Sea Eagle 380 X tandem inflatable kayak - Safety of materials PLUS spinning/tracking issues

I have a Sea Eagle 380 X tandem inflatable kayak.

  1. I am worried about the California Prop 65 label and the PVC-like smell. I do not want to expose myself to any toxic/carcinogenic chemicals. Does anyone know about this?

  2. I took it out on calm waters, without any wind a couple of times and the kayak seems to want to spin/rotate. I did not use a skeg but it was very disappointing to experience such a failure to track. We are experience kayakers and were paddling correctly and kayak was well balanced.

Unless you are confined with the material, or eat it, you should be fine.
A tandem inflatable may be another story.

It is a tandem inflatable kayak.

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At that width there’s little chance of paddling correctly. You’ll be reaching too far out, thus always making a sweep stroke.

Just because it comes with a double-bladed paddle does not make it a kayak.

I’d call it a raft, not a kayak.

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I wouldn’t worry about the Prop 65 label. Here’s a good article about it.

The smell will eventually dissipate.

What type hard shell kayaks did you paddle before the inflatable? Were they as wide (39")?

I have used all kinds of kayaks (rentals) and canoes and never experienced a kayak/canoe that wants to spin 360 degrees (both while padding and after stopping the pedaling). It is as if it is back heavy. The water had no waves whatsoever and it was a clear/non-windy day. The seats were in their appropriate places and both kayakers (me and my partner) have normal weight (190 pounds and 150 pounds). We were not carrying any luggage.

Do we know what materials these inflatable kayaks are generally made of? I have heard that PVC is toxic.

It’s 12 feet long and 39 inches wide. As Sparky noted, the width affects your stroke. Have you tried it with a single blade?

I will try it with single blade next time. Does anyone know what material the Sea Eagle 380 X inflatable kayak is made from? And if it is harmful to store in the apt and come in contact with when kayaking? I don’t mind the smell, just real health issues.

Have you bought anything that didn’t have a California Prop 65 sticker?


Let us set aside the CA Prop 65 sticker issue. Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayaks are made from PVC and there are lots of articles from credible health and .gov sites that talk about the health hazards of PVC. Examples:

Anyway, I think I am clear on the next steps - I am discarding this kayak for health reasons. Thank you all for chiming in.

Your world is full of PVC, from the plumbing pipes and wiring insulation inside the walls of your house to your shower curtain and many of the plastic parts inside your car. California simply has more stringent “warning” label protocols about trace chemicals in manufacured items than most governing entities. The products and materials that surround us are all full of potentially “hazardous” compound (there are deadly natural toxins that can occur in honey and in peanut butter, for example) but the likelihood of long term health damage, let alone short term, from them is vanishingly tiny. Unless you are among the rare number of individuals with genuine oversensitivity to many chemicals, the normal offgassing smells from new plastics are just annoying and will fade over time. Leave your boat (deflated) outdoors in the shade for a whike until the odor fades.

As others have noted, your watercraft is more of a raft in design than a kayak. The low to mid priced inflatables lack the streamlining and structural rigidity that assures good tracking. Sea Eagles’s higher end drop stitch floor and wall models (the 393 Razorlite series) perform much better than the model you have. A craft that short and wide is not going to glide and track well no matter how you load it. The skeg will help some, as will working on paddling technique, but you will always have to contend with it being flexible, flat bottomed, slow and susceptible to wind and current.

Incidentally, are you inflating it sufficiently using a pump? Also, inflatables will lose pressure when you put them in colder water after inflating them on land. Just as heat will makes them expand (even leading an inflatable boat to rupture if you leave it sitting in hot sun on land), when you are in cold water it will lose pressure. I have folding kayaks with inflatable sponsons — if I inflate them by mouth I usually have to top the air off after they have been in the water for a while and the air in the bladders has cooled and lost volume.

By the way, if you would carefully read the summary about PVC, the dangerous emissions come from burning PVC (and from chemical processes used during manufactiring) not from the normal condition of the material which is stable. In fact most of what you are smelling now is residual solvent from the glue used to make the boat, not the PVC itself. Your decision to discard it (meaning it would degrade in a landfill or be burned) would be what created toxic emissions from it. If you are going to buy an inflatable boat of any kind, odds are it will be made of PVC.

So your decision to get rid of it because of the material is, frankly, not rational. Getting rid of it because you don’t like the performance would make sense. If you are paranoid about synthetic chemical based materials, you will be hardpressed to find many boats of any kind that are not made of them. Even wooden kayaks are usually coated with synthetic or naturally somewhat toxic materials.

Correct, unfortunately the world is full of PVC and other harmful chemicals . However, I can still try to minimize the exposure to them the best I can. For example, I choose to only buy linen shower curtains even though they are not that water resistant haha. I do not own a car. I am a minimalist. I resist any purchase of plastic especially one-time-use plastics. I live in a small rental apt and the boat would have to stay in my closet. At least my PVC drain pipes are behind my walls. I realize that despite all this, just being in the modern world exposes me to these chemicals - I just want to minimize it. Moreover, I want to make a statement through my purchase (in this case, via the return of the product) - there are companies out there who are moving away from PVC to make their inflatables. I made a mistake buying this Kayak without looking into the material and thinking of it like a Kayak rather than raft. You are all right - it is just a raft.

If you’re going to be afraid of everything known to the state of california to cause cancer, you pretty much need to hide in a closet. If it has a warning for outside california, maybe look into it.

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I can understand your objections better now that you have explained your worldview. Considering what you are seeking (a tandem kayak with decent performance that you can store in an apartment) I would recommend that you look for an older Folbot or Klepper folding kayak. The older ones had laminated wood frames and waterproofed canvas skins. Folding kayaks have more structural rigidity than most inflatables. Could be perfect for you. There is a forum that shares information on folders that might be useful for you:

There are even free instructions for building your own folding kayaks using materials of your choice (including wood) at Many people with no previous building skills have made these – you can check them out in the gallery section of the site.

The traditional kayaks group also shares information on materials for building wood framed boats. Though most skin on frame and folding kayak builders use plastic materials for the hull skin, it is possible to use cotton or linen fabric and seal it with natural oil or latex based coatings. I have a fixed frame (not foldable) traditional Greenland style kayak with a full wooden frame made with no metal fittings (all notched and lashed together with cord). The skin is nylon coated with a 2-part urethane based “goop”.

Here’s an example of an older Folbot tandem for sale. They come up regularly all around the country. One friend of mine has been using his Folbot tandem for trips to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska for over 30 years. They are tough and repairable.

And here is, just posted, a Klepper Aerius 20 folding kayak for sale in Florida (two listings for it, one with photos).

And the third link is another Aerius 20 for sale on Ebay which has detailed photos of the wooden frame and canvas skin.

Well, sea eagle is rating that ducky/IK for up to class IV whitewater. Pretty apparent from the pictures and the marketing on the sea eagle website that the tips or ends of this “everything” boat are “rockered” (up out of the water). This means the boat can turn easily (necessary for whitewater) but it is harder to paddle straight . That is not to say you couldn’t learn. Technique required. Paddling solo I would definitely use a two bladed paddle. Tandem you could even use a combination, a kayak paddle and a canoe style paddle.
This type of IK/ducky will be a chore to paddle without current (wide boat with minimal glide with each stroke).
The boat will be easier to paddle straight if the seats are moved away from the ends of the boat and more toward the center but it will limit your leg room. Also make sure that your strokes are fairly vertical and parallel to to center of the boat. I own a very similar “ducky” to gnandanpai’s 380x, a saturn tandem that is now being marketed as an “expedition” boat as well.

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Check the hull to see if the “keels” are deformed. You might also be over inflating one of the air chambers/bladders making the kayak twist to one side. My first kayak was a AE Advanced Frame and it would pull to one side if the bladder wasn’t well distributed in the hull, very infuriating issue.

The fin might help. I have a Sea Eagle 473rl tandem that I use with my kids. Usually I don’t use the fin because it makes it hard to turn a tandem by myself sitting on the back, but it does help with tracking. Just remember about the fin when paddling shallow water.

Have you tried contacting Sea Eagle?

My inflatable problem is weight distribution. When I get in the weight is to concentrated . The bow and stern rise up and I have a turning machine been with the skeg.

Yet the wife can get in the boat with the big dog and with the distribution the boat paddles well … well enough with the same weight.

The OP has some ethical as well as performance objections to the Sea Eagle and I think their decision to return it to the dealer is justifiable. With an interest in more natural materials and better performance, as well as needing a tandem that can be stored in an apartment, I‘ve offered some links to used older Klepper and Folbot folders, with the wood frames and canvas skins.

It’s a pool toy IMHO

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