Elie Strait 140: Any comments/reviews?

-- Last Updated: Aug-13-11 6:40 PM EST --

Anyone have any comments on the Elie "Strait 140" (w/out rudder) kayak?

I guess it's a new brand, but they seem to have their act together. It already picked up an Outside Magazine Gear of the Year award.

Specifically, does anyone know for a fact or believe that the Strait 140 tracks well? The product description notes a "hard chine v-shape" and a "keel extension." Should this indicate a well tracking rig?

Thanks for your reviews and/or comments!


Link to kayak:


Considering the 120
Looking forward to replies here as I’m considering the 120.

I’ll see if I can find it
I was intrigued by the kayak, too, when I first started seeing publicity about it. I did find a longish report from a couple who both owned 140’s and were very happy with the performance. Unfortunately I have it indexed on my work computer and not the home one, so if I can’t find it today or Sunday, I will post a link to it when I am back in the office Monday.

Biggest problem with a lot of smaller companies like this (especially not in the USA, they are in Quebec) is finding one to see and test paddle. They are distributed by REI but they don’t stock them. They will order one in for you and you don’t HAVE to buy it if you don’t like it (and can even get a refund after using it) but it would really be better if they would have at least one in the store. Guess is is easier just to flog Pungos to the masses.

Demo the Elie

– Last Updated: Aug-13-11 8:53 PM EST –

It's funny you mention that. I just made a post saying I can't find an Elie distributor. There are no REIs in Florida. I emailed two kayak shops in my area and asked if they can order one.

Looking forward to reading the article you found! I was leaning towards a Pungo because my local boat place has so many. I still may.

But the Elie Straight seems more versatile and able to handle different water. Willow, this IS a sea kayak?

REI does stock them
in my neck of the woods (Northern VA), but I am curious about the fact that the Elie hull has a pebbly, rather than smooth, surface (the deck is smooth). Seems like it would introduce unnecessary drag. Or, counter-intuitively, does this reduce surface tension?

@willowleaf: Is this the report???
Our friends in the UK offered this review of the Strait 140 XE (with rudder):


A very positive review. But, I am still wondering how well the rig tracks WITHOUT a rudder.

Gander Mountain
Gander Mountain Sports is an Elie Distributor. There’s one in Lake Mary and one in Ocala:



I can only think that the illusion of poor distribution is an attempt to mask the mass market nature of the product. Even as likely is that the numbers are small so that Pelican can gauge market interest in the brand.

We have already seen what large Co’s do to small kayak business’s. IMHO, I wouldn’t expect any different from already large Co’s trying to enter what should be a cottage industry.

In summation, I would stay away. It has to be a margin driven product, given the ownership. When I say that, I mean margins that pay MBA bonuses, not fair living wages to small builders.

Elie Strait 140
I would have jumped on this one but I didn’t hear back from the seller until almost a week after I bought my used Wilderness Systems Alto.

Listed for $600 without PFD or paddle


Probably better that I bought the Alto, the Elie looks very nice and I’m already beating up my kayak as I’m learning!!!

probably true (re Pelican aquisition)
Yeah, that’s a drag that Elie sold out to Pelican. They did seem like nice boats but I admit I would be skeptical now of both their quality and customer service since they are part of that mass market conglomerate.

sold out??

– Last Updated: Aug-14-11 4:01 PM EST –

according to their own press the Quebec-based Elie family has owned Pelican since 1970; two of the sons took over the company in the mid 1990s. can't really fault them for starting a new family brand of apparently higher-end products -- obviously they are a marketing success, but not so much in the quality dept. in recent years. (they also own the Coleman canoe manufacturing line.)

I bet people are surprised to find out that their stuff is made in Canada and not China.

I’ve only seen positive reviews of the Elie boats so far. Are they not good now? I was going to demo the Straight soon.

Great seat
I’ve never paddled an Elie. I only sat in the 140 and was really surprised at how comfortable the seat was—probably the best seat I’ve ever sat in. It seemed very well sculpted with all the bumps in the right place. http://www.eliesport.com/about-us/technologies-and-materials/ergoflex-seating-system-seat.html I liked it so much I contacted Elie to see if you can buy just the seat (yes).

I’m a little suprised at the weight—53 lbs for the 14-footer—because the material is marketed as lighter than rotomolded. REI lists the weight as 55 lbs.

My other question is about the manufacturing process for TST, “twin-sheet thermoforming.” They certainly don’t have the smooth, shiny finish of other thermoformed kayaks. Elie doesn’t say what the third layer is. Single-layer thermoformed kayaks weigh in at about 7 lbs less than this one, and some of them are plenty stiff.

The depth is listed a 15.75". Wow, that could be cavernous, no? The cockpit is nice and large, should fit a variety of people.

The day hatch is a nice addition. The price is right. All in all this looks like a worthy kayak if your budget is around $1000. Also check out used Deltas, Eddylines, and Hurricanes if you’re interested in thermoformed plastic.

thanks for the clarification
on Elie’s connection with Pelican. I was aware they were made in Canada but didn’t realize I had the cart before the horse in the business connection. Can’t fault stuff made in Quebec – my own paycheck originates in Montreal (work for a US engineering firm that was bought up a decade ago by a Quebec-based international company).

Kayaks and canoes do seem to still be among the few categories of outdoor gear with substantial volume still manufactured in other places than in China. Only one of our “fleet” of 10 boats is Chinese made, the rest are US, Canadian and UK built.

my impression (viewing, not paddling)
I have not paddled any, but my impression is that they are very heavy for a thermoformed boat, but at a very attractive price point. So about the same weight as rotomolded, and maybe a little bit lower retail price.

Saw another one of these yesterday
One thing I noticed was the softness of the plastic at the front of the cockpit. It depresses readily under hand pressure, really about the same as rotomolded plastic. The reviews describe the hull (as opposed to the deck) as stiff, though.

There are different grades of thermoformed plastic. They vary by thickness and chemical composition. In addition, the specific architecture of the hull and deck determine the stiffness. The salesperson at the shop qualified the Elie plastic as an “inferior grade.” I think he meant “less than other manufacturers,” not necessarily “bad.”

I would say that this kayak is a step above rotomolded if the reviews are accurate and it paddles stiff. It does have good features. The seat is a strong plus. The weight is the same as rotomolded.

Check this positive review: http://www.canoe-shops.co.uk/reviews/canoe-and-kayak/touring-sea/elie-strait-140.htm

Elie Strait 120

I’m Oldduffer the MD of The Canoe Shops (Group) ltd in the UK. I took part in the review of the Straits over here and my Mrs aka The Fridge Fairy paddles the 120 exclusively.

Does it paddle without the rudder - yes it does. Edge the boat and offset your paddles and lift you knee. If you cant do that then drop the rudder. The guy who designed these - (and i have no idea who he or she is) did well. We bring them into the UK because we like to paddle them.




Strait 140
The above refers to the 140

this techy stuff is simply too much for an oldduffer.