07-20-2009Submitted by: Gin E.
Reviews for Sundance 12.0 Kayak by Perception Sport
Based On: 34 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned a Perception Sundance 12.0 since 2004 and love it. I went with the wider opening on the kayak because I wanted something I could get in and out of quickly. It tracks well and I love the stability since I go out on my own most of the time. I do not use the back cooler much because there is so much room in the kayak that I like things easily accessible. I like the cup holder that they company molded so it is between your legs for easy reach.
I am only 5'4" tall, slim, and not very strong so my only concern is that one day, due to it's weight, I may not be able to get it on top of my Escape. The dealer where I purchased it was wise in selling me the rollers that I can place on my back window (it holds on with heavy suction cups) and I just need to get the front of the kayak up to the rollers than push up to my back top rollers and then just roll to the front saddle holders.
Other than the weight of the kayak I love the ride and love the freedom that it allows me. I have no problem with the seat back and for me it is very comfortable. I have suggested this model to several friends who have also purchased the Sundance.
08-27-2008Submitted by: brodgers
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had 5 day long paddles so far with the composite (Airalite) version... I am happier with each outing. It is very stable but will lean for turns. This combined with the 12 foot length make it very maneuverable, and I have found it to be very efficient to paddle and tracks very well for its length.
The only adjustment for the seat is the angle of the back, but I have found it very comfortable even for a full day of paddling. The large cockpit makes it easy to access my camera and other gear I want handy.
I consider this a luxury boat for recreational paddling due to the efficiency, maneuverability, and light weight.
08-12-2008Submitted by: trkramer
- Rating: 9 of 10 I recently purchase the Perception Sundance 12 at Dick's Sporting Goods and would have to say that this is a fantastic kayak. I have been looking at purchasing a kayak to get back into paddling and was looking at boats between 10 and 12 feet long. My plan was to do more paddling in lakes and calmer waters and don't have any plans on taking it white water rafting or into the ocean. I was actually going to buy a Wilderness Systems Pungo but the Sundance caught my eye. I walked over to look at it and when the original $599 price tag came down to $389, it was hard to pass up.
I have spent about 4 hours in the boat thus far and really love it. It tracks well in the water and I feel like as long as I keep the target in front of me and continue to paddle, it really doesn't drift. Yes, the ripples and wake from local boats cause it to go to the side, but that's the yak' fault :)
The cockpit is roomy (I am 6'2" at 195 lbs), the adjustable foot pegs are great, and it's actually relatively easy to load and unload from my Honda Odyssey. I imagine if I were shorter, I wouldn't like throwing that up on to my van though.
My only real complaint thus far is that the rear storage compartment leaks so it's not 100% dry storage. The design of the rubber lid is kind of a pain as well, but not a deal breaker. The front bungee strap is nice to have but I would much prefer a paddle holder somewhere on the side. I am sure that is something I can add if I want to.
I have not experienced any issues with the seat at this point like some of the other reviewers and found it to be comfortable thus far. So overall, I would have to give it an 8.5, but had to round up to a 9!! It's a great boat and a lot of fun. I'll probably add some foam around the cockpit to protect my knees but that's pretty much all I am going to change.
07-31-2008Submitted by: Erik
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my first kayak. I was worried about getting a kayak with poor tracking, slow speed, and lack luster looks. I can say that I am impressed with the straight tracking, speed (4.0 mph average for an hour of paddling, 6.1 mph top speed), and the storage capacity. I would buy this kayak again in a heartbeat.
07-28-2008Submitted by: Bryan
- Rating: 7 of 10 The big rubber storage compartment lid get's a little annoying at times and I agree with the comments below. Bad seat! My seat is not broke yet, but it's flimsy and feels like it's going to break every time I lean back. I'm 6ft 4in so the Cock-pit has good space. Good tracking, and stability is good. I would recommend this yak if the seat wasn't so cheap!
07-21-2008Submitted by: BS
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is the second kayak I own. I purchased a 9' last spring (2007) and decided to upgraded. My original plan was to upgrade to a SOT, however there was no need to upgrade to a SOT since the Sundance has such a large cockpit. Stability of the kayak seems to be very good and it is fast. Plenty of storage in the dry well behind the seat and up front past the foot rests. Tracks straight and will continue to glide straight after paddling has stopped. I don't know if this kayak is manufactured anymore by Perception. I picked it up on clearance for 40% off retail and so far looks like it will be a good investment. I plan to use for occasional touring and fishing.
04-03-2008Submitted by: wkl1973
- Rating: 9 of 10 My first kayak and my favorite kayak. Comfortable, durable and useful in many applications. I use mine on rivers, lakes and the Atlantic Ocean coast. I beat it and it still performs perfectly. No issues. Cockpit size is great. For a recreational boat I choose this over the Pungo, Saluda and anything else I've paddled in the 12 foot range. Owned for 3 years.
01-09-2008Submitted by: lunarkayaker
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased a Perception Sundance 12.5 in the summer of 2007. This was my first kayak.
This is a great beginner’s boat. It has a large cockpit and is very user-friendly. I used thin, inexpensive foam kneepads to help hold my knees firmly to the deck. While the Perception is a recreational kayak and isn’t "worn" as snugly as one wears a sea kayak, the simple addition of the foam pads allowed me great measure of bodily control.
I took the Sundance on everything from open rivers to reservoirs, to small creeks. The Sundance had little flotation and wasn’t truly seaworthy, so I supplemented the included foam block and stern hatch with additional buoyant material.
The Sundance is particularly good at surfing power boat wakes. While I was, of course, displeased and often angered at the inconsiderate, illegal, dangerous manner in which power boats and jet skis were operated near me, the Sundance just rode right over their wakes.
I really abused the Sundance. It is beat up and banged up, but still going. I have moved up to a sea kayak, but will keep my Sundance. I plan to use it as a companion boat. I can let one of my friends or colleagues use it and introduce him or her to kayaking.
I may outfit it with outriggers for fishing or hunting, it is a stable boat. I will definitely use it as a "pack boat." Native Americans and early North American trappers frequently towed one canoe with another. The second boat-the pack boat-was typically filled with skins and equipment. I can definitely envision towing my Sundance up a creek behind my sea kayak, carrying with my bow, blowgun, turtle nets, atlatl, bolas, etc. and then towing it out filled with game, shells and skins. The Sundance has two channels in the hull which allow it to track very well; I foresee no problems towing it.
The Sundance is a great kayak for its intended purpose: beginning kayaking or utility use. It is a stable, fun boat that will always make you smile. If you buy one and develop your skills such that you need a sea kayak, it makes a perfect kayak to introduce others to this wonderful activity. Highly recommended.
02-12-2007Submitted by: joe
- Rating: 10 of 10 the sundance 12 is the best kayak i have ever used i go down the saco river just about every weekend from may to nov turning in rapeds is easy and it's almost like sitting on the grond it is so stable it is the best ever i dont know what the other reveiws were talking about the must not know what they are doing!
09-21-2006Submitted by: libbytrp
- Rating: 5 of 10 My husband bought this kayak this year. The seat started breaking very soon after. The seat brought off all together, though he can still use it, it is not as comfortable. The customer service at perception is the worse I have ever come accross. They were nasty and wanted us to pay for a new seat for this fairly new kayak. They said they new the seat design was poor, but didn't give any suggestions for a new design or a better seat. We finally did receive a new seat, but it was worse than the one that broke and it was not air inflated. EMS was not much help either. We will never purchase another perception kayak or another kayak from EMS.
06-05-2006Submitted by: chuckgu
- Rating: 5 of 10 I like the Kayak. But the customer service leaves a lot to be desired. The backrest mechanism was broken when I bought it. I emailed Perception, and they never responded. Luckily the guy at the store I bought it let me exchange it for a new one when the got more in. I hope this one doesn't break.
The other Perception kayak at the store with the same seat was also broken. The selection at the store wasn't so great, otherwise I would have traded for a different manufacturer.
05-22-2006Submitted by: Corey
- Rating: 10 of 10 My wife and I purchased two used kayaks, both by perception. One was a Sundance and the other was a sonoma. We love the sundance as it's very stable and easy to manuver for us beginners. The sonoma is very unstable and makes me wish I had another sundance instead of the sonoma.
05-11-2006Submitted by: cbashamla
- Rating: 10 of 10 So far...Love this boat. It is the polyethylene model. It is my first kayak. I grew up using pirougues, graduated to canoes, and now I am trying a kayak. I bought the new 2006 model with the ugraded seat. The seat is very comfortable. You can raise or lower the seat back. I have had back surgery so it was very important for me to have lower back support.
I went out on a large lake last weekend for the first time. The kayak tracked very straight. It was very calm that day, with only very light winds, so I don't know how it will react in heavier winds. We are going on a trip down a bayou this weekend, can't wait! Glad I bought this yak!
08-21-2005Submitted by: GC
- Rating: 8 of 10 My wife and I bought two Perception Sundance (Airalite) kayaks earlier this year. Neither of us are experienced paddlers but we did do a fair bit of research before we bought. We did make a mistake in our purchase, but that was our fault, not the boats'. More on that later.
We decided we wanted a stable kayak with a large cockpit opening that was not too heavy to lift on top of the car. After looking at a lot of kayaks it came down to either the Pungo (from Wilderness Systems) or the Sundance. At first we were going to go with the Sundance Airalite because of the weight difference, but then Pungo came out with the Duralite. I did not paddle the Duralite, but really didn't like what I saw. It just looked like a flimsy boat, and I read a number of reviews that said much the same thing. That left the choice between the poly Pungo and the Airalite Sundance.
A lot of people rave about the seat on the Pungo (phase 3 seating) but I actually liked the seat on the Sundance better. I got low back pain from the seat on the Pungo. I thought the Pungo tracked better than the Sundance however. I really didn't like the hatch on the Pungo, and the hatch on the Sundance (Airalite) works like a dream. In our comparisons, the Sundance won.
Here however comes the part where our inexperience shows. We bought these boats with the intention of keeping them for a lifetime. We live fairly close to a sheltered body of sea water, but also have a cabin on a lake, which is where we thought we would use the boats most of the time. Turns out we spent a fair bit of time on the ocean. One day when I was out alone a bit of a wind blew up, and it was all I could do to get the Sundance to move. This was not a major storm, but just a bit of choppy water. Flat bottom and stability are nice, but don't try to move in any kind of choppy water. After this experience we went out and took some kayak lessons, and lost our apprehension about those other "tippy" kayaks. We have now sold both our Sundance kayaks, and have on order two Nimbus sea kayaks. Again, this was our fault, not the boats. For any of you new kayakers, be sure to take lessons before you buy.
For the Sundance, I'd rate it an 8. I liked the Airalite, I liked the seat and hatch. Found the boat handled fairly well, although tracking could have been better. Great boat for calm water, but not good for choppy ocean water.
07-25-2005Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I rented a Perception Sundance 12.0 from a local canoe/kayak river trip company today. In the past I used to own a Wilderness System Mallard about 5 years ago that I lost in a divorce. I have been searching for a kayak that can handle my size! I am 6’4’’ and weigh 290 lbs. Problem is I have very large shoulders 58”. So I am very top heavy. The Perception Sundance 12.0 I rented was orange in color I have no idea what year. I guess at least 2 years old. I do know it was “poly”.
I went on a 9 mile trip down a small slow flowing shallow river and took me 4½ hours. I found the large cabin very comfortable for my legs! Leg room was never an issue.
I had a small cooler in the back compartment also a large trash bag in the front compartment beyond my legs filled with trash I picked up along the banks of my trip! Lots of room! The Perception Sundance 12.0 was great stability wise with my top heaviness!
Great kayak for my size except for a few complaints!
If you are a “Big Guy” Like myself. So far this was a great kayak. I always felt stable. Just a few improvements would make it better. Maybe the newer models are? Some of my friends said I needed a litter bigger one, maybe a 13.0.
06-28-2005Submitted by: UU LJT
- Seat was a little to small for me. I found the one strap design that holds the back rest was not enough to hold my upper body. I was longing for the Wilderness Systems seat design like the Pungo models have.
- I could go faster than the canoes next to me but the steering was not very good. I kept going to the right and turning around backwards in every little current no matter how I leaned. Might be the little rental paddles combined with my lack of experience. This started to get frustrating after 4 hours. My old Mallard never did this. Just a slight bit more steering capability and it would not be a complaint.
- Seemed to be some water coming from somewhere. More than paddle drip. Also A cup holder would have been nice.
- Rating: 8 of 10 My husband and I purchased two Sundance kayaks from EMS. We started using them in the Adirondacks and have found them very agreeable. I am 5'3" and I use a 230 paddle. My other choice was the Pungo Duralite 120. The Perception Sundance has been a good choice so far.
05-26-2005Submitted by: jeffh129
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my Sundance for a year. It's the "poly" version, I didn't want to spend the extra bucks for the Airlite model. I live very close, within ten minutes of several lakes and rivers. I must have used it three dozen times last year.
I'm a beginner, but this kayak has met and exceeded my expectations. As I fish out of my kayak I needed one with a LARGE cockpit. The only other kayak with a cockpit approaching this size are the W/S Pungo and Pamlico. On the Sundance there is plenty of room for two rods. I especially like that I am able to store the rods on each side of the seat. You have room to slide them down between the seat and the side of the hull. This is not possible on other kayaks that I researched.
The rear hatch is standard size and large enough to accommodate my set of kayak wheels. There is nothing better than wheeling your yak to the launch site, removing the wheels from the yak, stowing them on the yak and paddling away.
The Sundance is extremely stable. In shallow water I rocked back and forth sideways, vigorously, and didn't tip. (I'm sure of course that it can be tipped with enough effort) Both the primary and secondary stability are wonderful.
It paddles well, tracks well. Let's be honest, it is a "rec" yak, so it's not sleek. It's certainly not as efficient as a high end sea kayak. Still it paddles well for a yak in the "rec" class.
I love the "air bladder" arrangement on the seat back. There is a squeezable bulb which allows you to add air to the seat back to give you varying degrees of lumbar support. When I bought the yak, I thought this was a "gimmick," but it actually works rather well. You can also adjust the angle of the seat back.
The seat base could use some work. I've had to add a gel filled pad to alleviate some butt pain. Still, noting how many after market products there are for enhancing seating comfort, it's apparent that this problem is not limited to Perception seats. Seems to be pretty much an industry wide problem.
So all and all I am very satisfied with this kayak. I did a lot of research prior to buying it, but I also think I was blessed with "beginners luck." I like it so much that I'm considering purchasing a second one so that I'm able to take family and friends paddling with me.
04-27-2005Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 7 of 10 I stopped using my Sundance 12 (purchased year before last) after a heart attack 11/03, but took it out on a fast Alabama river Sunday-still very unhappy about the flimsy seat, which gives under my weight (280) and offers no support when it buckles. Strongly prefer Old Town molded plastic seats. Bought Sundancer to keep up with fast kayaks in my clubs, but prefer comfort and weight (32 lbs) of my trusty old Maxi Pokeboat, 15 yrs old. I frequently have to recoat the rear with fiberglass due to gravel peels and once even from running over the Pokeboat in my van. But the plastic Sundance is hardier and cheaper. But I contend there is no more comfy paddlecraft than my Maxi Pokeboat. Janet Reno said she paddles one, too.
02-21-2005Submitted by: landsharc
- Rating: 4 of 10 Took the boat out for 2nd time today. One of the supports that hold up the seat broke off. The word junk is coming to mind about now. Very poor craftsmanship on this one anyway. That’s 2 problems I’ve had and 2 outings. No more perception for me.
02-07-2005Submitted by: landsharc
- Rating: 5 of 10 I just tried the Sundance 12 out for less than 1 hour on a lake. The water tight bulkhead is a sales pitch. 1 hour with nothing more than paddle drip and the thing leaked. I will fix it myself so I know it will be water tight. If perception can’t keep water from getting through a bulkhead, than I’m not sure how much I can trust their product. When I step up to a touring kayak I will not consider Perception. It is too bad though, the Sundance moves pretty good and is very responsive.
10-19-2004Submitted by: rwsabota
- Rating: 10 of 10 Purchased used, I have been very pleased. Airalite has good stability and efficient glide, plenty of room. Has been utilized on smaller streams, larger rivers and good sized lakes, no complaints. Appreciate the lighter weight the end of the day when it’s time to load up!
10-17-2004Submitted by: Norman - 32038
- Rating: 10 of 10 An awesome boat - super stable - found it at the local dealer on sale - in the color I wanted!! I did manage to capsize it one time - but it took a sunken tree in the flooded swamp after our 4 hurricanes this year. I just had to leave the river channel and slalom around the cypress trees - but then I was leaning over to avoid some extra low branches too. I'm very pleased with the extra quality that is built in her!
07-19-2004Submitted by: blockhouselake
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my Sundance mainly for fishing, and have really enjoyed using it. It is perfect for the small lakes and slow rivers that I like, and has plenty of room for all my gear. It really scoots across the water, tracks well, and is stable even in a chop. The camo color is nice and the rear storage hatch is handy. Just be sure to caulk the bulkhead to make the storage compartment watertight.
07-02-2004Submitted by: DRB
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is an addendum to review of 6-10-2004. I contacted Perception about the problem with the seat coming loose and they had me bring in the kayak and gave me a new kayak. They were very accomodating, very little hassle.
06-10-2004Submitted by: DRB
- Rating: 9 of 10 Bought my Sundance 12 about 3 months ago and use it on a lake. Very fast and stable. Have probably used it 50-70 hours already. Have been very satisfied overall with the kayak. I have had a recent minor problem. I have the one with the adjustable air bladder. The seat rests on 4 points on the ribs at bottom of boat. These four points have come lose and slid off the ribs, resulting in skewed seat. Had to cut braces from 1X4's to slip under seat to add stability. This appears to be something Perception needs to address to better the kayak.
04-12-2004Submitted by: C.L.
- Rating: 9 of 10 This is my second kayak. I traded in my pungo 100 for the sundance 12.0. I was suprised at how much faster it was than the ten foot pungo 100. The seat is just as comfortable as the pungo's. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't have a cup holder, but I'll live. All around it's a pretty good buy.
09-24-2003Submitted by: wildernesspaddler
- Rating: 8 of 10 I paddled a 12' Sundance for 5 hours in the Adirondacks and found it offered stability and speed on the big lakes and turned on a dime through the small tributaries that conect the lakes. I am 5' 10", and not a lightweight and was comfy the whole time. Only complaint was that I did a lot of steering, but you can't have everything! Just bought a new one.
07-17-2003Submitted by: Nonsense9
- Rating: 8 of 10 I was actually surprised by the Sundance's competent handling. Why? I had paddled three other kayaks in the 12 to 12.5 foot range, and found them maneuverable, but slower and sometimes less stable. The Sundance was reasonably fast and still stable. It was the best of the kayaks I tried under 13 feet.
One interesting note: When making sweeps to turn in place, the Sundance will actually make noise at the stern! I thought at first it was my lack of paddling technique, then realized it wasn't the paddle--it was the blunt stern coming around! Yet, it turned as well as these 12 foot kayaks all do.
The Sundance (for me) tracked better than a Walden Vista and a Walden Scout. This also surprised me, because I expected the "lighter" Waldens to be much faster and stable on the go. Now that I've tried one, I would rate the Sundance ahead of both in handling qualities and speed. Conditions included a 10-15mph beam wind, and the Sundance didn't have the tendancy to turn into it like the shorter yaks.
Moral of the story--make sure you try it before you buy it!
06-21-2003Submitted by: dennisrmil
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Sundance 12.0 is my first Kayak and I was looking for someing stable and fun to paddle. I have had it our 3 times and have really enjoyed it. The Sundance is easy to handle, stable and fun. I am most interested in paddling on lakes and can use this for day trips, short rides, exercise and fishing. I do find that I need to work at steering the Kayak, but suspect that the problem is more my paddling technique than the Kayak and expect it to improve as I gain experience and time on the lake.
04-21-2003Submitted by: DW
- Rating: 9 of 10 Very pleased with my Sundance 12.0 as both a fishing and paddling platform. This boat is easy to maneuver on slow flowing rivers and tracks well while covering the shoreline and coves of Lakes Fork & Ray Roberts. The large cockpit space allows for a soft side tackle box, small cooler and fishing rod without any interference in paddling or comfort, there's also a large water tight rear storage area. Camo finish is a nice addition.
04-16-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I paddled my new Sundance 12.0 for the first time this weekend. I was very happy with it and had a wonderful time watching the wildlife in the marshes at the upstream end of a lake. I even ventured up into the tributary river for half a mile or so. The most pleasant surprise was the speed of the boat. It was faster than I expected. I was comfortable throughout the 4 hour trip, getting out only once to eat a snack.
I wanted a recreational boat in the 12' range with shallow draft and a cockpit larger than 50" long so my daughter could ride along. It came down to the Loon 111, Walden Scout, and the Sundance as the only boats that met this criteria. I chose the Sundance because of the comfort and because our local dealer carried it.
My only complaint is that the bow wiggles from side to side a little when paddling. This could be somewhat attributed to my paddling technique, but I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect a 12' boat with shallow draft to track perfectly straight. In fact, a boat this size that tracked straight would probably not be very maneuverable, but the Sundance maneuvers very well. I am very happy with my choice.
03-31-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just got the Sundance and find it to be a very smooth, stable and pleasurable ride. I would highly recommend it for sportsmen. I got it for recreational purposes and it is great for day touring and exercise!
03-20-2003Submitted by: Okiepaddler
- Rating: 9 of 10 This is a great rec kayak. It is comfortable, stable and pretty responsive. I spent 4 hours on a river in it and didn't feel the need to get out at all. It does well on slower water and lakes but isn't too bad on faster rivers. I love the amount of storage it has. This is one you can take long trips and really enjoy it.
03-18-2003Submitted by: RLH
- Rating: 8 of 10 I am long waisted and 290 lbs. This yak is very stabile and a joy to paddle. The cockpit is roomy even for me.
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