Santee 116 Sport Kayak Review
by Don Taylor
There is a bewildering number of choices when buying a kayak and even more reviews of the various types but hope this one more opinion might help in your decision making. Miriam and I have been happy with our Ocean Kayak models for years. Mine an Ocean Kayak Angler 13, set up for fishing and hers the Scrambler model. These kayaks are sit on tops and I use mine for fishing as well as recreational paddling. Hers a 11’ long, relatively heavy, weighing about 50 lbs. These are great kayaks but had a drawbacks for us.
Between the heavy weight of the Scrambler model and putting two of these bulky Ocean Kayaks on the roof of our minivan and the two not fitting side by side on the roof of our Subaru Outback, we needed to make a change.
Last year Linda Storm showed us her lighter weight kayak and after paddling it we decided to look into the same model, a Hurricane Santee 116 Sport to replace Miriam’s Ocean Kayak. We bought a new one at Economy Tackle in Sarasota for $999 in March 2017. It is 11.5 feet long and only weighs 37 lbs. I can carry it easily by myself and hoist it up onto the roof rack without any problem. While Miriam can’t carry/mount it all by herself, she can readily help and it’s so easy to transport on the ground. We can use a Malone foldable J-rack on one side of the car for hers and I can place my bigger kayak on the other side just using foam pads on the Outback crossbars. Problem solved. The Santee tracks well in the water and it looks pretty, a free bonus!
Although the Santee 116 Sport is a sit-in kayak, it has a very long cutout making it easier to get in/out of than most sit-in models: the opening is over 52 inches long. And since it’s a sit-in, the center of gravity is low, resulting in a very stable ride in the water. Surely it must have some downside, you might ask. The only point I can think of is that it is made of thermoformed ABS plastic that flexes a lot when tightening the front strap on the roof rack. If you over tightened could you crack the plastic? Maybe, but we take that into consideration and don’t over tighten that strap. Besides, the kayak has a teardrop hull shape; it can’t slide off the rack
If you are considering buying a lightweight sit in recreational kayak, the Santee 116 Sport would be a good choice and you are welcome to paddle ours.