Submitted: 09-19-2005 by mcollect
If you are worried about buying sight unseen, don't! I ordered my boat, it arrived and I took of for a week camping trip, when I returned I called and asked about stiffening the bottom and back deck. The first reply was that they would send me carbon and epoxy to do this, my boat is kevlar. When I called to discuss this they said that wouldn't do. They would make me a boat the way I expected, with extra stiffening in the areas I needed. Also were there any other things I thought I wanted changed. This was for free, a few weeks later a new boat arrived.
I've had my boat for three years. The only disadvantage to buying one, is that every person that sees it wants to talk about how beautiful it is. I have paddled many different boats and I think this is the best handling boat I have tried. Initial stability is there, but it is always a little rocking movement, secondary is unbelievable, without a brace you can bury the coaming underwater. With a good brace it is real easy to put your ears in the water and recover. Likewise this boat rolls almost by itself. This past weekend I was showing a novice braces and hipsnaps, I haven't even tried to roll in a year, over I went and on the first attempt to roll I shot out of the water.
I camp for a week at a time so this boat really gets loaded, water, food, plus all the goodies you want, and it is even more stabile. Speed is unbelievable, I also have a CD Extreme, the 700 is fast. Once up to my cruising speed it just stays there with no effort.
I have the SmartTrac rudder, it has been deployed only on rare occasions, quartering winds. It goes straight but put on edge it spins in turns. Not whitewater quick but very impressive.
Fit and finish put to shame other boats that are more expensive. It is comfortable out of the cardboard, say that about ANY other kayak. I only add thigh braces and adjusted the thigh hook area to make it fit my style and penchant for long days.
Why only a 9? When doing rolling sessions the front and rear hatches allow a cup or two of water to enter.