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Reviews for Isere Kayak by Phoenix Poke Boats


Rated: 8.57/10 Based On: 7 Reviews

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07-26-2010
Submitted by: Hal DoughertySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought an Isere from Phoenix back in the 70's and loved it. At the time I bought my boat, they sold un-assembled kayaks so my boat came as a hull, deck and seat assembly. I did the final assembly in a weekend. The resulting boat was fast, stable and had lots of room for packing supplies for touring. I paddled the Isere for about 10 years before I sold it... I sure wish I had it back. Fiberglass kayaks have a feel that make plastic boats paddle like recycled milk bottles... Too bad the price of fiberglass boats is so high; I won't be paddling one any time soon.
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04-16-2010
Submitted by: brianSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Acquired early '80s Isere through barter for work in a garden. Have used several but this is the first kayak I have owned so my opinion based on incomplete relative experience. Had it for about 8 years.

Have taken this boat through everything from: flock of Brant in an Adirondack Lake days after ice out; streams flat to mild whitewater; ponds; tidal marshes; surfing wakes of oil barges and the Rodney Dangerfield style yacht on the Hudson River; to the ocean.

This boat is a workout machine that makes you want to push yourself faster and further just because you can. Have no desire to find another. You must modify the seat or be willing to blame your sore back on lifting something that you shouldn't have.

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05-12-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased an ancient (70s?)Phoenix Isere and I am impressed with its utility. The light weight was the attraction for me (as well as the low used price). My claim (yet to be disproved) is that Kayak use is inversely proportional to weight. I have a nice river 150 yards behind my home and the Isere makes kayaking an attractive workout option. By comparison, my Prijon Kodiak is a strain just to get to the river. The tracking is good but I would say that the Isere would be improved by a rudder in that it assures complete equality in left/right strokes and allows the paddler to use wider, lower strokes. The Isere is fairly wide (as it should be at 14ft) and large volume so weather cocking and wide strokes are to be expected. By comparison, the Kodiak is useless with the rudder up, better with rudder down. The stability is not as high as I would like but I am sure this is due to the seat height more than an inch over the bottom. I plan to angle cut the seat mount and move it to the bottom and rearward.

My needs could be unique as I am 6’ 2” and quite top-heavy. The Isere is fast for its length but beyond this it is more pleasurable than other fast kayaks because it gets up to speed so fast due to the light weight. The 14ft waterline is about optimal with low surface area drag bringing you well past hull speed. The bottom stays smooth because the thin hull gives rather than focusing weight and scratching. Nylon and fiberglass doesn’t sound high performance but the result is more capable than many Kevlar hulls I have seen.

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10-18-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have an Isere dating back to sometime in the early 1970's, so it is easily 30+ years old now, and "spartan" fits the bill. Not very comfortable for long outings without a customized backrest. But this boat paddles, tracks and responds like a dream, and is my favorite river touring kayak. With the deck outfitting, I top out at only 31 pounds. Thanks to the somewhat assymetrical shape, this kayak paddles fast for its length and I've beaten longer boats in races with it. A classic design that outperforms many newer designs. Really, tho, mine looks like hell...I call it the Cirrhosis of the River.
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10-30-2005
Submitted by: BeansSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've owned the Isere for 20years. This is a do it all kayak. I've paddled it on rivers, lakes and oceans. It is deceptively fast and handles very well. No rudder is needed. The only complaints I have is that Phoenix really produces a spartan boat. You have to put your own backstrap, decking and any other necessities you want. Recently a person I know ordered one and the workmanship was very poor. She sent pictures of the blems and Phoenix, to their credit, knocked off a few hundred dollars. With the prices they are now charging, they should outfit this boat to the max. It's a proven design, but not many people know about it because all they promote is their Poke Boats.
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11-21-2004
Submitted by: JamisonSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     The boat I bought new and had shipped from Kentucky to San Diego is a "second" fiberglass boat, and I saved a couple hundred dollars by buying it on their “steals and deals” page. I wish I hadn’t as the resin is thicker and it added weight. I have paddled it a couple of years on a weekly basis in a lot of different conditions on San Diego bay, the ocean and the San Juan river with class 3 rapids. I have been very pleased with the overall ownership experience. The boat is easy to handle without a rudder except in strong quartering tail winds/waves where it takes a lot of work to hold the line. I got a rudder just to keep up with a pal in the same boat, who got a rudder first. It is light weight, but by the time I put the rudder, deck cords and factory foot pegs (modified to steer) along with floatation bags, I hit 42 lbs. Not bad for fiberglass, but not the 29 advertised.

It is a sturdy boat, as I expected, as I also own a 20 year old Vagabond 2 person boat made by Phoenix. I treat the poor things badly and drag them around with no regard for cosmetic damage. I do try and avoid the big rocks on the way down the river, but I don’t always succeed. I haven’t put a hole in either one yet, and the Vagabond went down the river in very low water (2002 drought) banging on a lot of rocks, still no holes.

The Isere is a good do-all boat that will pack a lot for a trip, yet works well as an exercise rig in big water. It maneuvers well in the reeds with the rudder up and is reasonably fast with the rudder down. I had good luck with the factory shipping, my friend did not, although they did take the first one back with no questions when subcutaneous damage was suspected by my friend.

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09-29-2003
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had this 1982 29lb fiberglass Phoenix Isere for two days now, have paddled it both days on a nearby lake and am quite pleased with it. It seems very fast compared to my Perception Keowee 1 & 2 as well as my Old Town Loon 160T kayaks and my Moore Canoe Company 16'fiberglass Ladybug canoe. It tracks well and turns quickly using body balance and seems to accellerate and glide with very little effort. After two hours paddling on a lake on a very windy day, my arms felt like I could paddle for another hour or two, but I was out of time. I would be pretty worn out with any of my other boats after just an hour. I easily kept up with two men in a tandem canoe. This boat is now my favorite. It initially feels "tippier" than my other boats, but I never felt as if I would go over. The seat has no back rest, but is made pretty comfortable using a piece of high-density foam about 3" thick that sticks up about 3 or 4" above the back of the cockpit. The foot braces are not adjustable while you are seated in the boat. The thigh braces work well for me. I am 5'6" and 145lbs. The 29lb weight makes portaging and loading on the car top almost a pleasure. I reccommend this boat for people who want more speed than recreational kayaks offer and don't need the feeling of security that the high initial stability of recreationl kayaks. I'll update the review after I have tried it on a local river.
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