I just bought a inflatable kayak (Sea Eagle)SE330 and being new to this sport I'd like to know how the inflatables match up with the hard shells.At 75 years of age I picked the inflatable for ease of handling. Any input would be appreciated, thank you, Tom Atkinson, 2-20-13. PS I live along the upper Niagara River in Niagara Falls NY.
1 Canoe/Kayak Trailer
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Posted by: rjd9999 on Feb-21-13 11:16 AM (EST)
First, I don't have a lot of experience in inflatables. Audrey Sutherland, a world class kayaker and sportsman, uses them exclusively and has written pretty extensively about them, however. Her opinions are a bit hyperbolic, but she is really an inflatable advocate. That she also advocates, in rough conditions, that she get into the boat and be tossed into the ocean by her fellow paddlers to exit the surf zone suggests to me that there are some issues she just glosses over.
Posted by: papatomack on Feb-21-13 1:59 PM (EST)
Thanks Rick for your input, I'm just getting started and all the help I can get is appreciated. Tom
Posted by: Peter-CA on Feb-21-13 11:39 AM (EST)
My experience - inflatables are slow. I have a pair of Advanced Elements inflatables (their lowest end models), along with hard shells. When we use our hard shell touring kayaks to paddle with friends in a double hard shell recreational kayak, we have a lot of waiting to do. Went on a trip where we brought the inflatables and they rented a rec boat similar to the one they own. On that paddle, they had a lot of waiting to do for us.
Posted by: papatomack on Feb-21-13 2:01 PM (EST)
Thanks Pete, I'll keep you info in mind and test it out with others when our weather clears. Tom
I like a bit of current|
Posted by: tdaniel on Feb-21-13 2:37 PM (EST)
when paddling an inflatable. They're ideally suited for a float trip where a river's currents push you along. The same type of river people like to tube. I suspect you could wear yourself out paddling flatwater because of the effort required to move the 330. If you keep your distances short, and your pace relaxed I think you'll enjoy your boat more than if you try to cover a lot of area. Sea Eagle makes a pretty good high back seat. If you didn't get that kind of seat with your boat then you might want to consider upgrading in the future. Sometimes I just lay down in the ducky and let the river do most of the work because I get tired of holding myself up without good back support. Your boat looks to be very beginner friendly and best suited for short float trips.
Everything's a trade off|
Posted by: redmond on Feb-21-13 1:57 PM (EST)
I have both inflatable and hard shell. Just bought the inflatable Innova Safari last fall. Inflatables are great for storage and travel, I can take mine on an airplane. But..., even though it has better glide than other inflatables and some "rec" boats, it would be hard work keeping up with "sea" kayaks. It is a great river boat, which would be what I would say it does best.
Posted by: papatomack on Feb-21-13 2:04 PM (EST)
Thanks redmond, I selected my inflatable with the though that being as I am on the Niagara River it would be a better choice for me and the handling and storage for a 75 year old would be a great help. Tom
black and white|
Posted by: magooch on Feb-21-13 3:10 PM (EST)
Good On Ya!|
Posted by: VK1NF on Feb-21-13 7:24 PM (EST)
You've made one good decision - getting the kayak, whatever it is. It'll get you out on the water and around other paddlers, and let you see how the SeaEagle compares witho ther boats. I paddle hardshells, but a couple of visited and paddled with me a few years both have high-end folders - and those boats handled as well as anything I've ever p[addled with. Main thing is that you're on the water - just take it easy, watch the weather, the water temps, and your limits, and enjoy!~
You are right for 'ease of handling!'|
Posted by: tkkcc70 on Feb-21-13 9:17 PM (EST)
To start off, I began with an iflatable used Advanced Elements Expedition due to storage and transportation, and according to other AE owners that I agree with regarding on-water performance: closed cockpit [SIK]; upper end of the AE line and competitive with upper end plastic rec's and even a few bottom line touring models. When I wanted a lower end open cockpit [SOT], I looked deeply towards Sea Eagle, especially a specific used 330 model I found on craigslist in my area. I never received a response from the seller, which was quite disappointing. I ended up going with a West Marine K1 (extended clone of a Sevylor Rio).
Inflatables (thanks for the responses)|
Posted by: papatomack on Feb-26-13 1:42 PM (EST)
Just wanted to say thank you to those that responded to my info request about inflatable kayaks.
SEA Eagle - inflatable|
Posted by: juldga on Feb-27-13 11:08 AM (EST)
I had that exact kayak last year. First time out I got a huge gash in the bottom. I struggled so much when I paddled in the wind. I was out on a big lake and was at the point where I really wanted to give up and not go back to shore. Also it was used qquite frequently but after 3 months it stated leaking air and I could never find the hole. I gave up on it. I bought a hard shell. I am selling my sea eagle for $10 - the cost of the unexpired launch permit for someone who wants to give it a go
Posted by: papatomack on Feb-27-13 2:17 PM (EST)
Wow, you sure burst my bubble of enthusiasm with the problems you had with your sea eagle 330. Perhaps you started out in the lake to quickly. I hope mine lasts longer than yours,thanks for the input. Tom
Caring for an inflatable|
Posted by: Waterbird on Feb-27-13 9:34 PM (EST)
I've owned a couple of inflatables. One was expedition quality, the other an Advanced Elements recreational size. As others have said, they're slow but if they get you on the water maybe that's all that matters to you. Did you say the Niagara River? I thought that's what you said.