By Tom Schlichter
Sea Eagle fans will tell you that having a high-quality inflatable kayak can really be a plus when it comes to transporting your kayak and gaining access to hard to reach or shallow stretches of fishy rivers, lakes and ponds. Still, Sea Eagle FastTrack™ 385fta owner Joe Furman has taken things to the extreme to really get the most out of his ‘yakking experiences. He transports his FastTrack™ to some really out of the way places in his 1986 Porsche 911 Targa.
“I used to have a plastic kayak that I tied on the roof of my Subaru,” reveals Furman, 60, from Huston, Texas. “It looked like I was one of the Clempetts from The Beverly Hillbillies as I drove down the road with that setup. These days, I like to go in style, so I pack my FastTrack™ into my seats and head off wherever I want at full speed without ever worrying about my kayak shifting on the roof as I travel.”
To be sure, even Furman was amazed that the 385fta fit in his Porsche. After all, this sporty model is as compact a car as you’ll ever see. “I love my car, but it has a tiny trunk and hardly any room in the back for someone to sit comfortably. Inflated, my 12’ 6” Sea Eagle is actually longer than the car. Still, when I was researching it, I thought the 385fta broke down so nicely that it just might fit if I put some components in the back seat and some in the front. When I first got it, I was thrilled to see that it actually did – and not just the duffel bag that contains the boat, but the collapsible paddles, seats, motor, battery – the whole dang thing. Awesome!”.
Furman is also impressed with the Fasttrack™ 385fta light weight, stability and tracking. At just 45 pounds deflated, it folds into a 36″ x 15″ x 20″ package, can seat three passengers, and handles any reasonable water you might want to sample. It’s also sleek and tough with quadruple overlapped seams, 1,000 Denier-reinforced material, a removeable high pressure drop stitch floor, and a curved touring shape with a state-of-the-art NeedleKnife Keel that ensures rigid, safe and stable kayak performance while maintaining all the benefits of an inflatable.
“This really is an impressive inflatable kayak,” continues Furman, who uses his FastTrack™ for fishing, touring and wildlife viewing. I love to fish in freshwater rivers, lakes and creeks, and I like to push back into the brush or fish in isolated waters others wouldn’t dare to test. I’ve even taken it in the ocean and on trips as far away as Iowa. I am conscious of not puncturing the hull, of course, but I’ve yet to have a problem. I’m not fragile, and neither is my 385fta. It’s a real boat, made for a real guy that isn’t afraid to push the limits, especially when fishing. I go where the bass boats can’t.”
One thing Furman really enjoys is attaching his Torqeedo T245 motor and powering upstream when river fishing. That way, he can drift all the way back to the launch sight casting away or simply taking in the scenery while only making small adjustments in course. “It’s such an incredible feeling,” he says, “In fact, that’s what I’m planning to do right after we wrap up this interview.”
As for the occasional comments and strange looks he gets while packing and unpacking his kayak in a Porsche, Furman takes it all in stride. “A lot of people think it’s hilarious,” he says with a chuckle, “but it takes me about the same time as it takes the bass boat crew to launch or haul their boats at the ramp. I can have this inflated or deflated in less than 15 minutes. A lot of serious boat anglers tell me they wish they had bought a kayak like mine rather than a bigger boat because there’s so few repairs, less maintenance, less stress and less investment.”
Furman usually agrees with a smile, and then drives off in his bright red sporty car – all the while planning his next Sea Eagle adventure.