07-01-2009Submitted by: rickmannow
Reviews for Element 11.2 Kayak by Dagger
Based On: 17 Reviews
- Rating: 8 of 10 This seems to be the same kayak as the Perception Rhythm 11. The picture I can find are identical right down to the rigging.
I find that I like everything about this kayak except for one thing, the tracking. The kayak is easy to paddle, going at least a half mph faster than my Equinox 124 for the same paddling effort. It is not quite as stable, but is still good. It has a lot more room for my feet and legs and the seat is very comfortable. I don't think I have enough experience with different kayaks to rate the ease of turning.
But the tracking is definitely far worse than the Equinox 124. The Equinox is a rock. In calm water it just goes in the direction it is pointed. I don't have to pay any attention to it, I just paddle and every 10 to 20 seconds look to see if I have paddled off course at all and correct a bit. The Rhythm 11 is always on the hairy edge of making a turn and if my attention wanders for more than two strokes, it is cutting a turn and I have to fully extend the paddle to one side for a couple of hard turning strokes to get it back on course. In rough water (like power boat wakes) it needs constant adjustments to keep it on track. This is especially true for wake coming up from behind. They will push the boat into a turn and then the boat takes over and turns hard. The back side of the wake is not enough to counter the turn at that point and I have to correct hard.
In quiet creeks when I am trying to creep up on wildlife, I can stop paddling that Equinox and it will just follow its nose. I have lost many a picture because the Rhythm wants to make a turn which can take me too close to the wildlife and scare it away before I can get the picture.
So I am still looking for the perfect kayak. I am going to try a Pungo 120, the Necky Manitou 11 and a Dagger Blackwater 10.5 or 12.
09-04-2008Submitted by: cpl
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my Element about a year and a half ago. I have never had a problem with water in the dry space, although before my boat hit the water I caulked around the foam pad right behind the seat. I liked the front rigging but it needed to be restrung. The only thing I though this boat needed was a good drain plug, so my boat now has a plug to the left rear of the paddler. I have never had anything negative to say about the performance of the boat. when I bought this boat I had no idea what I was looking for in a yak, this boat has been great its just what I was looking for.
05-10-2007Submitted by: mwvhome
- Rating: 10 of 10 We bought this boat for our 13 year old daughter as she was outgrowing her Acadia Scout (which she passed down to our 7 year old- also a great boat). The Element suits our needs perfectly. I tried this boat out myself and was extremly happy with the way this boat performed for an 11' boat. It outperformed a different 12' boat we had and got rid of because of poor tracking and plowing. I paddle a Dagger Catalyst 13 with rudder and she had no problem keeping up with me on the lake the other day and we had some wind and waves. It's stable, it's got good tracking, and it's got some nice hard chines. This is the best looking, and best performing 10-12 foot boat we've had and we've had a few. I'm giving it a 10 because it suits our needs perfectly. We wanted a boat my daughter could paddle (and paddle well-not struggle) and also a boat that anyone could use if they wanted. We also wanted something that performed well, and that it does!
09-08-2005Submitted by: Mayberry
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've owned a Dagger Element for the past year and have paddled it twenty-five times. I think it was a perfect boat to start paddling with and plan to keep it, even as I buy boats with more specific designs. The stability is superb thanks to the mammoth 28inch width. I only managed to flip it once in Class III whitewater.
The boat is fast and I think it tracks better than some have reviewed, thanks to the hard chimes. Exactly half my trips have been on flat water and half on rivers ranging from very slow to Class III. I've taken the Element through three Class III rapids multiple times and think it handles great to be 11 feet long. I recently bought a Dagger GT so that I could take the white water to the next level, but I will always keep the Element around to use on those slow moving rivers with Class II rapids.
I love the long day trips on the river in the Element with a lunch packed in the hatch. I am also a fan of the high backrest on the seat, but I had to make sure my pfd had a mesh lower back so that the seat and pfd wouldn't be against each other. The only kayak I have seen that I feel is better as an all around rec boat is the Dagger Blackwater, simply because it is a little faster, although not as stable.
07-21-2005Submitted by: kds
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought my new element and it is SWEET.i am a beginner and it's my first kayak;it handled really well.i paddled two miles on just my first day.being just 14 i have plenty of room to grow.i live in vermont and i plan on using puppy till' the ice freezes over.
The tracking isn't as bad as i've heard,but with a strong enough wind and/or current it takes on a mind of it's own.great maneuverability and good looks make this a boat one that turns heads.i would recommend this kayak to anybody.dagger really came through on this one.
03-06-2005Submitted by: Scott
- Rating: 10 of 10 The Element is everything you could want in a non specific type boat, meaning you want class 3+ white water buy a WW boat, you want long distance travel/tracking get a 15 foot narrow touring kayak.
That being said I have had my Eley now for about a year and have paddled it ALOT and am very happy with the way it has treated me!!!
It's gone the distance on Lake Powell and handled the monster barge boat wakes there with comfort. I paddle it weekly on a local lake near where I live, It does tend to drift with a strong breeze but its easy to deal with that, I've even used it several times on a few Class 2 narrow rock filled streams near Denver where I live, and I did quite well on the rivers in northern Arkansas too. It turns on a dime and leaves you change with a little muscle power will catch an eddy quite well ferry’s nicely and much to my surprise it will even surf on the small waves, just don’t pretend it’s a white water boat!!!
My only complaint is that Dagger needs to put in thigh braces but I made do by using hip pads as knee rests to lock my knees under the combing.
If you’re looking for a fun messing around on all types of water the Element 11.2 is for you.
09-22-2004Submitted by: dbkarcz
- Rating: 7 of 10 This yak is rated to 275 lbs, I am 245 lbs, if I paddled to hard I could almost sink this boat. I think it is a wonderful boat for someone my wife's size (122 lbs). It handled well as long as I did not push it.
08-31-2004Submitted by: enchant
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've had this kayak for nearly a couple of months now. It's got good and bad points, but mostly good.
Tracking – I've got to admit that I have not tried a lot of the boats out there, so I don't have a huge reference to go on. But I've tried a few, and it's my opinion that this boat doesn't track well at all. If there is any breeze or current, serious paddling adjustments must constantly be made. The other edge to that sword, however, is that it turns on a dime. I've become accustomed to the tracking issue, and it's not much of a problem. But this past weekend, I got to try someone's Dagger Charleston 15, and ohmygod. It's like the thing was on rails. Sigh. Maybe next year.
I'm not sure what the purpose is of the funky rigging on the Element. Cool look, sure (very "Spiderman"), but not very practical. Also, the rear-most tiedown bolts of the rigging were so far back that I'd tend to drag my thumbs over them when paddling, and it really hurt if I was bearing down. I finally removed them. The boat is pretty fast, and not too hard on the eyes. I've got size 12 feet and I don't have any problem. It's nice and roomy in the cockpit.
From the "this happens on all boats" dept... I think the "watertight" hatch is only watertight until it leaves the factory. The flexing of the plastic hull breaks the seal made by the silicone goop they apply. I'm working on a rubber and silicone solution to this and don't think it'll be a problem. Hey, if I can't kayak during the winter months, at least I can spend time working on my boat in the cellar!
I find that if I'm heading diagonally into a serious wind, with the waves hitting the boat at an angle, they splash up quite a bit and get blown into me. Again, perhaps this is common among most recreational boats. The only other ones that I've tried extensively are the Loon 111 and 138. The hulls on these are more "ship-like" and the waves break harmlessly off them, rather than splashing up.
But I'm enjoying the hell out of it, and it'll suit me nicely until I buy a touring boat next year. (Geez, I hope my wife doesn't read this.)
08-30-2004Submitted by: JerseyGirl
- Rating: 10 of 10 My Dagger Element and I go on our first paddle with a group tomorrow evening. Thank you for all the reviews to help my decision making! I had it in the bay at St. George Island for first paddle Thursday! -- it performed great even with the handicap of a beginner paddler. Promise to give review after moonlight paddle on Wakulla.
08-25-2004Submitted by: DJ
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've been paddling my Element off and on for several months now, so I can give a thorough review. First, I find Dagger's new plastic to be very tough, and also stiffer than their old plastic. I basically replaced my Dagger Delta with the Element, so I'll compare the two boats. The Delta had much more flex to the plastic, and it seems softer, too, in terms of scratch resistance. The Delta had so much initial stability that you really couldn't lean the boat at all. The Element is much more sporty. It has strong initial stability, but it's not hard to lean it onto the secondary which kicks in before you've edged too far, which is good in my case because I'm a T7/8 complete paraplegic (no trunk control). I used a plastic school chair's seatback to make an extenstion on the Element's factory backrest. The extension reaches up into my functional musculature, giving me some control over the boat. I cut wood blocks to fasten between the backrest and the rear of the cockpit coaming, thereby achieving a nice, rigid backrest which gives me good sensory input as to what the boat is doing.
The Element seems a hair faster than the Delta, and the Element is definitely a more seaworthy boat. The skirt on the Element's 38-inch cockpit is very secure, whereas it was impossible to get a really waterproof seal on the 4-foot cockpit of the Delta.
The Delta is a great boat for getting you down a nice Class II river, but the Element offers more fun as you do it. It's a little more maneuverable than the Delta, and the Element has little hard chines so that edging a bit enhances the turning. What with the edging ability, the Element tracks better than the Delta as well, particularly in wind. Just get the Element on a chine and you can overcome the slight weathercocking tendency easily.
I'm giving the Element a 9.75 score, which rounds off to 10. The deduction is for the slight weathercocking.
The Dagger Delta looks like a barge, but has amazing performance. The Element, however, is a sexy-looking thing with performance to match. My hat is off to the Dagger hull designer on the Element. It's great in rivers, and I don't mind paddling it in flat water, either, though I mostly use my touring boat for that.
Extraneous notes: I've kept my Delta for a guest boat. The guy who said you can't fit more than size 11's in the Element is mistaken. It all depends what kind of footwear you have. I have size 13's, but I wear neoprene booties when kayaking, and they fit very easily in the Element. I have a 34-inch inseam and I have two holes left on my footrest rails. If I wore tennis shoes, my feet wouldn't fit well, but then I've never sat in a kayak that fits size 13 tennis shoes well. The Element narrows quickly in front of the cockpit so that you don't need a paddle longer than 220 cm. I feel that with the retail price under $600, the Element is a true bargain, and you get a lot for the money. It's a sophisticated hull for a little rec boat. I really think of it as more of a Class I-III river boat. Just add some more floatation in the bow. The little foam block installed by Dagger isn't enough.
08-02-2004Submitted by: Tom
- Rating: 9 of 10 My third kayak purchased in 14 months (and my third review--see Pungo Classic (12') and Prijon Calabria (14.5'). It is SO informative to read "seat of the pants" opinions about all these boats!). I paid full retail ($529, but got an in-store 5% credit). The rear bulk head and nice hatch alone justified the extra $$ over other boats I considered. My criteria for boat #3 were: Stability, light weight, good handling in a short length yak and overal construction quality. The Element scores well in all categories. Oh, there’s one more. Within an hour's drive for put-in, I often put my yaks inside my Chevy Astro and utilize the 3-piece rear hatch for a super-quick "load and go." The other two stick out for a windy, noisy ride...I wanted the next yak to easily fit inside the van with hatch closed, that way, I won’t need a “system” to put three on top when the family paddles together. The Element fits nicely, and if put in stern first, with hatch facing driver provides a nice armrest, with no visual obstruction. Back to the important stuff. STABILITY: Good stability when getting in and out (due in part to it’s decent width) which makes beginner paddlers feel secure. The hull has an interesing set of angles and some flatness right under the seat...at first I thought my boat had a dent but checked others at the store...no, it’s just kind of flat right there...maybe in the water, with weight in the seat, the hull flexes out a little and the tiny keel does it’s job. After a week of paddling, it feels stable in many conditions--river currents, open water with a bit of chop and some off-axis headwinds. HANDLING: stable, as mentioned but still feels “sporty” and the hull shape allows for some quick turns without needing a lot of lean, adding confidence for beginners. I like to introduce others to kayaking and this boat will make many converts. The Pungo excells at tracking with it’s firm and prominent keel, with a bit more effort required to turn (though the multi-chine hull helps), while the Element feels like it could turn on a quarter, if not a dime. I was very impressed at how well it tracks after a few good strokes. The pointy nose cuts through the water and waves and the deck is somewhat multi-tiered. This would be my choice from my flotilla if I expected to do a lot of manuevering on a river (around rocks, obstacles, winding turns)...I did a personal speed test compared to a “contender” (The Necky Sky, which was really fun to paddle too)...and the Element had a distict advantage in speed, though speed consideration drops for oour family when we’re just poking around together. It’s kind of like pushing the speed a few miles per hour when travelling in a car, only to realize when you stop that those who were “slower” end up arriving just a minute or two later. OVERALL CONSTRUCTION,etc: It’s a very nice looking yak, good color schemes too and the lines of it seem to aid it’s overall perfomance too. It appears to be sturdy and firm where it needs to be (like behind the cockpit for entry/exit) and thinner and a bit flexy (which hasn’t caused any problems yet) to save weight. At 45 lbs it’s a one-hander to move it about--I find that the next 10 lbs in boat weight is a huge addition when putting it on car top. For fit, I am 6’1 and 210 Lbs and like the fit of the seating and cockpit. The Element is a nice compromise between my other two yaks, the Pungo having a HUGE cockpit and the Calabria a snug fit (it has adjustable thigh braces). I find when poking around a shore line or paddling a lazy river, it’s really nice to have a decent size cockpit for moving your legs around, and even placing them on the deck. Unlike the Pungo, not much water comes in from paddle drip. I agree with other reviewers about the weird rigging in front...it looks nice but could be improved easily by doing it yourself...I really dug the inflatable lumbar support, except that mine leaks and I need to get that corrected from Store or Manufacturer. I get back fatigue when in one position too long, so in my other boats, I use a 12” long piece of a foam “noodle”, cut in half lengthwise, which I slip between my back and the seat...works like a charm!
Note to other nearly obsessed paddlers who share the experience with others...I bought a nice, lightweight carbon fibre (shaft) paddle (a Swift--so pretty too!) which I use when alone, and my wife Sue gets when the gang goes out...the more comfortable and less fatigued she is at the end of a trip, the more likely we will go out again (including mutiple paddles per day on our vacations). THAT is worth $100 more! As before, I’ve been a bit wordy in my review but when “shopping” via reviews, the more info the better!
07-12-2004Submitted by: Grimm
- Rating: 8 of 10 The wife and I bought two kayaks last weekend, the Element and a Walden Vista (see other review). I like a lot about the Element. It is a recreational boat and does what a recreational boat should do....all things equally okay. The price was great. The bow and raised front of cockpit are nice. The large cockpit is great and has a very comfy seat (very easy to adjust, too). The weight is good, it handles well, responds well, turns well. Very good boat for the money.
Some cons - if you have feet more than size 11 you will not fit in the boat. My feet barely do. The deck rigging, which I thought was neat at first, is not handy and I will have to re-string that. I hate the rear rubber hatch, but that is a personal issue. It is not overly speedy, but is suits my needs. Tracking is okay, not great.
So, good for the money. I will update this review as time goes on.
PS - Large men, 6 feet and above, 200+ lbs, should by longer boats, always. i think I should upgrade when the new Blackwater 13.5 comes out with the raised cockpit next year.
06-02-2004Submitted by: BB KINGS
- Rating: 9 of 10 First I would like to say thank you Dagger for making a very impressive boat. The boat is equally at home on lakes or rivers. If you want something that tracks better buy an ocean kayak ! I would recommend this boat to anyone who is willing to listen you won't be disappointed. keep your Paddles in the water ! Big shout out to Cam... BB Kings are taking over the lakes and rivers near you. So watch out.
05-18-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just bought this kayak a few days ago at Adirondack Paddlefest and I'm very pleased with it thus far. I also test paddled a Necky Sky (very fun but very basic), a Perception Acadia 12.0 (a little too much money for the features), and a WS Pungo 110 (felt like a truck, not enough kneeroom) and I liked this one the best. I wanted a solo rec 'yak to go with my Perception Sierra, which we use to haul around my 4-year old with us. Most of my paddling is on flat lakes and I've only been doing it for about 1 year.
I agree with the previous reviewer that the Element appears to be sensitive to the current and can be a little work to keep on-track but it's not overly bothersome to me. It's easy to paddle and I can get up some decent speed. It's roomy and very comfortable and the waterproof bulkhead is a nice touch for the price (I got it for $477.) It's lightweight and easy to lift on/off my vehicle and it also seems to be more solid than my Sierra - the hull doesn't flex as much when I snug down the carrying straps. The seat is great but it could use a cupholder and a drain plug.
I'll definitely be trying it out in some slow rivers soon. So far, I'm very pleased and I would recommend this to someone looking for a light, fun rec. boat with some decent features in this price range.
03-30-2004Submitted by: FVH
- Rating: 9 of 10 I demo'd this boat and found it to be a suprisingly fast ride.
PROS: Speed. For a boat of this (short) length and (wide) width, I was expecting it to be fairly slow. But I averaged over 5 km/h without really trying, which suprised me. Comfort. Great seat. Very stable. Relatively light weight. Big stern hatch. Low cost.
CONS: I don't like the funky front rigging. It's difficult to get much of anything in it. If I bought this boat, I'd re-rig that. No rear rigging. I really question how you'd do a self-rescue with this boat. Perhaps as a rec boat you're not supposed to.
I found the tracking to be OK but not outstanding. I was paddling in a current (an outgoing tide) and the boat did consistently want to turn broadside to the current. Nothing severe by any means; all boats do it, but it was noticeable. On the flip side, it was easy to turn. I'd have to agree with a previous reviewer that Dagger has probably found a good balance here.
All in all, a great, comfortable, speedy, boat for the money.
03-29-2004Submitted by: C Schiedel
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought this boat a month ago, and have been carpet paddling in the basement as I anxiously awaited the ice to leave the local pond. Finally the day came and the boat was every bit as great as the manufacturer’s review. I was amazed at how straight the boat tracked, as well as how well it cornered. The Element has definitely has hit the balance point between these two criteria. The boat is quite light, and transports easily on the roof rack. It is quite stable, and has a roomy cockpit. The seat is quite comfortable, and the pump up lumbar support works well. Other reviews indicate that it would not be a good boat for weekend trips, but would disagree, as I can easily fit all of my gear in the rear hatch. For the price, this is an exceptional boat, and I highly recommend it.
03-15-2004Submitted by: herron
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought this kayak for a fishing boat. I am very pleased with my choice of the Dagger 11.2. It has the most comfortable cockpit I have been in. The boat tracks great for being only 11'1" long and is very stable. The boat is very maneuverable, a plus on small creeks. I highly recommend this boat if you're loking for comfort and stability in a small recreational kayak.
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