Like anyone who has been paddling for a while, I am constantly looking for new and better ways to transport my kayaks to the water. I recently decided to give the Malone Seawing Kayak Carrier & Stinger Load Assist (SS Combo) a go and found it to be easily the best solution I have tried. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Using the SS Combo is incredibly straightforward and unbelievably effortless. I am happy that I no longer have to contend with the big lift at the start and end of each day which is not only a chore, it is potentially dangerous. A friend of mine was recently sidelined for an extended period by a shoulder injury sustained unloading a kayak from a car.
The Seawing consists of a set of 2 V-shaped cradles with mid point mounting systems and tie down attachments, a pair of tie downs, and bow and stern lines.
Traditional cradles have roof rack mounting points for each side meaning they take up a lot of space. The Seawing’s mid point mounting system can be fitted near the side of the car, taking up less space and leaving more room for other things. In most cases it is possible to fit two Seawings side by side. Previously if you had two kayaks to carry it was necessary to look at a stacking system, either putting them on top of each other or on their sides against a pillar. Neither of these approaches is completely ideal.
The V-shaped cradles are great for boats of all shapes. Mine have handled both streamlined sea kayaks and wide double sit-on-tops without any trouble and there is no need to make any adjustment to fit each new boat. The Seawing gently flexes to fit pretty much any craft and hold it securely. A long kayak can appear to bounce around a bit but that isn’t because it has become loose. I have driven over 3,ooo kilometres without any issue. If you find the rocking disconcerting you can always use the included bow and stern lines to secure the ends to the car.
It is possible to use the Seawing by itself but the real star of the team is the Stinger, a retractable loading assistant consisting of an extension frame and V-block that permanently attaches to the rear Seawing cradle.
The picture on the previous page shows the Stinger in the fully retracted position. To prepare for loading all you need to do is loosen the two t-knobs holding it in place, pull the extension frame out to the back of the car, and tighten the t-knobs again when it is fully extended. The extension frame is 60cm long and the Stinger therefore works best when the rear roof rack is no further than that from the back of the car. Also, I have not tried to use it on a sedan where the presence of the rear boot could be problematic.
To load the kayak, place its nose in the V-block. The frame will bend and the rubber pad on the bottom will make contact with the rear of your car. It is designed not to scratch your vehicle you are a little precious then you might like to position a small rag under the pad.
Keeping the kayak steady, move to its rear and simply tilt and slide it into the Seawing cradles until it is even and balanced. You can then move the frame back into the retracted position and strap the boat in.
To unload your boat, simply reverse the process.
The recommended retail price for the SS Combo is $425 which is very reasonable when you consider that it is both a kayak cradle and a loading system. It is available in Australia wherever Malone products are sold.