For those who have paddled the current version of the Eddyline Raven, can you compare it to some potentially similar 16' - 18' kayaks?
Perhaps the Tempest 165/170, Alow Bach TTC, Nigel Foster Legend, CD Caribou or Infinity, P&H Cetus MV, etc.?
Edit: Don't know if there is that much more to say than what I've read in some existing threads such as these below. I have not seen a recent review of the Raven either, so hopefully someone with recent experience can add some nee info.
Edit 2: Having read through the above and the few reviews here and elsewhere, it is very educational to see how different folks describe the same boat. But lots of good info too. I will paddle one in a week or so to form my own impressions, just curious to read others' :)
For those who have paddled the current version of the Eddyline Raven, can you compare it to some potentially similar 16' - 18' kayaks?
I’ve recently paddled the Raven…
but not many of the boats on your list. I’ve also paddled the Tempest 170, though it’s been four years.
Both hulls are a joy to paddle, very responsive to any input you give them.
The Eddyline I wanted to love, but the back band couldn’t go high enough for my taste and the difficulty in securing the hatch covers made it a no go for me. A great hull and cockpit for someone my size. I’m 6’, 195#, 33" inseam.
The T170 pro I paddled a few years back hit all the buttons. The darn thing was VERY comfy, and only lacked the forward day hatch. I think I may own one in the future. Just my .02,
I own a Raven and a Tempest 170. Both great boats. The better paddler you are the bigger the difference you will see. I know of three Raven owners who have replaced the seat back (including me). Tempest seat is one of the best around. I use the Tempest for touring and general paddling. The Raven for currents and playing (great rolling boat). There is a bit of difference in speed but I am not that good of paddler to really tell you how much. I paddle in an area with a lot of sharp rocks (lava) so the Tempest would be a little tougher in this respect.
Really can’t go wrong with either one.
Wish I had tried the Raven.
I was out on a couple 20+ knot 4-6’ small craft advisory days along the SC coast about a month ago on a couple different weekends. I was paddling with a great guy, great paddler and instructor/outfitter/tour guide. He helped me out with an event I put on through Carolina Kayak Club out of Huntington Beach State Park in September. Beautiful area down there, and we got some great conditions for an ocean paddling instruction event.
He paddled the Raven, and said he really liked it. The first time we were out, we did an upwind paddle, and turned around for downwind on the way back. I was in the P&H Quest LV. I was the one who kept settling into a faster pace and then holding up both directions, but I know as well as the next guy that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. He did, however, mention that he also paddles a Fathom, and that it would do better keeping up with boats like mine. I took that simply to mean that he had noted at least some speed difference between the Fathom and the Raven, and felt my kayak would be the faster of the Raven vs. Quest LV. Nothing scientific there though.
The next time we were out was the Friday of the event. It was getting pretty rough out there. The small whitecaps were getting longer and longer across the tops of the waves. The northeast winds and seas were creating a strong longshore current. We just played along the beach, and if you couldn’t paddle hard out there, if you had to brace about with a tentative forward stroke, it was immediately evidenced by a strong southward drift. So as you picked your spots and broke out through the surf, you would drift a ways south. Then if you could, power north against the wind and waves until you could surf in back towards the starting point. We did some carrying of boats back north along the shoreline for those who couldn’t fight it, but he was doing fine in the Raven, and seemed to be having a blast out there.
Anyway, I know this doesn’t help much. I’m sure he would have let me try the Raven had I asked, and I wish I would have. Then I’d at least have my own impressions. Those surfing days on the coast where it’s a constant surf in, pick your spot, sprint back out, those are days where I really feel the differences in efficiency. Especially that fight against wind, waves, and longshore current. They would have been fantastic demo days for a playful boat. I had a great opportunity and didn’t take advantage of it.
If you get the chance, let me know what you discover.
Of all the boats I have paddled, the Eddyline Raven comes in at about the 4th best, but for its size, you’re going to have to look long and hard to find a better all around performing boat. The Raven will do just about anything you’ll ever want it to do and it is fast. In some ways it is similar to the Alaw Bach, but a bit shorter. It doesn’t have the speed limiter that the Bach seems to have.
When you consider cost, construction quality, performance, and durability the Raven is a value that is hard to match. I witnessed a demonstration where a factory rep literally stomped as hard as he could from one end to the other on the deck of an Alaw Bach and the boat was unharmed. The Raven is built of the same material by Eddyline who also builds the thermo Bach. I assume the Raven could handle the same kind of abuse.
So, if I were in the market for a 16’-9" Sea kayak, the Raven would be at the top of the list. Beside all the other considerations, the Raven is a very good looking boat.
Thanks for the replies! No one locally has one to try, so I’m taking advantage of a sale REI has now on the blue deck model and using some dividends I got from last year. Will let you know what I think of it after the weekend Hopefully I will fit in it and there won’t be some deal-breaker behavior or ergonomics issue…
I don’t particularly care about how fast it is (at 14’ waterline per SK magazine it isn’t going to be a rocket), but I like what I hear from you in that it does not hit a wall quickly.
Took it home and …
Just took delivery of the Raven today. Beautifully finished! As one reviewer mentioned, somewhat flimsy cockpit rim and thigh braces, will see how it holds up to rolling and use soon enough.
The two little hooks that hold the backband up from sliding down fell off immediately - they were glued with something weak that took no effort at all to break loose… Will need to re-glue. Hope the rest of the boat is glued together better than that! I’m lucky I noticed they were about to fall off while inspecting the backband with the boat on my car rack before even sitting in the cockpit, or I would have lost them on the water.
The first batch of (new) Ravens did not have the hooks and adjustable straps holding the backband in place. I’m not sure exactly when they added them, but the Raven I bought last Fall does have them. It was a huge improvement over the earlier Raven I’d test-paddled, and eliminated my only real concern about the boat.
I’ve had no issues with them coming off – I wonder if the ones on yours were added later rather than factory-installed.
The only minor mod I’ve made to the boat is some small Velcro patches to keep the carrying handles from flopping in the water. I haven’t added any padding in the cockpit – I’m 5’ 10" and about 160. If you’re a big guy, it might be a little tight, but there’s plenty of length for your legs.
As for the hatches being hard to remove or snap on, it depends. If they’re warm from the sun, no problem. If they’re cold, they can be a little fiddly.
Very happy with this kayak.
It’s a 2014 model
The hooks are shiny plastic pieces that look like were not chemically or by heat adhering . The adhesive blob left on the inside of the cockpit is super strong, just id did not adhere to the hooks. They have a little hole through which the adhesive squeezed, but there wasn’t enough of it to bond to itself over the hook cementing it in place mechanically (as there is no chemical bond apparently). One hook was wobbly when I tried to reattach the backband, which prompted me to explore. Both twisted off with less effort that it requires to peel a ripe banana.
I think these little hooks are inadequate anyway - look flimsy and on the backband side they or the plastic triangles at the backband to which they attach will probably snap in half if I sit on the backband during reentry… I’ll probably replace with a bungee.
The hatches on mine, at 60F, are super easy, yet snug, to put on and take off.
what three boats do you rank ahead of it?
Paddled it, and…
Took the Raven out for a couple of hours. This was the first time I sat in it. I moved the seat forward of center, to get closer to the thigh braces but still being able to enter seat-first. Pleasantly surprised, the cockpit is long enough for that (longer than the Nordkapp RM's). The even with the seat forward, I had plenty of leg and foot room barefoot. And will probably be able to use my whitewater shoes (unlike with the RM, where I max the length and can only fit in barefoot).
The foot pegs are big and sturdy, but they are very sharp for barefoot paddling. My feet hurt soon. Will need to glue 1/4" minicell to be bearable barefoot, like I usually do on most foot pegs.
The seat moved and made a slight clanking noise when I edged, so it is not very securely attached to the rail in the rear. I did not see a second nut like the reviews say, only saw one on the front. Will check again tomorrow, maybe there is one in the rear too and is lose. EDIT: see my next post - the seat is loose.
As mentioned above, the hatches are very easy to open and close (at least at 60-70 degree air temp). The hatch space smells acrid - terrible chemical smell. Will need to weather them outside - too much fumes to do it inside my garage.
I am 190lb at 6'4", 36" waist. The seat fit me perfectly. The seat pad lifts me up and the thigh hooks are a little lower than ideal, forcing me to maintain a bit more straight-legged position than my hamstring flexibility demands. A person with more substantial upper legs might not fit well there, but was OK for me, with my relatively skinny legs. Did not try without the fairly thick seat pad, probably there will be noticeably more room without it.
The backband is supportive and keeps its shape well, however, it is too stiff and does not get out of the way for laybacks (even when not attached to the cockpit in the rear (my hooks fell off, so it was not forcefully held high - just the bottom would hit the seat and have nowhere to go during a layback). That last part I did not like much at all. It may be a matter of adjustment, so I will reserve judgment for later.
Speaking of laybacks, the rear cockpit rim should have been an inch lower. Even with the seat fairly forward and a tall person like me, it was in the way of a full layback without lifting my butt off the seat. Better than the RM with my seat fully to the rear on it, but same or worse compared to when the seat in the RM is in forward position.
I liked how the rearmost front bungees were far enough forward from the cockpit so that I did not scrape my thumbs against their deck fittings. Front deck did not feel overly high, though paddle cutouts would make it much better ergonomically.
The conditions were good to evaluate it: 15-20mph winds, gusts to 28mph per the wind report, on a big river with a mile or so fetch this got me 1-2' wind chop, plus 2-3' wakes from large motor boats, which resulted in some nice clapotis occasionally.
It paddles well overall. Paddles very well backwards too. Does not feel sluggish, actually has a good turn of speed. But feels like it hits a limit earlier than the Nordkapp RM. It is livelier than the RM - both in terms of responsiveness to edging and in terms of having a more bouncy ride in confused chop. It is more maneuverable too. And more stable. It surfs boat wakes well and is controllable on then wave.
The stability is interesting: there is almost a little wobble side to side, which I did not expect to be there. That initial instability is subtle and just a little edge starts the stability to build up quickly progressively more. Reminds me a bit of the stability of the WS Zephyr.
The big squarish mid section, full ends, and relatively little rocker (compared to the RM, which has more rocker) means the Raven rides high between and over waves. Unlike the Nordkapp RM, which sits low at all times due to slimmer mid-section and ends. That's one thing I liked about the RM the most - it somehow always sits neatly and low between waves and never bounces around.
On the flats, the Raven did not ride too high overall: the waterline for my 200lb with clothes weight today was across and a bit above the center of the word "eddyline" on the side sticker. That's pretty low actually. Yet, it felt higher over and between waves than I remember the RM being in similar conditions. That added volume and flattish bottom made the Raven feel more loose and also less tracky than the RM.
Speaking of tracking, the Raven tracks OK. Meaning, while it was not hard tracking and there is some yaw, it did not require special attention to go where I wanted. It turned when edged and went straight when not. It weather cocked just a bit without skeg, lee cocked with skeg. This is good. In rear quartering seas and wind, I found some skeg was desirable to keep my direction without the need for corrections. The RM weathercocks for me more than the Raven (and is almost as controllable as the Raven with edging and skeg). The skeg on the Raven worked very well - smooth and easy to adjust, quiet, did tattle and not feel like it added any noticeable drag when deployed, and it did its job in the water.
Rolls easy, though I think it has too much hull volume near the paddler, so in a static brace it floats high and I found it not as easy to do as ideal. With the high-ish rear cockpit rim that impedes laybacks and the big volume that does not sink the deck when the kayak is on the side and under you on recovery, I think the Raven is not as good a roller as the WS Zephyr or Tempest 165 are for layback rolls and static braces.
The ride in the chop was dry up, side, and downwind. Plenty of volume in the bow for wind chop use.
So, in brief, I felt it is a very good all-rounder with great maneuverability, good surfing, and decent speed. But it is not as fast as other slimmer and less square-bottomed and harder-tracking designs. Nor does it roll as well as some similarly sized boats. There are some ergonomic improvements that can be done without altering the character of the boat (and some changes that I think can change the behavior of the boat for the better).
I'll post a more informed review after a few more outings, but based on this one time out, I think it is not the "ideal" kayak for my type of paddling. To be "ideal" (for me): lower the rear deck (or at least, recess the cockpit rim in the rear), take an inch off the width, add paddle cutouts (including in the seam, not just on the deck), make the front day hatch bigger and easier to close, shave off 10lb in weight, secure the handles to not dangle about, widen the space b/w the thigh braces just a bit to allow knees together paddling (and add a full width foot bar instead of the foot pegs), and fix the backband (look at Dagger Axiom or WS backbands)...
The seat only has one wing nut on the front. No fasteners in the rear. When the side supports are pushed to the side, the seat pan flexes, the rear center lifts off the hull rail, and makes clanking noises. It seems the rear must be secured to the rail, but it isn’t and there seems to be no provision for that on mine (the space is small and a large wing nut won’t fort and there is no hole for a bolt to go through either.
Do hour guys have one fastener on front and one on the back of the seat rail?
They changed the seating in all 2014 models, but what you’re describing doesn’t sound right. Their customer service is excellent.
The Samba I purchased last weekend is a 2013 model and has a different Infinity seat, but it can be moved forward or aft. One wing nut in the front. Only adjustment in the back is for moving the seat back up or down.
That’s what I got too
One wing nut in the front to lock the seat in place, nothing in the back. The rear just sits on top of the rail. To see how the seat flexes and hear what exactly makes noises, with the kayak on shore, push hard the side of the vertical seat/hip supports toward the side with your hand: you can observe how the upper portion of the vertical side yields and moves a bit, which causes the center of the rear of the seat pan to lift up and come up above the channel as nothing is holding it down in the rear. Even though while paddling I am sitting on the seat, when I lift one buttock and slide to the other side to edge, it is the same action - nothing pushes the seat down in the center rear.
The seat is well secured against side motion if I keep both butt-cheeks down ;)
I'll give Eddyline a call next week to see what they say. I think they only have a wing nut in the front on purpose - one can adjust the seat fore and aft while in the kayak this way. I think if a rail insert like the one in the front is installed in the rear too, that will solve the problem. There isn't space for a large wing nut, but a smaller nut can be used and even if it is not fully tight, so the seat can still be adjusted from the front only, it will keep the rear down against the rail better than nothing.
Different seat pad
My Samba is on stands in my back porch; after reading your comments last night I pulled off the cockpit cover and checked the seat, putting pressure on each side. It was rock solid, but hand pressure and butt pressure are not the same, so I’ll experiment later this afternoon when I take the boat down to the water for a paddle.
While the principle of Infinity seat is the same, the seat pads were changed for 2014 models as well as the basic design: http://www.eddyline.com/whats-new/2014-infinity-seating
I don’t have the elongated thigh supports pictured. It’s hard to tell from the photos what’s under those thigh supports and if that has anything to do with the seat tipping forward.
Whatever the cause, Eddyline will make it good.
The seats on both my Raven and Samba have two knobs, fore and aft. No rattling or movement. If your Raven has only one knob, sounds like the other one could be missing.
The backband system on the Samba is easier to adjust, but once I got the Raven dialed in, it’s been fine.
I like the Eddyline boats and the Raven in particular. It goes where you put it and has noticeably more rocker than most sea kayaks. If you turn on the crest of a wave it is amazingly responsive, but not for beginners.
How I rank the following boats is strictly based on my personal preferences: #1)Novus Composites Expedition, #2)Valley Nordkapp, #3 P&H Cetus HV, #4 Eddyline Raven. However if cost is a priority, the Raven moves up and shares #3 with the Cetus.
To be fair, my impressions of these boats is based on a limited number of trials on all but the NC Expedition. That impression is based on years of ownership and lots of butt time.
Read my review here on padnet
I have paddled the Raven, have two friends who own them. In my review I compare the raven to the ndk Romany. I have also paddled a tempest 165 pretty extensively. I can say that the Raven is a good boat, and definitely preferable to both the tempest and the romany, in my opinion. But if you want more info you’ll have to go and read my review.
Does not look like
Does not look like there is a provision for a rear knob. No channel on the bottom rail for a bolt to go through, and no hole on the seat part.
I’ll post a short video of the seat soon - it is extremely flexible, just a push with my thumb against the side, the side bends out of shape, and the center comes off the rail in the rear making noises. The sides are not attached up to under the coaming - they slide freely under the short upper coaming supports.
It seems the seat could use a bolt in the rear and looks like one can be retrofitted, though there isn’t space for a wing nut and a channel will need to be cut in the rails for the bolt…