On the FastTrack™ to Copenhagen

By Tom Schlichter
(outdoortom.com)

Feeling the need to beat the winter “blahs,” Lasse Jørgensen biked his Sea Eagle FastTrack kayak down to the beach and headed for the inner lagoons of Amager Beach Park off Copehnagen, Denmark. Finding the inside passage completely frozen, he changed course and headed out to the open sea.

Feeling the need to beat the winter “blahs,” Lasse Jørgensen biked his Sea Eagle FastTrack kayak down to the beach and headed for the inner lagoons of Amager Beach Park off Copehnagen, DK. The inside passage was completely frozen, so he changed course and headed out to the open sea.

For those who depend on public transportation to get around, lugging a kayak to the water can be problematic. Lasse Jørgensen of Copenhagen, DK, has found the perfect solution in Sea Eagle’s FastTrack series of inflatable kayaks. (Check out Lasse’s FastTrack winter voyage in the accompanying video.)

“One of the best things about Copenhagen,” explains Jørgensen, “is that we have plenty of water for kayaking. The problem is that most of us depend on bicycles or public transportation to get around, which makes getting your craft to the water somewhat of a hassle .”

Indeed, the capital of Denmark sees nearly 40% of all citizens cycling to work, and more than 2 million a month use the city’s metro system. While going green with transportation is certainly a noble cause, it’s probably the biggest reason that Jørgensen often has the bays and near-shore ocean in this area all to himself.

FITS IN A BACK PACK

“Unless you have an inflatable, it’s tough to get your kayak to the water,” explains this open water fanatic. “I’m lucky because I have a Sea Eagle FastTrack and it’s perfect for my needs. I chose it because I can fully deflate it, put it in my Sea Eagle carry bag or a backpack, and bike down to the harbor with minimal effort. Even better, because it weighs only 32 pounds and is fully portable, I can launch from one place, paddle to another, deflate the kayak and return home on the metro without retracing my route.  That allows me to cover a lot more water by taking a one-way tour.”

When it comes to kayaking Jørgensen is well-versed. A long-time paddling fan, the 30-year old is also the Danish dealer for Sea Eagle boats (www.smartkajak.dk.) While he obviously has a reason to tout the many positives of owning a Sea Eagle inflatable kayak, he’s fully sold on them himself having started with a model SE370 and recently upgraded to the new 385ft FastTrack.

“I love the cold and the fog,” explained Lasse, “it makes me feel like I’m exploring a new place for the first time. Being out on the ocean with big floating chunks of ice and a slushy surface was truly surreal.”

“I love the cold and the fog,” explained Lasse, “it makes me feel like I’m exploring a new place for the first time. Being out on the ocean with big floating chunks of ice and a slushy surface is truly surreal.”

“Sometimes, you just want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of city life,” explains Jørgensen. “That’s when my FastTrack really shines. I can take it into shallow waters that other boaters can’t traverse, slice through a light chop with surprising speed and poke around in interesting places. It tracks exceptionally well thanks to a removable rear skeg, it’s stable enough to use in the ocean, and it’s tough so you never have to worry about bumping into the dock or floating debris. For me, though, the best feature is simply that it’s ready to go anywhere at a moment’s notice.”

FASTTRACK ON THE METRO

Jørgensen purchased his first Sea Eagle primarily because he didn’t have a car and the portability of an inflatable made it easy and less expensive to access the water. It didn’t take long before he was getting out on a regular basis using it for fishing, exploring and to share time with family and friends. He even took it on a three-day adventure to Sweden, paddling down long, flowing rivers and sleeping in a streamside hammock.

With his new FastTack, he’s now covering even more ground.

“I like that it is stable and fast, and I’m using it more and more,” says Jørgensen. “I use it to get away from everything. I live just 2K (1.25 miles) from a beach park, so I just head down whenever I want. It’s winter here and it has been really cold for a long time but the other day I just wanted to get out and paddle on the ocean, so I packed it up, got on my bike and headed for the water. Easy as that.”

“All alone on the water,” said Lasse, I stopped in front of a place called Helgoland to enjoy some cool mint tea.” There’s a great winter swimming club here that I often visit.”

“All alone on the water,” said Lasse, “I stopped in front of a place called Helgoland to enjoy some cool mint tea. There’s a great winter swimming club here that I often visit.”

CODFISH FROM A KAYAK?

One of Jørgensen’s favorite kayak activities is fishing – and you might be surprised at what he hauls up.

“Mostly, I fish for cod here in the ocean,” he states nonchalantly. “In this area, we need only paddle 1.5K (1 mile) to reach them. The FastTrack has plenty of room for all of my equipment, fishing rods and food, plus it’s very stable – which is very important because we have over 300 cruise ships and large freighters that call our waters home port.  The cod we catch generally run 7 to 10 pounds and they are no match for my ‘yak. I catch them on metal spoons and jigs.”

Exploring is another favorite kayak pastime for this FastTrack paddler. “I love to discover new things and tour new places,” he notes. “I like to see wildlife and you can get close in a kayak. If I go beyond the cod, there are islands between Sweden and Copenhagen where I can see seals and do a little bird watching. It’s a real treat.”

PLENTY OF PLANS

Looking ahead, Jørgensen has no intention of slowing down when it comes to getting out with his kayak. He wants to pack it into northern Norway where towering mountains surround crystal clear fiords that offer great fishing, and he wants to take it back to Sweden to follow the rivers as far as they go while taking time to relax along the bank of a stream.

“I really like visiting beautiful and interesting places to get away from it all and be close to Nature. When I’m out on my Sea Eagle, I can just relax and enjoy the peace. That, I think, is what I really like the most.”

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CONNECTING TO THE WORLD ON LONG ISLAND SOUND

CallahanSon

Chris and his son enjoying a beautiful day on their SE8.

Chris Callahan is a man who likes water for its own sake – and what it does for his mind.

Over the years his work has taken him to the Midwest many times, and he said, “Out on the plains, you feel small and insignificant. Here at the boundary of land and deep water, you can feel the world, and you feel connected to the world.”

Chris wastes no time connecting when he inflates his SE330: “I paddle straight out to deep water.”

A Sea Eagle boater since age 12, Chris knows the boats and accessories, and when he bought an SE330 two years ago, he elected to buy the deluxe seats along with life jackets.

So now he enjoys two lives on the water; long solo excursions in his 330, and shorter trips with his wife and son in his 33-year-old SE8 Motormount Boat, still seaworthy after 33 years.

Chris first found independence on the waters of Long Island Sound at age 12, in that Sea Eagle SE8 inflatable he bought with paper route and lawn-mowing money. With those twin incomes, a Sea Eagle was affordable, and Chris said “I had some of the best times of my life in that boat with my family and friends.”

It was an SE8 Motormount Boat, which he initially bought with just a pump and storage bags. He used it for rowing the sound, and fishing with his father. The next year he ordered floorboards, which allowed him to cast standing up, and later a motor mount and a 3hp motor.

CallahanSE330hull

Chris is likely to spend a whole day on the water in his SE330.

Chris finds different pleasures in the two boats. He usually uses the SE8 to take his wife and two children out for two-hour cruises; in his SE330 he is likely to be out kayaking all day by himself, sunshine or rain. With two different Sea Eagles, he can take his family for outings, and also take himself alone for time to himself.

“I’m self-employed, and those long days in the SE330 give me time to think, and even more time to not think. I need them both.” He chuckled when I asked if he was quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Sometimes I sets and thinks, and sometimes I just sets.”

Chris is a practical man: “I go for the paddling, but I always carry a fishing rod – you never know when fish will be running – and that’s dinner.” So sometimes he comes back from a long paddle with his mind at rest, and other times with a treat for dinner as well.

Chris on Long Island Sound – with his fishing rod, in case dinner turns up.

There are also the small pleasures. “I like the art of keeping a straight track, and the feel of a perfect stroke.” Out on the water, Chris Callahan finds both the simple pleasures of life and a connection to the greater world.

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Chris is an independent executive recruiter living with his family on Long Island, and is currently finishing his Master’s in Social Work to move on to a new career.

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Sea Eagle Boating — Bringing Loved Ones Together

Here are Ken and Teri Johns in their Sea Eagle 370 in Monterey Bay, California. “Oh, how we love our Sea Eagles,” says Teri. “We own two Sea Eagle Adventure Kayaks; a 330 and a 370. We use our 370 the most; our 330 gets to come out to play when we take friends kayaking — friends who don't own a Sea Eagle......yet!”

Here are Ken and Teri Johns in their Sea Eagle 370 in Monterey Bay, California. “Oh, how we love our Sea Eagles,” says Teri. “We own two Sea Eagle Adventure Kayaks; a 330 and a 370. We use our 370 the most; our 330 gets to come out to play when we take friends kayaking — friends who don’t own a Sea Eagle……yet!”

“We always tell people that kayaking is great for our marriage,” says Teri Johns, of Hilmar, California. “To kayak together, you have to work as team, and when in the boat, it’s you, your spouse, and quality time surrounded by the beauty of the environment you have chosen to enjoy on that particular day.”

Teri tells us, “My husband and I take pride in going kayaking together. Our Sea Eagles have provided us a reason to go to so many beautiful places and share all of it together. We can plan a trip or just go at a moment’s notice. We consider our kayaking adventures a perfect date.”

Sea Eagle kayaking aka “beautiful marriage counseling” must be working because, at this writing, Teri and her husband, Ken, are celebrating their 26th anniversary. Today they own two Sea Eagle Sport Kayaks, their original 330 and a larger 370. Why’d they get a second Sea Eagle? “We liked that fact that the 370 is a bit larger than the 330, and LOVED that we would then have a second boat to offer company. Each kayak is stored in its own rolling suitcase.  One or both fit in the trunk of the car or gets easily tossed into the back of the pickup truck.”

Still boating, still loving it. 

Teri tells her story. “We love our Sea Eagles. Kayaking first entered our lives as we were fast approaching having an empty nest. We decided that kayaking would be an exciting addition to our marriage —  20 years at the time.” The Johns play together and work together, too. “Kenny is a plumbing contractor and works with my Dad,” says Teri. “I do the billing for the business, but often joke that I am a retired stay-at-home Mom, and enjoying it.”

This “flock” of Sea Eagles belongs to the Johns and their kayaking friends. The Johns have four sets of friends who own Sea Eagles. The day this photo was taken, their friends, the Bouchers, “test drove” the Johns’ Sea Eagle. Soon after, the Bouchers became proud Sea Eagle owners, too.

This “flock” of Sea Eagles belongs to the Johns and their kayaking friends. The Johns have four sets of friends who own Sea Eagles. The day this photo was taken, their friends, the Bouchers, “test drove” the Johns’ Sea Eagle. Soon after, the Bouchers became proud Sea Eagle owners, too.

Ken and Teri describe themselves as ‘recreational’ kayakers. “We try to avoid rough and turbulent waters…usually. We have found our 370, and our 330 for that matter, to be very stable and responsive through the rapids that we have encountered over the years. Our 370 gracefully maneuvers the gentle flows of our local California lakes and meets head-on the challenge of a rapid or two in the rivers we have had the pleasure of ‘putting in.’”

And they do get around. Some of the Johns’ favorite lakes are Pinecrest, Bass, McSwain, and Don Pedro Lakes. Top reservoirs? Modesto and Melones. Best rivers? Merced, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne.

10-foot waves — 5-star rating

Though they prefer flatwater, Teri tells of a recent ocean adventure. “We gave our Sea Eagle a 5-Star Rating when we found ourselves in heavy seas along the California coast in Santa Cruz.  The waves swelled to 10 feet high and we were barely clearing the crest of each wave before it would curl.”

There was no water beneath us

“It was quite the sensation when we would be at the top of a wave; we would continue the motion to paddle, but there would be no water beside us to push the paddle through.  Then, suddenly came the sensation of dropping down the backside of the swell, similar to the feeling of being in an elevator, only to stare down the next wall of water rising higher and higher in front of us.”

“‘Trust the boat, trust the boat’ was our mantra as we counted the waves, waiting for just the right time to head for the harbor. The 370 is a champ! Her stability – unWAVEring!”

Enthusiastically, Teri and Ken Johns

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

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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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