Very old but very clean, worth considering?

I’m on the hunt for my next and (theoretically) final kayak, a full on sea kayak for bigger water.

There’s a Wildy Sealution (original) for sale a ways (2 hours) from me. This thing has to be 30 years old or close to it, but wow it looks really good in the photos. I note that the black plastic hatch covers don’t look faded, but the weird carrying handles look very faded.

Should I rule it out because it’s so old?

It’s worth a close look. How about the hull?

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Hull condition is unknown other than these photos, the only photos in the listing. The entire text of the ad is “Fiberglass kayak. All new bungies and nylon straps”. I don’t even want to bother the guy until I’ve done some basic research. Checked the mfrs catalog and reviews already. Concerned about 30 year old fiberglass though.

I’d have to drive two hours over a mountain pass to see it, although it’s really the mountain pass in Winter that is a barrier not the two hours.

It looks like it was stored out of the weather. 30 year old fiberglass shouldn’t be a concern in that case.

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When I started looking for my first boat I sat in a Sealution. I am considerably taller than average and there was plenty of room, fwiw.
I decided I wanted it the next day but it had sold.

Oh… I’d better follow up on this line of research. I am definitely smaller than an average paddler, I fit well in LV kayaks, so this might not be a good fit for me.

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That is one boat that benefits greatly from a rudder. It is like two different boats with the rudder-up and the rudder down both are good. I had one for a short time and I liked it

Age alone should not be a critical factor in a well maintained and properly stored fiberglass boat. There are an enormous number of fiberglass boats that are well over 30 years old. It looks good and the parts that are most subject to wear seem to have been replaced.

How it handles without a rudder can only be determined by paddling in various conditions. Adding one (or a skeg) can be done, but requires a bit of work.

My fibreglass boat is 20 years old.

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I wouldn’t discount based on age. I still regularly paddle a '95 Necky Looksha IVs, and it looks more used and sun faded than that Sealution. The Sealution does have a rudder, visible in the second photo.

Fit might be another question. It does appear pretty wide and with a high deck in the photos.

You can ask for close up pictures of steps areas, behind cockpit, around rudder connection, seat, hatch area and sight the keel line.


The age of 30 years would not be an issue if it were me wanting to buy, but I’d want to get a very good look at it and also I’d want to know the price.
To look well, the best way I have found is to have a good flash light and shine it inside the hull bit by bit to look for any cracks or holes, but you do that after the sun sets.
Considering how it’s possible to get brand new kayaks for around $2600 to $3100, A 30 year old kayak would have to be a good deal if I were buying it. If we set a figure at (for the sake of illustration) $3100, it’s up to you to decide what percentage of that amount is worth the chance of needing care and repairs in the future.
I have been buying used kayas to get them into the hands of several friends and also to get some in out shed to lend to friends and students. As of this minute we have a total of 7 in the shed, but I have bought 13 since June. The other 6 are now owned by friends of ours.

In the Rocky Mountains, Rec-Kayaks, light-touring kayaks and sea kayaks are not as numerous as in many other states, so finding them is harder to do, but when I do they often cost far less than they would in one of the costal states of any state with a lot of water. So what I am typically paying for 14.5 to 18 foot kayaks may be lower then what someone on Oregon of Florida would pay, but someone in those states will have dozens to choose from every week, whereas I have had maybe 2 dozen to choose from over 8 months— and over 6 states; Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Utah and Nevada.
The most expensive kayak I or my wife have bough out of the 13 were our first 2. Both Old Town Loon 106s both new when we got them. The most I have spent on any other kayak so far is for a P&H Sirius at $450 and my Necky Chatham17 at $450. I am told by folks in Oregon and California that both of those were VERY good deals. I have gone to CraigsList and I find values are higher on the coasts and around the Great lakes.
So giving advice about buying without knowing the price of that kayak is not going to be easy to do. And ascribed value in an area with a lot of big water is likely to be higher then the same kayak in a place with little water because anyone wanting it is going to have to drive a long way to get it, and that adds the cost of gas to the price of the kayak.
Supply and demand is the way of the world.

The ‘set shape’ of those handles leads me to believe it’s been hung from the ceiling by them. General practice is to support boats near the bulkheads for storage. Just something to keep in mind.

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Size…you said that you are below average size. This kayak, with it’s high back deck and high seat back {older design}…it is also overly wide for a below average size paddler {don’t know your size, just stated as below average} The sealution was made in several sizes, this appears to be the regular …or possibly the XL, that was a long time ago. They also made a couple of smaller sizes.

I paddled with a guy that had one back in the '90’s He was about 180# it seemed to work for him…but he didn’t keep it very long.

I would worry more about if it will even be your size …rather than worrying about it being an old design or an old lay-up.

If your size is below average, I doubt this kayak will fit you very well.

Good Luck
Best Wishes

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High_Desert, there appeared to be a slight curve to the keel. I have no experience with fiberglass, and find it hard to believe the keel would take a set without cracking. I figured it was from camera angle, because a wide angle lens could cause a curved image. That why I recommended asking for a straight on keel shot. It would show the bottom and verify the condition.

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One last thought.
At $400 you might buy it and try it for a few months. Pad the hips and thigh braces to fit you with closed cell foam and see what you think of it. If you find it’s not a good match you probably can sell it for a bit more and make a small profit.
$400 is in the price range that means you really can’t go too far wrong even if you want to re-sell.

Heck------ at $400 I’d buy it myself if it were closer, but I am betting it’s a long way from the middle of Wyoming.

I have a Falcon 18 and really like it. At 21 inches wide, it should be faster than the Avatar 15.5 (almost 24" wide?) you’re also considering. And as your photo shows, the Falcon bow is very “pointy” so the waterline length is shorter than 18 feet.

(My Falcon is an older Kevlar layup before they switched to Carbonlite. No skeg, round rubber hatch covers, but lighter than the later ones.)

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What does a Falcon18 weigh?

Sure is a pretty kayak!

A cockpit needs to be loose so you can fall out during a wet exit.

My older Kevlar Falcon 18 weighs 43 lbs. No rudder or skeg probably helps cut some weight. It was manufactured in 2000. Here’s a photo that gives a good idea of the hull shape. It has quite a sharp, deep vee and some rocker.

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