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Submitted: 07-17-2013 by JR

I travel a lot for work, so I depend on kayak rentals much too frequently. Of the rentals I've used in the past year or so, the Elie Sound 120 XE was the best. I rented it for a day of kayaking on a large, inland reservoir; still in the morning, windy in the afternoon, no current or rips.

The Elie tracked well, was completely manageable even in the afternoon wind, and had a surprisingly comfortable seat for a stock model. It was very stable, but I didn't feel as if I was paddling a bathtub around the lake (unlike my most recent rental, which was stable as stable gets, but also sluggish and heavy). The knee/thigh padding was good. The foot pegs adjusted easily and didn't slip around out on the water (I have a habit of bearing down on them in the wind, apparently more than the average kayaker, so this is always an issue with me).

A plus: the cockpit is wide, so I had no trouble sliding in or out at the shore. I thought the tray--which I didn't really use--might create an access problem, but it didn't. The kayak was light and easy to lift to the shoulder (the manufacturer says this is because of its "lightweight and incredibly durable Poly-XR material").

I'd definitely consider buying this model for day trips on lakes or rivers (not whitewater) if I didn't travel so much. I'm not sure I'd use it on open coastal water with tides/currents/high wind (just got back from a kayaking trip in the Puget Sound) without a rudder.

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