The new Seabird Expedition LV is a speedy sea kayak, which also makes greater tours a real pleasure. I tested the sea kayak for six days at Brombachsee and Chiemsee.
The equipment of this small sea kayak is extensive and sophisticated, quite suitable for a real expedition. Made of smooth stiff three-ply PE, the boat is equipped with a steering system, a comfortable seat, four luggage hatches, decks, tension grommets, and quickly adjustable footrests. Owing to the long seat lug, one can easily free one’s knees, and quick escape when landing on hard surf should also be of no problem. The adjustable thigh rests function only when the knees are put together (as in the case of the racing kayak). In normal sitting position, the knees rest on the trunk, whereas the thigh rests have no particular purpose.
480 cm in length is not much for a sea kayak. Since it is a 56 cm narrow low-volume boat (according to the manufacturer, for a paddler weighing between 55 to 90 kg), one should also expect high speed. Nevertheless, my first sprint (I weigh 80 kg) surprised me. In terms of rotation technology, I pull strongly on the paddle, the Expedition LV accelerates quickly, eventually gaining more and more speed. I am able to reach the speed I am accustomed to with much longer kayaks. With the Expedition LV, it is possible to effortlessly keep a fast pace for a long time. With this kayak, even long distances are really fun!
This allows even weaker paddlers to compete on longer distances, and powerful paddlers will appreciate the kayak running smoothly. Designer Ingvar Ankervik has done a lot of work here. An elongated trunk with long waterline and a very pointed bow ensures speed. Also, the high-quality torsion-resistant three-layer PE (no wave formation). The hull is almost as smooth as a laminate hull, and smoothness is known to reduce water resistance (looking very high-quality, by the way). Low keel lift also promotes high speed.
But whoever believes that the Seabird Kayak would run as if on rails having a keel like this is wrong. When I steer the boat hard on the outside edge and set control boots, little happens, but with a little delay, the Expedition LV willingly goes into the curve. I am coming quickly to the carving, and the circle is getting narrower. It is not a playboat, it should not be, but it is pleasantly agile for such a sleek kayak and also lots of fun while cornering. Small rivers and wave streams set the tone. The kayak can easily be kept on course during side winds without using the control system. In the case of side winds and shafts, a professional is required; beginners should use the control system. Tilt Safety: There are plenty of quick kayaks, but paddlers are often overloaded – a fast hull then becomes an obstacle, fear and paddle support braking the ride.
This is not the case with the Expedition LV. Despite a slim hull and average keel jump, which results in a slightly elevated seat position, advanced paddlers should feel safe. As far as the paddler weight is concerned, I highly recommend 80 to 90 kg for professionals. For all-round paddlers, 55 to 80 kg should be just right.
I would only suggest reaching the indicated 130 kg of total load in quieter waters. For expedition-like trips, e.g., trips around the island, I would rather stay at about 100 kg.
One gets a fast kayak for a relatively small amount of money that is sure to give you much joy and that fits even in smaller garages. Considering the fact that the characteristics and the equipment of the Seabird Expedition LV are very close to those of expensive laminate kayaks, the price-performance ratio is excellent!