Sea Eagle 435ps Inflatable Kayak Reviews
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435ps Reviews (35 total, avg. review: 4.4 out of 5)
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.more ▼
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.more ▼
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.more ▼
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.more ▼
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.
I've had my paddle ski for more than a year already, so I can give you a fair and somewhat knowledgeable review:
Setup: The boat is easy to carry and set up, it takes about 10 mins to have it ready, with a foot pump. Carrying it is somehow hard, because it weighs 60 lbs and it's bulky. If you have storage problems, as I do, this or any other inflatable will be a solution, just roll it and store it in your car trunk or closet.more ▼
Performance: The most important part of a review, isn't it? I have to ask you, what are you planning on using it for? lakes, open sea?
The boat handles well under hard conditions, i.e. high tides with 3 ft waves in the ocean, BUT BEWARE, wind is a big obstacle to this boat's performance. because the boat is raised from the water--thus making you ride on top of the water--it performs poorly under strong wind conditions. A hard shell kayak will perform much better. I have paddled it under very strong winds, 15 mph, and struggled to go forward in a straight line, let alone advance.
Tracking: This boat is wide, (3ft) and it does not have a rudder. Instead, it has a couple of skegs, one under each pontoon. Being wide, while it provides great stability =) , will undermine tracking. That's why the kayaks made for exploration are narrow and long, and have rudders. They track faster and straighter.
Stability: A big plus!!! I have paddled this boat under rough waters in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I have never been tipped over or rolled. In fact, due to its design, it would take probably a 7 ft wave to make it roll, otherwise, it's more stable than any other kayak. You can get in and out of it easily, and it will not roll at all. That makes it perfect for scuba diving, swimming, fishing.
Storage: Capacity is a plus, but the fact that your stored items are on the outside can be a minus, since they are exposed. I have gone camping for 5 days with my wife and dog, and I have been able to put tons of items on it, with no problem. I have to attach everything so it does not fall, and also use dry bags, so nothing gets wet. But you see, capacity is great. I'm 6'0 ft 190 lbs, my wife is 5'6" and 125 lbs and my dog is 45 lbs. All of us plus the load are able to fit well in the boat.
Comfort: The seats are also inflatable, so they are not that comfortable. It takes a while to find a position where you can get more comfortable and make your paddling more efficient. Sea eagle has just released newer seats made of polyethilene, I believe, which should provide better back support.
Extras: The boat can be purchased as stand alone or with a series of add-ons: sail rig =) rowing frame, motor mount (for electrical motor, only). I purchased the whole package.
The sail rig set up is long and complicated, with many fittings that have to be assembled. It takes about 45 min to set it up. The performance of the sail is ok, although is not as good as a lido or any other of the small sailing boats there are. On person can easily steer the sail and tiller (the helm). Two persons fit well while the sail is up, although the person on the front can be a little uncomfortable, beccause on the front is where the sail rig fittings are placed.
The rowing frame did not pass my test; it was very very clumsy, mostly because the boat is wide. Rowing frames need to be narrow. I have not tested it with a motor, but I bet it will perform well.
In summary, if you value stability, cargo, versatility and ease to store, this boat's for you. If you value performance and maneuverability, you should be looking for a hard shell kayak.
The 435 is roomier than the 395, when used with the sail rig, the person on the front has a reduced moving area. The person can still sit well, though, and enjoy the ride. When you rig it, make sure you leave the boom high enough so it won't get on the front rider's head's way. Now, the perfromance is ok, it tacks well and can go up and down wind efficiently. The tiller is a little bit hard to use, since you have behind you, and not at your side, as in a regular sail dinghy.
The sail set up takes a while the first time; however, you can dismount the whole assembled sail from the boat and store it assembled, so the next time you'll need it you can mount it more easily. My guess is it would take you 15 mins to mount it back. Since I don't have much storage, I have to totally disassemble the sail, and redo the whole process every time I want to sail. And yes, it takes time.
The boat paddles efficiently under light to mid wind conditions. In fact, since the boat is riding on top of the water, you get the "gliding" feeling when going through waves, as opposed to other kayaks in which you have to "cut" across the waves. What we have found out is that the main factor for paddling efficiently is the rythm between both paddlers. Synchronicity makes it a lot easier to paddle, and that can only be achieved through practice. Something I forgot to tell you is that the seats can be placed at any position along the boat, so one person can easily paddle solo. Also, if you put more weight on the front, the wind factor gets reduced significantly.
The boat's durability is good. I have landed it on stones and gravel, and it only gets some little scratches. The material can withstand abrassion, and can be punctured only if you stab it with a knife. The aluminum yokes and loops are sea worthy. What I recommend after using it in salty water is to give it a rinse with fresh water. That will make it last longer. The foot pump; however, developed a little crack after constant use, but it was easy to fix with a patch and glue.
Hope this answer your questions. If you have more, don't hesitate in contacting me