If you need a long term review, here it is. I have had my Sea Eagle Paddleski 435PS since 2002 (12 years and counting!) and I love it. I mostly just use it as a kayak, though I do on occasion break out the rowing seat. I take my son and our dog out on the water all the time (he's not quite old enough to be much help paddling yet, but getting close.) I have made my own fishing seat for the boat, and I am kicking around adding a trolling motor for windy days (happens a lot in Nebraska.)
Pros:Holds a fair amount of weight (I am 6'7" and 280 lbs) and is fairly fast for an inflatable. It is pretty dry unless you get crazy with the paddles, and very dry if you row. It can be used for a variety of things if you either invest in the various kits and attachments or spend some time modifying it yourself.Cons:Wind is an issue with this boat, as a headwind can slow you to a crawl and a side wind can make holding a course very difficult. The seats that came with it are not great, but they changed those a long time ago, so I don't know how the new ones are.
Overall I think it's a great boat, as I have had it for a long time and it has never had any leaks or punctures. Rowing is faster but, for me at least, not as fun as using the kayak paddles. Buy one with confidence, if you take care of it, it will last for a long time.
This past September I purchased the current 42 Lbs Paddleski barely used 2nd hand complete with older model SailRig, 28 Lbs trolling motor and many accessories. After purchasing a Sea Eagle 330SE and loving it a couple years ago, I was interested in getting one of their more expensive boats. Since I was a kid I wanted a Sunfish sailboat, but wasn't about to buy larger gas guzzling vehicle just so I had the ability to transport it.
The Paddleski is the most flexible kayak on the market for a kayak that will fit in the trunk of a small car, offer a full sail rig (vs a small down wind only sail) and the ability to motor too. It's a jack of all trade. True it's a master of none, few boats if any can match it for all it does as a single boat.Paddling with no wind alone or with a friend works well. With some wind, much easier with two paddling. If it's stronger wind, can always sail or motor. The original Sail Rig offers a larger more traditional sail than the current version, and it also folds small enough to fit in my trunk vs the current model. However, the rudder is very inefficient for turning sharp which is needed in narrow areas, solved on the current model. sailboatstogo.com offers a "pair" of steering oars that will likely solve this problem for me.
How cool is it that I can leave this boat concealed in the trunk of my fuel efficient car, and it's ready to paddle, sail or motor on Cape Cod, Newport and many other places I'll be taking it.Sea Eagle support has been spectacular I'll mention. They recommended I wait for the sailing kit for the Fast Track or Explorer only came on the market in the past month or so. Can't complain with the deal I got though. Pros & Cons if I had gone that route. I like the option to motor, still not avail on those boats. Paddleski is more stable in rougher water, and I plan on using it on the ocean some of the time. I would like having an open cockpit vs sit on top. Some pros & cons to that too. inflatableboats4less.com swears by the Paddleski as their favorite kayak. They sell all Sea Eagle models. That kind of sold me. Will update my review after this summer...
I have had my Paddleski for over two years. The reason I selected the Paddleski was I was having problems using my Sea Eagle FoldCat in the narrow, shallow, side channels of the NW Florida spring fed rivers I paddle in. The Paddleski is narrower and draws less water and is easier to pull over barely submerged logs I often encounter. There are also lots of weeds which often times reach the surface and the Paddleski skids over them much better than hard shelled boats. I also use the Paddleski on lakes and agree in high winds it can be a handful, especially with stuff in dry bags lashed to the deck.
There are tradeoff with all kayaks. The key is to select the one that best meets your needs. I wanted a boat I could carry a lot of gear on and deal with shallow weed infested log filled narrow water ways and the Paddleski fills that bill.
I primarily use my Sea Eagle 435ps as a fishing platform. I have the fishing seats and motor mount (both electric and gas). I modified the seats to hold 2 fishing rods each, and I have a milk crate that adds another 3 rods. So far, I have taken the boat fishing a dozen or so times, mostly in the NE Florida area (intracoastal waterway). Both electric (27 ft/lbs thrust) and gas (3.5 hp Mercury) motors work great with the boat. A throttle extension is required.
The boat holds a ton of gear (well 600 lbs worth) and it takes other boats' wakes pretty well. The boat is stable while sitting, but you cannot stand on it to fish or cast. The boat material is fairly rugged. I have run aground on oyster beds 3 times so far and have left some marks on the hull (but no hull penetration). I once stupidly brought a sting ray on board and quickly received 2 pin sized holes in the pontoon (which was later easily sealed).
The boat came with a couple of square feet of additional hull material that I have cut and used to reinforce the front bottom 2 pontoons. It gives me some piece of mind as the area I fish most are flats with frequent oyster beds. The best features of this boat is its portability. I throw it on top of my FJ Cruiser and go.The downsides:1) it does take 2 people about 30-35 minutes to get fully set-up and rigged (that's with a motor), 2) the hull material could be thicker, 3) cannot stand in it to fish.
The upsides:1) portability & lightweight, 2) ability to carry a lot of gear, 3) reasonably rugged.I purchased the sail kit with the boat and can say it was not worth the $ nor effort. You need to add skegs and put mast together...takes a bit of time...and sailing experience is adequate at best. This is with the older style sail kit (I understand Sea Eagle now offers an updated version of this kit which looks more user friendly)
I purchased the 435 last year. It was a 2001 model but had never been taken out of the sealed box (the seller had several). We have used it on lakes and rivers and always enjoy it. It is easy to paddle although with the deluxe upgrade paddles and high-back seats it is much easier. We are both retired. I wanted something that would be stable ... especially the entry and exit for my wife. It fills the bill better than expected. I am sure it is not tops in performance but who wants to carry a bulky hardshell or store it for most of the year.
I added a trolling motor with a DIY mounting bracket. Works great. Only problem is in Texas you have to register the boat with Texas Parks and Wildlife as a "motorcraft", get it inspected by a game warden, and from then on pay a fee to keep it legal. Not a lot of $, but it is a hassle.Next I made a DIY 42 Sq. Ft. Latine sail with 1 1/8 inch aluminum mast and one inch aluminum spars. Total cost aprox. $39.00. Admittedly I already had the dagger boards and the rudders(first set of paddles). I also spent some time at a local thrift store acquiring the sail material and poles.
Performance: I have never felt like it was going to turn over. I couldn't be more pleased with the performance.
I got this to have a very portable boat for sailing. Good points: very fast to rig after the first time, incredibly strong and tough material, very easy to handle and throw on a car because it is inflatable.nn Poor points: sailing ability is rather slow, it needs a larger rig. With the leeboards it is equipped with, it goes sideways to windward. I have fixed this by making a much deeper and bigger leeboard (same width, 42 inches high) and the difference is dramatic, it goes where you point it.nn I have still have a lot of fun out of it, but do not expect the performance of any real sailboat.
This is my second review after using the boat for almost two seasons. I would still buy another inflatable, because with this boat I have been out on the water way more than a hard kayak due to our camping lifestyle.As I mentioned before, wind is certainly a factor with a boat sitting so far above the water. Of course it is not an issue when motoring as a Mercury 3.3 works very well on this boat. I do enjoy the boat the most as a kayak and paddling.
It is really fun out on Lake Michigan, regardless of the level of waves. But certainly high winds mean little progress will be made (but you will still have fun!).While I used to think it needed a rudder, I no longer feel that way. Paddling solo, I can compensate for wind my offsetting the paddle 3 inches off to one side. When paddling tandem, I ask my partner to offset her paddle and that allows my correction to be effective. A rudder would just be a burden now.
My foot rest mod is working well, but I changed out the chain for quick dry rope. Looks nicer and equally effective. For me and my family, this is still a great choice. I too had to repair a pump leak, but no boat leaks in two years of steady use.
This review is for newbies like me who have only paddled canoes and some kayaks. I agree with some of the other reviewers in that you have to ask yourself what you want to use the boat for. I picked it because I wanted something that my girlfriend and I could go out in on the lake or river and have fun on as well as something I could take fishing. I have to say I am very pleased with it so far.Unlike a kayak or canoe I can jump out of it into the lake and swim around and then climb back in with relative ease. You pretty much cannot flip this boat. In fact I stood on it and dove off without flipping it, though I am sure the manufacture would not approve of that...
Setup is smooth and easy. 10 min till you're in the water. The high back seats are comfortable. This boat is stable in rough waters but is much faster in smooth waters. Since it is an inflatable, it is more susceptible to wind than a hard shell. Tracking is pretty good, about what I expected. Almost as good as a canoe. But again wind affects your tracking a lot more. The skegs on the bottom really help I think. I think with two people canoe paddles might be easier though I haven't tried them and the kayak paddles work just fine, you just have to get a rhythm. We have no problem paddling it but I would not want to go on a weeklong expedition with it as it is not as easy as a long kayak.
The material seems quite durable but time will tell as to the quality of the construction and the seams. I like the metal crossbars on it as they allow you to attach stuff to them. The boat also has a bunch of D-rings and the company sells them as well so you could add more if needed. In fact the company appears to be a marketing machine with all their attachments and add-ons which makes me a little nervous, but there are a lot of options if you want. I'll probably end up getting the sail rig for it. It also has an optional motor mount for a small motor which is a nice plus.
The boat claims to be able to hold 650 lbs though I think you would be severely hampered with that kind of weight in it. You certainly aren't going to be paddling long distance with that kind of weight. Also if you weigh over 225 your butt will be dragging in the water which will create a lot of extra drag and slow you down so I would choose a different boat if you are a larger person. My friend is right at 220 and small wakes were smacking the bottom where his rear was. That said this thing can hold a lot of gear. Plenty of room for a weekend worth of backpacker style camping gear.
All in all I am very happy with the boat and it serves the exact purpose for which I bought it: Swimming, fishing and short overnight trips. I would have no problem recommending this boat.
I've paddled all kinds of boats and had a sea kayak for many years. With two people, the boat really works much better with canoe paddles because it is much easier to steer. If I were alone I would use the kayak paddle. BTW, the first thing to do is cut off the rear carry handles because they are terribly in the way of paddling. You'll hit them constantly. The easiest way to carry the boat is from behind anyway (like a stretcher) so we never did use the handles.
The boat handles about like the average family canoe and is about as fast (which is quite good for an infaltable). Stability is very good (better than a canoe) You'd probably fall off before you'd tip it. It feels better with two people because it's more balanced and "bites into" the water better.The seats that come with it are OK but here's what you do. Buy some folding "bleacher seats" (look sort of like a giant wallet with a strap to support the backrest) then buy a couple of generic 3" thick boat "throw" cushions. Cut the straps on the throw cushions and use them to secure the seat and cushion together (longer dimension goes crosswise to the boat). Then get some extra nylon strap and attach that to the boat's D-rings and put the lower half of the backrest buckle on that strap.... so it is arranged like the original seats were. Now you've got some very comfortable seats for $20 each.
Another thing I did was to put some 4"x6" plywood "feet" on the ends of the aluminum thwarts so they don't dig into the pontoons so much. That was making me nervous.We have also tried a Seylor SVX200 which is a more conventional inflatable kayak but with the high pressure floor. While the Sevy is a very nicely made boat, the 435 rides drier, is much more comfortable (with our seats) and is faster. The 435 is a great inflatable substitute for a canoe. The Sevy would be the choice for whitewater.
The concept of this boat is good and it performs very well for an inflatable. I only wish Sea Eagle would have done a better job thinking it through. It is basically well made (heavy material, good valves) and it has never leaked but the D-rings, for example, appear to be plated brass and should be stainless steel on a boat like this. Anyhow, I do recommend this boat and considering it's an inflatable I would give it a 9.5 on performance but more like a 7 on the details. I would take this boat over a lot of canoes out there. After working out the bugs I really do like this boat.
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.