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Submitted: 09-29-2010 by Heather W
I just bought a Puffin Swift 14' (can't beat the clearout price of $695 US!) and took it out for the first time. The boat packs into a sizeable duffel bag but isn't heavy so it's quite manageable to carry when packed. Assembly took a while but wasn't difficult. The boat is light and easy to carry when assembled. It looks great, especially once I added some deck rigging. I installed the optional footrest and found it to be sturdy and much more comfortable than hard foot pegs.
In the water the Swift was fast, tracked well and turned on a dime. You could really feel how light it was; it is almost effortless to paddle.
My only complaint is the lack of thigh braces. The boat felt a bit tippy to me, which I ascribe to two things. One, I probably had a bit too much air in the seat so I was wobbling back and forth (imagine sitting on a fully-inflated beach ball as opposed to a half-inflated one). But I also think that paddlers make lots of tiny balance corrections with their thighs, which they may not even be aware of. Without thigh braces, you really notice the lack of that extra control. I also worried that I wouldn't be able to roll it- others have said it's roll-able but without thigh braces, I'm not sure how. I've read that there are Puffin thigh straps available, but from the pictures I've seen, they look like they attach to bars on the underside of the deck, and the Swift doesn't have bars there, so I'm guessing the straps don't work with this boat. I'm going to try making thigh braces out of foam and attaching them to the frame (there are support bars on either side of the seat, just under the deck, that might work for this).
Overall, though, I have to say I'm very happy with the boat, especially at the price I paid.
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