Submitted: 07-21-2004 by Chris
I bought this boat without trying it first (a long story involving a large discount), and I am genuinely very pleased with it. However, whilst I concur with the general praise offerred here, I do have three important reservations (hence only a 7 out of 10), which I shall list in ascending order of concern:
Firstly, I bought the rudderless version, as I am new to paddling sea kayaks and wanted to learn how to handle one without a rudder. However I would have liked the option of a retractable skeg as an alternative, for those rear quartering sea days and longer journeys.
Secondly, I am a bit of a fanatic about rolling - and I mean not just a flat water roll but being able to roll any boat I paddle in heavy seas or surf. To me this is an essential kayaking skill, though I know not everyone agrees. I found that the thight braces in the Kodiak were inadequate in this respect, so that whilst the boat rolled well in calm seas, or even facing into the waves, it was too easy to get twisted out if you tried to roll in surf or a beam sea. I have replaced the rather small side braces with proper thigh braces from a white water boat and am pleased to report that it now rolls a charm in the above conditons, and now I can just focus on my set up and sweep, without worrying about being rocked or twisted out of position, and be confident that I can get myself the right way up again should I ever need to.
Thirdly, I found the tow lines fore and aft top be a real hazard as, unbekownst to me, the rear one worked loose whilst I was paddling recently and when I treid a practice roll I discovered that my paddle had gone through the post capsize free floating looped end and pulled it tight, preventing me from completing my sweep, and having to try and free the paddle underwater. I'm glad I discovered that one in shallow waters during a practice and not in deep waters when I might have really needed my roll! It may have been a freak accident, but I have erred on the side of caution and removed the tow lines. I can live without being able to tie the kayak up using them, but can't live with the thought that this could happen when I least need it to.
So, great boat, I would recommend it, but if you're anything like me you may need to do a bit of customisation to bring your boat up to the highest sea kayak standards.