The first time you lay eyes on the Sea Eagle 393rl RazorLite, you’re forgiven for wondering if it’s an inflatable kayak at all. Its sleek design and incredibly rigid hull are more reminiscent of a hardshell kayak than any inflatable, and its speed and performance are almost unprecedented in the world of inflatable kayaks.
If you’re familiar with the Sea Eagle inflatable kayak line, you’ll immediately realize what a departure the 393rl is from their more traditional models, as exemplified by the Explorer, FastTrack, and Sports Kayak ranges. Long and lean, and featuring world-first techniques of construction and design, the 393rl is quite obviously in a class of its own.
And it’s just as obvious that this inflatable kayak is not particularly suited for beginners – in fact, Sea Eagle recommends that it for intermediate and above level paddlers.
Having said all of that — if you’re up to the challenge, the 393rl promises a whole new world of inflatable kayaking. It’s fast, responsive, and exciting.
Sea Eagle 393rl RazorLite Rating
Sea Eagle 393rl Kayak Overview
Before we jump in and go over the details of the Sea Eagle 393rl RazorLite, let’s take a look at its specifications so that you can get a general idea of how it compares to other inflatable kayaks.
As with the larger-capacity Sea Eagle 473rl kayak, the 393rl RazorLite strives to deliver the ultimate in quality and convenience. This model weighs a mere 28 lbs., and packs away to just 22″ x 22″ x 12″ – easily small enough to fit into the backpack that Sea Eagle provides, and light enough to be carried by a single person without any difficulty. When inflated, the 393rl RazorLite measures a respectable 12’10”, and is rated to carry one person plus gear, or 500 lbs. The 393rl inflates in seven minutes, is suitable for either calm ocean water or fresh, and is NMMA certified.
The secret of the 393rl’s success lies in the unique construction of the hull. Where more traditional inflatable kayaks consist of hollow chambers that are inflated to low pressures, the RazorLite range is based on a completely different design philosophy.
The three chambers that comprise the hull of the 393rl are constructed – for the first time ever in the world of inflatable kayaks – utilizing drop stitch technology throughout. In layman’s terms, drop stitch technology simply means that the top and the bottom walls of the chambers are connected by thousands of high-tensile threads. Because these threads are so strong, they prevent the walls of the chambers from expanding, which allows the chambers to be inflated to pressures way in excess of what is normal for inflatable kayaks. The chambers of the 393rl, for example, inflate to a staggering 10 psi –almost completely unheard of in an inflatable kayak (Sea Eagle’s other inflatable kayaks inflate to a maximum of 3.2 psi).
What results from this combination of DS technology and the extremely high inflation pressure is immediately obvious: an astoundingly rigid hull that occupies just a fraction of the space of the traditional, pontoon-like walls of most inflatable kayaks. The side walls of the 393rl are only 4″ thick – in comparison, the tubes of Sea Eagle’s SE330 run to a diameter of about 10″!
Because of this, the Sea Eagle 393rl is obviously much more narrow than a traditional inflatable kayak (with a beam of 27″, as opposed to the SE330’s 34″), and rigid enough to support the RazorLite’s unique straight hull design. This means that the 393rl achieves a superior length-to-width ratio, resulting in a long, sleek, and sexy hull.
The streamlined hull is further enhanced for speed and performance by another feature unique to the RazorLite range: the bow and stern moldings that include Sea Eagle’s special double-concave super-clean entry and exit system. As the 393rl speeds along, air is forced into these double concavities at the bow. This has the effect of lifting the bow, reducing water resistance and increasing the 393rl’s maximum speed. Simultaneously, the concavities at the stern ensure that the water running past the hull exits cleanly, creating almost no wake behind the 393rl and reducing the drag that would otherwise tend to slow the kayak down.
With such an unprecedented design, the 393rl RazorLite obviously displays very different handling characteristics to most other inflatable kayaks. Old-style inflatable kayaks tend to be extremely stable, the result of a wide beam and a flat hull. When it comes to the 393rl, this is simply not the case as the kayak is noticeably less stable than most other inflatables. It’s for this reason that the 393rl is not recommended for less-skilled kayakers.
Sea Eagle’s Attention to Detail
But it’s not just the revolutionary design of the hull that makes this kayak so outstanding. Sea Eagle has spent a lot of attention on details – the small things that could otherwise tend to lower the overall quality of the 393rl.
The first of these is the hull material itself. Like most of Sea Eagle’s high-performance kayaks, the 393rl is constructed from 1100 reinforced Decitex. This is one of the few materials strong enough to withstand the tremendous pressure that the hull will be subject to, but still light enough to qualify as suitable for an inflatable kayak. With overlapped seams for extra strength, the hull is pretty much indestructible, being resistant to both piercing and abrasion.
A new and extremely useful feature of the 393rl is the tube-type footrest that is supplied with this kayak. It fixes securely to the stainless steel D-rings attached to the hull (there are six of these in total), and can be adjusted to suit both your own physique and the level of resistance you prefer. The footrest functions as a brace to improve your balance and power, and is helpful if you really want to get the most out of the 393rl.
The spray skirts on the bow and stern do an admirable job of preventing too much water from coming into the cockpit, and the hull is fitted with two open/close drain valves to prevent the 393rl from becoming waterlogged. The spray skirts also feature carry handles which make the 393rl super easy to transport.
Then there’s the one-way air valves. There are a total of three (each chamber inflates separately), and they feature Sea Eagle’s safe and convenient recessed design which prevent them from snagging and possibly opening at inconvenient times.
393rl RazorLite Packages
The 393rl is dedicated to speed and performance, and because of this, you won’t find the wide range of packages that many people associate with Sea Eagle kayaks.
- The Sea Eagle 393rl RazorLite Pro Package is the more basic kit, and consists of a hull, a Tall Back Seat, an AB40 paddle (8′, 4-part, 2.92 lbs.), a slide-in skeg, a hand piston pump, a repair kit, a footrest, and a backpack.
- For the truly dedicated, the Sea Eagle 393rl RazorLite Pro Carbon Package replaces the paddle with the AB50 (8′, 2-part, 2.41 lbs.).
As we mentioned earlier, the Sea Eagle 393rl RazorLite kayak isn’t for everyone. This is a high-performance, high-quality inflatable kayak that’s intended to be used by skilled kayakers rather than amateurs. The 393rl isn’t designed for white water, but rather for speed and performance. This kayak is great for vigorous activities like training or racing, but quite frankly it’s not ideally suited for more peaceful activities like fishing or nature watching due to the nature of the ride.
At the end of the day, if you know what you’re doing on the water and are looking for speed and impressive performance, the 393rl is an exceptional kayak that you should seriously consider.