In the name of Seaward Kayaks’ newest tandem, the Passat G3, you can hear echoes of two other brands, Volkswagen and Apple—two hip, sophisticated companies that like each other so much they recently paired up on the “Pods Unite” promo campaign. The Seaward Passat G3 is a slick kayak made with a similar attention to doodads and detail.
Seaward Passat G3 Specs
Cockpit: 32.25” × 16”
Volume: 183 U.S. gal
Weight: 90 lbs
MSRP: $3,575 USD or $4,580 CAD (fiberglass)
The Seaward Passat G3 is a speedy tandem
The original, two-hatched Seaward Passat is a narrow, fast tandem kayak popular with the adventure racing crowd. The new G3 has the same sleek design, just puffed up and tricked out with a bit more volume and a centre hatch/cockpit providing room for dogs, children, or easily accessible, waterproof storage for long trips. All this and its only five pounds heavier than the regular Passat and still slim enough to race.
The Passat G3 comes with standard Seaward features like nylon cockpit covers, hand layup, fiberglass seams and bulkheads, Kevlar-reinforced bow and stern, and a plastic stern skid plate. It’s also available with a cornucopia of upgrades from dual-steering to yummy colour fades, and a Kevlar layup for about a thousand bucks extra.
Get the performance of a single
At only 26 inches wide, the G3 is as narrow as many singles with performance to match. Playing in waves and currents, we had a great time carving sharp eddy turns with an extreme tilt, using the double’s speed to blast through power moves that we could never make in our singles, and feeling generally invincible with the size, stability, and inertia of a double. The Seaward Passat G3 is truly a lot of fun.
Seaward’s own smartRUDDER system of pivoting pedals is a secure alternative to sliding foot pedals. The pedals are built of anodized hardened marine aluminum covered with non-skid tape. Pivoting the ball of the foot forward cranks the rudder while keeping the foot arch, heel and knees solidly braced. Sensitive West Coast company Seaward anticipated the “divorce boat” potential of tandems and offers an optional dual-steering system that allows control from either cockpit ($224 CAD).
Kayakers, please take a seat
We can think of no better way to introduce the next generation to the wonders of kayaking than to sit them in the Seaward Passat G3’s optional fiberglass centre seat ($144 CAD). At first they’ll love it, and by the time they outgrow it they’ll be big enough to get a kayak of their own. Ma and pa can jettison the seat and have 180 litres of dry storage in that empty nest for a long expedition.
The extra-large opening is perfect for packing awkward items, and seals like any ordinary storage hatch, completely waterproof with a neoprene inner and a fiberglass cover. With the centre hatch, the Passat G3 has 348 litres of dry storage in total—115 litres more than the standard Passat—and less cockpit area to flood if you flip.
Both front and stern cockpits are long enough to fit folks up to six foot two, possibly bigger. Seaward’s seats are unique—removable fabric-covered foam cushions that sit right on the bottom of the boat. The cushions are designed to be unclipped from the boat for use as an instant paddle float (or camp chair). Clever! This system trades the rigid support of a plastic bucket seat for a soft and roomy feel, fitting all sizes of derrieres and making it extra-easy to add foam for a completely custom fit.
Double up in the Seaward Passat G3
The Seaward Passat G3 is the Euro station wagon version of the kayak world—the performance car you buy when you have a family. It lets you have your sporty speed and trip with it too. Beetles and iPods sold separately, for now.
This article was first published in the Early Summer 2004 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.