Elie Strait 140 Review
This time the "boys" got a chance to paddle the Elie Strait 120, Strait 140 and als the Venture Kayaks Easky 13. We have added our thoughts and some images to the Fridge Fairy's review of the Elie Strait 120. Boo, hiss and bother - she has never been more right in her life.
The tide can push a bit in places and the Royal Navy use the river and have right of way.
With the wind coming from the West we headed up the St Germans river to find a bit of lively water. It is just as easy to find or avoid the stretches of river where wind over tide cuts up the surface. We knew where to look for the chop, and there it was!
The four Spoonbills we saw were the icing on the cake - if there is such a thing as a kayaking twitcher I am it. Four Spoonbills, Kingfishers, Common Sandpiper, Grebes and all the happy-go-lucky waders. Not the best photo in the world, but here are the Spoonbills:
Today is 4th November in mild old Cornwall and we are loving it.
Duffer, cut the cackle - what about the kayak?
The Review Bit...
There are kayaks that cost less than the Elie Strait 140, so what am I getting for my money? From our inspection and this test paddle your cash buys you a quality kayak. Sit in the boat and adjust the backrest using both sets of adjusters and the backrest hits you in the back. The support is low and where it belongs with no interference with the spraydeck. This is so much better than kayaks with single backstrap adjustments which can have you sitting off centre.
The foredeck profile is lower than some and this has the effect (along with the backrest) of sitting the paddler bolt upright. From this correct seating/paddling position the kayak is easy to paddle and for a touring kayak it feels light through the water.
The hull is nicely balanced and stable. It's not tippy but not too beamy as to be unresponsive. With a westerly breeze of force 4 there was little evidence of weather cocking. Weather cocking is when the wind makes the kayak turn upwind or downwind when you don't want it to. This can be countered by edging the kayak and shifting your paddles to compensate. Alternatively you can deploy the rudder (XE model) and the Strait 140 handles like it's on rails. The rudder is robust, simple to use and is one of the best rudders any of us had ever used, and we have tested a few in our time.
The lower foredeck would not suit all paddlers and those with larger thighs could find the configuration uncomfortable. Duffer, Codger and the Erk, being perfectly formed, had no issues with the cockpit at all.
The materials used in construction means there is no flex in the hull - it feels as stiff as any composite kayak at twice the price. You just know the paddling effort you're putting in is being used to push the kayak through the water and not being absorbed in a flexing hull. The hull and the deck being formed separately result in a kayak that is pleasing to the eye. The contrast of coloured deck and while hull is nice. Not all the colours work for me, but the feedback on the range available has been very positive.
Elie Strait 140 is the bigger brother or sister to the Strait 120 and it provides a more stable platform by virtue of its length and beam.
Something very surprising was revealed when the Strait 120 and 140 went head to head forward paddling into the chop and wind. The sleeker, lower volume 120 is as fast through the water as the 140.
This potentially solves the age of problem of "his and hers" kayaks. His kayak is (generally) bigger than hers and he is usually a stronger paddler. The combination can make him faster or her slower. Not so with Strait 140 and Strait 120. We all changed kayaks umpteen times and no-one got left behind. This accounts for the Fridge Fairy's surprising turn of speed when she paddled the 120 and I paddled the Venture Flex 11 at Looe. I had to work a bit harder than usual and I enjoyed my paddle all the more for it.
The short video above shows how easily the Strat 140 glides through the water. Here we've compared it to the Venture Kayaks Easky 15, which is effectively a short sea kayak.
On the way back we drifted downwind chatting away about what we had learnt. The Erk was in the Strait 140, Codger paddled the Strait 120 and I was at the helm of a Venture Easky 13. the Erk just sat there with tip toes on the rudder footrests blowing downwind as straight as an arrow whilst we controlled our kayaks with our paddles.
Paddles & Kit
The Elie Strait 140 lies somewhere in the middle ground. It fits between a rotomoulded (RM) touring kayak and a composite (fibreglass/carbon) touring kayak. You pay a bit more than you would for a RM tourer but a lot less than a composite tourer. You get what you pay for with most thigns these days and the Strait 140 represents good value for money. I appreciate the view was the same but the paddling experience was superior.
The Elie Kayaks offer a stiff hull that paddles like a composite and some of the best quality outfitting available.
Whoever designed the Strait 140 deserves a medal. Whoever designed the Strait 120 deserves two medals.
Elie Strait 140 Stats
All Elie Kayaks are built using three layer Poly-XR. This material is 30% more rigid than standard polyethylene resulting from an advanced resin in the top layer. The designs use less material to deliver incredible durability in a lighter, stiffer hull. The kayak paddles better, manoeuvres better and is easier to car top.
We took the Elie Strait 140, Strait 120 and Venture Easky 13 on this paddle. We are not trying to compare these kayaks as they are designed and built to do different things.
The price points and outfitting also differ.
Elie Strait 140 - Review by:
The Erk, Duffer and Codger
for the Canoe Shops Group (November)