Met the Sea Island Sport

Posted by Laszlo on Nov 19, 2006

Since this forum is made up of such well-mannered people, I try to stick to the practice of "if you can't say anything nice, don't sy anything at all". OK, so it may not always work out that way, but I do try. Which is why lately I haven't been saying much about the Sea Island Sport.

When I saw Nick Schade's prototype pictures I was pretty disappointed. The colors were idiosyncratic, and the shape was weird. It just didn't do it as a kayak I'd want to be seen in. Watching through the shop cam construction series I was struck with how well engineered it was, but visually it still didn't do anything for me. When the completed product photos were posted, the boat looked a lot better than the Schade prototype, but that's about all I could say.

Yesterday, though, I was in Annapolis so I stopped by the CLC showroom and finally met the SIS in person. WOW!!!! It was seeing it for the first time. That boat has a physical presence that just does not make it through the photos. In person, the shapes all work. The hull, deck and cockpit are incredibly well-balanced and harmonious. It's a very tactile boat, too. It says "Touch me, feel me", like a Henry Moore work. The edge where the cockpit and side decks meet, especially, are hand magnets. If the Chessies are fine boat furniture, the SIS is fine boat sculpture.

It's the first SOT I've seen that looks like a real boat. It doesn't look at all out of place among a bunch of Chessies and Shearwaters. In fact, when I first walked into the showroom, it took me a minute to realize that I was looking at it because it blended in so well with the rest of the boats.

So I'm a convert. I'll try not to be too annoying about it, but I just had to pass it along in case there are others out there who were less than impressed by the photos. There's a LOT more to that boat than meets the lens. It's one that a serious paddler can be happy to be seen in.