and it took a good 10 to 15 minutes; therefore, my legs got a good workout. When I stopped pumping and attempted to close the valve, I lost a bit of air and felt that I needed to pump it up again. I guess it takes getting used to with that valve. Unfortunately, it was approximately 92 degrees outside during this prep time, and I was feeling the heat.
Once out on the water, it was a lot of fun. I paddled to the middle of a large lake and allowed myself to drift with the wind while I relaxed in the sun. I got a good workout with the paddling, because the Paddleski 395 PS does not track very well. I was constantly having to make corrections to the direction of the boat.
I think that the Paddleski 395 PS is a good boat for quiet water activities, and possibly even a quiet river where the current is taking you down stream; however, I would not recommend it for group activity where you needed to stay with other boats. Possibly it would be better with two people paddling.
Good points: fun to use; stable; easy to deflate and pack away.
Bad points: doesn't track well; uses a lot of energy to inflate with the foot pump--I would recommend an electrical pump; not a boat built for speed.
I caught a couple of fish by trawling a line off the back and paddling steadily over a small reef so that's two of the five boats in one tested - might get a motor soon... I'll let you know how it goes.
Positives: Stable, fast, easy to set up, tracks well, comfortable.
Potential negatives: might not be as "exciting" to use as some other boats due to its stability and predictability, not a huge amount of storage space on deck. But it really depends on what you want to use the boat for.
PS is a boat of versatility, so some people may like it for its non-paddling function, such as motoring. It is actually a Jack of all trade but master of nothing. But here at paddling.net, we should talk about it as a paddling boat, right? Then this is just another mediocre kayak. The performance is mediocre. With my best effort I can get 3.4 mph. It is vulnerable to wind. It tracks not well and this zigzag movement makes the trip longer. I tried several other boats, including inflatables and hardshells, and I found it was not my skill that was the bottle neck of speed. Stability is good. It provides me a solid platform for fishing, floating around (slowly), motoring is ok. I never tried its sail kit, but was told it's no good. Some said it may serve as a white water kayak, but I doubt, with it's high seating position. The price is around $1000, not cheap. When some of the reviewers said it appeared good in quality, let me tell you that depends on what you are comparing to. But with the same price, or less, you certainly can buy a MUCH better inflatable kayak.
This is my second year with PS395, it has not given me any safety trouble yet and so far looks solid. But for those of you know that rubber is better than PVC, PS395 (and all Seaeagle's boats) is a PVC. I just realized all Seaeagle boats are glued, not welded. Glued boats are less durable than welded. And how about portability? To me, light weight, small deflated size, easy and quick setup and wrap up, are crucial factors in portability. PS395 is 49lb to carry with, not bad, but not super. It is not practical to set it up in parking lot and carry it over to the water. So one has to park on the ramp to set up and drive to parking lot with the boat left on ramp, and walk back, and another trip at the end of water fun time. If you like to paddle several times per week, this is a hassle. Folding is ok but the material is not easy to be folded closely, comparing to ruber. Inflating is easy, usually takes about 7-8 min. Setup of the chairs is a little tricky, takes another 4-5 minutes. Combining all these, I would say the portability is mediocre.
I found most of the problems I mentioned was to much degree solved with Sunny from Innova, though one can not motor or sail with Sunny. There is no perfect world, but PS395 is not the best deal one can get in the IK mall.
We live in a motorhome full time and we do take the boat with us during the summer. If I had it to do over again, would I buy the same Boat? I don't think so, I think I would buy the Sea Eagle 340 Kayak. I haven't had any problem with leaking, we have gone over quite a few rocks and the fabric holds up very well. I have the high pressure electic pump that Sea Eagle sells and it works well. One other problem that I have noticed is that after inflating when we put the boat into cold water the air contracts and the boat sinks a little lower in the water. I think all inflatables have this problem so I don't know what to do about it. Enjoy.
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!
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