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Boat Insider


SAVE LIKE SCROOGE. PHOTO: ROB FAUBERT


FLY LIKE AN EAGLE.


DISCOUNT FLYER


IT WAS AN ARGUMENT I realized I couldn’t win. Compared to soccer, she argued, whitewater was expensive and prohibitive to participation. I, on the other hand, was comparing paddling to other popular outdoor recreational activities such as skiing, mountain biking and climbing. No matter how I framed my no-lift-ticket and buy-used-gear arguments, whitewater couldn’t compete with bare feet, a ball and flat open spaces. How low could we get the barrier to entry? I


called Cecile Hoge, owner of Sea Eagle Boats, and he shipped me out a brand new Sea Eagle 380x Explorer package including kayak, two paddles, two seats, pump, repair kit and storage bag. Before I tell you the package price, let’s go on an adventure. Every spring a bunch of families get together for


an early season raft run. The Opeongo River flows out of the east side of Algonquin Provincial Park. While everyone else was rigging rafts I unwrapped our new 380x from its shipping packages. Out of a cardboard box about the size of old microwave ovens, unfolded the 12-foot, four-inch inflatable kayak that Sea Eagle bills as, “Large enough for two but small enough for one!” I tossed the instructions aside and proceeded to


inflate the 380x through the three air chambers. The collar of the boat has two chambers and the floor has one. Simple. The floor in the 380x is flat and rock hard.


54 | RAPID


THE SEA EAGLE 380X EXPLORER INFLATABLE KAYAK COMBO IS A BIG DEAL


Sea Eagle uses the same high pressure, drop- stitch technology they use in their new TC16 inflatable travel canoe (www.rapidmedia. com/0630) and in their standup boards. I was ready to go in 10 minutes. Naysayers argue that whitewater is inaccessible


to many people because whitewater kayaks are tippy. Well, hallelujah, a whitewater kayak not even


my mother would say is tippy. The kids could run the full length of the floor, hurdling the seat on the way. If I wanted to stretch my legs for a while I could sit right up on the 11.5-inch tubes. On the windy lakes we installed the skeg.


It slides into a track on the stern end of the floor. For a piece of plastic about the size of a bar napkin, it completely changes the flatwater performance. Very quickly you forget it’s there and just paddle along. A couple of hours of lake paddling brought us to


the beginning of continuous class II to III whitewater. Remember when I said you could easily forget


about the skeg? I did. I ran the first couple rapids with it still installed. If you’re going to shoot deep rapids by all means leave it in for straight-ahead tracking. To grab eddies and play the river you’ll want it gone. I had a blast crashing down the wave trains and picking my way through the more technical sets.


Sea Eagle claims you can tackle class IV in the 380x and I’m sure you could. On their website Whit Horne runs Small Falls, a 54-footer in Rangley, Maine. My hunch is that the 380x will get used more on adventures like ours. The only thing that I felt was missing from this


Explorer’s base package is thigh straps. I wanted to push it harder and tilt more aggressively into eddies. So how much does this package cost? Well,


$1,090 to be exact, which includes shipping at the time of writing. More than a black-and- white Adidas S12241 Tango Glider soccer ball on eBay, for sure. However, the Sea Eagle Explorer 380x package is half the price of one season’s pass at Whistler, and a fraction of the price of a quality mountain bike. And remember, two can enjoy the 380x. SCOTT MACGREGOR


SEA EAGLE 380X EXPLORER LENGTH: 12’4” WIDTH: 39” WEIGHT: 27.5 LBS CAPACITY: 750 LBS MATERIAL: 1100 DECITEX REINFORCED PRICE: $1,090 WWW.SEAEAGLE.COM


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