05-19-2013Submitted by: Can
Reviews for Sea Lion Kayak by Perception
Based On: 36 Reviews
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've had the Sea Lion by Perception / Aquaterra for about 6 months, does great in still water , also had it out on 1-2 foot chop with no problems. Mine was plastic. Without rudder/skeg. made somewhere in the 90s.
It's a great kayak for cruising around or for a long trip with gear. Do not try fishing with it like I did. It then becomes a balance game with a fish on your rod and you trying not to flip .as this is not a fishing/angler kayak. Tracks very well. Used, you should pay 250 to 350 in good condition . Overall I was happy with mine. An oldie, but goody.
09-27-2011Submitted by: MW
- Rating: 10 of 10 I own two vintage '89 Sea Lions. They're the best! I'm also a volunteer guide with a non-profit outdoor adventure group and have access to a wide range of much newer plastic and fiberglass boats, but I still paddle the group's Sea Lion when given a choice. I'm 6' and I find the Sea Lion is way more comfortable than other boats. I paddle in lots of rough water in the SF Bay (e.g. Raccoon Strait) and coastal waters (e.g. Bolinas). The Sea Lion is great in all sorts of water and weather. After 20+ years, my boats are still in excellent condition! Highly recommended.
08-12-2011Submitted by: jimwms
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned the composite Sea Lion w/rudder for years. Best all around boat I have owned & plan to enjoy for many more years
07-21-2011Submitted by: BriYak
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased my plastic Sealion new approx. 20 Years ago, it has been a great all around boat, fast, stable and reliable. After many years of abuse and low water paddling in local rivers it's still going strong. It fits a wide variety of paddlers from my kids to large adults.
The only 2 negatives I can say, is: yes it's a heavy boat, compared to many newer boats of similar size and performance. The other is the foam bulkheads are not very watertight and should not be trusted. This however can be fixed with some sealant. All and all a great boat when it was made and still a nice performer today.
07-20-2011Submitted by: Armando Torres
- Rating: 9 of 10 Agree completely with the Sea Lion owner who had problems with the backrest device. Once it's broken, it's almost impossible to get a new one since Perception is not making them!!!
How could that be possible???????
01-13-2011Submitted by: Bill
- Rating: 9 of 10 One word can sum up the Sea Lion. "Reliable!" I have had this boat since new for 15 years now and it has never failed me. Only once have I encountered a problem and I do not blame the boat for that. I camped out on a beach overnight only to find a 10 foot + swell had come up overnight. Punching out through the waves took 3 attempts and when finally successful, the bulkheads had popped out and I had shipped much water. Despite this, she brought me home. I frequently use a small sail when the wind is up and she handles it well.
09-15-2010Submitted by: Paul
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought my Eclipes Sealion (plastic) used about 7 years ago. I have no idea how old it is? From the other posts on this site, I am guessing 15-20 years old. I like it a lot and would give it high marks. The rudder works great, I think it is fast enough and tracks very well. I just ordered a back band to replace the back rest. The guy that had it before me was shorter than me (I'm 6.2) and he cut down the back rest to be shorter. It causes me back pain after about 1.5 hours in the seat. I think with the new back strap that I can adjust, I will be good to go for much longer paddles.
While the boat is very heavy, I have been able to single handed load it on the top of the last three vehicles I have had. I may look for a fiberglass version in the future, it is a great boat.
03-11-2010Submitted by: Satchie
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought my Perception Sea Lion fiberglass sea kayak in 1998. I've been very pleased with it and have paddled it on lakes, creeks and occasionally on the ocean. The only reason I give it a 9 instead of a 10 is on account of the difficulty in trying to find a replacement backrest. The original backrest was made of a pretty durable material which looked like translucent plexiglass. This was covered by a padded backrest. Eventually the plexiglass back cracked and had to be removed after having worked for several years. Upon contacting Perception, I was told that this piece was no longer available since they no longer made the Sea Lion. I have still not found a satisfactory replacement for the broken piece. I was very surprised that Perception didn't have a replacement available for such a popular kayak.
09-11-2009Submitted by: Tom
- Rating: 10 of 10 My 21 year old Sea Lion seems to be in as good of shape today as it was when I bought it 12 years ago. Still take it out in big swells offshore with no concern. As long as you store it out of the sunlight, I don't think it is a concern.
09-09-2009Submitted by: John Clapham
- Rating: 9 of 10 I recently bought two polyethylene Sea Lion Eclipse's used, in good condition. They are bullet proof, I have taken them to the Channel Islands National Park (Southern California) several times and they are very stable; especially when fully loaded with gear. The only negative with having a bullet proof kayak is that they are heavy compared to fiberglass kayaks of the same size. It is impossible to move these kayaks with out the assistance of another person or a wheel device at end of it.
I got a good deal on both of them for $1,600.00 with carbon fiber paddles and some safety gear (pumps, paddle float and tow line). The kayaks excel in these types of conditions. I am only a beginner paddler, but the confidence I have with the durable and seaworthy Perception Eclipse Sea Lion has not prevented me from exploring a major portion of the Channel Islands with them. The hatches have a soft neoprene cover with a hard polyethylene cover for durability. I am planning to take these kayaks for extended touring around the Channel Islands and Catalina.
They were the right purchase for me, since I was scared that if I hit a sea cave wall hard in an unexpected ocean swell I wouldn't worry about the kayak failing. I have not seen a single fiberglass kayak at the Channel Islands, I suspect because the conditions are so harsh (rocky coast). The rudder is an option that I rarely use because of kelp in ocean and because it slows you down somewhat. Ensure the ferry operators (Island Packers) pay particular attention to your rudders and put your kayaks on top. This will prevent rudder damage when other kayaks are loaded. Island Packers are friendly to kayakers and have done a good job at making the National Park accessible to public.
I am 6' 190lbs, my girlfriend is 5'4" 120 lbs., we both like the Perception Sea Lion Eclipse.
08-18-2009Submitted by: Andy
- Rating: 10 of 10 I own two Perception Sea Lions for 7+ years. One is plastic and one is fiberglass, both have held up very well. Like any kayak, storage and cleaning is key to making these materials last. I always wash them out and down after each trip, allow them to dry, and store them in a garage away from UV. The plastic has a bit better initial stability, but it slightly wider and lower deck than the fiberglass version. I am large guy and although the fiberglass version is a bit narrower, the fit is still very comfortable. Both can handle some rough seas, they are tricky in surf and can be tough launching from the beach in surf. Both track well, with the fiberglass version having less drag than the plastic and less weight. I've used both boats for multiple night camping trips, plenty of room for gear.
04-20-2009Submitted by: fzburk
- Rating: 6 of 10 The Sea Lion was an important kayak in the mass production aspect and getting people into the water without having to make their own boat, or having to purchase a more expensive fiberglass kayak.
It has been about six or seven years (maybe more) since it was produced. The plastic ones are very old now, not suitable for putting stress on the plastic. If you find one and want to use it for calm water, it will work. If it is in a reasonable price range (under $300), then it may be a good purchase, but anything over that is excessive.
Good boat for learning in calm water, handles well, lots of stability. Not suitable in plastic for rough water or any situation where the kayak can be stressed. The plastic breaks down over time and these, along with Narpas, Kyooks, Chinooks, etc. are ready to be put out to pasture.
09-27-2008Submitted by: Lazilightning
Spend a few bucks more and find a newer boat.
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought a plastic '92 Aquaterra Sea Lion with a rudder, in perfect condition for $500 in the fall of '07. I called Perception to find out their relationship to the brand name Aquaterra. The guy that answered the phone said that Perception began making whitewater boats and when they started making sea kayaks they used the Aquaterra brand name so whitewater enthusiasts would still think of Perception as a whitewater specialist.
I'm 6'4" 210 lbs with a size 15 foot. I am comfortable using the rudder foot controls in bare feet, but have difficulty wearing sandals or shoes. Otherwise the factory thigh braces and other cockpit proportions are a perfect fit.
I have taken this boat out on lake Superior into 15 knot winds gusting up to 25 with 3-4 foot swells, and occasionally areas of reflection waves. I thought the boat was extremely stable, if not super fast. The tracking was fine, and the rudder controls after 15 years worked without a problem.
My boat is a little under outfitted. I have added lifelines on the far bow and stern. The hatch covers are held down with straps and clips rather than bungees. Worst of all the foam bulkheads have 2 large 6 inch slits in each of them. The bulkheads there fore are in no way waterproof. I bought some Aquaseal to seal them up with no problems to date.
05-21-2008Submitted by: Tom
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my Sea Lion used 11 years ago. It is a great boat. I like being out in the ocean when the swells are high and the beach is closed for swimming because of heavy surf. I have a fabric seat insert with high back support so I can be in it for the better part of the day and still be comfortable. I'm 6'1" and over 200 lbs. now. The Sea Lion seems to be a good fit for those of similar size.
06-08-2007Submitted by: Mark from Charlotte
- Rating: 10 of 10 LOVE it. I've had this kayak for 7 years in every kind water and weather.
I did read a review that said it was tipsy on the ocean or rough waters. I've only tipped mine once in this time and it was my fault for not having a skirt on out in the ocean. When I tried to get back in I had no chance because it would dump me easily with the water in it.
But all and all a 10!
09-05-2006Submitted by: funkydrummer
- Rating: 10 of 10 Love this kayak!. I have the composite Aquaterra Sea Lion. There is no mention of Perception anywhere on the boat so I guess it's before they were bought out. I owned 2 Current Design kayaks before this one. The Sea Lion handles so much better. Easier to turn and quicker too. The rudder is super responsive. I can't see myself ever parting with this one.
06-19-2006Submitted by: John Mac
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought a used sea lion about eight months ago and thoroughly enjoy it. It tracks great and slices through the water with ease and at a good clip. Super storage compartments and an easy rudder system. The biggest problem is the lack of comfort of the seat. My butt hurts a lot after about three hours of paddling.
08-22-2005Submitted by: bob weiss
- Rating: 4 of 10 I have a 17ft plastic perception sea lion. Upon reading most of the reviews I feel like the customer who complains to a store about a particular product and is told nobody has ever complained before. I am not a highly experienced kayaker but have had some experience sea kayaking. I give the sea lion negative numbers for primary stability. To be exact it is so tipsy that I must use my paddles as outriggers just to make a shore line entry. Prior to learning this technique I would nearly capsize at almost every attempted entry. I recently was paddling successfully in some fairly heavy seas. The next day things calmed down a bit. Upon slowing down my paddling speed and letting my mind wander I was hit broadside by a wave which immediately flipped me over. I don't believe the wave was that large. I now question the secondary stability of the sea lion as well as its primary. I would truly appreciate some comments from experienced paddlers about my concerns. This has been about the third time I have taken this kayak out in rough water.
07-04-2005Submitted by: LeeChamberlain
- Rating: 10 of 10 In 1998, I paddled an Odyssey for abused children. The mainstay boat was the Sealion by Perception. The trek was 1128 miles, for over 992 miles the Sealion was home. The comfort and stability of this boat, her ability to ride out heavy seas and her handling made her a permanent feature in boat inventory. I paddle her today on my research project and from 1998 to present she is still the pride of kayak fleet. She was even named by my son who was then 3 years old "Le Chat de Mer" The Cat of the Sea, she still is.
10-27-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I find this kayak to be great for long trips. It is very comfortable for me, I'm 6'2" and 210lbs. It is a bit slow but I'm not out to race it anywhere. I bought one this summer, I think it was built in 96 or 97, but I got it for dirt cheap with every accessory you can imagine and in great shape. My SeaLion is plastic so it isn't as easy to paddle as the composite version, but that's fine with me as I like to make my muscles work a bit. The only drawback my boat has is the tracking without the rudder. Once the rudder is down, it's easy paddling. I've paddled smoother kayaks but they can not withstand the long trips like this SeaLion can.
07-22-2002Submitted by: Tom
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought a 4 year old composite sea lion. After paddling a Necky Arluk II for eleven years, I felt I had been transported to kayak nirvana. The boat is faster, much more maneuverable, has better fit and finish, a more comfortable seat...you get the idea! I am 6'1" and weigh 215 and fit very well. The Sea Lion is a great choice.
07-01-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Perceptions Sea Lion makes for a great touring boat. Mine is a composite glass version w/rudder purchased three years ago. The rudder isn't really necessary but can come in handy with a stiff crosswind. The boat has good initial stability and can easily accomodate a beginner. Turns well with a lean and tracks straight. Plenty of storage and I like the secure hatch system. Also the larger cockpit for easier entry and exit. My glass boat is lighter than the plastic version and gets up to speed well. Not a race boat but I can easily maintain a good touring pace. Stable and handles well in heavy swells. Well made, good fit and finish. No complaints. I've never regretted buying one of these and have been very satisfied with it.
06-10-2002Submitted by: A
- Rating: 9 of 10 I found my Perception Sea Lion to be extremely seaworthy. I live in a heavily populated area with a lot of boat traffic and negotiating boat wakes as well as currents and wind waves has been a little hairy with some other boats I have tried, but my Sea Lion has always instilled confidence in its performance and stability. Acceleration is not great but once you are moving it is easy to keep up a good pace. Tons of room, and just a great platform for "canal cruising"- checking out the waterfront homes on the canals. My boat is plastic so it is a little heavy but I found I could get it on and off the top of my pick up without struggling too much, you don't want to portage it 1/2 mile in the sand though.The rudder improves the Sea Lion's agility but it isn't a necessityThis hull is identical to Perception's Eclipse which consistently receives rave reviews, but with different (better in my opinion) hatches.
05-15-2002Submitted by: Joe
- Rating: 9 of 10 Reading others' critiques of the Sea Lion as slow, I must differ. I've gotten mine up to five knots (a powerboat running beside me) and have never had a problem keeping up with anyone in my seven years of paddling. In fact, have had a few composite owners get into mine and express great surprise & satisfaction at its handling. It's a great boat.
08-20-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've had a Sea Lion since 97, when I bought mine second hand from an outfitter in Hilton Head, SC at the end of their busy season. I had never paddled before, but the price was right (half that of a new one) and the boat had a good reputation. I wasn't disappointed. You couldn't get more green than me at paddling at that time, but the boat is generally forgiving with good enough initial stability to allow beginners to feel comfortable. The boat I got had obviously seen it's share of oyster shells on the hull, but it is built very tough and the plastic is still in good shape considering that. The bulkheads (foam) do leak a little, but any gear I'm carrying is in a dry bag so that's no big deal.
The boat is certainly not a racer, but neither is it slow in my opinion. The plastic rudder controls are a little sticky, especially when you get some sand into them, but I've never had them jam or otherwise fail to work. Anyway, the boat tracks well and the rudder isn't needed on calm days. The storage space is great, although the foreward hatch opening seems like it could be a little bigger. The seat (plastic) is comfortable, and the cockpit is roomy enough for a bit of a small stretch if necessary.
I give it an 8 because it is heavier and slower than some composite/glass boats I've paddled. (It's also much tougher. Never had any oil canning in the hull.) If you don't have a pretty strong upper body, you'll have a hard time lifting this on/off your car's roof racks. Overall, a solid touring boat which I'll keep in my quiver for years to come. I do intend to get something a little shorter (I've had to paddle my Sea Lion backwards out of small creeks) and also a glass/kevlar boat for speed -finances permitting.
08-09-2001Submitted by: Bryan S.
- Rating: 7 of 10 The Saskatoon Canoe Club has a PE Sea Lion that is probably 6 to 10 years old. It's still in great shape with some minor repairs done this spring (fioot braces, re-sealed bulkheads, more deck rigging added). This was the first kayak I ever paddled & was the boat I used on my first kayak camping trip. It handled well for me (highly inexperienced) through some pretty rough weather. It has plenty of room for all my gear & fits me well (I'm 6'3" & 200lbs). Our boat has no rudder but seems to track OK, though just last night I had minor problems in a very strong & gusty quartering wind (empty boat). This boat does seem awful heavy in comparison to our newer PE boats (CD Storm & Squall).
07-18-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 The sealion is the 57 chevy of seakayaks. They are not being made anymore and if you own one keep it. I have paddled my all over the country in fresh water, salt water, black water ect. and I love the way it handles and the room it offers for gear for those lost weekend trips.
01-25-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I have owned my Sea Lion for one year now, and I love the boat. The kayak is great in rough water (2 meter breaking swell), carves a turn very nicely, and is reasonably fast for a polyethelene boat. I have read many comments regarding it's slow speed, but I have no problems keeping up with my pals in their composite Arluks and Solstices. It may be a little slower, but nothing to be concerned about. I have paddled my share of kayaks, and the Sea Lion is my favourite by far. When I grow up, I am going ot buy a kevlar version, or will take a look at a kevlar Eclipse. My only complaint...it is a bit if a tank to carry...supposedly weighs in at 59 lbs, but it feels more like 65 - 70 lbs. If you are looking for an economical, great all around performer, paddle a Sea Lion...you may fall in love.
01-16-2001Submitted by: GH
- Rating: 8 of 10 A bit slow in PE version. I have fitted a small aluminium T- profile keel for better tracking - that makes difference ! Very rigid at shore high
comfort and seaworhty. No-problem boat! We are padling Norway / Atlantic / fjords - all year.
11-26-2000Submitted by: Joseph
- Rating: 8 of 10 I have a 13 year old polyethylene Sea Lion. I have toured it on the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean (Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina), and countless others in the area. I have experienced 50 mph. winds, six foot waves, and current speeds of 5 mph. I've never capsized, and I've never had to brace. The kayak is 13 yrs. old and never needed repair. I've been in four other highly regarded sea kayaks before, and the Sea Lion outtracks, outruns, is more stable, and more comfortable than the others. The reason why I'm giving it an eight is because I feel it could be made to track even better without sacrificing speed. I also feel that 1.5 inches should be added to the foot area height in the deck at the forward most foot setting. This would better accommodate people like my brother who shouldn't be punished because they have size 12 or above feet and are 6'5". I am 6'1", 162lbs., 11"shoes, and long legged. I fit fine. What I have been through in this kayak speaks for itself. I've been in the new Sea Lion Eclipse and find that they are very similar. It would be my quess that the Eclipse would fair as well in the situations I've been in.
11-19-2000Submitted by: Eric
- Rating: 7 of 10 This boat can carry more stuff then I can fit in it. It has lots of room for taller people like myself. The only complaint I have is the boats a little slow. I have a hard time keeping up with my girlfriends Alto. Other then that its a great boat.
09-05-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Having paddled 20 different sea kayaks I rate the Sea Lion above all except for the Nordkapp Romany and the P&H Sirius. Maybe when we talk Sea Lion we should distinguish the plastic version from the composite version, and I am probably biased having paddled a Carbon/Kevlar version for 3 years now, so I speak of my 42 pound and not the heavier plastic version...speed? after many trips to the Atlantic with many tour groups there was none I couldn't keep up with and most leave behind (but I did do a 6 mile swim 10 weeks ago in a little under 3 hours). Handling? Again two different boats here, i.e. loaded or unloaded, and I will stress that a loaded Sea Lion handles much differently-better that is-from an empty boat...some weathercocking but minimal compared to many others I have paddled. Rollability? Simple to roll and I am close to nailing a hand-roll with it. Capacity? I am 6'1" 184 and swear by the comfort of the boat-and that is after many multi hour paddles. Storage? Most I have ever crammed in is a weeks worth of food and gear and that included many luxuries like Crazy creek chairs. Value? for the Kevlar version same price range as the Brittish competitors...so why did I choose Aquaterra versus P&K, NDK, etc.? just wanted to keep the local folks in business, though I think Aquaterra subs out the composites to shops in Canada, which by the way called me every 3 or 4 days while the boat was being layed up to make sure we got the colors and options right.....bottom line- 42 pounds and 17-2, now who out there that knows anything about touring kayaks would think it ever slow or sluggish? p.s. Just ordered a Vizcaya for my daughter.
08-28-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 My kevlar sea lion is the most comfortable kayak I have ever paddled,handles and tracks well.Build quality is excellant. My Necky ArlukIII tracks a little better but is not as comfortable for the long haul.
05-11-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 3 of 10 Slow and sluggish. That's about it.
03-28-2000Submitted by: FEC
- Rating: 4 of 10 Slow. Heavy. Tracks terrible. I rented two for some friends and took a 3 day tour and they hated them. I tried it and hated them. Everyone wanted to use the Necky Looksha IVs. The fit is great but the ride is bad.
12-03-1998Submitted by: Tim Mattson
- Rating: 7 of 10 The Sea Lion is the best all around sea Kayak in my fleet. It is plenty maneuverable, fast enough to keep up with most paddlers, and has plenty of room to carry gear for extended touring. It may not be the best at any single feature, but it does them all OK making it a great all around boat.
More specifically, the Sea Lion has high primary stability so it really shines for beginners. In addition, it rolls easilly and responds well to leans making it fun for the intermediate paddler as well. The only area where it is quite weak is surfing. It broches right away in the surf.
My Sea Lion is made of plastic which means it weighs a ton (I'm not sure of the weight but its somewhere around 65 to 70 pounds). This makes it real painful getting the boat on and off my car. It also causes it to accelerate a bit sluggishly. However, I have lots of fun taking it into shallow, rocky places that would seriously batter my composite or folding) boats. So there are disadvantages of a plastic boat, but its important to remember the advantages as well. My Sea Lion has taught me that I always need to have at least one plastic boat in my fleet.
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