Plastic in Hurricane vs. Eddyline Kayaks

Just curious, if you can share your thoughts on the quality (stiffness in the water, durability, resistance to impact/scratrches) of the material used on Eddyline and Hurricane kayaks.

I sat (did not paddle) the Eddyline Fathom and it felt extremely well built and sturdy. I did not get a chance to sit in a Tracer, but sat in one of the recreational Hurricanes (a Santee, may be) and felt that it had a lot of flex to it - may be due to the wider/flatter shape of the rec boat compared to the more compact touring shape… Saw another internet “review” of the two saying about the same (too much flex in the Tracer compared to Eddyline).

Anyway, share what you know. Thanks!

I’ve paddled the Fathom a good bit
and like you I feel the quality of the Fathom is better than the Hurricane. When I pushed my butt up onto the back of the coaming to get out of the Tracer I could feel the flex. Not so with the Eddyline. Another consideration is the seat. The Eddyline is very comfortable right out of the box, but for me I’d replace the backband on the Tracer and the seat is a throw away. Too wide at the hips and too narrow at the thighs. However, there is a $1000 price difference. The Tracer has a fine hull, very graceful and well planned. For the price of a good rec kayak you can own the Tracer which is a heck of a nice boat, all other things considered, IMHO and other’s may vary. Just to clarify, I turned down the Tracer for the Wilderness Systems 15.5. Pretty much the same price and handling characteristics but the WS seat is a blessing.

I hear you …

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 2:21 PM EST –

The Fathom felt very good to me sitting in it, except the thigh braces were in the wrong place for me and they do not move. I'm sure with some ingenuity this is fixable. And I did not try laying back so I'm not sure how the rear deck height would be relative to the seat position - the WS Tempest 170 I have allows me to lay back on the deck in relative comfort for layback rolling even after I moved the seat back a couple of inches.

EDIT after some more rolling - the Tempest 170 definitely restricts my ability to lay back - some resistance in my loewr back, need to arch a lot to touch the deck with my head, compared to a boat like the Necky Chatham 17 for instance, where I have no resistance and can lay flat without any strain.

The relative lightness of the Hurricane is a plus for me though - I anticipate that my daughter and my wife will be the primary users unless it is noticeably faster than the Tempest in flat water, which it may just be (although I doubt the difference will be big) and if I fit in it, I might be tempted to use it more often. I know the Fathom on the other hand will be faster so I'm split; I guess depends if I find a deal on the Tracer as the Fathoms don't come on sale it seems due to their quality and relative small production numbers -;)

Fathom is a great boat
especially if you want to take a keg along

loads of volume

I thought of many snooty ways to voice
my opinion here. I will skip them all and say I feel very strongly that the Eddyline is a superior boat and well worth the additional money. I spent more, and I feel I got more. I do not feel that these boats are an apples to apples comparison. JMO

Carbonlite vs Trylon
From what I understand from reading on this forum, at least some components of Eddyline’s boats are manufactured by Hurricane. Hurricane thermoforms the hulls and decks and Eddyline completes them. This alone, could account for the higher price of the Eddyline. Eddyline calls the material Carbonlite 2000, Hurricane uses Trylon. It could be that Carbonlite is more expensive than Trylon; they are basically the same. Comparable boats from the two manufacturers are the same weight.

Fathom is worth the money.
Had my Fathom since April and used it a lot. It seems VERY rigid. Never noticed the slightest flex in or out of the water. Unfortunately, I have banged bottom a couple of times. And most unfortunately, when I had it over my head, I stumbled and threw the loaded boat aside just to save breaking an ankle. After smashing off the tail gate and the truck extender, it crashed onto the concrete ramp and skidded down the rocks and crashed to a stop at lakes edge. Surprisingly, only one small scratch you can see if you tilt it to make the light bounce just right. Hitting the bottom left only the slightest of scratches viewable with proper lighting. These aren’t bang them around poly boats, but they seem tough as nails. Still, I do not take this boat when I know I will be powering over river obstacles. Compared to those glass, kevlar or carbon hull, I would say you could treat this much more roughly. Not launching it off rock cliffs or dragging it on a rope down a RR grade to a put in, but the occassional bump or drag across some shelly or rocky beach won’t ruin your day and send you to the repair bench. Great boat, very fast, not sad one bit I made this choice.

no, that’s BS
Eddyline was the first in the industry to do ABS thermoformed kayaks. They spent a pretty penny to set up shop. There is no way in the world they are farming out manufacturing to another company. You’ve got it all wrong. Maybe you meant the other way around?

this question comes up every few,
…weeks or so, & I am always hoping that someone who is involved in the manufacturing processes will comment, but maybe they just want to keep us guessing (I’m sure the salespeople prefer it that way).

See if this makes any sense:

The various named materials all begin life in flat sheet form manufactured by Dupont/Dow etc., all basically the same but perhaps there are slight variations in the specific chemical composition & thickness that can be specified by each customer.

The various thermoforming manufacturing processes can futher differentiate these materials to some extent based on temperatures, forming & cooling cycles, etc.

In summary, I don’t think it’s fair to say these materials are all completely different but it’s also not accurate to say they are all the same.

Saw the Hurrcane today

– Last Updated: Aug-12-08 9:46 PM EST –

Had a chance to sit in a used Hurricane Tracer 165 today that is for sale locally. Mixed feelings... The plastic is of good quality but certainly seems it has more flex than I hoped for. Not sure if that matters, but the bottom flexes up a bit too easy compared to my Tempest 170 or the fiberglass P&H Outlander I have, when I push on it with my hand with the boat upside down. The deck is equally unimpressive and yields under pressure. The cockpit coaming - the same - it flexes. I think that would not be a problem at all for most paddling, but will be noticeable in waves.

On the positive side, it is very lightweight. Unfortunately, again that comes at the cost of the flex and the minimialistic outfitting - no day hatch, minimal deck rigging, lightweight hatch covers.

And for N-th time I find out that most people do not know squat even when they have years and years of professional experience. I called a dealer and asked if I would fit in the Tracer. She said "no way". And tried to up-sell me on some Current Designs boats. I foolishly passed on another deal on a used Tracer some time ago because the owner thought I won't fit in it. Even here I saw a post that it is too small (but also that it is spacious enough, from other posters). In fact, the Tracer not only fits me perfectly, it has more leg and foot room than almost any other kayak with its dimensions! I am 6'4" with 36" inseam and size 15 shoes, waist 36" and about 190 lb. For my build, the thigh braces are in the perfect position, the foot braces have excellent extension and I actually have room to move my feet rather than be stuck in a tight V (and there is more room after the footpegs!). And that is with my regular lightweigth paddling shoes. The foot braces felt solid. The seat was a snug but very comfortable fit and I thought the backrest was not that bad either, though a little squishy. The rear deck felt a little higher than ideal, but with a little lift of the butt it seems a layback roll will be doable (the seat back is close to the rear too).

But, the boat was not manufactured well - the seams were done as if by a first time unskilled boat builder with glue spattered on or squeezed out from joins in many areas. The skeg seems also a "kink" type - I did not push too hard, but it appears it won't just go back in with no issues if it hits something underwater...

IMO the "good" price of $1,500 or so new is too much for it for what it is. That said, I would have bought that particular boat (used) but just before I counted the cash, I remembered a post here about curved hulls. So I flipped it over and sure enough, the "nose" (the front most part of the bow, may be 2-3 feet) was curved to one side. Looked again, measured with a rope - curved. Not sure if that will be of much consequese in calm water as most of the curved area would be above the water due to the rocker, but in waves or currents it would make the bow track to the right.

Also, the owner IMO exaggerated how little use the boat had ("5 times in a local lake"). In reality, it must have been very hard use judging on what my boats have from many more than 5 times use, some over the rocks in the Potomac! This one had lots of scratches and some relatively deep and in places that you don't get in local lakes. The bow had a section of the seam b/w the deck and hull missing and glue was splattered in its place... I hate when people hide these things until the moment you go see the boat and waist your time.

Lesson - check for seam integrity and hull straightness with these boats. I did not feel confident the seams won't leak on this by looking at how unevenly the glue was applied - in some areas too much, in others - too little.

But, the hull shape seemed like it would be very nice on the water and the seat/cockpit were just perfect fit for me. I liked the boat enough that would still consider it at the right price, but would hesitate to pay full retail for it. The light weight is indeed nice and it would be used mostly as a day boat (not much storage, especially in the bow, and the construction was not confidence-inspiring for rough use).

Just curious . . .
. . . how much did he want for the boat?

Was it not for the bent hull (slightly but visibly) I’d have bought it as the price I thought was reasonable for its condition otherwise. As it is - I can’t be sure it’s worth anything without paddling it to see if it tracks straight or not.

Thanks, there is one on Craigslist . . .
. . . Apex, NC for $1,100.

Sounds like that boat
may be a second. Of the 5 or 6 Hurricane boat I have seen none had glue of the outside of the hull where the deck and hull meet. True the seam around the skeg box did not look the best (a lot of extra glue) but that is inside and personaly I would like to much glue there than to little. Plus, the curved hull make me think it is not a first line boat. Current owner my not know that, if it is a second.

As for the flex, my deck does flex a little. Have not noticed the hull flexing but it may be. Still it has less flex that a RM boat and will not deform over the racks on a hot day.

I like my tracer it seems to be a good product at a good price, but it may not be for everyone.

Hope you find what your looking for and get on the water soon

happy paddling


Tracer vs Fathom
I felt I needed to add my voice, since mine is the Tracer for sale on craigslist in Apex.

I own both a Tracer and an Eddyline Fathom. I agree with most the comments made on this thread - that the Fathom is a better boat, but it’s also more expensive. My only real issue with the Tracer is the cockpit fit, and that’s very much a personal thing. It demo’ed OK, but just plain wasn’t comfortable for me after an hour or so. In contrast, the Fathom fits and just feels natural. The Fathom also has better initial stability, IMO, which I prefer.

Both are good boats. One is somewhat less expensive than the other. I’m convinced that thermo-molded pastic is the way to go, and the materials and finish on both boats are comparable. The Fathom, again IMO, has somewhat better attention to detail.



I have an older Tracer (2003) that I bought in the fall of 2005 when the dealer was liquidating unmoved merchandise. The Trylon was, and continues to be, after 3 seasons of use and outside storage, very shinny without any color fade. The hull is rigid and does not flex when underway - the deck flexes a little bit when pressure is put on some of the flater and wider spots.

I found no build flaws what so ever. No glue slop - seams nice and straight, cockpit coaming and hatch lips all glued in properly with no leakage at the seams.

Boats are like cars - some come off the assembly line in perfect condition, some come off with problems. A good manufacturer tries to minimize the problems, but its the job of the consumer to be on the lookout for flaws when you are contemplating a purchase.

David, …

– Last Updated: Aug-13-08 2:48 PM EST –

Thanks for posting here. Congrats on the Fathom! Price is an issue for me as you may have seen from my e-mail -;) and I feel that a Fathom may be in my future as well, when I get enough $$$ and if I confirm that it fits me well (had concerns where the thigh braces touch when I tried it).

Can you elaborate on the fit? When I sat in the other Tracer yesterday, I did think twice if the seat width would accomodate me over a few hours paddling or not. It was snug but not tight and I can't tell if it would be an issue after a few hours paddling without trying - it jsut feels good sitting on the grass -;). But that's something I can replace if need be as I've done in my other boat.

I am curious what particular discomfort did you feel and what is your size (if willing to share that is). Was it the seat, feet/legs position, the thigh braces, backrest or what? Seat and backrest are not a worry IMO as they are easily and relatively cheaply replaceable, and I thought the rest felt fine for me

Thanks! And check your e-mail for a message from me on your Craigs list ad.

To set the record straight
Eddyline makes their own boats from start to finish.

Hurricane thermoforms the decks & hulls for Swift Kayaks and ships the raw forms to Swift. Swift then builds the kayaks at their own factory.

All ABS thermoplastic is not the same. There are many different formulas and processes. Carbonlite and Trylon are proprietary formulas for Eddyline and Hurricane, respectively, and are not the same.

Acetone eats all ABS plastics, so don’t use it to clean thermoplastic kayaks.

From Wikipedia:

“ABS is derived from acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. Acrylonitrile is a synthetic monomer produced from propylene and ammonia; butadiene is a petroleum hydrocarbon obtained from butane; and styrene monomers, derived from coal, are commercially obtained from benzene and ethylene from coal. The advantage of ABS is that this material combines the strength and rigidity of the acrylonitrile and styrene polymers with the toughness of the polybutadiene rubber. The most important mechanical properties of ABS are resistance and toughness. A variety of modifications can be made to improve impact resistance, toughness, and heat resistance. The impact resistance can be amplified by increasing the proportions of polybutadiene in relation to styrene and acrylonitrile although this causes changes in other properties.”

“It is…made by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. The proportions can vary from 15 to 35% acrylonitrile, 5 to 30% butadiene and 40 to 60% styrene. The result is a long chain of polybutadiene criss-crossed with shorter chains of poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile). The nitrile groups from neighboring chains, being polar, attract each other and bind the chains together, making ABS stronger than pure polystyrene. The styrene gives the plastic a shiny, impervious surface. The butadiene, a rubbery substance, provides resilience even at low temperatures.”

“While the cost of producing ABS is roughly twice the cost of producing polystyrene, ABS is considered superior for its hardness, gloss, toughness, and electrical insulation properties. However, it will be degraded (dissolve) when exposed to acetone. ABS is flammable when it is exposed to high temperatures, such as a wood fire. It will “boil”, then burst spectacularly into intense, hot flames.”

I find it interesting…
…how closely matched some of the designs are from these two companies:

Sandpiper vs. Santee 116 Sport

Slylark vs. Santee 116

Fathom vs. Tracer 165

Merlin LT vs. Tampico 135S

Equinox vs. Tampico 135L

To be honest

– Last Updated: Aug-13-08 8:32 PM EST –

I think the Fathom and the Tracer are as different as they can be - just about the only thing similar is the overall length of 16'6". The Fathom is probably at least a foot longer in terms of waterline, it is hard-chined vs. the soft-chined Tracer, it has very little rocker vs. the more rockered Tracer, etc. Material is the same type, but again there is a notable difference in quality of the hull and deck, not to mention the deck outfitting...

But the overal range is similar I agree - just like every car manufacturer has a range of cars, but can you compare a VW GTI with a Chevy Aveo, except for size?