Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Sea Eagle Saga

Since we didn’t get the new kayaks from Fed Ex until 8pm, we decided to wait until the morning to unbox them.

They came packaged in 4 boxes.

2 new Sea Eagle Fast Track 385 kayaks

The following picture is a 12 1/2 foot kayak in a carrying case!

boat in a box

We quickly read through the directions and got it inflated in just a few minutes.

the rolled up kayak

the unrolled kayak, waiting for air

kayak accessories

inflated boat

It has a drop stitch floor which is also inflated. It makes the floor hard and firm enough that you can stand up to fish or paddle.  We thought that would be kind of fun.

The next photo shows 2 scupper holes in the stern of the boat.  You can open them up to allow water to run out.  It’s mostly recommended for  use if you do any white water kayaking (not likely).

2 scuppers to let water self bail from bottom of boat

fully inflated kayak with inflated floor

I was pleasantly to find the boats are a light grey.  I thought they were white and those white boats give my camera fits trying to compensate for all that white.

kayak with skeg

In the next picture Al is holding onto the front keel.  It’s supposed to help keep the boat stable and track straight.  It also keeps it more rigid than some of the other model Sea Eagle kayaks.

bottom of kayak showing keel

The skeg in the rear will also help with stability and tracking.


There are 2 sets of paddles and 2 inflatable chairs.  I forgot to get a picture of the chairs.

After we inflated one boat at home, we decided to head out and give them a water test at Sebastian Inlet State Park.

We went out on the pier for a while to watch the surfers.  A lot of people were having good luck catching fish.

view from pier of Sebastian inlet

Seabird avoiding the waves

people fishing on pier



We put the kayaks in by the campground and headed towards the calm waters.  The tide was slack, the wind was light and it was warm and sunny.  A perfect day to kayak.

They inflated fairly quickly now that we had one practice session under our belts.   We put them in the water, being mindful of that skeg sticking out.

I immediately noticed a big difference in the feel of the boat.  I could actually feel the waves splashing underneath me.  It was a different feeling, but it felt very stable and a little wider than the old boat. 

I was concerned about “yaw,”  which is where the boat will go left when you paddle left and then right when you paddle right.  It wasn’t a problem in this boat at all.  It  tracked very straight and handled nicely.

We didn’t go too far but enjoyed a family of pelicans fishing together.  I don’t know if mama was teaching them, but they would all fly up at the same time, then dive down together and hit the water.  It was fun to watch.







We saw lots of birds and we think even a manatee, but we never got a good enough look to be sure.

A Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron



Not sure what these birds were but I thought they were cute.



It was getting late so we decided to head in.



Now the fun part.  Getting sand and salt water off the boats, deflating them and folding them up and getting them back in their carrying case!

We decided we need some kind of mat to put the boats on when inflating and deflating.  Something just like the camping rugs we just sold at the yard sale :)

We removed the flooring in order to dry underneath it.  That’s one little extra step we have with this boat that we wouldn’t with another boat.  It is more work, but we feel it is worth it to have that nice firm floor.

We found a problem with the bracket that holds on the skeg on one kayak.  It was coming loose.  It would just need to be glued on, but it was annoying that our brand new boat was already coming apart.

Another thing was there was a hole in the inflatable footrest.  No big deal, but we would need another foot rest.

We made sure each boat was completely dry inside and out and then deflated them and folded them back up.

The first boat went back in the carrying case very easily.

The second boat gave us some problems.  We just couldn’t seem to get all the air out and get it folded up tight enough.  When we rolled it up water kept coming out.  We finally decided there may be a leak and water was being forced out when it was rolled up.

So this morning, we inflated the boat again at the campground and were able to find a small leak in the area where the keel was glued on.

We notified Crystal and Tim from Inflatable Boats 4 less, of our problems with these boats.  They responded quickly and requested pictures of the problem areas.  No problem, you know I always take pictures!

Chrystal called me right away and said Sea Eagle would send us 2 new hulls.  She said they do have occasional problems because these are inflatable boats and sometimes they can spring a leak in one of the seams, but that it was very rare that we would have problems with both boats.  They are sending the new hulls 2nd day air, so we should get them  on Friday.  We will keep the old boats  until the new ones come in, so at least we can do some kayaking….  It looks like Sea Eagle will stand behind their product.  A good thing.

When we came home from kayaking, out of the blue I started having some pain in my right wrist.  It kept getting worse until it got to the point I didn’t know if I could even sleep.  I finally found an ace bandage and some Joint Flex pain cream and it felt a little better.  I have no idea what I did to it.  I don’t think it was from too much kayaking, because we had an easy paddle.   It seemed to just start hurting out of the blue, but I must have sprained it somehow during the day.

I don’t see me kayaking until it gets better….however,  these kayaks are tandem kayaks, so I guess I could go along for the ride and Al could paddle me around :)


  1. Those shorebirds look like Ruddy Turnstones to me. :)

  2. So glad to hear that your new boats track well. That was one of my concerns about an inflatable boat. Looks like a great choice for you. Hopefully your wrist will heal up quickly! Great photos, Karen

  3. Nice to hear of a company that stands behind its product and responds so rapidly. Hope your wrist feels better today.

  4. Boats look great. Glad to hear they track well. Sorry to hear they had problems out of the bag. But you'll get it all fixed up and things will be fine. Sure hope your wrist gets better. Hard to go kayaking if your wrist hurts.


  5. Sorry your having troubles with the new Kayaks but looks like you had a good day paddling. Great bird shots.

  6. What are your warrantees on them? If it leaks after the warrantee runs out can they be patched?

  7. Dear Karen and Al,

    It's taken me a while but first I want to thank-you for following and reading my NZ Diary.

    Thank-you so much for your kind comments too.

    As you will see I've become a follower of your excellent Blog. Very interesting. I'm going to make time to read all your posts.


  8. Thanks Judy for id'ing the birds. I must have left my bird book at home.

    Sue, We were also concerned about the tracking. We had hoped to try out one before we bought it, but that didn't happen, so we took them on faith. My wrist is better, I guess I just sprained it somehow.

    Yes, they can be repaired and repair kits came with the boats. I'm sure we could have repaired the problems with both boats, but we didn't feel we should have to, right out of the box. They have a 3 year warranty against manufacturers defects. So far, I'm happy with the very good customer service from both Chrystal and Tim from Inflatable boats for less and Sea Eagle.

  9. Nice looking kayaks - sorry you had some problems with them. That's so aggravating when purchasing something new. At least it sounds like the company is working with you.

    Sorry to hear that you hurt your wrist. Hopefully you'll be better soon so you can go kayaking again. I really like that Joint actually works.

  10. Good to hear Sea Eagle stands behind their product. Hope the replacements come soon.

  11. Your new kayks look fantastic. They have some amazing features. I'm sorry ou had a little glitch but hopefully you will be paddling soon.

    Take good care of your wrist. Ice helps too!

  12. I was going to ask if they were tandem kayaks but you just answered that question. When we were looking at the model you bought it showed as a two person but then I was surprised that you got two of them instead of singles and that's what had me wondering about them being tandems.

    It sounds like you are happy with them, my only concern would be getting leaks and if that would occur very often. We always hate that with airmattresses and then having to try and find the leak and fix it.

    Kevin and Ruth

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