Similiar in concept to the original Clear Blue Hawaii Hanauma, the Conquest fills a hole created when CBH discontinued the popular kayak a year or so ago. (AirKayak’s note: Clear Blue Hawaii has since come out with a remake, the 14 foot Hanauma Gen II).
We hauled the kayak down to the beach to check it out. First of all, it’s lightweight and arrives in a mesh carrying case with drawstring. While this is great for allowing some water to drain out and keeps the weight down, you might want to consider a heftier canvas carrying case for plane travel.
Inflating the Kayak: Inflation was very simple – just pump up the two seat bases, and then pump up each side chamber. The standard valves can be readily inflated by most foot and hand pumps (not included). Inflation time is 5-7 minutes, depending on how quickly you move; this can be sped up with a 12V car pump, but you will still need to top it off with a foot or hand pump.
Attaching the seats: By far the longest amount of time was spent attaching the seats. There is no quick-clip attachment (we understand from the manufacturer that this was due to some potential corrosion problems in salt water) so each seat has four web attachments which must be laced through D-rings and then through retaining clips. This must be done each time, unless the kayak is stored with seats attached. (AirKayak’s note: We have not yet tried it, but a solution would be to purchase some plastic end clips – even a simple shower curtain ring might work – and attach them to the looped webbing, and then quick-clip them to the D-rings.)
Clear Viewing Panels: We carried it out to the water – at nearly 11 feet and 32 lbs, the kayak is lightweight and quite portable. The floor panels are quite rugged – nothing to fear standing on them. While the sand and pebbles were incredibly clear on the beach, a recent rain storm (and naturally murky water) prevented us from enjoying the full benefit of the viewing panels while paddling. We did note there is some rippling if air is trapped.
So what happens if the floor gets scratched? While the panels might appear hazy, once you put it in the water, the scratches become filled-in, making the viewing clear – similar to a plastic drinking glass. But, no sense in pushing the limits. While my canine paddling buddy Eddie was salivating to climb on board, I wouldn’t recommend bringing your pal along unless 1) they would obey sitting behind the rear seat or 2) wear doggy booties.
Paddling the Kayak: We first took the kayak out solo and then tandem. It can be paddled by one person, but not something I would recommend for long trips. As the seat bases are affixed to the floor, it is not possible to center oneself in the kayak. But, if you want plenty of storage space, a diving platform to work from, or a leisurely time viewing the underwater world solo, it works.With two people, the Conquest Dyad paddles and tracks well, is roomy and very stable. While not a speed demon, it performs exactly its intention – to leisurely enjoy the outdoors and the underwater world. For those considering snorkeling, there is about 22 inches of storage space behind the rear paddler, enough to add some gear. As this is a wider kayak, you might want to consider longer (240cm) paddles – we were using 220cm paddles supplied by the manufacturer. While this was usable in the front position (though I would still recommend minimum 230cm), the paddle was too short for either of us in the rear position. (AirKayak’s note: The manufacturer will be coming out with longer paddles.)
- Dimensions – 11 feet by 38 inches. Interior width approx. 28 inches at widest point.
- Max. Weight – 500 lbs. 2 persons
- Kayak Weight – 34.5 lbs in carrying bag; 38 lbs boxed up.
- Outer shell – 1200 denier marine polyester outer shell;
- Hull – durable 34 gauge PVC mesh (tent tarp fabric);
- Viewing Panels – Clear 40 gauge PVC, durable enough to stand on.
- Inflation chambers – 4 Bladders utilizing 2 Boston valves on the sides, and two pinch valves for the seat bases. Bladders are made of 20 gauge PVC sheet.
- Front viewing panel 16 x 30 inches, back panel 18 x 20 inches
- Multiple D-rings, two sets of paddle ties.
- Four rubber/fabric handles
- Tracking – 3 PVC keels for improved tracking/paddling performance
- Includes – maintenance kit, kayak, mesh carrying bag, 2 padded seats.
- One year limited warranty
Bottom line: The Conquest Dyad fills a void in the inflatable kayak field with the unique viewing panels. It’s perfect for those on wanting to leisurely enjoy the outdoors and underwater environment, for vacations, for snorkelers, for recreational fishing and for family fun. It’s roomy, rugged, stable and lightweight. We’ve had it pumped up for over two weeks with no loss of air. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $549. Includes seats, carrying case, repair kit, instructions, mesh carrying bag and warranty. Paddles and pump not included.
Now you may be asking (like me), what’s a Dyad? According to Merriam-Webster’s, a dyad is “two individuals (as husband and wife) maintaining a sociologically significant relationship. Perfect name, particularly if you’ve ever paddled with someone who “strokes to the beat of a different drum.”
Update: 03/11/10 – see our video on the Conquest Dyad
For more info and specifications, see www.AirKayaks.com/conquest.html