If you’ve read any review about recent kayak releases, be it on this website or another, you’ll be fully aware of their recent rise in popularity. This can be largely attributed to the advances in manufacturing costs combined with a decrease in materials, meaning higher quality kayaks can be sold at less expensive prices. Add this to the fact that kayaking is an incredibly addictive sport as well as a top quality relaxation activity, and you’ve got yourself a true recipe for success.
Now, kayaking was previously seen as a one person sport, be it one man against the rapids or a man with rod versus the fishing beasts of the deep lakes. Well that view is changing, and more and more people are going tandem, and getting out on the water together. To do this, you obviously need a kayak with additional seats, all bundling in on one designed for just one passenger is going to result in taking a swim. Now, when you’re looking for a kayak for two people, the requirements are slightly different. Throughout this particular review, we’ll be taking a look at the Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable kayak, with the Deluxe Package of accessories. Join us after the jump to find out how this compares to others in it’s class, and if it’s worth your hard earned cash, or if you should just buy two singles…
So with any inflatable kayak, the first thing to assess is it’s portability. This is because that is the main driver of sales, and the big appeal for inflatables. Their advantage over their hard edged siblings, is that they can fold up into the trunk of your car, and you can hit the open road to reach the open water. If they don’t do this well, then you may as well spend the extra money on a hard edged kayak that is going to be faster and steer better as standard. In terms of portability, the Sea Eagle 330 scores well. Weighing in at just 26lbs, it’s light enough for just one person to carry without too much trouble, and an absolute breeze for two people to take down to the waters edge. Just because it’s light, doesn’t take away from it’s tensile strength and durability. The hull is constructed from puncture resistant, extra think K-80 polykrylar with nine inch inflatable tubes, I-Beam support and high frequency welded seams. In normal English, that translates to being very tough, very stable and is not likely to spring a leak. All very good characteristics to have in a kayak!
The next major advantage is the accessories that come included as part of the Deluxe Package. Now, writing about accessories in the positive section of these review is a new experience for me, because quite frankly, they are usually terrible. The Sea Eagle 330 though is throwing in a curve ball and breaking the trend of terrible accessories. Where the oars included are of the usual rubbish level, the rest of the bundled goods are a welcome breath of fresh air. The inflatable front and rear seats go a long way to adding some comfort to your outing, making those longer trips much more enjoyable. As well as seats, inflatable spray skirts help keep your legs dry when paddling and getting up to any kind of speed. The other included goods are a high quality pump to aid inflation and make it a quicker process, and a well designed carry back for making transporting even easier. With this bag, you don’t even need a car, you can just hop on your nearest bus or train to transport this kayak, so it’s great for those that don’t drive.
This kayak is also a little more multipurpose than other inflatables, as it’s rated up to Class III Whitewater, which means it’s going to hold up in fast moving waters, unlike others that will just drift helplessly downstream. This increased functionality is a welcome change, and can prove enough to entice the more experienced kayakers out there.
This review is turning out to be a bit of a reverse process to my normal reviews. Where poor accessories and good safety features usually go hand in hand in the corresponding sections, this time they’ve been flipped around. In terms of river safety, this kayak falls a little short. I’m not saying it’s going to burst and deflate, or it’s easy to capsize, it’s just not brightly colored enough. The white and blue color scheme means you almost blend into the surface of the water, particularly in fast moving waters. This increases the risk of collision with other water users, which obviously we want to avoid.
My second quibble, is with the price of the kayak. Currently going for an asking price of $269.99, for an inflatable, the Sea Eagle 330 isn’t cheap. Where some of that asking price covers the cost of the Deluxe Package accessories, I’m not sure all of it is justified, mainly due to the incredibly poor oars that are packaged as standard. If you compare that price to the $120 Intex Challenger K2 (also reviewed on this site), you have to wonder where the difference is made up. $150 for some accessories is very steep in my eyes, especially when you’re going to have to buy some new oars as well.
When you’re looking to buy a two person kayak, your options automatically become more restricted than when you’re shopping for one. To be brutally honest, I think this is where the Sea Eagle 330 thrives. The fact that competition is lowered seemed to give the manufacturer space to be lazy and make a product that doesn’t match up to it’s competitors, but is considerably more expensive. This is a good kayak, but it would be a great kayak if it was $100 cheaper, and came with a good standard of oars. If you’re looking for a tandem, even with limited choice, you can do a better job than the Sea Eagle 330, even with it’s so called Deluxe Accessory Package.