The molokini kayak was the first transparent kayak on the market. It came out in about 2005. It's a versitile kayak and it's fun. It's been featured on
the Today show and in well known publications like Time magazine. However, the company that produces it, Clear Blue Hawaii, earned itself a terrible reputation. There are reports all over
the internet about people that have sent their money to the company that makes them, but had to wait for many months before actually
getting them. The Better Business Bureau's website has over a dozen complaints on file against the company.
Eventually other companies selling transparent kayaks & canoes stepped into the market. However, most of these companies are selling cheap chinese knock offs or fakes. These kayaks are made of a lower grade lexan (a polycarbonate), the thickness is often not as stated, & there is no layer of UV protection like many of them claim. In an effort to supply my rental business, I've ordered from 3 different chinese suppliers before giving up on the cheap "wholesale" chinese kayaks. As a result of my experiences, I've created a list of clear kayak manufacturers &/or sellers sorting out the good ones from the bad. If you want to just get right to it and find out who the good ones are, keep reading.
It appears there are only 2 reputable companies in the U.S. that sell/make good quality clear kayaks. One is See Through Canoe in St. Petersburg, FL & the other is Klear Kanoo in north FL. Each of these companies sells a slightly different kayak. Both kayaks are completely transparent, both are made of lexan, & both are about the same size. The main differences are
- Clear seats that are in a fixed position. Because the seats are hard, molded lexan, they provide better back support.
- No skeg, Doesn't paddle very straight and is almost like trying to paddle an inner tube.
- Rounded lip/gunwale (top outer edge of the canoe)
- No accessories.
See Through Canoe
- Typical fabric kayak seats. Can be adjusted & can be put it different positions in the canoe. Back support not as good as a solid seat.
- Has a retractable skeg & is easy to paddle in a straight line, even with only one person in the canoe.
- Hard rubber liner lip/gunwale (top outer edge of the canoe)
- Accessories = electric motor, folding shade top & storage cover.