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Submitted: 07-07-2006 by grl

I am 5í1Ē, 115 pounds, female, and have ridden horses, road bicycles, run, hiked, and done triathlon. I have been paddling for a year, with instruction, and bought a Force 3 (17í, 20.5Ē, 11Ē depth) in April 2006. I paddle on lakes and ocean. Prior boats include Eddyline Merlin, P&H Sirius S, Avocet, and Anas Acuta, and Iíve tried many others. Finding something with the right fit and feel has been a challenge until the Force 3. I am convinced that the balanced fit of boat/paddler/paddle is essential for learning efficient paddling technique and skill. The Force 3 is a very sweet boat and does so many things very well. It is an ideal boat for a small paddler (and by small paddler, I mean physically short, light-weight women who wear clothing sizes 2, 4, 6, 8). It fills a long-empty gap in the sea kayak market for "peanut-sized" small paddlers.

Seat. It places the paddler in the correct upright position squarely on the sit bones. It is extremely comfortable over five to six hours. The leg position with feet on pegs is without strain, and the thigh braces are immediately available. No struggle to find and hold them. No need to force the legs further apart to find the sides of the boat.

Tracking. The Force tracks solidly. It is fast and I have paddled it at over 4 knots. It glides beautifully, both forward and reverse, and makes the reverse figure of eight almost easy!

Maneuverability. You can steer it with your butt! Drop a hip and breath and the stern will slide around. It is very responsive. It is easy to put on edge and hold it there. As paddling skill increases, the Forceís performance increases. Ask and you will receive, it does not fight with you. I have a lot to learn so I expect the Force has a lot yet to show me!

Wind. It does not get blown around as so many other boats do. It will go directly into a headwind with less effort than any boat I have paddled. It will take quartering seas and following seas comfortably, and will pick up rides on waves effortlessly. Itís a fun ride. I can turn it upwind and downwind at between 15-20 knots, which at this point is where my comfort level rests.

Volume. At my weight and with my day kit, it sits well in the water with a balanced waterline. Every other boat Iíve had required additional weight to get the bow lowered into the water. I have not yet camped with it, but there is room for everything I will need.

Rolling. Iím learning. I watched someone smaller than I repeatedly roll it. I can do a static/balance brace. I can easily lay back on the deck. My elbows do not hit the deck/coming. There is nothing to get in the way of good rotation.

The little things: Flexible, tight hatch covers. Cockpit size is ample for easy entry and exit. Excellent primary and secondary stability.

Impex got it right with the sleek and beautiful Force 3. It is a gem!

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