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Explorer Kayak vs FastTrack Kayak

The Explorer Kayak vs The FastTrack Kayak

Two of the most popular inflatable kayaks offered by Sea Eagle, the Explorer Kayak and the FastTrack Kayak are often the subject of many discussions.  Which one is better? What about whitewater? What if I want to use it in an ocean bay?

I suppose the real question to ask is what are you planning on using it for? Knowing how you plan on using your inflatable kayak will determine which one is best suited for the job.  If you are looking for a “jack of all trades” kayak, then you will need to examine the pros and cons of each before you commit to purchase one. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to help you choose between the two!

How Many Passengers?

Sounds simple enough.  Are you planning more solo trips than partner trips?  If so, the Explorer kayak is available in a solo package that includes a shorter hull, just enough room for one person and his gear.  The FastTrack does also offer a solo package, but it isn’t a smaller hull, only a single seat arrangement is used. Not quite the same.

If you think you may have an even split of solo and passenger trips, you will need to learn to manage with a roomy hull when you are by yourself.  The 385FT FastTrack is easily handled solo, and the same goes for the 380X Explorer Kayak.  The extra room in each allows for lazy paddling with your legs stretched to the max, but each one will respond nimbly if needed.

What Kind of Water?

All water is the same, until you put it in motion!  White water and flat water are immensely different.  The calm found in a remote lake contrasts nicely with the raging rapids of a class 4 river!  Knowing which one you plan on tackling will again help narrow down the choice between the Explorer Kayak and the FastTrack Kayak. I have taken both kayaks into both whitewater and calm lakes and the performance difference is noticeable.  The FastTrack shines on the flat water, tracking true and gliding almost effortlessly.  The built in inflatable keel also helps out when the wind comes and and the waves get higher. Keeping a proper bearing can be done in the Explorer kayak though, it’s much harder with only the removable skeg for help.

When the calm water turns white, the Explorer kayak helps build confidence and a sense of security as you easily conquer your local waterways! The larger pontoons and additional self bailing valves making keeping water out of the boat easy.  The Explorer kayak will also pivot on a dime, allowing you to eddy out when needed and ferrying across to the other side is simple.

Here is a simple comparison chart outlining the physical differences between the two kayaks.

Explorer & FastTrack Kayak Comparison ChartFor Explorer Kayaks head here.   For FastTrack Kayaks head here.

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Whitewater Kayaking Checklist

The Whitewater Kayaking Checklist

Much like a fire, there is something entrancing about whitewater flowing in a river. You can stare at it for hours and feel totally satisfied with how you spent your time; doing nothing at all, just watching the water swirl and shake, listening to the roar of the water.  At some point, the question gets asked, “we could run the kayak down this… right?”

Explorer Kayak Whitewater KayakingWhitewater kayaking is a sport growing in popularity, requiring strength and endurance, but most importantly, knowledge.  The knowledge of how the river works, what your kayak is capable of, and of course, what your abilities are as a kayaker. Without knowing these three things, many things can go sideways, even threaten your life. Now you ask, “is it worth the risk?”.

Just like any sport, there are risks, but most of which can be avoided through proper planning and careful execution. Taking the time to properly plan your trip, however long it is, can give you peace of mind each and every time you head out on the water, giving you a plan to always return home safely.

With knowledge and safety in mind, here is my short list of things to check off that I need to have before I go anywhere on the river systems local to me. This is not the complete list of items to bring, but use it as a starting point and build from it as necessary.

Mandatory Safety Equipment (in my opinion):

  • Knife – keep it easily accessible, you just never know
  • Helmut – one that fits properly
  • PFD- again, one that fits properly is a must
  • Water ready clothing – you’ll end up in the water eventually
  • Whistle – shouting is loud, whistles are louder! I recommend a Fox 40
  • Boat safety kit – a mandatory kit which would include a 50′ floating rope and bailing device
  • Route plan – who, what, when, where and how long you’ll be…and give it to someone not going with you!

Optional Equipment (dependent on the activity):

The following list is some things you may not think of packing with you, but could be found useful depending on the type of trip you are taking. Remember, this isn’t a complete listing, more like a quick reference quide.

  • Repair kit – a ClamSeal, or another quick patch to keep you going
  • Additional rope – it seems to always be in demand
  • Firestarter – homemade or store bought, it doesn’t matter as long as it burns easily
  • Emergency Blanket – if things go bad, keeping all the warmth you have is crucial
  • Candy Bar – whether it’s an energy bar or a candy bar, it’s short term fuel in a pinch
  • Camera – waterproof would be ideal obviously
  • GPS – knowing how far you went and how quick you did it can be fun to know
  • Battery Supply – those slim little compact USB chargers for phone’s etc
  • River Shoes – neoprene booties, old shoes,water shoes etc.

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!

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DropStitch Technology – What is it?

Compact, inflatable, portable and patchable are not terms usually associated to a rigid floor, unless of course it is made with DropStitch technology.

What is DropStitch?

Thousands of tiny threads!

DropStitch products are made through a process of layering and stitching that allows the inflatable product to be inflated beyond normal inflation pressures, causing it to be much more rigid than a standard air filled chamber.  The secret is in the construction of the inflatable chamber. Breaking it down to the basics reveals just how simple it is, but also reveals why it is so effective as a rigid alternative.

DropStitch Cutaway
A cross-section of a DropStitch floor

The core of a dropstitch floor is thousands of threads joining opposing layers of fabric together, limiting how far the two sides can be apart.  This alone doesn’t hold air though.  A second layer of fabric is glued on top of the stitched layers, sealing it and again adding more strength to the structure.  The second layer hides the stitching from view, but as pressure in the inflated chamber increases, the limitation set by the threads becomes evident.


Where is it Used?

Explorer and FastTrack
The Explorer & FastTrack Kayak
Sea Eagle RazoLite Kayak
Complete DropStitch Construction

DropStitch technology is used in many different Sea Eagle products, from floors to complete kayaks! DropStitch floors can be found in the Explorer and FastTrack Kayaks, the floors on some models of the Sport Runabouts and every chamber of the RazorLite is made with DropStitch technology! You can even buy DropStitch Foot Rests for use in the Explorer Kayaks and some older models of the FastTrack.

Sea Eagle Needle Nose Sunset
Can you spot the difference?

The Longboard and NeedleNose Paddle boards are completely made with this same technology. The 6 inch thick boards are inflated up to 15psi, making them extremely rigid, often mistaken as their solid counterparts; that is until you roll them up and put them inside the trunk of your car!

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!

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Repairing Inflatable Boats

Repairing an Inflatable Boat is Possible!

I often compare repairing an inflatable kayak to patching a bicycle tire tube. Why?  Well, for me it’s really that simple and it speaks to something many of us have done at some time during our youth.

The principles are the same, the materials and methods may be different.  Understanding the difference betweenDSC04389 the materials and how they arerepaired can take the anxiety out of the repair and lend some confidence that you can in fact possibly do the repair yourself.

Repairing an inflatable boat is something that almost everyone can do, and with a little patience and some education, it can be done well.

What Materials are Used?

Unlike bicycle tire tubes, the inflatable boat market builds boats with only a couple of types of material for the air chambers, PVC or Hypalon (CSM). Floors are another matter altogether and can be made with marine grade plywood, aluminum, polyethylene (PE) or even a PVC inflatable floor such as any of the DropStitch floors found on many Sea Eagle models.


Developed by DuPont Performance Elastomers (a subsidiary of DuPont), Hypalon is a trademarked chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE) product.  Basically, Hypalon is a just a name like Kleenex, not actually the name of the material, such as tissue paper.  Names aside, Hypalon is a chemical, temperature and ultraviolet resistant coating on nylon or polyester, giving the fabric a composition that coincides with long life and high abuse tolerance.

This strength and resistance come at a cost. Hypalon boats are typically handmade or assembled by glueing and taping seams together, making it a labour intensive material which increases the production costs of inflatable boats. Sadly, DuPont no longer makes Hypalon, though there are many new and existing products of similar quality and composition eager to take its place.


PVC is another nylon and polyester coating used in boat production among other things.  Polyvinyl Chloride is the material of choice for DSC04394many boat manufacturers due to its thermobonding and glueing capabilities.  Simply put, it’s easier to use in production, keeping costs of production lower and the speed of inflatable boat building higher. PVC can be used to produce boats cheaper and quicker. What’s the trade off?

When compared side by side with Hypalon, the differences are apparent, but are’t necessarily detrimental.  PVC’s resistance to chemicals, temperature and UV are not as strong as Hypalon.  PVC also is slightly heavier than Hypalon.  The chemical and UV resistance are simple to remedy, using easy to find PVC protectants such as 303 Aerospace Protectant. If you have plans to store your boat inflated and out in in the sun, a simple application of a protectant will act as a sunscreen for you fabric, resisting fading.  As for temperature, care and proper handling can can prolong the life of a PVC inflatable boat.  Extreme cold temperatures can render the fabric brittle, allowing it to crease and scar if mishandled.

Why Does the Material Matter?

The type of material determines what should be done to repair the inflatable boat. Differing materials require different chemical combinations for the patch to adhere properly.  Knowing what kind of material your inflatable boat is made with will determine the types of repairs you can do both in the field and at home.  Some manufacturers warn that improper use of their patches can result in the patch material letting go in unpredictable ways.

Most manufacturers don’t hide the type of material they make their hulls out of. In fact most have them materials used specified somewhere on their website or sales brochure.  If you still are confident, another way to determine what you have would be to inspect the hole closer.  If the colour of the material is the same through and through, it’s PVC.  If the colour is different on the inside, then it’s most likely Hypalon. Sometimes neoprene can be found in use inside the layers of fabric for reinforcement by some manufacturers or as an abrasion layer by others. Due to its weight, neoprene is not used very often in compact inflatable boats.

Alternatives to Patching

Clamseal KitThe market has many innovative ways to do the same job. Many manufacturers are simply reinventing the same thing, however some are making unique methods of repairing inflatable boats.  One such product is the ClamSeal by Barton.  It is used as a high quality temporary repair to get you back on the water indefinitely, allowing you to make necessary repairs at a later time!  In my opinion a weekend getaway lifesaver for you inflatable boat.  Simple to use and extremely effective.  It’s not the only thing out there but it sure stands out.

The Step by Step Video

At the top is a step by step video detailing one of the most common ways to repair an inflatable boat. Specifically is it a Sea Eagle SE330 Sport Kayak made with PVC that was snacked on by some rats while in storage during the winter. Step by step instructions are coming soon.

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!

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Stand Up Paddleboard – How to choose the right SUP

With as many options as there are stars, the Stand Up Paddle board market is left with many choices and not so many answers. Hard board or inflatable? Touring or all-purpose? Large rocker or none?  Pink or blue? Well, at least the last one should be easy. If you’re in the market for a compact, portable, inflatable SUP, then the Sea Eagle line up of paddleboards are for you.PaddleBoard1

So what terms are important to know and what do they mean in English?  After some quick searching on YouTube and trolling many sites who sell SUP’s, I have discovered some consistency to help everyone with their decision making.  Larry Froley from Grey Whale Paddle assembled a series of videos that help consumers through the process of purchasing and using an inflatable SUP. Below is the first video in the series titled “How to Choose a Stand Up Paddle Board”.  It has some basic terminology and helps to distinguish between the two most common styles of paddle boards on the market.


Some common terms that are used refer mostly to the main components of the board and how it’s used. Below are a few to review:

  • Deck – The top of the board; some beginner boards have a recessed top and most have a non-slip surface, also known as a deck pad.
  • Bottom – Self Explanatory; the main concern here is what the bottom looks like. Smooth, convex, with or without rocker.
  • Nose – The front or Bow of the paddle board; the profile of the board nose help determines what category of paddle board as well as the type of application it serves.  Sea Eagle offers two styles which can be found here: Sea Eagle Paddleboards
    • LongBoard LB11 –  Features a comfortable rocker and rounded nose for surfing and leisure paddling. Known as a Surf or All-Purpose profile
    • NeedleNose – Features a distinct needle nose for wave piercing and faster paddling.  Also known as a Touring or Racing profile
  • Tail – The back of the board; a rounded profile lends to smooth turns while a more abrupt corner allows for more aggressive turning.
  • Rocker – The upwards curvature of the Nose or Bow of the board.  All-purpose and Surf boards should feature some sort of rocker.
  • Fins or Stabilizers – Sometimes removable like the directional stabilizers on most of Sea Eagle’s Kayaks, the fins provide direction and contribute to the overall stability of the board.  Some performance Surf paddle boards feature an inward camber to help prevent the board from sliding out when on a wave.  This of course works against someone who is looking for distance or speed.


Stand Up Paddle Boards are made from many varying materials and methods.  The inflatable paddle boards from Sea Eagle are all DropStitchIllustrationmade with either 1100 Decitex PVC or 1000 Denier PVC.  At the core, the paddle boards are constructed using the drop stitch method, ensuring the correct shape of the paddle board and giving each board it’s rigidity.  The seams are all quadruple overlapped to ensure a leak free seal allowing the unit to be inflated to it’s maximum pressure without failure over and over again.


Sea Eagle has broken their offering of Stand Up Paddleboards into two different profiles with a few package options to meet most LB11 top largeconsumer needs.  The first to hit the market was the LongBoard LB11 SUP which pioneered the way for Sea Eagle into the inflatable SUP market.  The Sea Eagle LB11 LongBoard is an all-purpose SUP (or Surf SUP) with the beginner and leisure paddler in mind. Though it isn’t as efficient for distant paddles or racing, the LB11 makes up for it in stability, building confidence while still having fun.


The NeedleNose series from Sea Eagle was the second design release to consumers for their consideration.  Appealing to the moreNN114 top view seasoned users, or those bold enough to try, the NeedleNose Paddle Board featured a touring/racing profile.  It’s pointed nose pierces the waves and helps maintain a steady course, even with deep strokes and the speed to match.  It also has many of the creature comforts found on the LongBoard and the same variety of packages suitable for almost every user.


The obvious advantages of an inflatable product are revealed in the nature of the product.  It’s inflatable, which means it deflates into a small enough package to fit in the backpack they come with.  It stores it a small space, whether it’s your closet, attic, crawlspace or the trunk of your smart car.  Finally, should it come to it, repairing the paddleboard is easy enough.  There are no special tools or major skills needed to fix the flat.

All in all, an inflatable paddleboard from Sea Eagle is a suitable choice for most enthusiasts lacking the storage required for a rigid board, not to mention fitting it on the Bus!

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!

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Abbotsford Pilots 14th Annual Gary Graber Derby

If you don’t know already, the Abbotsford Pilots hold a fishing derby every year to help raise funds for the hockey players. This year’s derby was a great success again, with lots of fish weighed in and lots of prizes awarded including one of our Sea Eagle 285FPB Frameless Pontoon Boats.

Early Morning Moon - Chilliwack RiverThe weather this year was great for the derby. Nice and clear, and the moon was very large and bright which made waking up early on the weekend almost enjoyable. The morning fog also made for some amazing landscapes while fishing on river but there wasn’t much time to take in the scenery. There was some serious fishing to do.  The competition durng the derby is light and the support for the Pilots is strong.

Chilliwack RiverWith two days of great fishing, and a pig roast to wrap it all up, this is one event that shouldn’t be missed. More details about the Abbotsford Pilots Gary Graber Fishing Derby can be found Here. For more about the Abbotsford Pilots, check out their Facebook Page here.

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Camping with an Inflatable Kayak

Camping is always an adventure waiting around the next backroad corner.  What better way to take advantage of the whole experience than to take along a boat.  But what kind of boat best suits your camping trip?  Compact, versatile, affordable, these are some of the traits that come to mind when shopping for the perfect boat to accompany a camping trip.  What about inflatable?


Sea Eagle’s line of inflatable kayaks are some of the most affordable, versatile, and compact inflatable kayaks on the market.  The product offering from Sea Eagle includes the FastTrack kayak.  Available in two sizes (2 person or 3 person) the Sea Eagle FastTrack is leading the way in dual purpose kayaking.  Not only can it dominate still water lakes, the FastTrack can be confidently used to venture into ocean bays and inlets.


What makes this a suitable camping companion? The FastTrack can fold up into a very compact carry bag (included in most packages) and all the pieces can breakdown into packable sizes.  The hull weight of the Sea Eagle FastTrack starts at 16kg and can be folded into a compact 31” x 19” x 8” size. This could easily be stuffed into a backpack for hike in lakes and river systems.  What better way to enjoy the most that nature has to offer than to go into the depths of the wilderness and explore it for yourself.


What about starting off your camping trip from the water?  The FastTrack is well suited to haul all your gear to any beachfront campsite you can paddle to with it’s staggering max capacity of 630lbs.    More than enough capacity for a long single person trek, or room for two to explore small island chains and secluded lake coves.


Whichever way you start your camping trip, the Sea Eagle FastTrack is a good fit for campers of all types. The versatility of the design lends to more than use for the kayak, and the compact size allows it to be transported anywhere you set your eyes on.  Finally the affordable price offered by Sea Eagle makes their inflatable kayaks an easy choice for tighter budgets.

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!

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Kayak Angling – Fishing from an Inflatable Kayak

Kayak angling is a relatively new way for fisherman to enjoy their favorite lakes, rivers and even ocean, and inflatable kayaks are among the preferred fishing kayaks used for this new genre of fishing. This sport is especially popular in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada primarily due to the abundance of amazing lakes, rivers and tributaries. Since kayak angling is new experience for many people, it can have a rather steep learning curve. Learning how to cast from a smaller,more responsive craft may require some trial and error.  The key is simply remembering that the platform you are casting from is a nimble, maneuverable, inflatable kayak. To be clear, you wont be able to sink your kayak due to your exuberant casting, but you may fall overboard if you are in the habit of using your whole body to cast.  Developing a cast that uses your core muscles to stabilize the kayak while still successfully hitting your mark and distance can produce some amazing catches and heighten the exhilerating feeling of battling with the target fish.  There are many types of fish that inhabit the Northwest waters, but they can be a bit of a challenge for novice kayak anglers to catch.

Guides can help fishermen learn to use kayaks to cast for their favorite fish species, and also give them the knowledge they need to be able to catch fish on their own. The learning curve can be shortened if you have a qualified trainer showing you the best way to fish from inflatable kayaks. Some of the favorite fish caught include salmon, trout and bass. Avid fishermen who want to spend more time on the water sometimes fish for a week or so at a time, and that’s when it’s handiest to have an inflatable Sea Eagle kayak. It can be easily packed up and taken along with you.

Veteran fishermen can help you with the best ways to catch fish in the Pacific Northwest. There are helpful insights and tips that will make your time on the water more rewarding. Anglers who are also wonderful grillers will make tasty meals from the catch of the day. You may also opt to go on guided trips for kayaking anglers, as these are wonderful and memorable trips.

Most people who fish love gadgets and tools, and fishing offers you many ways to use your gear to its best advantage. Whether you fish in saltwater or freshwater, there are many species from which to choose in the Pacific Northwest, and you’ll want tough and responsive rods to take with you.

The reels used by anglers who fish from kayaks vary, depending on their target species of fish. Lightweight rods are very popular, in keeping with the overall lightweight plan that includes an inflatable kayak. Graphite rods are very popular, and kayaks will give you a secure platform from which to cast a line. It’s not the same feeling as you would get in a fishing boat or a rowboat, though, so you do have to get used to the “feel” of fishing from an inflatable kayak. Once you’re accustomed to these boats, you may never go back to any other type.

Many anglers take along a GPS device when they fish, so that they know precisely where they are if they need to. It’s very relaxing using a kayak as your fishing boat, and your GPS will help keep you from getting turned around in salt marshes or other areas with which you are not familiar. In addition, if you have a favorite spot where you always catch the biggest fish, you can program your GPS and follow it right to your honey hole.

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!