Are Sterling Kayaks for Ordinary People?
by Joan Jones
What do Sterling kayaks offer to someone who isn’t a hardcore surfer, rolling ace or Level Five paddler? The first thing I noticed about my Sterling Illusion was its stability. Not the boring stability of a massive barge, but the lively stability of a beautiful duck, bobbing in the waves while navigating with ease. A very efficient and confidence inspiring ride. In three-meter seas the Illusion took care of itself – and me. The Illusion’s second remarkable feature is its weight, or rather, its lack of weight. Much lighter than kayaks of comparable length and strength making it easy for a single person to balance on their shoulder and carry back and forth from beach to car. Few other kayaks on the market are known for their light weight but I am quite sure that none of them offer the strength of a Sterling kayak. The Standard Infused layup is very strong and the Carbon/Kevlar layup is even stronger and lighter. I paddle a Carbon/Kevlar, low volume Illusion, with a 1” cut, and it weighs in at 38 pounds. Unique to the purchase of a Sterling kayak is the customer service. You’ll spend some time talking to the designer, Sterling Donaldson, after which you’ll make key decisions on the model to purchase and the options you’d like – perhaps moving the front bulkhead to fit your leg length and to increase space for dry storage, and deciding layup, hull colour and paint design. It is a unique and wonderful experience. Are Sterling Kayaks in a league of their own? Some would say the price puts them there and it is true that the price tag of a Sterling Kayak is well above those manufactured overseas. Also true is that your dollars spent give you so much more. Each model offers a fine combination of lightweight, strength, stability and responsiveness. A kayak is the biggest purchase we make when entering this sport. It may also be one of the most important part of your safety gear as too often we find ourselves in situations on the water that we prefer to avoid but were not avoidable. Recently it was my skills in combination with my Sterling Illusion, and not my skills alone, that left me unscathed when the unexpected suddenly happened. So, is paddling a Sterling Kayak part of an ideal Risk Management plan? This is possible, and is why I put Sterling Kayaks in a league of their own. – Joan Jones