Submitted: 09-27-2007 by ihaveten
I'm 5'6", 160 lbs, 30"inseam, and size 7 feet. Less than one year paddling experience. I recently purchased a used Bahiya.
Paddling the Bahiya-The initial stability is actually quite good for a 20.5” beam and firms up more in wave action. The hard chines allow you (rather require you) to edge the kayak to execute turns. Once on edge it feels rock solid. I can sit comfortably on edge. It is extremely fast. At a touring pace I passed small sail boaters on Kent Lake. It tracks very well in calm water. In heavier wave action tracking was affected slightly. I did not have to use many correction strokes only a lift of a knee and I was back on course. I am 160 lbs. right at the minimum recommended weight for this boat. I did notice that the wind mildly affected the tracking as well. This was the result of a little too much freeboard when boat was empty. I loaded approx 25 additional lbs into the hatches and the handling and tracking improved greatly. The only time I even thought about using the skeg was in quartering waves from larger boat wakes but never had to deploy it. I suspect that in constant quartering seas I would need the skeg at least partially deployed.
The weight is around 60 lbs which is manageable both on and off the water. The deck height is around 13” but actually feels lower due to the deep V hull design. The back deck is fairly high making it difficult to lay back on. The workmanship and quality are second to none. The boat is a 2003 model. It has a hung fiberglass seat that is narrower than the newer models and fits me wonderfully. The front bulkhead is foamed out (no foot rests) so it is very comfortable on the feet.
Overall I would have to say that the Bahiya is a very high quality and capable Sea Kayak. As stated by other reviewers it requires edging to turn sharply. I have a low center of gravity so it did not feel that "tippy" to me. I only rated it 9 out of ten because of the need to load the boat to reach the optimum waterline. This kayak is not strictly for "experienced" paddlers but it does require some level of comfort edging and bracing.