On a recent layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport I was able to meet Logan Fleckles of Seavivor. I had called Logan a few weeks in advance to let him know that I would be passing through, and if possible, would like to meet him and see his workshop. He told me to set aside four hours between my flights and that he’d meet me at the airport with a kayak. And so it was.
Logan arrived with a Greenland Solo on top of his car. At 17’ 10” long and 24” wide, the Greenland Solo is Seavivor’s highest performance kayak. He also makes a double and a shorter single, called the Intrepid Traveler (the Intrepid Traveler is 15’ 3” long and 28” wide and is not advertised on his website). Logan says that his double has outsold the Greenland Solo by a multiple of 3-4:1. The Intrepid Traveler—which appears to have similar dimensions as the Klepper Aerius—was developed a few years ago for customers who don’t fit in the Greenland Solo or prefer something more stable.
I was only expecting to see the kayak and sit inside it, so when Logan said we we’re going to bring it to a local lake for me to try it was a nice surprise. Given that my experience kayaking thus far has been with a Long Haul Mark I, a Feathercraft Java and an Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro, I was interested to try something like the Greenland Solo. I was able to paddle for about an hour on flat water with a moderate breeze. I have added some photos of the kayak to my photo gallery.
Speed, Tracking and Stability
The Greenland Solo is fast. Very fast. This kayak’s speed blows away anything else that I have experience with. It accelerates easily and feels like a racing pace could be maintained with moderate effort. Moreover, the Greenland Solo tracks like a freight train. The kayak does not come with a rudder, nor is one available or needed. It just goes in a straight line. The excellent tracking comes at the expense of nimbleness; the kayak does not turn easily. In fairness, this is a kayak that has to be leaned to turn, and I didn’t do much leaning as I didn’t want to risk going over before catching my next flight. Judging from the pictures that Logan showed me the Greenland Solo looks like it can lean far over on its side before flipping. Still, the kayak doesn’t appear to have much rocker, and doesn’t turn as easily as any of the other kayaks I have experience with. The Greenland Solo definitely feels tippy. With a waterline beam of only 20 inches (with a 200 lb load) the initial stability is low. According to the SK review, the Greenland Solo’s overall stability increases dramatically when another 50 pounds of load are added. Overall, the kayak feels like a very high performance craft; one in which advanced kayaking and paddling skills could be honed.
Fit and Comfort
I am almost 6’ 3” which is probably near the upper end of the size limit for this kayak. It is not overly comfortable and the seat is nothing special. While the cockpit opening is at least as long as the Long Haul’s, I found the fit inside the cockpit snug. Part of this, Logan told me, is that one is to fit snugly so that body movements can be more readily transferred to the kayak. Logan told me to lock my thighs beneath the U shaped rib amidship in order to fit properly into the cockpit (one of the photos shows how the ends of this rib extend just enough so that one can secure his thighs beneath them; see the last page of my photo album). Moreover, some modifications could be made to make the fit more comfortable, I was told.
Logan uses polyurethane hull material which seems to be a very hard, scratch resistant material. He gave me a swatch of the hull material and a sharp screw, and told me to try and damage it. It didn’t scratch very easily if at all. The hull seams are welded with hot air. While the hull material is harder than hypalon, its thickness is less than that of my Long Haul, which contributes to the kayak’s overall lower weight. The deck is made out of ballistic nylon and is waterproof. The long frame members are ash and the ribs are birch. Frame pieces are finished with teak oil as opposed to being varnished. Logan says this gives them more flexibility. Frame members have letters of the alphabet burned in them (as opposed to printed on them). I read somewhere that Seavivor kayaks don’t come with instructions (but didn’t verify this); the assembly process is supposed to be that straight forward, begin with A, attach B, etc. The metal fittings are brass and bronze. Logan received some patents on the fittings he created for his kayaks. Relative to Kleppers and Long Hauls, there are notable differences in the way Seavivor kayaks are assembled.
There is less wood in the frame than that of the Long Haul, perhaps even less than that of a Klepper, but on this last account I am not sure. The frame fits snugly inside the hull. None of the Seavivor kayaks have sponsons, which I view as a nice feature. There were no droopy spots in the hull or deck. Overall the kayak is relatively light at only 52 pounds. It seemed easy to pick up by myself without any strain or special effort. The kayak has no hatches nor are they available. The interior volume seemed to be less than that of my Long Haul—at least, the interior volume that is easily accessible is less than that of a my Long Haul, which has hatches. Loading and accessing gear would be more difficult in a Greenland Solo, in my view.
The Work Shop
Logan’s shop gives the appearance that he is semi retired. Amidst stacks of ribs, piles of wood and some heavy machinery was an article from the New York Times, written 10 or 15 years ago, highlighting Logan and the patents he received for his kayaks. He said it did nothing to stimulate business at the time.
If you order a kayak today don’t expect to receive it for many months as all kayaks are built to order; there is no kayak inventory at Seavivor. Logan seems to do things his own way, at his own pace, without caring what others think. He mentioned that over the years he has managed to offend many of the folding kayak cognoscenti. Although I was with him for just a few hours, I could see how his idiosyncrasies may put some off. But he is a nice and genuine guy. I had a good time with him and am definitely thankful he went to the extra effort of getting me in that Greenland Solo.