Seaward Cosma Kayak Review

22 02 2012

Seaward Cosma waiting for me to get going...

The nice folks at Seaward Kayaks lent me a 16’2″ Cosma touring kayak to paddle for a few days in December. I have spent many months sea kayaking and touring, but almost all of my experience has been down in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez off the coast of Baja Mexico in low performance plastic sit-on-top boats. I am an competent paddler whose never been in a state of the art boat. So getting a chance to try out a sweet kevlar sea kayak put a big smile on my face.

Long and lean...

Although looks are not the primary reason you buy a sea kayak it’s always nice to be stoked about your boat. I was in a rush the day I picked up te Cosma so I didn’t spend much time looking at it. I just strapped it to my car and drove it home. I stashed it in my backyard in the dark and went about making dinner. The next AM I walked out on to my deck and was totally mesmerized by the clean lines and sleek profile of the Cosma. My plastic kayaks have served me well, but to be honest they are F-ugly! I didn’t appreciate how gnarly they looked until I had this Seaward boat sitting in my yard 3′ from the old boats.

She looks fast even on grass!

Once I got over the sleek lines and general sexiness of the Cosma I spent a hour checking out all the cool details and expert craftsmanship that went into making her. I get fascinated with beautiful sea kayaks, mountain bikes and surfboards because they look so amazing and at the same time their purpose is to go out into some of the harshest environments and perform reliably for us. So their beauty is very deep – it’s the beauty of their appearance, the beauty of how they perform and the beauty of how tough they are.

Kevlar...

Getting over the visual appeal of the Cosma I had to move it to the side of my yard and enjoyed how light it was. My other kayaks are not as long as the Cosma and they can’t haul as much, but they are a lot heavier. I could move the Seaward with one hand and without feeling like I was in a weight lifting competition. That would prove very handy for loading onto the roof of our car solo.

Deck bungees...

All the deck attachments are very robust.

Rear hatch...

On my longest kayak tour 4 months in Baja I developed a love-hate relationship with my boat’s hatches. They were small so loading unloading was a chore, but they kept water out which made me happy. The Cosma offers the best of both worlds with large waterproof hatches so you can get what you need easily. This is a must have feature for any boat I buy.

Self-rescue system...

Coming from SOT kayaks one skill I need to work on is my ability to re-enter my boat in the water. Having a proven paddle rescue system on the Cosma made me feel more confident about going through that process. Even though I was too lazy to spend a bunch of time in the cold water during my short test.

Welcome to my office...

A comfortable cockpit is critical to happiness in a touring kayak as much as saddle comfort is important on a touring bike. You spend all day sitting in your boat with limited opportunities to get out and move around. I found the Cosma’s seat and backrest were comfortable for the half day length of paddles I was able to fit in. If I was keeping the Cosma I’d spend some more time tweaking the fit, but as it stands I was pretty happy right out of the gate. The rudder pedals were also easy to adjust and comfortable. I didn’t deploy the rudder as I was having too much fun leaning the Cosma to steer it. I tend not to use my kayak’s rudder unless absolutely necessary so it’s a feature I want to have, but as long as it’s there and works I happy to let it sit on my stern most of the time.

One issue I had with the Cosma’s cockpit was that my legs felt cramped. It’s a very low profile boat and I have long legs with big feet attached. When I get a chance I’d like to try one of Seaward’s high volume boats as I think I would prefer having the extra room. If you are taller that’s something you may want to consider when ordering a kayak.

Rudder deployment control...

A nice feature on the Cosma is having the rudder deployment controls in front of the cockpit for easy access and having them recessed so that you don’t snag anything on it.

Bow details...

Lots of deck rigging options on the bow.

An unusual perspective of the Galloping Goose Trail...

So I want to be clear that I did not test the Cosma to its full potential. Mainly because my kayak skills are rusty and being new to high performance sea kayaks I didn’t want to end up as a statistic in some ocean safety report. I can only report about how she handled for easy day paddles on calm water unloaded.

Here are my thoughts:

  • easy to get into and out of  on shore [strikes a good balance between small cockpit opening and ease of entry]
  • hard chines provide excellent stability
  • you can set the Cosma on edge nicely to turn the boat
  • comfortable seat and backrest
  • very efficient boat
  • glides well and tracks straight

Here is a review from Canoe and Kayak Magazine.

Seaward Cosma specifications - click here...

Click on the image above to read all the Cosma specification details on the Seaward website. I won’t regurgitate the same info again here so let me summarize by saying the Cosma is a great day tripping and light touring boat. My initial impressions have been positive and I’m hoping to get a chance to borrow it again to test in some more demanding paddling conditions.

View from the cockpit...

You can read user reviews of the Cosma over at Paddling.net.

Cosmic beauty...

You can read my Seaward Kayak Factory Tour posts here.


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4 responses

26 03 2012
Errin Vasquez (@Area45)

Vik,

Thanks for posting these entries. Or maybe, I shouldn’t be thanking you. My wife and I are interested in kayaking as well and I’ve just spent my lunch hour looking at all of your pics of these kayaks. Luckily there appears to be no dealers near me or I would be in trouble.

Do you have any updates on your kayak purchase? We are considering two singles instead of the tandem, but I’m torn on if that’s the right choice or not. I read your post about lowering the anxiety of your partner and that seems important. Right now she wants singles, but we’ll see. I look forward to your updates.

Oh, and when will Scott get one?

26 03 2012
thelazyrando

@Erin – No decision on a sea kayak at the present. I need to secure new work to provide additional cash flow before I can buy an expensive recreational item. Seaward seems to be okay with me demoing a bunch of their boats so I’ll probably take them up on that to help me make up my mind which model to get.

There is no right or wrong answer with respect to tandem vs. single boats. They both have pros & cons. If you guys will almost always be paddling together I think the tandem has a lot to offer, but if you might want to paddle alone you have to go with singles. Many couples love their single boats so it can be a success both ways. Probably the best thing to do is to rent a tandem for a weekend and see what you think.

Scott has bad shoulders and doesn’t seem to have much interest in spending his free time paddling so I doubt you’ll even see him in one of my kayaks.

26 03 2012
Justin

Hey Vik,

Really enjoy perusing your site. As a cyclo-tourist and addicted sea kayaker here in the PNW i’d recommend checking out some British sea kayaks from Valley, Sea Kayaking Uk (Nigel Dennis), TideRace, and P&H. I’m a huge fan of skeg boats opposed to rudder boats, they allow you to develop your skills and confidence out in a stormy sea. My wife and I paddle the Explorer by Sea Kayaking UK- a great boat for touring and surfing! And I’d always buy used when your ready!

These folks are up in your area and have some neat youtube videos floating about their site. http://www.activeseakayaking.ca/

Justin

27 03 2012
thelazyrando

@Justin – thanks for the link. That site looks very useful and they have some great courses locally. I’ve spent 4 months down in Baja paddling a greenland style boat without a rudder. It definitely provides a challenge and a different experience than the north american style boats with rudders. OTOH – I had days when I would have happily traded for an easier/less demanding boat. If I get a tandem for Sharon and I it will be a north american style boat for ease of use. Our goal will simply to get out there and have some fun paddling and we will only be occasional paddlers so I don’t want to get a boat that demands a lot from the owner.

I’ve also considered getting a single kayak, possibly first, so that I can build up my skills for local conditions before I take Sharon out with me in a tandem. I’d consider a greenland style boat.

My concern is that kayaking is never going to be our primary sports interest. It will probably rank around 4th after kitesurfing, biking and surfing. With the occasional month long paddle down in Baja. So I want to avoid letting my ego get in the way and select a boat that really meets my actual needs rather than my dreams. I suspect a stable relaxed boat would probably be a better match for my real needs than a more demanding one.

Seaward makes Nigel Dennis greenland style boats [I think] so I’m hoping to get a chance to demo one locally to help me make up my mind.

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