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Submitted: 08-15-2013 by BDS
Follow up to my review from a year ago (2012-07-19).
After using it through the fall and then again in the spring and this summer, it still rates as a 9. The only thing preventing this from being a 10 is the lack of a storage hatch in the front. I've purchased a velcro strap-on item from REI to compensate for that lack and it works pretty well.
A few comments to my negatives and positives to add on to this kayak review.
1. The neoprene cover is MUCH easier to put on as I've figured out what to do and how to do it! I don't use it frequently but can now get it on in the first or second attempt.
2. and 2A still an issue but the strap on works fine as a stop-gap. If I ever go on an extended trip with this I'll probably find that it's more of an issue than it is right now.
3. The drain plug would be great but I find that it's not really an issue for me.
1. I still find this one of the lighter kayaks that I've had to lift and move those times that I've been in a group.
2. Turns out I had the foot brace set too far forward on the leg that fell asleep. Since I've adjusted the braces to the correct length, I've had no issues, even after a 6 hour paddle. The seat is fine although a little bit of padding would make it a bit more comfortable.
3. I have no problems with tracking or maneuverability. Turning is a piece of cake (nothing too sharp and nothing in fast moving water so can't comment on those types of turns). Those short wide ones that some of my friends have purchased make some pretty wide turns and if the wind is strong, it makes it that much harder for them to turn. I haven't had that problem at all.
4. Stability is just as good as I mentioned a year ago. I've been out in 3 foot swells now (not big but still big compared to most of the flat water we have in Indiana) and am not concerned about capsizing. I've been out in strong winds as well (20-30 MPH gusts) and have no issue with possible capsizing or drift. I did purchase a spray skirt after that trip to minimize the amount of water I got dosed with as well as the amount getting into the cockpit.
6. As I've gotten better and stronger, speed is better but I'm not racing anyone. I'm usually enjoying the time by myself on the water.
As of right now, this is the perfect kayak for what I'm doing and I feel no need to upgrade or look for a better boat. I still consider myself a beginner and this is one that I would recommend to my friends if they're on the market for a kayak.
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