WORLD’S MOST SCENIC PADDLING SPOT? String Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Wendy Graves loves kayaking! She's out in String Lake in her Sea Eagle FastTrack 385 while her brother-in-law, Mike, gets one of her Sea Eagle 370's ready to go.

Wendy Graves loves kayaking! She’s out in String Lake in her Sea Eagle FastTrack™ 385 while her brother-in-law, Mike, gets one of her Sea Eagle 370 kayaks ready to go. Husband, Patrick, takes the pictures.

When is owning one Sea Eagle inflatable kayak not enough? Wendy Graves of Utah tells us when you’re paddling the crystal-clear waters of String Lake in Grand Teton National Park with the whole family, one Sea Eagle won’t do. They needed two…then three…and hope to add a fourth one soon! Here’s Wendy’s story.

“The first time my husband, Patrick, and I went to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, I saw people boating and I knew I wanted one. When we got home we purchased a traditional canoe. But because loading and unloading it on top of the car was such a hassle, we never took it back to the Park. Then we found Sea Eagle!

Wendy, seated, and her neice, Kenedy, 13, ply the waters in Wendy's FastTrack 385. Kenedy and her brother, Connor, 16, frequently accompany the Wendy and Patrick Graves on vacation. Looks like a good time!

Wendy, seated, and her neice, Kenedy, 13, ply the waters in Wendy’s FastTrack™ 385ft. Kenedy and her brother, Connor, 16, frequently accompany Wendy and Patrick Graves on vacation. Looks like a good time!

We take our niece and nephew vacationing with us, so we first purchased two Sea Eagle 370’s. We all had so much fun! It was so easy to take them with us and get them to the water. We spent the whole day playing around and even had some squirt gun water fights. Of all the things we do together, the days we’re boating are everyone’s favorite days.

We loved our two Sea Eagle kayaks but as our niece and nephew have gotten older and bigger, we needed another boat. This year we purchased the new 385ft FastTrack™ kayak. I did not know I could love it more than our 370 kayaks!

Wendy's husband, Patrick, took this photo of Wendy a couple years ago when they owned just two Sea Eagles — two 370's. When niece, Kenedy, and nephew, Connor, got older and bigger, the Graves added a third boat; a Sea Eagle FastTrack. At this point, Wendy says, "I'm hooked" and has her eye on a Sea Eagle SUP - Stand Up Paddleboard.

Wendy’s husband, Patrick, took this photo of Wendy a couple years ago when they owned just two Sea Eagles — two 370’s. When niece, Kenedy, and nephew, Connor, got older and bigger, the Graves added a third boat; a Sea Eagle FastTrack™. At this point, Wendy says, “I’m hooked” and has her eye on a Sea Eagle SUP – Stand Up Paddleboard. 

We recently returned to Grand Teton National Park for our annual vacation with niece, Kenedy, 13; nephew, Connor, 16; and all three kayaks. The whole family had fun paddling the lake, fishing, and swimming. While boating, we’ve seen elk, bear, deer — I even saw a pine marten.

She fell in love all over again

Then I discovered a new love when I tried the FastTrack™ as a stand-up paddleboard. It took me a few tries to get my balance but it was a whole new world to be able to stand up and maneuver around the lake.  It’s incredibly stable and easy to learn on. By the end of the day I could paddle anywhere. We had so much fun we are planning a second trip this year to spend on the water.

“My favorite place in the world”

I’ve always loved the water. But my favorite place in the world is String Lake in The Grand Tetons. We’re ‘casual paddlers’ and boating with our family is a great way for all of us to connect and have very relaxing fun together.

Easy ‘Pack & Take’ boats

Patrick did a lot of research and found Sea Eagle had a lot of good reviews. Because they’re inflatable, they’re so easy to travel with. We ‘pack and take’ them with us even if we don’t have specific boating plans. We recently drove through a part of Utah we’d never explored. We stopped at a lake — Smith Morehouse Lake — and went Sea Eagle boating even though we hadn’t planned to.

My birthday’s coming up and I’ve asked for a Sea Eagle Stand Up Paddleboards. The boats are AMAZING! And every time we’ve gotten a new Sea Eagle it just keeps getting better.

My advice? Give boating a try. Sea Eagle’s a great way to go because you can take them anywhere easily. It’s an easy way to have fun. And they’re affordable, especially the 370. Once we tried it, we were hooked!”

— Wendy Graves, Utah

Do YOU have Sea Eagle stories and photos to share? Email us today!

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SEA EAGLE KAYAKING IN BEAUTIFUL HAWAII

SE Nancy Morgan's FastTrack

Mokulua Island off Lanikai on Oahu is a popular spot to boat to. Nancy and Andrew took a sunrise run in their FastTrack™ and had this scenic spot all to themselves.

Sea Kayaking in Hawaii is many a kayaker’s dream. But when you’ve lived there all your life – and kayaked there for years – you’re going to want to try different waters. When it’s vacation time, Nancy and Andrew Morgan, pack up their Sea Eagle FastTrack™ and go kayaking in the continental USA’s National Parks.

“My husband, Andrew, and I have kayaked for years where we live in Hawaii. In the last few years, we’ve vacationed in some of the National Parks in the continental United States.

We’re planning a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and want to go kayaking there. We got a Sea Eagle FastTrack™ 465ft because it’s inflatable — that makes it easy to take with you on vacation.

Nancy and Andrew Morgan have kayaked in and around Oahau,  their home island, for years. Here they explore Oahau's Kahana Bay in their FastTrack.

Nancy and Andrew Morgan have kayaked in and around Oahu, their home island, for years. Here they explore Oahu’s Kahana Bay in their FastTrack™.

We’ve done a lot of research on the National Parks. In Yellowstone, we’re planning to go to the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. In Grand Teton National Park, we’ll go kayaking in Jenny Lake and others.

Living on the windward side of Paradise

We live on the windward side of Oahu Island, right across the street from the beach so it’s very convenient to go boating. I’ve lived  here all my life and Andrew’s family’s been here since the 1850’s. We feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. Boating lets us enjoy the beauty of Hawaii, get away from the crowds, and see wildlife like sea turtles and fish. We’ve just always loved boating.

We recently went kayaking on Molii Fishpond, part of the Kualoa Ranch on Oahu. It’s a 125-acre freshwater pond that was created about 900 years ago by the ancient Hawaiians.

Another Molii Fishpond

There’s something magical about Hawaii’s Molii Fishpond — one of just four ancient fishponds that remain on Oahu.

More stable than a plastic kayak

We own two other kayaks — the sit-on-top, plastic kind. We find the Sea Eagle FastTrack™ is more stable than the plastic ones. Even in waves, I can move around and not feel like it’s going to flip over. The first time we went out in the FastTrack™, we were about half a mile out in the ocean when we had to adjust the seats. I did it comfortably because it’s very stable.

Andrew researched Sea Eagle’s boat models and we chose the FastTrack™ because of the rigidity the drop-stitch floor gives. The floor doesn’t flex so the boat performs like a rigid hull boat. When I thought of inflatables, I thought they were like swimming pool air mattresses. But this is really, really strong.

A resounding success

Another reason we chose the FastTrack™ is we wanted to be able to take three people and gear. I went out the first time with Andrew and our 23-year old son, Michael. Michael and I tried it first. He was apprehensive for a moment but soon declared, “This is a resounding success, let’s go back and get Dad!”

I think Sea Eagle is the way to go because it’s so adaptable, easy to transport, and easy to store. You can’t store sit-on-top kayaks very well.  I have a friend in Utah who asked me about it and I told her she should get one. It fits our needs perfectly and we’re very pleased.”

— Nancy Morgan, Sea Eagle FastTrack™ Owner, Oahu Hawaii

Do you have Sea Eagle stories and photos to share? Please email us today.

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CATCHING FLORIDA LOBSTERS with a “Tickle Stick” and my Sea Eagle Inflatable Boat

Steve's brother-in-law, Eric, is pretty pleased with his twin catch. They bag Florida Lobsters from Steve's 12.6sr Sea Eagle boat.

Steve’s brother-in-law, Eric, is pretty pleased with his twin catch. They bag Florida Lobsters from Steve’s 12.6sr Sea Eagle boat.

Steve Borisch and his family seem to have no trouble bagging their limit of Florida Lobsters when they vacation in Florida. Steve’s secret? A “tickle stick,” a net, and his Sea Eagle 12.6sr.

“We spend three weeks in the Florida Keys each  year,” Steve Borisch, a Michigan-based Sea Eagle owner told us recently. “We have a Sea Eagle 12.6sr .  We use it to go snorkeling in the shallow waters off Florida Bay in Islamorada.”

The waters there are shallow for miles, says Steve. “It’s seven to nine feet deep there, and we go snorkeling for lobsters. If it’s clear, you can see them through the water. You tickle them with a ‘tickle stick’ to get them out of their hiding places and into your net.” There’s a trick to it. Steve explains you “tickle” them in the front and they quickly zoom backwards to get away…and end up in your strategically-placed net. “It’s easier said than done,” Steve confides.

Are spiny tails a problem?

Mighty good eatin'! This pod of lobsters is all in a good day's catch for Steve and friends. Steve tosses them aboard where they roam around the Sea Eagle's hard molded floorboards.

Mighty good eatin’! This pod of lobsters is all in a good day’s catch for Steve and friends. Steve tosses them aboard where they roam around the Sea Eagle’s hard molded floorboards.

The Florida Lobster is also known as the Spiny Tail Lobster, Steve tells us. Are spiny tails in an inflatable boat a problem? “Oh, I’m not worried about the Sea Eagle’s durability,” says Steve. “They can’t hurt the boat. The coral here is sharper and that’s never created a problem with the Sea Eagle.”

Steve’s boat is a Sea Eagle 12.6sr — a 12’ 6” inflatable “sport runabout.” While some who own this “sports car of the sea” are in it for its speed and performance, Steve and family chose it for its size and simplicity. “I wanted something simple, roomy and easy to use. We usually cruise around sightseeing, exploring the mangroves, lobstering, and occasionally fish,” says Steve. “It can fit four passengers easily along with our snorkel gear, a cooler, nets, and more.” The hard molded floorboards make it easy to stand with confidence.

Most inflatables aren’t truly collapsible

“My brother-in-law has a boat but we thought it would be nice to have one of our own so we could go out whenever we wanted,” says Steve. “I chose a Sea Eagle because it’s inflatable.  You can simply collapse it, roll it up and take it where ever you go! Most of the boats that say they’re inflatable really aren’t — they have a frame of some kind.”

Steve’s full size, 6-passenger, 12’ 6” boat rolls up into two compact bundles. “We could break it down and carry it easily when we drive from Michigan to Florida each year. It doesn’t take long to put it together.”

Today, they trailer

The Borischs added gear over time and things got a little tight inside the car. “We got a great deal on a big 15HP electric start outboard motor. It’s very heavy and, with all the rest of our gear, we decided to get a trailer. Now we leave our Sea Eagle inflated full time and trailer it down to Florida.”

We asked Steve what he’d tell others who’re thinking about getting a boat. “Our Sea Eagle 12.6sr is a good choice. It’s easy to handle,” he said. “We’ve gone out with two or three people and as many as six. We love it!”

So get out your tickle sticks and we’ll see you down in the Keys!

— Do YOU have a Sea Eagle story and photos to share? Please email us!

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HOW TO PADDLE IN TANDEM in a 2-Person Sea Eagle Sport Kayak

Rick and Kathy Leal quickly got the hang of paddling their Sea Eagle 370 in tandem. Read this post to learn their hands-on paddling techniques.

Rick and Kathy Leal practiced and got the hang of paddling their Sea Eagle 370 in tandem. Read this post to learn their hands-on paddling techniques. Rick says their dog, Maisy, took to kayaking easily.

Paddling your kayak solo is easy – left, right, left, right. Coordinating 2-person paddling takes a bit of cooperation. Here’s how one Washington couple worked it out.

“My wife, Kathy, and I have been married 47 years this month. We are blessed to live in Washington State; an area of beautiful mountains, forests, lakes and rivers. Kayaking the rivers and lakes is a great way to enjoy all that God has created. This is really the great fun of kayaking — seeing the wildlife up close and personal.

We’ve always enjoyed camping. We’ve done it all, tent camped, back packed, RV camped, motorcycle camped, and now we camp with our ‘pop up’ tent trailer. Now when we go camping we look for campgrounds near lakes and rivers that we can explore from our Sea Eagle 370 Sport Kayak.

Could it get any better than this? SUV, pop up camper, and Sea Eagle inflatable boat at the Leal's beautiful campsite at Washington's Alta Lake.

Could it get any better than this? SUV, pop up camper, and Sea Eagle inflatable boat at the Leal’s beautiful campsite at Washington’s Alta Lake State Park.

Paddling Practice for Two

In our first kayaking season, we had trouble coordinating our paddling. The problem was I kept knocking her in the head! We obviously needed to work on our paddling coordination.

I went online and found videos that showed and explained the important aspects of paddling in tandem: position of hands; paddling on the same side; the stronger paddler sitting in the rear. But the most significant point that is that the rear paddler must watch and match the front paddler. I found that when Kathy and I were paddling, I was watching the scenery, and not really paying attention to her strokes. I would paddle on the same side all right, but often with a stronger stroke that could cause us to veer off course. By not watching her strokes, my timing would be off. To correct this I began to focus on her hands and found that most of the time I could see small “pre-movements” which helped me be ready to match her stroke.

Coordinated Rhythm

Secondly, I asked her to be consistent in how she paddled. Sometimes she would appear to starting a right-side paddle but would switch at the last second and paddle on the left side, throwing my stroke off. And, finally, I had to watch the strength of my stroke. If I needed to make a quick course correction to avoid a hazard or point our bow into a large boat wake then a strong stroke is okay, but keeping our stokes matched in timing and strength helped greatly.

Oh, and communicating is very important. If either of us wants to go in a different direction, we need to first tell each other. Now that we understand what it takes to paddle our 370 we’re perfecting our paddling and really enjoying kayaking!

Fold-Up Convenience

The convenience of being able to deflate and fold up the Sea Eagle is a plus. We have a small SUV and pull a small tent trailer when we go camping. Our 370 folds up into a two-foot by three-foot package. Everything fits easily in the trailer — the boat, paddles, seats, life jackets. That leaves the SUV available for the rest of our gear and I don’t have to put things on the top of the vehicle.

We have some friends who have two hard-sided kayaks. They encouraged us to get some kayaks so we could go kayaking with them. They paid over $700 for each kayak and I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money for something that I wasn’t sure I would like.

We chose to go with a tandem kayak because we had tandem-kayaked in Hawaii, Alaska, and in the San Juan Islands here in Washington. I Googled ‘inflatable kayaks’ and several brands came up. Then I researched and compared the different brands and found Sea Eagle had good reviews and very affordable prices. We decided on the 370 because it was a tandem and came completely equipped with everything we needed to start kayaking. It’s rated for up to Class III whitewater and though I don’t plan on kayaking in rapids, it’s good to know that it will hold up.

They Live in God’s Country

We live in North Central Washington near the town of Leavenworth. The Wenatchee River flows down from the Cascade Mountains to the Columbia River. Our first paddle was down a section of the Wenatchee that flows through Leavenworth. (pix IMG 820 was taken at the end of our first trip down the Wenatchee)

Rick prepares to launch his Sea Eagle 370 in Antilon Lake. The Leals prefer smaller, "no wake lakes" like this one where gasoline boat motors are prohibited by county ordinance.

Rick prepares to launch his Sea Eagle 370 in Antilon Lake. The Leals prefer smaller, “no wake lakes” like this one where gasoline boat motors are prohibited by county ordinance.

We like lake kayaking the most. We look for kayak-friendly lakes or lakes that have “no wake” areas. Our favorite so far has been Osoyoos Lake in northern Washington. It’s a very large lake that crosses the border of Washington and Canada and is known for its mythical Ogopogo monster. The lake is also the headwaters of the Okanogan River. The headwater is a flatwater section of the river that has many shallow inlets containing hundreds of lily pads. We were able to paddle through them and watch nesting ducks and ducklings. Our dog Maisy, who goes with us in the 370, was fascinated with them. I was really surprised at how easily Maisy took to riding in our 370.

While were camping at Osoyoos Lake we discovered another lake called Wannacut Lake. There is a really cute 50’s era resort right on the lake, which is a ‘no wake lake’ and we plan on going there next summer!

— Rick and Kathy Leal

Do YOU have Sea Eagle pictures and stories to share? Please email us!

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KAYAKING & CAMPING in California’s Channel Islands — a FastTrack™ adventure

Glen Cuff explores one of the many fascinating sea caves in California's Channel Islands in his Sea Eagle 385ft FastTrack.

Glen Cuff explores one of the many fascinating sea caves in California’s Channel Islands in his Sea Eagle 385ft FastTrack™

Glen Cuff has owned four Sea Eagle inflatable boats over the past 20 years. His newest one is his new 385ft FastTrack™. Glen lives just a mile from the Pacific Ocean in beautiful San Diego, California. One of his favorite excursions is paddling around Coronado Island off San Diego, and he recently camped for four days on pristine Santa Cruz Island, one of California’s famous Channel Islands.

San Diego has some of the most beautiful weather in the United States and it’s a great place to go kayaking. Glen goes boating for exercise and recreation. He says, “It’s a wonderful way to get away from everything after a tough day at work.”

Glen enjoyed paddling upwind then catching the wind in his QuickSail for a free ride downwind.

Glen enjoyed paddling upwind then catching the wind in his QuickSail for a free ride downwind.

Glen calls himself a “casual boater” but he’s owned several Sea Eagles over the past two decades. “I’ve owned Sea Eagle inflatable boats for years. I’ve used and abused them and I’ve always gotten a lot of use out of them. Sea Eagles are very durable. I’ve had no problems even though I’ve taken them in sea caves, slid them onto rough beaches, over barnacles, and more. My older ones are still being used by other people.

Exploring sea caves

Friends and I have gone boating in California’s Channel Islands for the last 20 years. We go fishing, diving, swimming, and exploring sea caves. My 385ft FastTrack™  is the fourth Sea Eagle I’ve owned. I had a SE8 in the ‘80s, then a big Sea Eagle 380x Explorer kayak in the ‘90s, then a couple other Sea Eagle dinghies.

I got this new one a month ago, the 385ft FastTrack™, and took it out to the Channel Islands off Ventura, California. Commercial boats take you from Ventura and drop you at the islands. They’re beautiful and wild because they’re under the protection of the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy. I camped there for four days. You can’t take more than 60 lbs. of gear on the boat that takes you to the islands so the FastTrack is perfect: it weighs only 31 lbs. Even with all the equipment — pump, paddles, and seats — it’s still under 40 lbs.

I got the QuickSail  universal kayak sail, too. Going before the wind with the sail, I’m not even paddling. It folds down easily. If you’re coming into the beach in surf you don’t have to worry about a bunch of rigging getting tangled up.

Which would you choose? The faster FastTrack (left) like the one Glen owns? Or the roomier Explorer Kayak (right) his friend owns?

Which would you choose? The faster FastTrack (left) like the one Glen owns? Or the roomier Explorer Kayak (right) his friend owns?

The sail is really nice and a lot of fun. It’s easy to put up and take down. The winds can pick up really fast around here. On a recent trip, I paddled upwind a couple miles, turned the boat around, and opened the sail. I clipped it in and cruised all the way back before the wind. It was fun! Then my friend put it on his Explorer kayak and it was great there, too. His Explorer kayak is much larger than my FastTrack™ and has more room, but mine is much faster. My friend is jealous!

Maybe faster than a hard hull kayak?

This FastTrack™ is fast. It’s faster than my older Sea Eagles by far. It’s much more rigid than the others I’ve owned, and the skeg on the bottom makes it track straight. I own a hard hull kayak that weighs 55 or 65 lbs. The FastTrack™ weighs just 31 lbs. and the lighter weight makes the FastTrack™ as fast as a hard hull – maybe faster.

A lot of people have asked me about this boat, how much it cost. Fully equipped it was something like $1,300. That’s pretty good. The hard hull I bought was about $750 without any extras. You have to have a place to store a hard hull, and you have to buy a car rack that costs $400 or more. Then you have to get locks and you’re looking at a lot of money for all the gear that you need just to get it to the beach. Then you have to worry about someone stealing your racks! It’s a hassle to put a kayak up on the rack and take it down and the rack rubs on the car and scratches the paint.

Store a full size boat in your closet

He calls himself a "casual boater" but we think he's pretty serious...and pretty fortunate to live in one of the world's great kayaking areas.

He calls himself a “casual boater” but we think Glen’s pretty serious…and pretty fortunate to live in one of the world’s great kayaking areas.

I’ve chosen inflatable Sea Eagles for their portability. They’re light, you can store them easily, and they’re much more convenient than hard hulls. Storage is a big factor. The older you get, the more junk you have in your garage and the less storage space you have.

This Sea Eagle is perfect for anybody who doesn’t have space to store a hard hull kayak. That’s a big plus. I have a house and I still don’t have enough storage space. Deflated, you can fit a full size FastTrack in your closet. I have a tiny Fiat 500. It’s fun to drive, great on gas, and I can throw the kayak right in the back!”

— Glen Cuff, Sea Eagle Owner, San Diego CA

Do YOU have Sea Eagle stories and photos to share? Please email us today!

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THEIR CURE FOR EMPTY NEST SYNDROME? Sea Eagle Kayaking!

Mark Venard poses as he prepares for a day's outing in their Sea Eagle 370.

Mark Venard poses as he prepares for a day’s outing in their Sea Eagle 370. The Venards go kayaking every weekend, Linda tells us — it’s her cure for empty nest syndrome.

“My husband and I bought a Sea Eagle 370 last summer,” Linda Venard, of Indiana, told us. “I had always wanted a kayak and my husband was fully supportive of joining me on this new experience, especially since we needed to fill the hole of our last child leaving the nest for college. How would we replace all the activity that went with raising 4 children? Kayaking!

We’d been so busy raising kids…

“We had been so busy with school activities, sports, soccer, and so on,” Linda told us. “That’s how we spent a lot of our time. Now we go kayaking every weekend. We have explored many of the little lakes all around the southwestern part of Indiana, from state parks to filled-in stripper pits.”

“Stripper pits” are strip mines that are reclaimed into wildlife areas like the 8,100-acre Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area near Winslow, Indiana. Sugar Ridge is a richly wooded upland game habitat with reclaimed mine areas that attract a wide variety of song birds, woodpeckers, hawks, and waterfowl.

She took a taste and fell in love

“I always wanted a kayak,”  Linda told us. “Every time we went on vacation in Florida we’d look for kayak tours. That’s how we got a taste of it and I fell in love with kayaking.” Like Linda, many kayakers start by renting. “But we could rent only in areas where there are rental places.” And as the kayaking bug bit her more deeply, she realized, “I wanted to be able to go kayaking wherever we went.”

Then Linda saw Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks. “I thought Sea Eagle would be a great solution,” she said. “I kept looking at them for about a year and we finally did it. I think owning a Sea Eagle is a great way to experience nature and makes kayaking so easy because you don’t have to worry about transporting it. One person can inflate and set it up pretty easily. You don’t have to know much about kayaking to get out and kayak easily.”

Linda and Marc spotted this white heron while kayaking in their Sea Eagle in Goose Pond in Linton, Indiana

Linda and Marc spotted this white heron while kayaking in their Sea Eagle in Goose Pond in Linton, Indiana

Smaller bodies of water are undiscovered gems

The Venard’s first Sea Eagle kayaking trip was to Green-Sullivan State Park near Bucktown, Indiana. This park spans the Greene-Sullivan town line and is reported to be the home of the state’s record bluegill. “This wetland area gave us a close-up glimpse of egrets, cranes, and other birds migrating to the area, as well as giving us experience in maneuvering the kayak through marshy, shallow areas,” said Linda. “It’s like kayaking in a little jungle!”

Linda and Marc often find they’re the only ones on the bodies of water they explore. “We have kayaked in many local areas that are undiscovered gems to the general public. Most of the time we’re the only ones out on the water. A lot of people go to big lakes. We go to smaller ones like Goose Pond,” she said. “We like to get out in wilderness areas, out in nature. It’s very relaxing. We haven’t done whitewater yet. But we may!”

Linda paddles out into Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior on a recent tent camping vacation. "Best vacation I ever had," she says.

Linda paddles out into Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior on a recent tent camping vacation. “Best vacation I ever had,” she says.

“We recently took off for a tent camping vacation in Michigan — it ended up being one of my favorite vacations ever,” says Linda. “Of course we threw the kayak in the van. How handy to be able to pack it up and take it on the chance that we may just stop and use it wherever and whenever we want.  We made our first stop in Sleeping Bear Dunes and kayaked on a few of the lakes in that area. Our second stop was the Upper Peninsula where we kayaked along the Tahquamenon River and into Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior! How awesome!”

Thanks for the fun!

“We have had so much fun talking about our explorations with our Sea Eagle 370 Sport Kayak that my sister-in-law decided to surprise her husband (my brother) with one for Christmas. And they have joined us on a few excursions.”

‘We are so impressed with the kayak itself and Sea Eagle as a company.  Later we needed to replace our pump and even though we had used it for over a year, it was still under that  generous, three year long warranty. Therefore it was replaced at no charge.  You truly go out of your way to make sure your customers are satisfied and happy with all your products. We are!  Thanks for the fun!”

— Linda & Marc Venard, Indiana

Do YOU have Sea Eagle stories and photos to share? Email us today!

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“WE GO CAMPERVANNING, TRAMPING & SEA EAGLE KAYAKING IN NEW ZEALAND.”

Ken and Alison love fishing in Cable Bay, New Zealand, in their Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack.. Ken's landed a Kahawai on a set line. Alison says the Kahawai are great when smoked.

Ken and Alison love fishing in Cable Bay, New Zealand, in their Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack. Ken’s landed a Kahawai on a set line. Alison says the Kahawai are great when smoked.

“Love it!!! The main reason we chose our 385 FastTrack was the ability to store it under the bed in our campervan. This works great. We’re impressed with how quickly it inflates with the pump. But equally as good is the comfort and stability. All in all, we are rapt with it and can’t wait to do some overnight trips.”

When we received the above email from New Zelanders, Alison and Ken Polglase, we had to know more. Alison tells the rest of their story.

“We live in Nelson, New Zealand, which is on the coast at the top of the South Island of New Zealand.  We have access to three National Parks within one hour’s drive, so there is plenty of opportunity for sea, lake, or river kayaking. The Marlborough Sounds is also within one or two hours drive from home. We enjoy campervanning, tramping (the New Zealand term for multi-day bush/mountain hikes), biking, and fishing.

“Towing a boat trailer is unpractical.”

We own a Fiat Ducato, 6-meter, 2-berth campervan. We have owned a 13-foot aluminium dinghy with a 25hp motor for a number of years and have towed that behind the van on occasion but it is unpractical for longer trips especially to the North Island as the cost of crossing with your vehicle between the North and South Islands onboard the Cook Strait ferries increases hugely the longer your vehicle is. It is also harder parking in towns when towing a boat on the back.

Ken catches up on some rest and relaxation beside his compact campervan. The inflatable FastTrack is a perfect boat for RV'ing -- it rolls up tight and packs in a small bag.

Ken catches up on some rest and relaxation beside his compact campervan. The inflatable FastTrack is a perfect boat for RV’ing — it rolls up tight and packs in a small bag.

When heading off on holiday, we’d go without our aluminum boat. We’d put our bikes on a rack on the back of the van, tramping packs under the seat, and we’d be off to enjoy the great outdoors. And then we’d park next to a lake or a beach and the water would be beautifully calm and glass-like and we’d wish we’d brought a boat, too. There’d be fish out there waiting to be caught!

Their boat search begins…

So began the process of searching for a way to get on the water.  We deliberated for about two years, looking at different options. We considered a folding boat quite seriously but it was always the same problem of where to store it in, or on, the van when driving.  Rigid kayaks presented the same problem.  With solar panels, skylight hatches, and a satellite dish to work around, there’s not a lot of space left on the roof.  Plus with bikes on the back there’s not much room for a ladder needed to get kayaks up on top.

Ken started researching inflatables generally on the internet and came across the Sea Eagle website. We compared kayaks with dinghys.  We compared Sea Eagle with other brands.  We read reviews. We liked what we saw and Sea Eagle was competitively priced with anything else we could buy in New Zeland even after paying freight and import duty. We debated between the FastTrack and an Explorer. We chose a FastTrack 385. Payment was straight forward and freighting was quick.  It only took five days to get here.

Alison reported on the Polglase's great day of fishing in their FastTrack. "Elaine Bay is in the Marlborough Sounds. There are 3 blue cod and 4 spotties in this photo. These were all caught on rods before we bought the “Happy Hooker” set line.  Cod are sort after, but people usually throw spotties back or use them for bait.  However they are quite sweet fish and I like them, but they are small and the bones are fine, hence most people throw them back.  We like them smoked also. We have a quick 20 minute hot smoker about the size of a meat roasting pan, so that gets packed in the campervan under the bed also."

Alison reported on the Polglase’s great day of fishing in their FastTrack. “Elaine Bay is in the Marlborough Sounds. There are 3 blue cod and 4 spotties in this photo. These were all caught on rods. Cod are sought after, but people usually throw spotties back or use them for bait. However they are quite sweet fish and I like them, but they are small and the bones are fine, hence most people throw them back. We like them smoked. We have a quick 20 minute hot smoker about the size of a meat roasting pan, so that gets packed in the campervan under the bed also.”

Slightly squishy is better.

We also deliberated about which seats to order and finally decided the inflatable seats would mean we were sitting a little higher which would be better for fishing. I first thought the inflatable seats looked funny and unsporty, but now I love them.  They are so comfortable.  It’s like sitting in an armchair at home, especially if you don’t overinflate them. Slightly squishy is better.

Inflates in the time it takes to pack afternoon tea

We are impressed with how quickly the whole kayak inflates with the pump.  We drove into a campground on a beach front, opened up the back doors, and pulled out the kayak from the storage space under our bed.  In the time it took me to pack a dry bag with afternoon tea, sunscreen, camera, and got fishing rods out, Ken had the kayak inflated. Our neighbours from England in the next camp site said, “I can see you’ve done that a few times before.” It was only the third time.

“Laughing my head off.”

On about our fifth trip out we had to get through heavy surf off a sandy beach.  A big black cloud came over and the rain pelted down. We decided we were wet anyway so we stayed out fishing.  No luck on that score!  Even though we headed home with no fish and wet, I was happy in that I had gained confidence in how the kayak handled surf.  It felt very stable. Once we got back to shore, we emptied the fishing gear out and Ken headed back out to play and ride the waves, while I stood watching and laughing my head off.  He canned out a few times!

“Go this way! Go that way!” — Grandchild directs

After that trip I felt it was stable enough to take our two little grandchildren (aged 14 months and 2-½ years) on a calm day. We sat one between each of our legs on the floor. The youngest nearly went to sleep, while the elder one   directed us, “Go this way” and then a few minutes later, “Go that way.”

We like to fish but also enjoy just paddling. You get a close up look at beaches, islands and estuaries from a different viewpoint other than the road.

They love traveling light

As it is with tramping and cycle touring, we love the concept of travelling light, being close to nature, and getting to places under your own steam. (Burning off calories, enabling you to eat whatever you want is the bonus!)  Kayaking is just another form of this. We are looking forward to doing some multi day trips. We’re within an hour’s drive of Nelson Lakes National Park with its white water rapids; Kahurangi National Park with Class 5 river rafting; and Abel Tasman National Park with its beautiful sandy beaches.The Marlborough Sounds have plenty of camping spots.  Roll on summer!”

— Alison Polglase, Nelson, New Zealand

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