So far so good...
Recently bought two Elie Sound 12's. My partner and I are beginners and these comments should be taken as such.
We looked at a lot of kayaks both in person and online. We wanted boats that we could use for fishing and birding as well as general flat water paddling. We are more interested in lakes and ponds vs. river paddling. We wanted sit-in kayaks with large enough cockpits for easy entry and exit and to accommodate fishing gear or a dry box for cameras and binoculars. We decided on 12' boats as they would best suit our needs and ability to transport.
We liked the features of the Elie boats including the very comfortable seats, roomy cockpit, the dash board and the hatch. The seat is nice with adjustable height and back angle. Some reviewers commented on the plastic buckles breaking. From what I've learned one's paddling posture should be upright and not leaning back. Used in this way there should not be undo pressure on the buckles but I also know it's nice to lean back in the seat when not paddling or scanning the trees for birds.
The hatch and cover work well - I tipped mine the first time out and the contents of the hatch remained dry. The locks of the hatch cover work easily and well and are much easier to use than the rubber stretch ones. The two cams lock and unlock quickly and it's possible to get at the contents when on the water.
The dash board seems like a small concern but it works well and keeps little things at hand. The water bottle holder on the seat is also another nice feature.
As beginners the questions of stability and tracking may be more a function of experience than problems with the boats. With experience the stability of the boat shouldn't be a question. At first it feels very unstable but as you get accustomed to how the boat reacts to movement you learn to move with it rather than react against it.
Tracking is harder to judge as unlike in a touring kayak, we go short distances fishing from one place to the next. Again I have to believe that in time and with experience we will learn how to paddle efficiently and hopefully get to where we're aimed at.
After a handful of outings we are very pleased with our decision to buy these kayaks. The experience of being so close to the water and the quietness of paddling is very different than boating and we know already our fishing boat will be spending a lot more time parked in the alley. The kayaks seem well made and with nice features. We will add to them to suit our specific use - we have already added anchor trolleys - and have no doubt they'll serve us well for years.
Good value, but some issues
As other reviewers have said, this is a good kayak for the price (we got ours during a sale).
Similar to Bendguy, we also had some quality issues with small parts. I lost a screw or two from the footpegs, but was sent a replacement since it was under warranty. We've also had issues with the screws holding the handles on coming loose (maybe something like Loctite might help).
We also lost one of the cockpit trays. When the kayak is strapped down, it tends to flex the tray. The little screws just pop out. I'd recommend replacing at least a couple of the tray screws with a small bolt and nut so that the tray can't get away.
We also snapped the buckle on the seat (again, replaced under warranty).
On a good note, the tray is really useful. It has a water bottle holder and a small waterproof container. I do prefer the opening system of the Wilderness Systems Pungo tray over the one here which screws on. Even with the tray, the kayak is still easy to get in and out of.
The seat is very comfortable. It also has a spot for a water bottle to slide under.
The quick-lock hatch works well and there is more bungee storage than most kayaks in this class and price range.
Very good kayak.
I have two of these and am quite pleased with the purchase. It is light in the water, handles three foot waves, and is comfortable to sit in.
The one unique thing about this kayak is the tray it offers. It has a tray that features a bottle holder, a waterproof container (perfect to store keys and cell phone) and almost a work area. This year I unhooked several bass while using it.
The seat has an interesting feature that holds a fishing rod very well, but not for trolling.
If it wasn't for the poor tracking it would get 5 stars. But you have to alter your paddling constently to keep a straight path.
I wish this boat had a rudder.
If there was one complaint, I wish it had a rudder. The tracking is difficult, the one weakness of the kayak. If it wasn't for that it would get 5 stars.
I have only used this boat on a lake so far. It doesn't track exactly true but is fairly easy to maneuver. Compared to my previous tandem kayak, this one is very light. I am able to carry the boat to the water myself as well as get it up on top of my car by myself. The seat is comfortable and it is easy to adjust the foot rests as well. All in all I really like this boat and would recommend it to anyone looking for a recreational kayak. I would also add that my 11 year old is able to handle this boat as well.
Great boat for the price
Bought this as my first kayak. Paddles straight and is easy to maneuver. Spent 3+ hours on the river and the seat felt great. Not the fastest but at its price is hard to beat. Only complaint is cheap hardware. Lost a screw to the foot pegs (Pelican sent replacement) and the seat back buckle broke (very flimsy and will replace with stainless steel d rings). If you don't mind a little extra exercise paddling and want to save a bunch of money then this is a good buy.
First Kayak, Good For Me So Far
I have used it for flatwater paddling on the Occoquan and Pohick Bay so far. The storage hold, small front container, seat and cup holder are nice features. The wide cockpit makes it easy to get in and out, but I also find that I sometimes bang my paddle/hand on the cockpit edge because it is pretty wide. I have a hard time going straight, but that may be me more than the kayak. Overall I am enjoying it and find it pretty stable and liked the price.
A great kayak!
I bought two of these and have used them five times already. One of those times my 10 year old neice used one. She handled it just fine. Another time we used them on Seneca Lake in NY with two foot swells. Again, they handled them just fine.
These are excellent boats, I highly recommend them.
good beginner kayak
Great beginner kayak. Purchased this to paddle on lake powell.Most comfortable seat I have sat in. This does well in flat water. Paddler should be strong is there are alot of boats around. Due to wakes hitting at so many angles. Ellie sticklers blew of even before getting this home.
Great kayak for the money
Great for rivers, lakes and ponds. Tracks well for a kayak that's not +$1000. It has cup holders which is awesome!
Great beginner Kayak
Great overall. Very nice seat. I had to remount the fin at the stern as it was installed off center.