Samba vs. Vision

Would appreciate your thoughts about Eddyline Samba vs. Current Designs Vision. My requirements:

Type of paddling: slow rivers, 4 hour-day trips with occasional overnights.

Paddler: advanced beg/intermediate, 5’4", 125 lbs

Would consider other boats too (including lighter, more expensive boats), but must be able to demo in my area (central Florida) and boat must have a comfortable, adjustable seat.

Haven’t demo’d Samba or Vision yet, but will have an opportunity soon! I welcome your suggestions.

Which Vision??
I haven’t paddled either the Samba or the Vision. I own an Eddyline and know the hull well. I’m contemplating getting a Vision and have “looked it over carefully.” So the following is partly conjecture on my part.

Let’s compare the 13’ Samba with the Vision 130.

WIDTH: I’m guessing you would notice a fairly significant difference between the 24" Vision and the 22.5" Samba. A review in Sea Kayak magazine rates the stability of the Samba as “moderate”–the testers are most likely experienced sea kayakers, so that might be a red flag. Reviews for the Visions don’t mention stability problems.

You have a choice here between “short and narrow” and “short and moderatley wide.” I would not choose the Samba thinking it was going to be faster than the Vision. In this case I think stability is more important than speed.

COCKPIT: The cockpit on the Vision is quite a bit larger, although at your height and weight the Samba cockpit would most likely fit you. Question of personal comfort.

STORAGE CAPACITY IN HATCHES: Samba 118 liters. Vision 134 liters. The ends on the Eddylines are fairly low. The Vision would carry more and be easier to pack with gear due to the fuller volume in the ends.

HULL SHAPE: Soft chine of the Vision versus hard chine of the Samba. Either one should work for you. I guess it’s a good thing the narrow Samba has hard chines.

WEIGHT: Very acceptable for both.

MATERIALS: Fiberglass composite Vision vs thermoformed Samba.

SEAT: I sat in the Vision seat for quite a while and thought it was pretty good. Seats are not Eddyline’s strength.

The Samba has a more refined hull shape and esthetics. The Vision might be more comfortable in the cockpit, more stable, and have more storage capacity.

So your choice depends on your priorities among those factors. You can’t beat the beauty of an Eddyline, but the Vision certainly has its advantages.

Samba vs. Vision

– Last Updated: Aug-09-12 8:49 PM EST –

I tried both the Samba (13' 10") and the 14' Vision. I bought the Samba. The Vision edged very gently and smoothly, but in just about every other aspect I preferred the Samba. It definitely felt faster, tracked better (I'm talking about skeg up on the Samba and rudder up on the Vision). I'm an intermediate lever paddler (5' 10" and 155 lbs), and have no issues with its stablity. I have put both my wife and daughter in it, both of whom are beginners, and they love it -- especially compared to our 26" wide Skylark, which feels pokey by comparison.

The Samba fits me snugly without being tight. If I were much bigger, or taller at least, it might start feeling cramped in the legroom department. I'm a day paddler, not a camper, so the interior storage wasn't an issue for me. Mostly flatwater paddling, but I've also had it out in 25 knot winds with 2' to 3' waves and it handles it with aplomb.

Finally, I decided I much preferred the skeg to the rudder, so that was another factor in the Samba's favor. It is an extremely high quality boat, and it's very pretty, too. I didn't buy it for the compliments, but I get them all the time.

Very helpful to the OP and to me as well. I’ve been considering a Vision in order to cut 5 lbs off the weight, compared to my Eddyline.

So how would you rate the stability of the Samba? Even Eddyline rates it as moderate. I do think the Eddlyine hull is very stable throughout the lineup, but there aren’t many 13’ kayaks as narrow as the Samba.

Demo’d the Samba
Thank you for these thoughtful replies. I demo’d the Samba yesterday, and here are my thoughts:

Comfort: As a short person, it was easy to get in and out of. Cockpit felt like just the right size. I liked having thigh braces (new to me), and foot pegs are easily adjusted. Seat is in two parts, both of which are adjustable.

Tracking: It tracked straight, and the skeg is easy to operate, although it tracked straight without it.

Stability: Big surprise. My current boat is longer and wider, and I eyed the Samba with suspicion, because it looked small and tippy to me. However, it immediatly felt comfortable and stable.

Fun factor: It was fun (easy) to paddle and seemed responsive.

What’s next: I plan to rent the Samba for a day to see how it paddles, and also test the comfort of the seat for a longer distance, plus check out the storage capacity. I also plan to demo the Vision14 because the seat in the Vision looks comfortable, and it has more storage. However, I have no experience with a rudder, which seems like overkill on a short boat. My current boat has a skeg, which I rarely use, but it’s helpful in wind. The demo of the Samba was in a protected bay with light wind, so skeg wasn’t needed, but it’s a nice option.

Stability in the Samba
We know a couple where the wife is someone who needs a boat with quite comforting stability. We had taken this couple out and put them in every boat we had that they could fit into so they could get a sense of kayaks, so we had plenty of opportunity to observe their reactions. She was game but very nervous in the kayaks. She was not fond of the sense of side to side wobble at all, even in really easy boats like the Romany on flat water.

They picked up a Samba for her last summer, and it has been the perfect boat for her. She was able to relax and acclimate to its response to small waves very quickly. They paddle a good-sized lake. I haven’t had a chance to get into it. But from the time we spent with them in our boats, if she was able to love it fairly quickly the stability is just fine.

So glad you had the chance to test the Samba, and renting it for a few days is a great idea. Please post again if you do that. Your feedback on the stability is helpful.

You’re right that usually a rudder isn’t needed on a short kayak, but it can be appropriate on a 14-footer. There are situations where a rudder has advantages over a skeg, but I’ve had both, now have a skeg, and don’t miss the rudder.

Do you by any chance backpack? If you do, you should be able to use the Samba for camping. 118 liters is much larger than a backpack. Of course, it’s hard to pack things into the fine ends of the Samba, but there are uses for those little spaces. My Journey has 127 liters and I am able to camp with it for several days fairly easily, even though it’s only marketed for weekend camping. It helps if you have backpacking-type equipment, especially the “big 3” (tent, sleeping bag, mattress). And admittedly, smaller hatches mean limits on the type of food you can carry.

The Vision 140 will give you a good comparison between Eddyline and Current Designs. I’ll be interested to hear how the two compare.

If you have any doubts about the capacity or seaworthiness of the Samba (it looks like you didn’t encounter waves?), demoing a Fathom 16 would be another good comparison.

Stability; Seats
I think the harder chine of the Samba does help with its stability, given its relatively narrow beam for a 13’ 10" hull. The chine smooths out at the ends, however, so as you get into rougher water you’re less likely to be tripped up by it, whereas a hard chine running the full length of the hull might get pushed around a bit. If you look at the Samba hull upside down next to the 12’ Eddyline Skylark, you’ll see that the Skylark’s hard chines run the length of the hull. This is appropriate for a rec boat, but it’s a sign that Eddyline did not intend the Skylark for open water (along with the larger cockpit). Hull design (like so many things in life!) is a series of compromises. Although the Samba and 14’ Vision are almost exactly the same length, the Vision appears to be shaded more toward the rec/flatwater paddler, the Samba shaded more towards the paddler who will take the boat on either flat or open water. It is, as Eddyline says, a playful hull.

As to the seats, the seat bottom is fine, but I would definitely recommend the backband over the harder seat back. The hard seat back hit me in all the wrong places; the backband is perfect. They are interchangeable, so if the Samba you tested had the hard back, you can easily swap it out for the backband – your dealer may be wiling to do so at no cost if it’s a new boat.

Rentals/demos coming up
I’ve arranged a rental of the Samba on Thu, and demo of the Vision130 (no rudder) and Vision140 (with rudder) on Friday. THX for the comments, and I’ll provide an update afterward, and perhaps a report on a new boat! My husband is also in search of a new boat. I’ll do a separate post about that, because he’d appreciate some feedback too.

Looking forward to your report.

Vision thoughts
I think a Vision in 14 or 15 feet would be a good all around boat. It is reasonably fast and handles well on big waves and surfing. I’d like to add that the CD Vision and Kestrel style hulls really edge well. As you progress in your skills you become less interested in tracking and more interested in maneuvering. A boat that edges well is more important than a boat that tracks well, because to change direction you simply add a little edge. It becomes automatic unless the boat is such a straight tracker that edging does not work well.

Keep in mind that I think comfort is the most comfortable thing because you want to be able to sit in it all day without a lot of breaks. But after comfort handling comes next and I want a boat that is easy to turn by edging, but is not too squirrely when flat.

Good point
"As you progress in your skills you become less interested in tracking and more interested in maneuvering."

I basically agree, although I would qualify that by saying that on a long trip in wind and waves, tracking really is important. It can be a drag to make a corrective adjustment to every single stroke for hours on end. That’s easily remedied with a skeg or rudder on a longer kayak.

But you’re still right. I used to be obsessed with getting the kayak to go straight on its own. I no longer think about that.

For the OP’s information, there is such a thing as too much tracking, which resists turning.

And the winner is…
Both! I selected the Eddyline Samba, and my husband selected the Current Designs Vision 140. Here’s my report: I rented a Samba and did a 3.5 hr paddle, and the next day demo’d both the Vision 130 (no rudder) and the Vision 140 (with rudder).

I chose the Samba because, at my size (5’4" 125 lbs), it fit better, and it seemed faster and more responsive (easier to turn). The seat on the Samba adjusts forward and aft, which allowed me to get the thigh braces in the right place; the Vision seat didn’t have this adjustment, and the seat seemed too far back for me. Both boats felt stable.

The Vision has more capacity for overnight trips, so I will need to pack with care with the Samba… but my husband has agreed to carry the bulkier stuff (like the boxed wine :). For a report on why he chose the Vision 140, see the updated post Eddyline Journey vs. CD Vision.