I purchased my Explorer used about 6 months ago. It is my first kayak and I consider myself a beginner paddler. This boat is light and easy for me to load on top of my 4Runner by myself. At 5' 5” this was a main consideration for me when selecting a yak. This boat is very stable in the water. I've only unintentionally tipped it once on a fast, narrow river run. I think this was due mainly to my own inexperience more than the boat. It is very easy to right and re-enter.
My first outing I took it to a protected area and practiced tips and re-entries and was really pleased at how quickly I became comfortable with it. The boat tracks extremely well and has a decent speed to it. I have mine outfitted for fishing and look forward to getting into this aspect more.
The only drawback is the hull slap – everything hears you coming in even a little chop. So it can be a bit disappointing trying to get close to birds and, doing most of my paddling in S. Florida rivers, I prefer that the gators stay on the banks where I can see them instead of sliding in the water where I have no idea where they are.
All in all I love my little boat and the fun that I have with it. I think this is a great first time, all purpose yak for the beginner.I rented one of these at Baker Park Reserve on Lake Independence in Minnesota and went out for about an hour. The boat is easy enough to manage and paddle with decent primary stability. I was cruising fairly nicely and deciding if I wanted to brave the boat traffic and cut across the mouth of a bay, when she just went over. Maybe it was the boat wake, my own limited skills, or the fact I was relaxing instead of tense against the foot bracing or a combination of all these, but once she went on a slight lean, it was swim time. The secondary stability was non-existent.
It wasn't difficult to get her rolled back over and re-entry was manageable. My only beef was that just as soon as I got back to a sitting position, I got hit by a little boat wake and was swimming again. This boat didn't seem to tolerate anything but a rigid upright position with constant pressure to the foot bracing to keep her upright.
It accelerated fine and turned relatively easily. There was a pretty stiff breeze and a lot of boat wake, but it didn't seem to affect this any more than anything else I've paddled.
I give it 6 out of 10 because I value secondary stability of which there is none. Keep in mind that I am a beginner and recreational paddler and this is my first sit on top experience.I just purchased the Explorer on the recommendation of the owner of Buckles and Boards, who spent several hours with me and in the end encouraged me towards the Explorer. I initially rented one through his store, and then the next day I went back and purchased one. On its maiden voyage, I was able to paddle about 2.5 miles of Duxbury bay through some whitecaps and 1 -2 foot swells (without being fatigued during the trip or sore the next day). Given that I am an out of shape 40-something (5'10", 230lbs.), I am quite impressed.
The kayak is extremely stable and tracks well. It takes very little to get up to and to maintain speed and direction. The kayak was not pushed around by the current or the wind. I was not bothered by motorboat wake even when broadsided by the wake.
This kayak is an extremely fun general purpose kayak. I recommend it highly, and I am looking forward to many years of enjoyment.I had my Explorer for about a year. It was my first kayak in 25 years, my former experience being as a diver paddling a Royak for about 6 years. I liked the Explorer and recommend it for a beginning kayakaer. It's quite stable and can carry a lot of junk in the tank well.
It's slow; when I paddled with a group of assorted boats I was always last, and had to paddle hard to keep up. I liked the boat very much on the Elkhorn Slough, with no rudder. The Cobra is very maneuverable, which means it can be squirrely in chop and rough conditions, without a rudder.
Excellent novice boat, reasonable price, and light. the only reason I don't rate it at a higher number is the speed ability, or lack of it.The Cobra Explorer is a polypropylene sit on top that is fast considering how stable it is. It sits high in the water, and has a sleek pointed nose compared to Ocean Kayak. The boat tracks very well, even in whitecaps and ocean swells. I use the yak as a fishing platform in freshwater, and it is easy to portage over small distances using the thigh strap on the two inside eyes. I can be over a beaver damn and onto a new lake in twenty seconds.
I rig a live-well in the place for scuba tanks that is great for keeping fish. It is easy to re-enter in deep water because it doesn't roll when I push myself up and in. This is always appreciated on a hot day. There are three things I don't like about my boat. 1. I have long legs and my feet are in the last foot slots. I would like to bend my legs less. (I am 6' 1"). 2. The foredeck is a little flimsy. The yak is only forty pounds though, which makes it responsive when paddling. 3. There is considerable 'hull slap' but this is not a bother to me. It is a great multipurpose kayak.