WORST TORNADO IN MISSOURI HISTORY — water rescue & recovery aided by Sea Eagle 14SR

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

Sea Eagle boats are in use by hundreds of fire departments and rescue teams all over the world. The work these men and women do forces them to use (and abuse) their boats far, far harder than non-professionals do.

Newton County Rescue & Recovery is one of hundreds of rescue services that rely on Sea Eagle boats in their professional rescue operations.

Newton County Rescue & Recovery is one of hundreds of rescue services that rely on Sea Eagle boats in their professional rescue operations.

Justin Weston, a professional rescue team chief contacted us recently with photos and his performance report on his team’s Sea Eagle 14SR (Sport Runabout). It’s a testament to Sea Eagle’s durability and reliability.

NOTICE…DON’T DO WHAT TRAINED PROFESSIONAL RESCUE TEAMS DO WITH THEIR SEA EAGLES.

May 22, 2011 — Joplin, Missouri —  An EF-5 tornado devastated the city with winds exceeding 200 mph. 160 people are reported dead. See articles and videos here.

Chief Weston tells the story…

Hurricanes come only once in awhile but this rescue team is ready for anything. Here, two members search for forensic evidence thrown off a bridge.

Hurricanes come only once in awhile but this rescue team is ready for anything. Here, two members search for forensic evidence thrown off a bridge.

“The 2011 tornado that went through Joplin was one of the largest ever recorded. You just can’t comprehend a tornado of that magnitude. Devastation was a mile wide in some spots.

Our team does land and water-based rescue. Outdoor missing persons, wilderness searches, crime scene investigations, search and recovery operations. We’re volunteer, non-profit, we’re on call to help in emergencies. Newton county helps us out but we pay for our own insurance and equipment. We do fundraisers, car washes, bake sales, and get public support. We bought our Sea Eagle.

After the tornado, we spent three weeks clearing every river, pond, and stream for the city of Joplin. We used our Sea Eagle SR14 to clear it all. The waterways were full of 2 x 4’s, blown off roofs, metal debris. We thought we’d ruin the Sea Eagle but it didn’t get scratched.

Flood evacuations

Our water-based work includes diving operations, underwater crime scene investigations, rescue, missing persons, water accidents, vehicles in the water, flood evacuations. During floods, we’ve cleared a lot of people out of their homes with the Sea Eagle, including handicapped people. We’ve gone house to house to get them to higher ground and safety. The Sea Eagle has a hard platform floor. We pull right up to front door and roll them in their wheelchairs.

We’ve had it out when the weather was 25 below zero, and when it’s 114 degrees. We’ve hauled wrecker cables across rivers to hook up to vehicles in the water — areas with lots of rocks and boulders you can’t avoid. Your first instinct is, ‘This is an inflatable, better be careful.’ But that thought went out the window after the first month. We’ve pushed it down  ravines into rivers. We really push it, we abuse it badly.

“It doesn’t even tip.”

The Sea Eagle’s stability is phenomenal. We’ve had two guys leaning over one side of the boat lifting a diver out of the water and it doesn’t even tip. There’s no way you could do that with an aluminum boat.

It floats higher than other boats. In the stern, the inflatable tubes go further beyond the boat’s transom than other boats’. That adds stability because every bit of flotation helps. We’ve encouraged all the fire departments around here to have a Sea Eagle. Some have already purchased them.

“Budgets are tight but…”

We searched for four years for the right rescue boat. We’re a volunteer operation, not for profit. Budgets are tight and it took us forever to choose. There are a lot of strong inflatables out there but not another with the value and quality this one has. The value-for-your-dollar is much higher with Sea Eagle and the customer service is great. They stand behind their products.

Watch the videos carefully

In an indoor training session, Captain Weston piled his crew onboard the Sea Eagle WELL BEYOND its rated capacity to demonstrate its stability and payload. DO NOT do what these professionals do!

In an indoor training session, Captain Weston piled his crew onboard the Sea Eagle WELL BEYOND its rated capacity to demonstrate its stability and payload. DO NOT do what these professionals do!

Sea Eagle’s built a little differently than others. When you see the videos on the Sea Eagle website, you can look closely and see how this boat is moving. It doesn’t rock side-to-side. It has larger diameter tubes than any other and with a hard floor, it doesn’t bow or flex; doesn’t collapse in half. Other boats twist.

In training sessions, we’ve had 17 members in the Sea Eagle just to prove a point: to teach that if you had to evacuate many people, you could.

We chose the 14SR because it was the biggest they had in that style, and it comes in high-visibility orange. If they had a bigger one, I’d get it. We do want to buy a Yacht Tender for evacuations: it’s smaller, more versatile for smaller bodies of water, and we could tow it as an equipment boat.”

We asked Justin what it was that motivates his crew to jump when duty calls, at any time of the day or night, rain or shine, boiling sun or freezing water. “Taking care of our community,” he said. “That’s our only motivation.” Why’d he choose Sea Eagle? “We wanted a boat we could stick with, and now we want more Sea Eagles.”

— Whether you’re a rescue team member OR an everyday boater, please tell us your Sea Eagle story. We want to know and so do our blog visitors! Email stories and photos today.

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CREATURES OF THE KUZURYU — Kayaking unknown waters in rural Japan

”My Japanese friend, Yuko, pumps up my Sea Eagle 330, We are about to launch on Lake Manahime in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. At first Yuko didn’t seem to appreciate the untouched beauty of the lakes, but after several trips together she finally confessed, “OK Sam-san – this lake is beautiful after all.”

”My Japanese friend, Yuko, pumps up my Sea Eagle 330, We are about to launch on Lake Manahime in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. At first Yuko didn’t seem to appreciate the untouched beauty of the lakes, but after several trips together she finally confessed, “OK Sam-san – this lake is beautiful after all.”

“I stopped paddling. The boat glided in perfect silence. I strained

"For Fukui's Sake - Two years in rural Japan" by Sam Baldwin

"For Fukui's Sake - Two years in rural Japan" by Sam Baldwin

hard, scanning the depths. There was something down there. And it was moving. Deep down, just on the very limits of visibility, a large, dark form glided beneath me.”

— from “For Fukui’s Sake — Two years in rural Japan” by Sam Baldwin.

At Sea Eagle, we hear regularly from all kinds of boaters from weekend warriors to those dedicated souls best described as “adventurers.” We spoke recently with hiker, backpacker, author, and boater, Sam Baldwin, about his kayaking adventures in his Sea Eagle 330 in the wilds of backcountry Japan.

Sam Baldwin kayaks the wilds of back country Japan in his Sea Eagle 330

Sam Baldwin kayaks the wilds of back country Japan in his Sea Eagle 330

Where bears prowl

“Welcome to a Japan where snakes slither down school corridors, where bears prowl dark forests and where Westerners are still regarded as curious creatures. Welcome to the world of the inaka– the Japanese countryside.

Saying sayonara to laboratory life in the UK, I took a job as an English teacher in a small, rural Japanese town that no one – the Japanese included – has ever heard of.

Arriving in Fukui Prefecture, where the guidebook says there’s ‘little reason to linger,’ I at first wondered why I left England. But as I slowly settled into my unfamiliar new home, I discovered the secrets of a Japan still clutching its pastoral past and explored a landscape of, rice fields, lush mountain forests….and lonely lakes where SOMETHING lurks…

Undiscovered Japan

I love the beauty and escape of the great outdoors. As a kid it was all about fishing, then I got into cycling, and in my late teens I went on my first snowboarding trip to the tiny country of Andorra in the Pyrenees. There’s something I love about being in majestic surroundings.

Most people think of Japan as a sprawling, neon-soaked, overcrowded mega-city. I wanted to experience a Japan that few people think of. When I first took my Japanese friend Yuko kayaking in beautiful Lake Kuzuryu, she said it was ‘spooky’ rather than attractive due to the lack of human development and lack of other people around — the exact reasons I found it such an amazing place.

I’ve done numerous bits of boating over the years in various craft, from canal narrow boats in Ireland, to small sailing dinghies in England, to larger yachts in Greece, and various day trips in canoes and kayaks all over. But my Japanese kayaking adventures in my Sea Eagle were the most rewarding so far.

Layers of mountains fade in to the haze. A solo exploratory trip on Lake Kuzuryu in Fukui prefecture, in my Sea Eagle 330

Layers of mountains fade in to the haze. A solo exploratory trip on Lake Kuzuryu in Fukui prefecture, in my Sea Eagle 330

The most magnificent lake I’d ever seen…and no boats

High up in the mountain folds in Fukui Prefecture, there sits a lonely lake. Clear, blue-green and contained by steep, forested slopes, Lake Kuzuryu is one of the most magnificent I had ever seen. It was impossible to hire a boat locally, so I started thinking about how else I could explore these lakes in the Japanese mountains. I was so taken by their beauty that I knew I had to get on the water, so started looking online, reading forums and magazine articles.

At first I was looking at hard shell kayaks, but as I began to read more about inflatables, I realized that they would be a far more practical solution. I could store an inflatable kayak in my apartment, and transport it far more easily than a hard shell.

10 minutes

I did a lot of research before buying. I kept on reading good things about Sea Eagle. I really liked the website and the general feel to the brand. The boats seemed like really good value for money. I settled on a Sea Eagle 330, Sea Eagle’s most basic craft but exactly what I needed for my adventures.

Living in a fairly small Japanese apartment, there would have been nowhere to store a hard shell, so the fact that I could stash my Sea Eagle in the cupboard was a huge selling point. Also, not having to worry about car racks and trailers was another massive plus point. And the fact that it can be pumped up and on the water in under ten minutes means the Sea Eagle is perfect for my needs.

My original goal was pure exploration in Fukui Prefecture on the main island of Honshu. I also went to another lake in Fukui called Lake Manahime. Several times I took it to Fukui’s coastline and explored small islands near to shore. I also took it on a long road trip to the northern island of Hokkaido, where I went kayaking in Lake Shikotsu, a beautiful body of water edged by smoldering volcanoes.

Easy to sell

My Sea Eagle had many admirers in Japan so when it was time for me to return to the UK, I had no trouble selling it to my Japanese friend Yoshi who took it down the Kuzuryu River and had a great time.

When I got back to the UK, I bought another Sea Eagle to help me explore some of the many lochs in Scotland. I’ve found some really beautiful ones, great for camping/kayaking trips.

Thanks for making such an excellent product that is well priced, and makes it so much easier to get out and enjoy the water. I learned that if you take a chance, exit your comfort zone, and follow your heart, doors that you never even knew existed will open. Without my Sea Eagle, I would never have been able to explore those lakes up in the Japanese mountains, and I never would have seen the monkeys, the giant hornets, or the creatures of the deep that I got to write about.”

And just what were Sam’s Creatures of Kuzuryu? We won’t spoil Sam’s story. Read it for yourself in “For Fukui’s Sake — Two years in rural Japan”

Sam Baldwin is an English writer living in Scotland. His travel articles have appeared in numerous magazines, guidebooks, and online travel sites. Sam founded SnowSphere.com, a website for snow travelers. His recent book, For Fukui’s Sake – Two years in rural Japan, chronicles his adventures in a little-known Japan.

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KAYAKING 2,300 MILES on the MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI — They boated every inch of America’s most famous river

Modern day Huckleberry Finn-style adventurers on the Mississippi, Ryan (left) and Phillip take a break from their 2,300 mile kayak trip to snack on watermelon just north of Memphis. Mark Twain’s famous book, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” tells of Huck stealing a watermelon – Ryan and Phillip were given theirs by a farmer who lives on the river.

Modern day Huckleberry Finn-style adventurers on the Mississippi, Ryan (left) and Phillip take a break from their 2,300 mile kayak trip to snack on watermelon just north of Memphis. Mark Twain’s famous book, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” tells of Huck stealing a watermelon – Ryan and Phillip were given theirs by a farmer who lives on the river.

“Hey, Phillip, let’s take a boat trip down the entire length of the Mississippi River!” So began a remarkable Huck Finn-style river voyage by two self- described adventurers, travelers, and videographers.

Ryan Jeanes’ casual remark to his business partner, Phillip Hullquist, planted the seed that grew into the duo’s three month odyssey from one end of America’s most iconic river to the other — a 2,300 mile river adventure from the Mississippi’s headwaters in Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico…and resulted in their full length documentary movie, “The River is Life”.

Ryan paddles while Phillip (not shown) shoots video on their first day on the Mississippi River about two miles from its headwaters. The water's only six inches deep there - nothing like what you expect in the Mighty Mississippi.

Ryan paddles while Phillip (not shown) shoots video on their first day on the Mississippi River about two miles from its headwaters. The water's only six inches deep there - nothing like what you expect in the Mighty Mississippi.

“What’s stopping YOU?”

Many people may dream of being adventurous enough to drop everything and do something like travel the length of the Mississippi for three months. Some may talk about their plan for years. But few will actually do it. And that is the whole point film makers Jeanes and Hullquist drive home in their documentary, “The River is Life.”

“Dream it. Live it. Film it” is the slogan the duo has pinned to their video company, 11 Visions. Phillip sums up their philosophy with a poignant question. “What’s stopping you,” he asks, “from doing the things you really want to do?”

Ryan and Phillip have made a boating adventure film that’s an engaging, watchable,  and very interesting film about America. “It’s hard to imagine who wouldn’t enjoy this sweet, terrifically amiable documentary,” writes Mike Schulz in the River Cities’ Reader, a newspaper serving five cities along the upper Mississippi.

Passion for adventure

“When we started our film company, says Phillip, “we wanted to do and document the things we’re passionate about.” Adventure is their passion, and they did it on a shoestring. “Kayaking down the Mississippi is a fairly inexpensive venture although you’ll need to commit a significant period of time to complete such a journey.”

Business-and-adventure partners Phillip (left) and Ryan (right) at the Mississippi River headwaters in Lake Itasca, Minnesota about to embark on a 2,300 mile journey in Sea Eagle kayaks.

Business-and-adventure partners Phillip (left) and Ryan (right) at the Mississippi River headwaters in Lake Itasca, Minnesota about to embark on a 2,300 mile journey in Sea Eagle kayaks.

Boating for weeks on end, and camping nightly at the water’s edge, meant they had to pack all the camping gear any adventurer would need for an extended trip, plus all their cameras and video gear. Ryan and Phillip chose twin Sea Eagle 380x Explorer Kayaks. “We took a test run in a Sea Eagle,” says Phillip, “and decided we really needed two boats to carry us and all our gear.”

Experimenting with various loading arrangements, they found their best plan was to ride and paddle in tandem in one 380x while towing their boatload of gear behind them in the second kayak.

“The 380x can carry a lot of gear,” says Ryan. “It can carry 300 lbs. of stuff, gear, tents, cook stoves, computers, video gear, backpacks, food, clothes, even solar panels to charge our cell phones.”

The choice of serious adventure boaters

Sea Eagle’s Explorer Kayaks are the kayak-of-choice for serious adventurers. Watch Sea Eagle owner, Ted Pasternak, navigate white water rapids in his Sea Eagle 420x Explorer Kayak.

Phillip and Ryan were serious boaters, but not experienced ones. They gained their boating experience along the way. “We didn’t have that much boating experience,” says Phillip. “We didn’t know what conditions we were going to encounter. But we made the decision early to err on side of safety. People advised us to get longest boat we could. They told us they’re the fastest and had the most space for our gear.”

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? You have to be ready for anything on an extended kayaking trip. The 380x's stability was much appreciated by Phillip and Ryan when storms hit near Natchez, Mississippi.

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? You have to be ready for anything on an extended kayaking trip. The 380x's stability was much appreciated by Phillip and Ryan when storms hit near Natchez, Mississippi.

Ryan agrees, “We’re certainly long haul boaters but not professional boaters at all. The 380x is the perfect boat for all kinds of conditions” from bottoming out in shallow waters up north to crossing Lake Winnibegashish — a 67,000 acre Minnesota lake the Mississippi flows through. If we’d been in hard hull kayaks, I don’t know if we’d have made it. The performance and stability of the 380x are incredible. I love that boat.”

“I’ve always wanted to do X”

“Lots of people have great ideas for adventures,” says Phillip. “They’ll say, ‘I’ve always wanted to do X.’ Most peoples’ dreams are usually doable – but they haven’t done them yet. It’s basically a matter of really wanting to do something and going out and doing it.”

“There’s a spiritual pull to adventuring,” Ryan told us. “Human beings look for experiences to learn about ourselves. We like being challenged; we want to see how we’ll react to see what we’re made of. The idea of journeying is part of every culture in the world.”

Adventure a week at a time

Not all adventurers can clear their calendars several weeks or months at a time to live their dreams. But dreams are still doable. “We ran into a three- generation family boating the entire Mississippi as we were,” says Phillip. “But they couldn’t take three months off; they did it one week at a time. They boat to a certain point in a week’s time, then start from that point a year later. “They’re living their dream a week at a time and will eventually navigate the whole river.”

What’s next for this pair of video camera-toting adventurers? “I want to try white water kayaking,” said Ryan. His passing comment, like “Let’s boat the Mississippi,” may be the start of a new adventure documentary film. Watch for it at a movie theater near you!

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STALKING THE 30-LB. SALMON — STEELHEAD & SALMON FISHING on the Columbia River

One of George’s fishing buddies, Scott Morgan, was skeptical about George’s FoldCat until he reeled in his first Chinook salmon – a 38-inch beauty. Now he can’t wait to go out in the FoldCat again.

One of George’s fishing buddies, Scott Morgan, was skeptical about George’s FoldCat until he reeled in his first Chinook salmon – a 38-inch beauty. Now he can’t wait to go out in the FoldCat again.

Imagine for a moment you’re a farmer in a fertile, temperate valley and your crop is cherries. Your orchard commands all your time and attention from March to August, but things slow down from September to February. And imagine your farm is a stone’s throw from one of America’s greatest fishing rivers. What would you do in the winter?

If you were cherry farmer, George Davis, of The Dalles, Oregon, you’d go fishing in the nearby Columbia River. And you wouldn’t go just once in awhile. You’d toss back bass other fishermen would prize. You’d go fishing almost every day in your Sea Eagle FoldCat fc375, and you’d haul in what many consider the world’s finest salmon and steelhead measuring over three feet and weighing 30 lbs. and more!

“I’m addicted to the outdoors.”

“I’m an avid outdoorsman,” says George. He’s living full time the life other outdoorsmen have to squeeze into an occasional weekend. “You could say I’m addicted to the outdoors.” All summer, he’s out in the cherry orchards. And all winter, he’s fishing and whitewater rafting on the Columbia and Deschutes rivers, river rafting on the John Day River, trout fishing in high mountain waters like Badger Lake, fly fishing, camping, rock hunting, crabbing, clamming, as well as “exploring and watching peaceful sunsets.”

Two boats in one

“I do a wide variety of boating and fishing,” George told us. “I especially go after steelhead and salmon. I catch bass, too, but I release them.” He chose a Sea Eagle FoldCat fc375 and says, “I got two boats in one with the FoldCat – a boat for fishing and for river rafting.”

One of George’s favorite river rafting spots is the John Day River, named for one of the Oregon’s early explorers. He floats 10 or 11 miles a day for a week at a time, camping on shore in the evenings. “It’s an undammed, scenic river,” says George. “No houses or power lines, just Nature.”

George is ready for just about any outdoor adventure in what he calls his “Pacific Northwest Weekend Package.” He carries his FoldCat on his truck rack and tows a popup camper with his mountain bike on top. Oregon’s Fall Creek Lake, Willamette National Forest in the background.

George is ready for just about any outdoor adventure in what he calls his “Pacific Northwest Weekend Package.” He carries his FoldCat on his truck rack and tows a popup camper with his mountain bike on top. Oregon’s Fall Creek Lake, Willamette National Forest in the background.

George leaves his FoldCat inflated most of the time and heads for the backcountry in a rig he calls “My Pacific Northwest Weekend Package” – a truck with FoldCat on top, towing a camping trailer with a mountain bike on top. Still, “I like the FoldCat’s foldability. When I don’t want to take my truck, I can break the FoldCat down and put it in the back of my wife’s Ford Focus. It fits great.”

When camping overnight, George often brings firewood to his campsite strapped down on his FoldCat.

When camping overnight, George often brings firewood to his campsite strapped down on his FoldCat.

10’ sturgeon

“It’s stable and the fabric is outstandingly durable. I was jigging for salmon,” George told us, “and hooked a 10’ sturgeon.” These bony fish are covered with plates and have distinctive barbles.  “It kept running, I ran all around the boat trying to land it. I had it up alongside the boat twice. I wanted my jig back,” he says, “but my fishing buddy cut the line.” That’s one that got away, jig and all.

More than paid for itself in memories

George’s 11-year old son, Zain, snagged his first steelhead – all 32-inches – with his dad on a recent fishing trip to Prineville Lake, nestled near the headwaters of the Crooked River in the Ochoco Mountains.

George’s 11-year old son, Zain, snagged his first steelhead – all 32-inches – with his dad on a recent fishing trip to Prineville Lake, nestled near the headwaters of the Crooked River in the Ochoco Mountains.

George has introduced several others to salmon and steelhead fishing. “My friend Scott caught his first salmon from my FoldCat,” says George. “He was skeptical about this boat at first but now he can’t wait to go back for more.” And George’s 11-year old son, Zain, is well on his way to becoming an avid outdoorsman like his dad, having landed impressive bass and steelhead of his own.

Coming up, George and Zain are going after salmon on the Columbia and fly fishing on the upper part of the Deschutes River. “What this boat allows me to do is remarkable. In terms of memories, I’ve made more than I paid for it.”

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A TORN ROTATOR CUFF meant no more boating — then she started ROWING.

The rowing's great on northern Vermont's beautiful Lake Seymour. Great rehabilitation, great scenery, great fun, too, in a Sea Eagle PaddleSki set up for rowing.

Rose Mini went from injured ex-boater to happy and healthy recreational boater. She credits rowing with her ability to regain shoulder strength and functionality.

Funny how life’s negative experiences can lead to very positive ones. Rose Mini’s story is a great example of turning lemons into lemonade.

“I’ve been a boater since 1985,” Rose told us. “I’d always loved water, the ocean, and fishing.” Getting out on the water was easy for Rose. She owned a 20’ center console fishing boat and lives “right across the street from the Atlantic ocean” in Massachusetts.

“I had no strength, couldn’t handle my big boat.”

Then she suffered a shoulder injury – a torn rotator cuff. “I had no strength and couldn’t really handle my big boat by myself anymore.” That might have been the end of Ms. Mini’s boating adventures. But in a roundabout way, her injury opened the door for her to new and different boating experiences and a whole lot more.

Surgeries, physical therapy…then she started ROWING

“I basically couldn’t function with my injured shoulder,” Rose said. “I had surgery in 2008 and 2009. Then I did a lot of physical therapy and found that rowing is the best rehab exercise I could do for a rotator cuff.”

Rose joined a strength and conditioning program utilized by athletes, police, martial artists, and others who’re serious about fitness. “They have a rowing group and I joined it,” says Rose. “Rowing is high intensity functional movement; it’s metabolic conditioning training. Rowing helped my shoulder. It also helped me lose weight and become more fit.”

Beat half the competitors after just three months of rowing rehab

Rose got hooked on rowing during her rehabilitation from a torn rotator cuff. Here she's in competition in Boston. "Okay, encouragement is over...I'm about 1700 meters into it and Jane is now ordering me to do another power 10. I give a slight shake of my head and she responds..."Don't you shake you head at me....GIVE ME A POWER 10!"

ROSE GOT HOOKED ON ROWING during her rehabilitation from a torn rotator cuff. Here she's participating in indoor rowing competition in Boston. "Okay, encouragement is over...I'm about 1700 meters into it and Jane is now ordering me to do another power 10. I give a slight shake of my head and she responds..."Don't you shake you head at me....GIVE ME A POWER 10!"

Rose’s group doesn’t just row for exercise — they compete with teams from all over the world on indoor, stationary rowing machines. “I participated in competitive rowing in the World Indoor Rowing Championship at Boston University’s Agganis Arena last February,” said Rose. How’d she do? “I did 2,000 meters in 8 minutes and 50 seconds. I came in 16th in a field of 27.” And that’s after only three months of rehab rowing.

She got hooked on rowing

“I ended up loving rowing,” says Rose. “I got into it then discovered the Sea Eagle PaddleSki.” The PaddleSki is a 5-in-1, multi-functional Sea Eagle boat. It can be set up with a sail, with paddles, with a motor, or with rowing oars.

“I googled ‘kayaking’ and found the Sea Eagle website. I was very interested that I could roll up a Sea Eagle inflatable boat and take it anywhere, blow it up and throw it in the water anywhere.”

Then she discovered the Sea Eagle PaddleSki. “I got interested because it wasn’t limited to just one function. I wanted to row, but I liked that it’s big enough I could take people out. I thought ahead to wanting a motor, too.”

“I like that the PaddleSki’s inflatable,” she said. “I can go boating anyplace. The Sea Eagle is a one-time expense, then no more expenses. I inflate and deflate it each time I use it. I don’t have a place to keep a big boat – the PaddleSki deflates and I store it in my house.”

She’d recommend rowing

We asked Rose what she’d tell others who may have the same kind of injury she had. “I’d tell them about my PaddleSki because it’s so easy to do,” she replied. “Kayaking is easy and a great way to rehabilitate.” Of course, with any injury, consult your doctor before beginning any kind of treatment or rehabilitation.

What’s next for Rose, now that she’s strengthened her shoulder, gotten in shape, and has competitive rowing under her belt? “The next thing I want is a paddleboard!”

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

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Nick & Yvonne discovered, “RV CAMPING & SEA EAGLE FISHING ARE SIMPLY MADE FOR EACH OTHER!”

Nick readies for a day of fishing adventures with his Sea Eagle FoldCat. In the background -- the breathtaking Grand Tetons.

Nick readies for a day of fishing adventures with his Sea Eagle FoldCat. In the background -- the breathtaking Grand Tetons.

Nick knows how to reel in the big ones like this prize rainbow trout

Going to Colorado any time soon? Whether you’re out on a lake fly fishing, or on heading down the highway, you might just cross paths with Nick and Yvonne Bledsoe with their pickup truck, RV, and their Sea Eagle FoldCat. “The Sea Eagle FoldCat is great for RV campers,” Nick told us.

You could find the Bledsoes at an RV campsite beside a mountain lake in the middle of nowhere. “Yvonne and I like to go RV camping. We’ll set up in some remote area where we can get away from crowds and stay a week at a time.” It’s relaxing and a lot of fun. And Nick adds, “RV camping is cheaper than motels.”

You got your dually, your RV, and your FoldCat

Here's the Bledsoe's camping setup -- dually, fifth wheel, and FoldCat. Fun, adventure, and relaxation all in one.

And Nick and Yvonne have discovered what thousands of others have: Sea Eagle boating, fishing, and RV camping are simply made for each other. “We have a Ford 350 dually diesel truck and a 33-foot fifth wheel RV. The RV has storage compartments built in and our Sea Eagle slides in neatly when it’s deflated. We leave it ‘aired up’ while camping. The truck’s big enough that the FoldCat will fit in the back.”

Trailering a hard-hull fishing boat gets expensive in these days of high gas prices. “I’ve had regular bass boats in the past but when I saw the Sea Eagle FoldCat advertised in Trailer Life magazine, I decided to give it a try instead of dragging around a big bass boat on a trailer.”

A lot of fun on a fly rod

“We catch brown and rainbow trout in Antero and Spinney Reservoirs near Fairplay, Colorado, also in the South Platte river, a Gold Medal river.” Nick says, “We catch 3 to 4 lb. rainbow trout. They’re lots of fun on a fly rod.” Yvonne adds, “Our Lake Jackson/Grand Tetons trip was our first big outing with the Sea Eagle. We’ve also taken it to Henry’s Lake in Idaho and Lake Hebgen in Montana.”

Nick’s tried lots of different ways to go after those elusive beauties. “We used to have float tubes, like an inner tube with waders hanging down and flippers. You’d kind of paddle around, kicking your feet but you get tired and they’re hard to get out of. We wanted to have something we could get in together that you didn’t have to drag behind the truck on a trailer.”

Simple assembly

The FoldCat’s simple assembly appealed to Nick. “Other inflatable boats seemed hard to assemble. They have an exterior framework with lots of parts that you have to put together before you inflate it. It takes an hour to get that kind of boat together with all the bolts and tools you need. And most are one-man boats with just one seat.

(Editor’s Note: click here to see a Sea Eagle video that compares the assembly of exterior-frame inflatables and the simple ”unroll & inflate” assembly of the Sea Eagle FoldCat.)

Love RV camping? Love fishing?

Nick shares his experience. “If you’re thinking about a FoldCat, it would be a good idea to get one. It’s real handy to take on trips. Storage is easy and that makes traveling easy. Our Minn-Kota  30-lb thrust trolling motor works well with the FoldCat. I’d definitely recommend the FoldCat – it’s great for RV campers.”

What’s next for Nick and Yvonne? “Our next trip will be RV camping and boating at Antero and Spinney Reservoirs. We’ll send photos!”

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SHE LEARNED TO SAIL in about 3 minutes – amazing what you can do when you HAVE to

“Now, I don’t recommend teaching your wife to sail when she’s in the boat and you’re in the water in the middle of the lake and the wind comes up and carries her a couple hundred yards away,” Jim Hansen told us recently. The good news is, “The SailCat is so easy to sail, she figured it out right away.”

“Now, I don’t recommend teaching your wife to sail when she’s in the boat and you’re in the water in the middle of the lake and the wind comes up and carries her a couple hundred yards away,” Jim Hansen told us recently. The good news is, “The SailCat is so easy to sail, she figured it out right away.”

Jim Hansen had canoed a bit when he was a Boy Scout. And when he and his wife, Gail, got married, they sailed a little on their honeymoon in a sail-rigged catamaran. Those brief but happy experiences led the Salt Lake City area couple to purchase a Sea Eagle SailCat, Sea Eagle’s new sail-rigged, twin-hulled, inflatable catamaran.

Jim and Gail learned how EASY it is to operate the SailCat…and they learned it more QUICKLY than they anticipated.

Instant sailing lesson

Jim takes the helm on a beautiful day in their Sea Eagle FoldCat

Jim takes the helm on a beautiful day in their Sea Eagle FoldCat

“We took our 14’ SailCat down to Sand Hollow Reservoir in southern Utah,” says Jim. “As we were sailing around, I saw what would make a great picture: our SailCat with beautiful red rock cliffs in the background. With my life jacket on, I got in the water with our waterproof camera. Just then the wind kicked up and off sailed my wife and dog, Abby, our miniature schnauzer.”

“While Gail was still within shouting distance,” Jim told us, “I gave her sailing instructions and she was able to come about. In just three passes, she was able to pick me up. We were laughing too hard to remember to get the picture I originally went in after so these will have to do.”

Doesn’t take up any space

The Hansens work in the healthcare industry. They live in a condo and own a small motorhome “the size of an airport shuttlebus,” says Jim. “We really enjoy it and have taken it all over the state. We put a luggage rack in the receiver hitch to carry our SailCat. That way it doesn’t take up any space inside the motorhome.” Between trips, “the boat folds up and goes in a closet with the golf clubs,” says Jim.

Jim and Gail have taken their Sea Eagle SailCat to nearby Bear Lake and have sailed in the very salty Great Salt Lake. Future motoring-and-boating trips may include a trip to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, often called Rocky Point, south of Phoenix.

Easy to transport, easy to sail

Like so many folks these days, Jim shopped online and chose an inflatable Sea Eagle for convenience. “There’s no trailering,” he says, “and no hassle with launching. I put it together right on the beach and launch it easily.”

“We’d sailed a catamaran on our honeymoon,” Jim said, “so we knew a catamaran is a good, stable sailing platform. We got the SailCat Comfort Package with two seats. We love the SailCat’s size. It’s large enough that it commands respect from other boaters. It’s good and stable when power boats are zooming by and throwing wakes.

“If a friend was interested in a SailCat, I’d tell them to do it, says Jim. “In fact my brother’s looking into getting one right now.” Thanks for your story and photos, Jim. See you on the water!

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