Sea Eagle 330 Review
Cons: Narrow, sits high in water, unstable, seats unsupportive
Manufacturer: Sea Eagle
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sea Eagle is a two-person inflatable tandem with a 500 lb capacity. It's made of 33 mil Polykrylar and comes with paddles, a pump, and a repair kit.
Made of a series of very large tubes, the Sea Eagle is tall and stays afloat very well - you won't be riding low in the water in this boat! The two included seats can be placed anywhere inside the vessel, and so allow a lot of adjustability for different styles of paddling and various size paddlers. You can even put in just one seat if your paddle partner ditches you for the day. The Sea Eagle 330 also sports two small skegs on the bottom to help the boat track in a straight(er) line in the water. Additionally, it features a scupper hole to help water drain from the boat while you paddle so you don't end up sitting in a bathtub-worth of water by the time you decide you've had enough.
Unfortunately, the Sea Eagle is almost TOO buoyant. This tandem model sits so high in the water that it becomes a bit unstable in waves and makes it very difficult to get back into if you do fall out. This added height also catches the wind much more easily which can make for an extra arm workout if you have to paddle against or across it.
The 330 model is quite short, which can make paddling with your partner challenging and feel a bit like fencing with slightly wobbly swords. Additionally, while this boat isn't exceptionally narrow overall, the actual cockpit space is rather constricted - many of our larger testers found this to be a rather off-putting feature of this particular boat. Overall, we feel the Sea Eagle is best suited to handling calm waters on calm days.
Made entirely of tubes of air, the Sea Eagle is a squishy and reasonably comfortable boat to sit in. The seats can be placed anywhere within the vessel, which aids in finding your ideal position to spend a lazy afternoon meandering around the pond. The paddle grips are plastic and easy on the hands while shaped adequately to get you where you're trying to go.
Depending on your height, you might find that the sides of the Sea Eagle are a bit high to paddle over top of for long periods of time. The whole boat rides quite high in the water, giving it a bit of a tippy feeling, particularly in rough waters or against gusty winds. Fairly small (both short AND narrow) for a tandem kayak, this model was not a favorite with our taller testers. And though we liked the adjustability of the seat positions, the seats themselves were quite unsupportive unless we jammed something (like the stern passenger's feet) up against the back of them. Otherwise leaning back was like paddling a La-Z-Boy! A fine kayak to venture out in for a while, we didn't much enjoy spending a whole day trying to voyage long distances in this watercraft.
Ease of Set Up
While some things that require assembly frequently come with directions that either completely lacks the proper explanation to put the thing together or are so descriptive you give up reading it and figure it out the hard way, the Sea Eagle directions are like Goldilocks - just right. With helpful pictures, we had no difficulty getting this kayak seaworthy even on the first go around. An easy-to-use simple inflation gauge makes getting the right amount of pressure a cinch and the included foot pump makes pretty short work of inflating this tandem air ride. The paddles come in two pieces and snap together with ease.
When you've finished your fun, the whole thing drains and comes apart and deflates in a matter of minutes. Made of a waterproof PVC, there's no need to leave your kayak to dry in the sun for hours after your outing - simply wipe down with a towel to remove debris and prevent trapping that dank water stank in with your yak, and you're ready to roll! Fitting this bad boy back into its storage bag is easy and leaves plenty of room to spare for the paddles and pump as well.
Our least favorite part of putting this kayak together is the sheer number of valves that needed air put into them. With three compartments to the actual kayak, plus two "spray skirts" on the ends and multiple valves for each seat, the process is a bit time-consuming. Also, the seats themselves are cumbersome to inflate because the two tiny segments connecting the seat to its back are incredibly narrow, making them tough to squeeze enough air through. And you can expect to collect some beachside spectators as you work through inflating every single section as the foot pump is efficient but not silent! Overall this boat isn't terribly difficult to set up but does take a good chunk of time to get it all done.
Carting around the nearly 38 pounds (paddles and pump included) of the Sea Eagle 330 is never going to be your favorite part of kayaking. However, with the wide, padded shoulder strap on the carry bag, it might not be your least favorite kayak to carry. With the extra room leftover in the bag, you might even be able to throw in your towel, water, and snack for the haul down to the beach! And if you decide you'd rather set up in the parking lot and buddy carry your yak to the shore, simple grab lines on the bow and stern will help you both carry it without too much struggle.
Even if you decide to use lighter paddles and ditch the air pump for your overland Sea Eagle carry, you'll still be ambling along with over 28 pounds of boat. And though we love the convenience of being able to stuff the paddles and everything into the Sea Eagle's giant carrying case, it definitely makes the overall package an awkward and large shape to carry or stash in a car or closet.
With a feel a bit more robust than your standard pool floaty, the Sea Eagle is constructed of 33 mil Polykrylar (k80 PVC) with welded seams and I-beam tubes running the length of the hull. Translated into what your fingers feel as you run your hands down the length of this watercraft, is basically a thick, plastic-y, canvas-like waterproof material. The storage bag is rather impressively constructed from hefty canvas with thick closure ropes and a wide carry strap. The Sea Eagle is also the only kayak we tested that included protection for the non-removable skegs! It comes with two inflatable rings that resemble a toddler's arm floaties and sit around the base of each skeg to prevent them from bending during storage. We feel more confident in the longevity of this boat over some of the lighter but thinner vessels we tested.
We tested this boat with various dogs sitting in and on it, during beach landings, and floating over submerged plants and rocks, and it never popped or ripped, though we kept its included repair kit close at hand just in case. We feel that the durability of the Sea Eagle is pretty good for not having a protective fabric layer, or being made of rigid polypropylene.
Costing less than any of the single kayaks in this review, the Sea Eagle is a pretty darn good price for what you get. It's nothing fancy and might not be the most appealing kayak on the water, but it works and is much less expensive than most other tandem kayaks on the market. Yet if this boat is still a bit too expensive for your taste, you might consider checking out the even cheaper Intex Challenger K2.
At the end of the day, the Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Sport is an inflatable tandem kayak with a single paddler option. Lacking the frills, artfulness, or comfort that can be found in other kayaks, this no-nonsense watercraft is simply designed to get you out there when otherwise you wouldn't be. With a relatively low price tag and a decent level of durability, we think this uncomplicated craft is a pretty good fit for infrequent paddlers who don't want "infrequent" to mean "never".
— Maggie Brandenburg