If you enjoy the water you will love the Explorer 380x made by Sea Eagle. This inflatable kayak is tough and rugged and yet fairly spacious even for someone who is 6'8" like myself. It holds up to 750 lbs including cargo which gives plenty of space for overnight trips.The 380x can handle class 3 and 4 with ease. this kayak is great in white water in addition to paddling in the ocean. I have used it to travel down the kayak down the Snake River in Wyoming and "kayak surfing" in California. I agree that a directional stabilizer or fin is needed if you do not want to fishtail while paddling on flat water.
I do wish that the kayak had a spray guard to limit the amount of water during white water kayaking. All in all, this is one inflatable that everyone should enjoy!
Very happy with this so far. Have done high class III's on the Potomac and it rode the high waves without ever feeling like it would flip. Problem is that it fills with water very fast since Sea Eagle does not yet make any kind of splash guard for it. So you have to dock and drain it from the valves. Otherwise, it handles quite well for it's size, even through some tighter turning. On flatwater, the skeg is A MUST. Otherwise, you will fishtail a lot. I hope Sea Eagle makes a splash guard to fit the 380 soon. But overall, a very fun all around kayak that transports easily.
My wife and I took the 380x out for our maiden voyage yesterday. Class II/III WW on the Colorado river. We went with rafter friends for support and river advice. The only reason I gave an 8 is that the self bailing is not that great. You sit in water once you hit any WW waves. Otherwise the boat was extremely stable and comfortable. It forgave a lot of bad moves through the class III WW. Never came close to tipping. Even when going through waves that were two or three feet high. Scary for a first ride but now I'm looking forward to a second run.
I would say the control and steering are comparable to a canoe. You can't turn on a dime like a hard shell kayak but you don't have to worry about tipping. At 50 yrs old I'm more into the safety and comfort than high performance sport kayaking. I'm 6'1" 225lbs and had plenty of room. The high back seats were very comfortable and secure. I may go to a higher deluxe seat for my wife. She did not enjoy sitting in the water.
The 380x seems to be high quality and very durable. I spent a little more money for a boat that will last many years. I ran the boat up the concrete exit ramp and it didn't even scratch the bottom.So with the self bailing exception, the 380x is all that I hoped for in an IK. Safe, stable, durable, comfortable and fun. I look forward to many years of river runs and camping floats.
What a great inflatable kayak. I have been kayaking for over 20 years in a variety of hard shell kayaks. Being of age now and having had several surgeries, my legs just aren't what they used to be, so I have been searching for a solution to getting out of our kayaks with my weakened legs. I fitted it with a seat similar to the optional fishing seat, and what a dream come true. It is so stable and easy to get in and out of now. I can keep up with my wife in her 13' Perception America except in strong wind. Sitting higher in the fishing seat as opposed to the Deluxe or Pro Highback seats makes paddling a breeze.
I highly recommend this kayak fitted with or without the optional fishing seat.
We purchased this boat this spring as a whitewater tandem since my wife was wary of paddling alone. We intended on running the upper New in WV. The boat is great in mild whitewater...with the valves closed. We ran the Lower Yough in SW PA this weekend. A much smaller river that packs a big punch with most of the rapids rated III/IV. We still ran with the valves closed because if the rear paddler is a little larger, he sits in about 2 inches of water that slows quick moves required on this river to a great extent. Getting hung up on a rock can spell disaster as the boat quickly fills with water and made it like trying to turn a battleship. I have contacted Sea Eagle to find if an additional floor can be added or a thicker floor installed to displace the water that enters when the valves are open.
I still like the boat but with the design as it is, the floor needs to be thicker to displace the water so the rear paddler sits at or above the water level and the self bailing feature really works, because as it is now, it really isn't a self-bailer, at least not with the high back seats.I can attest to the fact that even filled to the brim, it still CAN be paddled.
This is my first kayak. I've rented hard shells for flat water paddling. I've been on commercial rafting trips through class IV.My first impression of the 380X is the rugged construction. I took it out in the San Francisco Bay the day I received it in 30 knot winds. I really couldn't control the direction or make any headway by myself. On a lake the next day with little wind the boat was great.I have the optional fixed rudder and I think it helps the tracking. I ordered the thigh straps and took it to South Fork American Fork to run the Gorge. It was flowing 1500 cps. With two people first time, self guiding, class II rapids blind, the boat forgave our many mistakes. For the class III section we had an experienced guide showing us the lines. We flipped in a scary place but I was able to dolphin kick myself back in kayak in calmer waters. The guide we met was impressed with the boat's capabilities and the boat really forgave our many mistakes.
I've been padding solo canoe and kayak (hard shell) for nine years. Just got my 380X last of August. Outfitted it for W.W. Got the optional bow float and made a custom foot rest. Added a set of thigh straps. These two elements are key for W.W. First 3 times on the lake. Did 6 miles on a narrow dam controlled river. Class I high 2's. Had to get technical with some moves. With drains open the boat looses performance because all the water doesn't exit the boat. At the end of the run it was holding quite a bit of water under the floor. This makes the boat handle sluggish. Thinking of retrofitting the floor with foam. With the rib shape of air floor water has a place to accumulate.
After a lot of online research, I picked up a Sea Eagle Explorer 380 in June. Spent the summer fishing the Cannon and Mississippi river from the Explorer. This is one well put together boat, very tough and stable. My son and I did a run down the Porneuf river through Lava Hot Springs, many rapids and small waterfalls. At not time during all my trips I have I felt unstable like a regular kayak. The boat does not track like a regular kayak, but some practice in rowing and the rear stabilizer helps (think quick shallow strokes). I works well for two people to fish out of. My recommendation would be skip the tall back seats and go with the deluxe kayak seats, much better back support and comfort. They also let you sit 4 inches higher for easier fishing. The deluxe foot pump allows me to fill up the kayak in 5 minutes or less. Yes the Sea Eagle Explorer is more expensive but I look forward to many years of kayaking without it wearing out.
Paddled at the Bay of Quinte in Ontario.With the directional stabilizer boat tracks straight & moves slower than a kayak but faster than a canoe.Paddling into a strong headwind requires effort but this is really a great boat that will handle open water & for some reason is easier paddled sitting up front as possible, & even easier when there is some weight behind you as the boat will carry it's momentum better.nn Big waves & boat wake are easily handled & still water is surprisingly fast.
Tandem paddling gets you moving at a brisk pace & there is lots of room for two people to sit comfortably with some gear.The Deluxe seat will put you higher up than the Pro seat & is also a good platform for fishing. You can jump from the dock into the boat without worrying about tipping.This is a very fun boat & it will do everything from solo to tandem paddling with relative ease. The 380X was faster than the 340X solo. See my 340X review.
I've been fishing lakes in a Sea Eagle 420X for the past week. Most days in pretty high winds. ANY inflatable watercraft is going to be lumbering on flat water and catch wind like a sail. Nature of the beast. But the SE 420X was BY FAR the best inflatable I have ever used...AND my absolute favorite fly fishing boat of all time. I ordered a 380X after the 2nd day. I don't need the extra length of the 420X.
I paddled this boat for hours in 30 mph wind on an East Texas lake, transiting open water and along shoreline structure while fishing. I have no qualms with the way it handles. Does it handle as well as a hard boat? Yes... a canoe. But not a kayak. But for an inflatable kayak, that's as good as it gets! I even paddled the boat for an hour while my brother fished where I was sitting in the bow and he was fishing from the stern. 290 lbs of former football lineman sitting over the skeg and 30 mph winds...and I had no problem keeping him in position for fishing the shoreline we were covering.
But my favorite things about this boat are that it is ultimately comfortable and it has nothing on it to foul a fly line when fishing. These are the two most important ingredients for any fishing boat in my world.