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The Mars has lovely manners, tracks well and is quick even with me aboard (I am 230lb). It is a good length for paddling longer distances, but is also nimble and easy to turn. It is comfortable and relatively dry in smooth conditions. For a light to medium weight paddler it has no pears and is fine for all but the largest paddlers. It is a good choice for women, similar in design, but better than either of the Venus models. My daughter has been using the Mars since she was about twelve and even completed a 20 mile open sea paddle with little difficulty.
If you can get your hands on one snap it up. Older design but a lovely paddle, Avoid boats that have had hatches fitted in the cockpit if you can. It is not an expedition boat and hatches let in water, no matter how well fitted they are.
I paddled the Mars along with the Necky Dolphin and Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro at Moneterey Bay Kayaks on Moneterey Bay. I am 5'9" tall and weigh 180#. I have a bad shoulder and I need an lightweight boat that is easy to paddle. I launched all three boats into small 1-2 foot knee high surf. A 1-2 foot chop on the bay. After the demo I preordered the Mars even though I could have bought used Dolphins or Scupper Pros cheaper.
The Scupper Pro was faster and had more cargo capacity. The Mars just has a cargo well and small 6" center hatch. The Mars was more maneuverable, more comfortable, and more stable on the water. The Mars did accelerate quicker, and maintained an easy 3-4 MPH pace with less effort. It also seems like it is much more than just 5# lighter than the Scupper Pro.
I have a bad shoulder and the lightweight and easy paddling is most important to me. I seek my thrills in surf and whitewater and the Mars is for easy trips with friends. It is all about personal preference. If ease of use is more important than performance, this may be a very good boat for you, too.
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