Seaward Kayaks Chilco
Beauty and performance at a reasonable price point.
- Built to order
- Reasonably priced
- High performance
- Customer service
- Waiting for it
From their website, "Seaward has produced the finest handcrafted kayaks in the world for 30 years. Our reputation is based on quality, innovation and attention to detail. When you purchase a Seaward Kayak you buy a product on which you can depend to take you further."
Find them here http://www.seawardkayaks.com
Seaward Kayaks is located in Canada and hand builds all their composite boats from the finest materials. They sell direct to the consumer and even offer custom gel coat colors. You can pick the color of the hull, deck, combing, hatches, and seam. You can also pick two deck colors and have them fade into each other. These boats are built to the highest standards and come with a fully transferable lifetime warranty that they absolutely stand behind. Customer service is second to none; in fact, give them a call and the owner himself is likely to answer the phone.
So what about this Chilco kayak? I'd call it a high performance sea kayak. I'm 5'10", 185 pounds, and it fits me like a glove. With a length of 18.5', a beam of 22.5", and a depth of 14", it's sleek and slices through the water with little effort. Yet it's amazingly stable for what it is. While not a novice boat, it doesn't take long to gain confidence in it. It rolls easily and turns gracefully. It comes outfitted with a drop down rudder, but it really isn't necessary except in adverse conditions. At 55 pounds it's fairly easy to carry and load.
Construction is top notch; you can take it out in the ocean with complete confidence. The bulkheads are solid, fiberglassed into place, and will never leak. The seat is comfortable and the thigh braces perfectly placed. The rudder controls work with smooth precision. The combing holds the sprayskirt tightly in place. The finish is smooth as the glass that it is and stunningly beautiful. The layup is clean, everything lines up properly, and what should be straight is perfectly so.
Deck fittings are recessed and it has a full lifeline. The hatches have watertight neoprene lids beneath the fiberglass hatch covers; they are secure and sit atop a very reasonable storage volume. The Chilco comes with Seaward's SRS or Self Rescue System which aids in open water re-entry. All rigging is of the highest quality and the rudder cables are 3/32 SS. It even has a replaceable, sacrificial keel guard, and comes with a full waterproof cockpit cover.
The Chilco is a fast, responsive boat for anyone looking to do light touring, fitness paddling, or just enjoying being out on the water. While it's best suited to open water, I have paddled it down some mighty narrow, twisty rivers without any problems; though it wouldn't be my first choice for such a task. While no high end kayak is cheap, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced these boats are for what you get.
As for shipping, no one packs a boat better than Seaward. They ship worldwide and you can expect your boat to be delivered in one piece without damage. While I generally reframe from calling anything the single best, I will say that Seaward's customer service is the single best you will find, and I do so with complete confidence.
So if you're in the market for a high end, composite, sit-in kayak you should give the guys at Seaward a look. There you'll find friendly, like minded people who take pride in building super high quality, custom boats, at a price point that's sure to surprise you... and did I mention they have the best customer support in the business?
I've been kayaking for many years. Kayaks are one of the most specialized water craft on the planet. I own and have owned all kinds of roto-molded, thermo-molded, and composite kayaks. I purchased my Chilco used and it was well over 10 years old when I got it, yet could have easily passed as new even upon close inspection. No crazing, spider cracks, etc. as is common on other makes of such vintage. With proper care I'd expect a lifetime of service from one.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $1100
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Reviewers Paid: $1,100.00
31"L x 16"W x 12.25"D