Seaward Thermoform plastic

Does anyone have any information/insight concerning Seaward’s new thermoform plastic kayaks? I am aware that the boats are lighter then traditional poly boats, and that they plan on coming out with more models this spring, but I am curious whether anyone knows how their plastic compares to P&H and Valley’s triple-layer plastic? Also, does anyone have any info on the pricing of these boats? Would they be comparable to poly boats from P&H, Valley, etc, or would they be priced out of that range?

I appreciate any and all insight…

Thanks for the help…

You might start by calling Seaward
They could give you some ideas of price, weight and availability. Chris Banner up there is very knowlegable and very laid back. [, Tel: 250-246-2223 or 1-800-595-9755] Thermoforming is NOT the same as rotomolding, even the Valley foam core type. It would be more similar to the Eddyline process.


for the contact info. Later this year I my fiance and I will be upgrading to plastic touring kayaks, and I just noticed that Seaward was making them. I am aware that there process is not rotomolding, hence the lighter weight. So far in our boat searching we’ve covered all the usual suspects: Capella, Avocet, Aquanaut and Tempest, and I am always looking for advice. You wouldn’t happen to know anything concerning durability of thermoform plastic? The only thermoform plastic boats in my area are Hurricane, and admittedly, I am not too familiar with them, other then the only touring kayak they make is the Tracer. Thanks again for the contact info…

"thermoformed plastics"
also be aware that that phrase is just the generic term.

Each company has its own patented process for a thermoformed plastic or pays for intellectual property rights to use another’s patent.

For example, Hurricane AS uses Trylon… they did partner with Swift Kayaks (at the request of Swift) on some thermoformed plastic boats, but those were not Trylon. Trylon is patented and made only in the North Carolina factory which supplies Hurricane.

I’ve paddled thermoformed boats
I’ve paddled the Delta Kayaks 18.5 and 17 models – both on extended trips. As far as I can tell thermomolded boats are equally as good as any other boat out there if they are designed well – meaning that the design shape is responsible for a lot of the structural strength. A raised channel or crease adds a lot of stiffness to an otherwise flexible material.

I had opportunity to paddle the Delta Kayaks 18.5 in the prototype stage and noted that it seemed a bit flexible. A few simple design changes in the production model took care of the flex and made for a very stiff, good handling boat.

I found the Delta boats to be extremely tough and very durable. I dragged the fully loaded 18 footer about 50’ on a round rock beach and not only did the boat slide like it was on butter, it also didn’t put a mark on the hull. I wouldn’t try that on barnacle encrusted rocks but I was pretty impressed.

The finish is every bit as good (if not better) as a composite boat and it’s very difficult to scratch.

Prices for thermoformed seem to be about midway between a poly boat and a composite boat.

I haven’t seen the Seaward thermoformed boats up close but I assume that they will be as durable as the Delta kayaks. Seaward does have a rec boat and a 16 foot touring kayak on their website:

And if you’re interested in looking at the Delta boats:

Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem owning a thermoformed boat – they’re pretty nice.


Love mine
Don’t dismiss the Hurricane boats without giving them a hard look. I have had a Tracer for about 3 years now. I find it a very good boat and the company is outstanding to deal with. When you call them you generally get one of the owners or principles to answers your questions.

The thermoform plastic is tough and very good looking. It retains its luster and shine with just a washing. Mine has been dropped when taking it off the car with no damage that I can find. The weight saving on Hurricane thermoform boats seems to better than other manufactures and the price seems to be better also.

Im’ not sure about “FriendlyFire’s” claim of patented plastics formulas. I think Trylon is a registered brand name but that does not mean that it has a different formula. I have been told that there is only one maker of the thermoform plastic sheets. So take all the hype about ABC boat company having stronger plastic than XYZ company with a grain of salt.

I love my Tracer and I think thermoformed plastic is strong and durable.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Thanks for the helpful advice
I am not familiar with Delta Kayaks…I will certainly check them out. I’ve spent months trying to rationalize the $6000 cost of two composite boats, but have been unable to do so successfully, which is why I am exploring the thermoformed boats. I would definately like something lighter then the traditional poly boats, but I wouldn’t want to sacrfice performance and/or durability.

Dave, concerning your Hurricane Tracer…does it bother you that the Tracer does not have thight braces, or can you brace easily enough under the deck? The Tracer seems to be priced more moderately then boats from Eddyline, etc…so I will certainly keep this one in mind.

Thanks for the all the advice…

Consider used fg?
Have you considered used fiberglass? My wife and I also get sticker shock when shopping for big ticket items like new kayaks, since we need to buy things in 2’s. We also spent a long time looking a rotomolded boats, but were fortunate enough to find lightly used/demo fiberglass Avocets for about the same price as new rotomolded. When it comes to value, a used FG boat is hard to beat. It just might take a little more effort.


I have not had
a problem with the lack of thigh braces. the deck is low towards the sides of the cockpit and the raises in the front for easier entering. The cockpit is also cut in along the side. Your (at least my) thighs will naturally rest just under the deck in the correct position. I am going to add some foam under the deck though. I heard a rummer that they might be adding some foam at the factory.

Demo one. I think you will find it most enjoyable. I have talked to several guides and instructor that use them.

Also several outfitters that use Hurricanes in their rental fleet which should give you an idea of their durability.

I had a Carolina 14.5 before this. When I first got in it seemed a bit “tender” but I soon got used to it. Give them a demo. They are a good boat but not for everybody.

Good luck


Thought I answered
this one already but it did not seem to show up on the thread.

No I do not have a problem without thigh braces. The deck is lower near the sides of the cockpit them raises towards the front plus the cockpit is cut in a little on the sides. Your legs just seem to fall naturally under the deck.

I have talked to a guide that uses a Tracer and he said the same thing, “You just don’t miss them”. I am going to put some close cell foam there for some extra padding.

Hurricane boats are a little cheaper than eddyline and weight a little less.

I just found out that rutabaga in Wis. is going to carry them this year. If you are near them and go to the Canoecopiea you can test them out.

I think they are one of the best deal out there. Light weight, high quality and moderate price.

Tracer Paddler

– Last Updated: Jan-24-07 7:59 PM EST –

Tracer paddler 3 seasons and running . . . and I don't miss the thigh braces either. The cockpit doesn't provide a supersnug fit, but it is adequate to do what I need to do, including bracing and rolling.

In fact, for the roominess it provides, I've come to prefer the shape of the Tracer cockpit to the cockpits on my other boats. For straight ahead flat water paddling, I like to draw my knees up and use reverse pressure against the sides of the cockpit rim to trim and stabilize the boat. The Tracer has a great hull -- no problems with build quality. (Disclaimer, I also sell Hurricane boats, though I don't have any in my inventory right now).

No test paddling at Canoecopia.
You can look at them on the sales floor and sit in them, but no test paddling until warmer weather.

up for some more reading?
Respectfully note that some of the instances cited (like the Tracer that failed in the Lake Erie outing)are anecdotal.

To judge the entire line of Hurricane kayaks on that basis would be no more logical than to say that all NDK kayaks, or all Tempest composites, or all Betsie Bay wood decked kayaks are “pretty” but inherently “weak”. Note I am not saying that they are (for those who read slowly but take offense quickly).

Another good anecdote would be this: I know three kayak instructors by name, with certifications, whose personal fleets include the Tracer 165, the TampicoL, and the Palmetto 129 who have taken all three in the Great Lakes including some very rocky straights around the Mackinac Bridge (Sturgeon Bay area). They are skilled paddlers who have a choice of kayak. I think their choice is significant, and since they made this trip in 2005, would hardly have done so to make a point here! : D

Now, Brian asks a good question - are all the thermoformed plastics alike? After just a little googling I can confirm that each of the following kayak companies has Trademarked (my apologies for earlier stating “patented”, that was a bad word choice)a version of thermoformed plastic:

Eddyline has Carbonlite TM

Perception has Airalite TM

Hurricane has Trylon TM

in the link below (read the embedded link entitled “More Info about Thermoformed Plastics”) it says these three are “very similiar if not the same.” That’s very choice wording LOL.

I doubt we can resolve that conclusively without being able to get and interpret the chemical composite and understanding what the processes are. I can tell you that these plastics are “co-extruded” meaning dual layers of sheet formed plastic. How they are composed, and how their properties under the thermal forming process are probably why each kayak company can trademark the name.

Disclosure: this link is from a dealer who sells

Hurricane kayaks. But the TM info I confirmed on other sites. I’ll post more as I have time to learn more and verify.

Quality of thermoformed plastics?
Is there any solid evidence or proof of who among the various builders is using the superior plastic in their tthermoformed boats?

independent testing
and seems like none of the paddling mags will do a true version of that for fear of offending potential advertisers if they don’t come out first in the testing, or, worse, fail any given test.

It would be interesting to think how this would be tested… paddlers of a certain level of experience, similiar size and weight, uniform paddles…or in a big tank of water… simulated water pressure over time, or just dropping each one from the roof of a big SUV, stationary then at 40 mph LOL.

and then the Clincher: the Check for Unpadded Screws under the Seat (sorry couldn’t resist)

We need a Consumer Reports for kayaks!

Or Something Like It
"We need a Consumer Reports for kayaks!"

Whenever I read a Seakayaker review, I always check the conditions the reviewers paddled the boat in. Often they are remarkably mild. However, at least SK is giving you that info along with the size of the reviewers so they are transparent about it all.

I suspect one issue is that it costs more than can be afforded by kayaking magazines to really get into meaningful, well done, objective tests of of various construction materials and processes.

I posted this on another thread
just a few minutes ago

I always take reviews in trade mag. with a grain of salt. Many mag. will not give a bad review because the reviewed company may not buy ad space afterward. I was burned several time on photo equipment before I figured that out.

I’m not saying that is the policy with all mags. but just something to remember when reading reviews in mags. with paid ads.

That being said I will check it out if I can find a copy


I paddle a Tracer and have no complaints
I do not find the material to be inferior. I also paddle a Capella RM (rather, I own one that sits in the shed a lot because the Tracer is much lighter and more fun on the water). The boat flexes some but I do not notice it being any moreso than the Capella (actually, think it is stiffer). I expect to paddle this boat for a long time.

  • It did have one small crack at the skeg control. I believe that it was damaged in shipping but didn’t become apparent till after I had it for a year. The kayak shop patched it up using glass and the repair has held up fine… try patching a RM boat like that!


To the guy that said auto manufacturers use thermoformed plastic for bumpers because it flexes. apples to oranges buddy…I assume you’re talking about the plastic bumper skin,not rigid plastic rebar some cars have. It’s a very different material with A LOT more flex, a lot less density, and very different properties when it comes to bending/denting and different repair methods. So that’s just a crock of crap. i work at a bodyshop.


– Last Updated: Jan-27-07 12:25 PM EST –

I was referring to the outer facia, not the underlying structure. And, it is made by the same process (i.e., thermoforming sheets into a mold, not blow molding, injection molding, or rotomolding). Are you saying this is made from a different material altogether?

I do find this whole discussion really interesting, and found a few articles that might be of help in getting to the bottom of recent developments in thermoforming.

Interestingly a common theme is the problem of flexibility. Westcoast had an excellent point when he said that the design of the boat is critical in reducing this.

Plastics Magazine piece on new resin released in 2006 by Dow that offers a balance between strength, flexibility and stiffness(used for automotive parts, e.g., fenders and KAYAKS).
Reflections from an engineering software firm on the process of aiding in the design of a thermoformed sea kayak for an unnamed Vancouver-based kayak company (Seaward?) in 2005:
Presentation on the Plastics News website regarding recent advances in thermoform and its relative advantages:
(Unfortunately, the PDF doesn't download, this can only be viewed as a cached HTML page through Google...therefore, not pictures.)