Florida couple hit the road with Sea Eagle’s 437ps Paddleski™.
Ask Marc Gelbke and Leslie Pedreira how they’re doing these days and they’ll tell you they are “living the life” – the RV life that is. The fun-loving yet focused couple sold their traditional style home in Clermont Florida nearly three years ago and went all-in on the RV lifestyle hoping it would better suit their thirst for adventure and love of exploring. By all appearances, it seems to have been a smart decision. Especially once they got their hands on a Sea Eagle 437ps Paddleski™ Inflatable Catamaran Boat.
“Going full-time RV (recreational vehicle) has been a great choice for us,” explains Leslie, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in her early 50’s. “We already owned a small Class C RV motorhome, and we went camping a lot, so we knew this was a way of life we would probably enjoy.”
“The RV world suits us just fine,” agrees Marc, 52, who works in Asset Management. “We found homeownership to be expensive and neither of us looked forward to weekends of non-stop yardwork. Now, any day we want can start our next adventure. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Their first two years of full-time RVing were spent moving around every three weeks or so, checking out different campgrounds, resorts, parks, etc. Eventually, they came upon a place in Titusville, Florida, called The Great Outdoors (TGO). “It’s an RV resort where you own your site instead of renting it,” explains Marc. “We purchased a beautiful spot on a small lake that’s now our home base. When we don’t want to travel, this is where we stay put.”
As you might have guessed, central to Marc and Leslie’s idea of outdoor fun is being around the water. The couple, who have been together nearly 12 years, enjoy freshwater bass fishing, lazy river floats and checking out pristine springs. Most recently, they discovered the beauty, fish and wildlife of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) and its mix of brackish and saltwater environments only 30 minutes from their RV site. Luckily, a You-Tube video by Kayak Cliff turned them on to the Sea Eagle 437ps Paddleski™ Inflatable Catamaran Boat – the perfect venue for expanding their outdoors horizons even further.
“Although we both like to kayak, we had some specific points in mind when it came to buying a means to spend more time on the water,” continues Marc. “We wanted something versatile, rugged and easily portable that would fit in our RV for longer trips, or in our SUV for local adventures. It had to be big enough to accommodate the two of us and our gear. It also needed to be exceptionally stable. After watching that video, which also highlighted motor options, it wasn’t long before we were on board with the Sea Eagle Paddleski™. We pretty much ended up with the whole package, including a Suzuki 2.5 hp motor that can push us at up to 10 mph, a 54-lb. thrust Watersnake® trolling motor for when we want to fish, slow down or just poke around, an electric air pump to easily inflate our boat, and a Sun and Rain Canopy.”
The couple also grabbed a Sea Eagle® EZ-Cart™ to easily transport their vehicle to the water’s edge. “Yeah, we pretty much ended up with everything you can put on that boat in terms of equipment, but we use it in every way. It’s really been worth the investment in our case,” adds Leslie. “We love that we can enjoy it as an inflatable kayak, inflatable boat or even an inflatable paddle board – it’s just so versatile.”
Indeed, Marc and Leslie enjoy fishing for largemouth bass and their Sea Eagle Paddleski™ covers their sweetwater options quickly enough that they can hit unpressured waters far from the dock. It also has a shallow draft enabling them to reach areas that are out of bounds for larger, heavier craft. On larger waters, like the ICW, the stability and dry ride allows them to explore open water, push up on the flats and get in tight to mangrove patches, docks, bridges and additional structure where redfish, snook, sea trout, sheepshead and other hard-fighting, tasty treats await their lures and baits. With paddling and the trolling motor, the couple might cover five to eight miles in a day. With their gas-efficient 2.5 hp, they’ll sometimes roam twice that distance.
“I use the Paddleski™ pretty much every day I’m off,” reveals Marc, “mostly for fishing but for a lot of adventures, too. We enjoy simple kayaking and cruising as much as casting for trophies. I even bought an SUP paddle and now I paddleboard from it as well. We especially enjoy going out on Florida’s pristine freshwater springs, and we recently completed a 12-day trip to stunning Devils Fork State Park in South Carolina – our first out of state experience with the Paddleski™. Later this summer, we are headed for Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida, and that’s going to be a pure kayaking trip on the Withlacoochee and Rainbow rivers. We’ll paddle and use our electric trolling motor on that adventure. No fishing, just plenty of relaxing and exploring.”
The world’s most versatile inflatable watercraft, the Paddleski’s unique 4-in-1 hull design allows it to be used as a kayak, paddleboard, fishing boat or cruising platform. Supported by five chambers (two port, two starboard and floor), it’s 1000 Denier inflatable tubes and a drop-stitch 1000 Denier reinforced floor ensure it’s rugged as can be and stable enough to allow stand-up casting and paddling, a bump against the rocks or even a few pokes from tree branches. With a 14’ 4” length, 4’ beam and load capacity of two people or 855 lbs., there’s no need to leave any gear behind whether camping, fishing, touring or sailing. Using a Sea Eagle EZ-Cart makes rolling it to and from the water a simple task.
Weighing just 68 pounds, including the detachable transom, the Sea Eagle Paddleski™ folds into a neat 36” x 21” by 12” package that takes only ten minutes to inflate with an electric pump. Rig it to the nines with helpful options including Scotty® Fishing accessories, up to a 6-HP gas engine that can run at 16 mph, and a trolling motor (up to 70 lbs. thrust) to quietly slip into casting range without spooking the big ones. In addition to the optional Sun & Rain Canopy, there’s even a Sun/Rain Solar Canopy. Using a Sea Eagle EZ-Cart makes rolling Paddleski™ to and from the water a simple task.
That South Carolina trip was the first time Leslie and Marc stored their Paddleski™ in their RV storage space. “It fit perfectly,” noted Leslie. “we cleared out one compartment and packed everything inside – motor, boat, seats, transom and two-piece paddles. The boat was deflated, of course, and the transom detached, but it all went in and came out nice and easy. People with larger RVs that have slide out trays can easily fit a Paddleski™ without removing the transom. Normally, if we’re just heading to a nearby spot, we leave the transom on, roll the Paddleski™ up and put it in the back of our SUV.
In terms of performance, both Marc and Leslie agree their Sea Eagle Paddleski™, which they’ve named “Ducky,” has exceeded expectations. “It’s tough, quick, smooth-riding and able to get us where we want to go at whatever pace we choose,” says Leslie. “We feel both comfortable and safe whenever we push off the shore.”
“I stand in it, fish in it, and control the trolling motor with foot pedals,” adds Marc. “We also love its self-bailing design. Who wouldn’t? Pull it out of the water and it’s dry as a bone. Just wipe it down, pack it up and head for home or, in our case, the RV.”
What lies ahead for Marc and Leslie in terms of the RV lifestyle and their love of being outdoors and on the water? “Well, we’ve been sharing our experiences on YouTube, hoping people will take a virtual ride with us as we go exploring, review new products, strive for adventure and discover great places to visit,” states Marc.
No doubt they’ll quickly add to their growing on-line following. You can catch their insights and adventures at roadnotesrv.com – along with several additional videos incorporating Sea Eagle® products on their Paddle Travel TV channel at Paddle Travel TV (roadnotesrv.com). All photos courtesy of Marc Gelbke and Leslie Pedreira.