sv Elysium

Cruising thrugh Life



West Marine Kayak - Forget It!

We purchased this Kayak a few months before we left to cruise. It was to be an introductory Kayak to see if W/ wanted to spend more time off exploring small shallow areas, get more exercise, and enjoy a different way of being on the water. Needless to say the purchase was a miserable experience.

We first used it at our boat christening, and then a week or so later when we have family over. We packed it away to use once out cruising. It was packed in the bag in which it came and placed in a dry Sun less locker for about 4 years. Remember it was only used 2 times prior to this and before being packed away we completely washed with mild soap and dried.

On the North Coast of Panama at Puerto Lindo W/ had some friends that were Kayakers So we got it out and blew it up. She tooled around for a bit and then we stored it on deck. The flowing day she went with a small group to a local restaurant and then I returned in it. Fortunately we took the dinghy over too!

That evening we stored it on deck again and the following day she went to use it. It was a little low on air (it isn't the best) and I put some more in it. About 15 minutes later she was sinking! Back at the boat she climbed out and we brought the Kayak on deck. I discovered a leak on the PVC valve. I tried to fix it But fixing a circular piece of PVC out here cruising is a miserable experience. Using the kit that was included with the purchase I thought I had is repaired only to find a new leak beside what I had repaired. I tried to take off more of the valve only to discover I would continue to chase the leak all the way around and never get a good seal.

The end result is that we will throw the Kayak out. Although West Marine should guarantee it by the time we struggle to get it packed in Panama, taken on a plane (luggage is now getting expensive to fly with) I figure we'll end up simply throwing good money after bad. The best thing to do so this doesn't cost us anymore is to ditch it and let others know of the quality the product. If you are buying it for one or two uses and then expect to throw it away go for it. If you expect it to last as I would expect any marine product to last longer then 4 uses

Grade ... F












All images and content copyright of David A. Kall