The Santee 126 is a sit-in recreational kayak manufactured by Hurricane Aqua Sports, an American company in Warsaw, North Carolina. They are sold through specialty kayak retailers throughout the United States at a price point of $1099. It is also available in Canada, Australia, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
At First Glance:
This boat is gorgeous. It’s deck has a high luster sheen thanks to the Trylon ABS plastic it is constructed from which makes it more abrasion resistant than polyethylene, but unfortunately not as impact resistant. The fit and finish are superb with bungees on both the fore and aft deck as well as bulkheads in the front and rear.
A ten inch stern hatch covers a spacious dry storage area. A small 5 inch hatch cover can be found on the forward bulkhead inside the cockpit, but it was designed to allow the space to breath, not for storage. It has adjustable foot braces, paddle holder, padding on the coaming and a security bar to either lock or secure it. The seat is what Hurricane calls the Airestream seat. The back rest is vented, padded and adjusts up or down. The seat pan is padded, vented and adjusts as well.
The Santee is 12 ft. 6 inches long and 28 inches wide with a cockpit that measures 43 x 20.5 inches. The Santee is super light weight at only 40 lbs. but has an amazing capacity of 350 lbs.
The hull of the Santee is a multi chined Swede-form (wider volume aft of the midpoint) with a shallow “V” which reduces it’s water resistance and gives it stability and improved tracking.
On the Water:
Wow!! This kayak is light. A 12.5 foot kayak that can be easily loaded and unloaded from the top of a car solo is a rare thing. Though the cockpit is a little smaller than other kayaks in its class, it was easy to enter and exit from. The Air Stream seat was comfortable and easy to adjust for a custom fit. We really liked that it allows air to circulate keeping you from getting too hot in the seat.
Initial and secondary stability is excellent in the Santee. It tracks exceptionally well, thanks to the boats length and the shallow “V” molded into the hull. In the conditions we paddled in, the Santee delivered a comfortable dry ride.
The first thing that stands out when you paddle the Santee is how responsive it is. It gets up to speed very quick and for being classified as a recreational kayak, it is fast. The multi chined hull allows you to get a little aggressive in your maneuvering. Putting the Santee on its edge was not a problem and made it turn like it was on rails. In smooth flat water, the Santee performs and is a pleasure to paddle.
In windy conditions, the Santee performed well with a slight amount of weather cocking. In choppy water it also performed well. It seemed to punch through the chop instead of riding over the top of it. It was very stable through both the wind and the chop and with proper form, was easy to keep it on track. The smaller cockpit opening was an added asset. Though we had water splashing over the deck, the Santee shed it away from the cockpit keeping us dry. This was one of the few kayaks that we have tested that we did not want to get out of. It was truly fun to paddle.
- Light weight
- Excellent hull design
- Comfortable Seat
- Large capacity (350 lbs.)
- Bulkheads fore and aft
- Large dry storage space
- Easy to maneuver
- Did we mention it’s very light
- Not as puncture resistant as polyethylene
- Pricey (The cheapest we could find it was $1099)
The Santee 126 is a great boat. It is a recreational kayak that was designed to be more than just that. In flat water and slow moving mater, it performs exceptionally well. It’s hull design will allow you to improve your turning and maneuvering skills yet its stability remains constant. In our opinion, it walks a fine line between recreational kayak and day tourer. It is a fast boat, but we mean it is fast comparatively to other kayaks in its class. It does have it’s limitations, if white water is your forte, this is not the boat for you, but in most all other flat water environments and protected coastal waters, the Santee will not disappoint. If you have a Santee, let us know what you think about it in the comments section.
Find your headwaters,
Jaucque, Dave and Ty
Special thanks to Village Outfitters and Hurricane Kayaks.