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Reviews for Manitou Sport Kayak by Necky Kayaks


Rated: 9.25/10 Based On: 28 Reviews

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02-24-2013
Submitted by: merimacSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I would like to add a few comments about our Manitou Sport kayak (poly). We have had it about 7 years now and even though my wife and I have other kayaks we use on longer trips, I still love the sport and whenever I want a quick workout at the harbor it is the sport I take. It is so easy to transport in our pickup and the light weight is easy on my back. I have introduced many friends and neighbors to kayaking with this boat.

I am 81 and when I get "really old" I bet the Manitou sport will be the boat I use. Nice job Necky!

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09-24-2012
Submitted by:
Rating: 10 of 10

     i have had my Manitou for several years, its light to lift, easy to paddle in all conditions as well as being very stable. having the large cockpit, its not a struggle to get in and out of as i am quite old, even hired a double Manitou in Whitehorse a few years ago to paddle the Yukon
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09-04-2012
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     picked up this kayak lightly used, one year old - and love it. Very nice tracking(compared to other kayaks its length) nice riding, easy to paddle. You could improve the "fit" or "contact" with thigh braces to make it perform much more like a touring style yak. great compromise between recreation and touring kayak. Cuts through rough water.
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06-14-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I had a Manitou Sport briefly a few years ago. I loved the speed and handling of this boat. It tracked well and was a great workout boat. The only problem was that that my size 14 feet were extremely cramped wearing any kind of shoes or neopreen booties. Barefoot it was just bearable. Due to hurting my feet getting in and out on rocky shores and the fact I could not use the boat in cold weather, I took it back. If I were shorter and/or had smaller feet I would have kept it because it was the most fun and responsive small kayak I have tried.
I gave it a 9 rating because if you fit in it well you will probably love it.

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05-19-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is my first recreational kayak, having rented only sea kayaks in past years while on vacation. The Sport is perfect for the lakes and reservoirs in my area. The size suits me (5'6") and it's easy to maneuver-quick stops, turns that impress my husband who has a Pungo 120. Tracks very well into the wind and stands up nicely to strong breezes. Very stable for its narrow width. My only concern is tracking in calm waters but sincerely suspect that current flaws are a function of my paddling technique or lack thereof. All in all, a good first canoe with a bit of zip to her.
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07-22-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Last year I sold my Perception 3.1 and my Old Town Loon 138, then bought a Manitou Sport to replace them. After about 50 miles on the water I'm quite happy. The Manitou Sport is almost as fast as the Loon 138 It tracks well and is a joy to paddle in 1 foot waves. At 11 feet it is easy to carry in the back of a pickup truck
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03-31-2009
Submitted by: BQIISend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have owned my Manitou sport for nearly a year now. I have used it everywhere from the Mather gorge on the Potomac, to flat lakes in NY. I LOVE this boat. My largest complaint is that every manufacturer's review claims it is just a wimpy rec boat, but I've taken it absolutely everywhere. it never fails me. It is highly maneuverable, competent in white water and moves like a dream on flat. I load it down with cargo every time I go out and have never had to dry my stuff out thanks to the terrific stern compartment.

I highly recommend this boat for anyone who is just starting out, or anyone looking for a good deal that can execute a wide variety of conditions well.

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01-02-2009
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Even though I do not own this boat, I had a chance to Demo it and I paddled it for a good length of time. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this kayak performed, especially for its small size. It tracked like it was on rails, and turned with ease. The Manitou Sport also could accelerate from a dead stop easily, and could go pretty fast. I could paddle it about as fast as my Pamlico 140 and it was easier to accelerate because it wasn't so much boat to handle. Overall, it was an 11 footer that tracked like a boat 3 or 4 feet longer. And, it was highly outfitted, and the plastic was durable. I'd say this is the best kayak under 12' I've ever paddled.
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06-20-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I recently bought a Necky Manitou Sport, my first kayak. I really like many features about the boat, namely its stability and maneuverability. However, I ended up exchanging the Sport for a Manitou 13 after using it a couple of times. I don't think the Sport was big enough for me (5'11" and 190 lbs.) because the nose plowed when I was paddling faster and it made a lot of splashing noises. I also wanted a kayak that tracked better. The Manitou is much better in these respects -- it glides nicely when paddling hard, tracks well and is still quite steady and maneuverable.
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11-20-2007
Submitted by: RfFHSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have owned my Manitou Sport for about 10 months, and have enjoyed it mostly in the lakes around my home. It is my first boat, it is stable and fast. I kayak daily as this is my only real exercise program. I highly recommend this boat.
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09-10-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my Manitou Sport for 7 months now, and had a chance to really put it through it's paces, and compare it to other more traditional touring kayaks in various conditions. In the Seattle area, we have access to the calm waters of lakes, as well as more rough conditions in the upper Puget Sound where wind chop is normal. In all cases, the Manitou Sport handled very well.

The boat is very easy to paddle, feeling very stable due to it's width, yet able to cut through the water very easily. Because of its length, it doesn't track as straight as a 14'-er, but it does ok. Where it shines is in maneuverability. It turns on a dime. I had an opportunity to take it out in Puget Sound and compare it against a 16' fiberglass kayak and found that it was much easier to paddle, much more stable, actually just as fast, if not faster (I had a race with my 15 year old daughter in the Manitou and she was easily able to push past me!) in rough waters.

I highly recommend this boat for those who use it in a variety of conditions. Be aware, the boat's waterline is slightly low, particularly if you are over 200 lbs, the boat may ride a little low. I would consider this to be a "low volume" style boat.

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04-23-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just took my new Necky Manitou Sport out for her first float. This is my first Kayak, I usually paddle a Pelican Colorado tandem or an Old Town Pack solo canoe. I really like this boat. I am using a 230 cm Bending Branches Whisper paddle, and am carrying minimal cargo.

I took the boat on a 7 mile river float on the Salt Fork in Champaign County, between St Joseph and Sydney. Once I found the best seat and footpeg position, I found it to be quite comfortable. I am 5'10", 210 lbs (gained 40 lbs after quitting smoking), and found the cockpit roomy enough, but a bit of a struggle to get in and out of. That will come with practice.

It was remarkable to me how much quicker you can accelerate in a boat like this with a double paddle versus my friend in the Old Town Pack canoe. That boat can keep up, but it takes it a few strokes before it really starts to move well. I tried feathering the paddle so as to rotate the left-hand side of the paddle (Im right handed) and found it to be OK, but I felt more comfortable with it not feathered for some reason.

My only complaint is that this boat is 44 lbs. My Pack canoe is only 33 lbs. For some reason I was thinking this boat would be easier for me to move around on land than it is. I am going to have a blast with this boat this year, that's for sure. Mostly rivers, but I got the "Fire" colour scheme in the anticipation that I will try it on some lakes, some with larger powerboats.

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10-20-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great boat for my wife. She is 145lbs and the boat handles great for her. It's fast for a Rec boat, Stable, and tracks great for her. It's the perfect fit for her! Me on the hand I fit great in the boat but at 215lbs I feel like I push the entire lake when I paddle. It is just not good for my wieght. It really does handle great and is very stable and comfortable for both of us. If you are lighter it is great if you are heavier you will sit very low in the water and use alot of power to not got fast or far. The boat is designed great and functions well.
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10-17-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Best Glide, best ride for it's size. Chop and boat wakes don't bother this boat much at all. I can't wait to get this baby out on a reasonably sheltered ocean area. This boat could do overnite's if you use ultralight gear and stow it on either side of the bow flotation, and behind the seat, as well as in the hatch. It is a very stable voyage even though it feels tippy at first. Probllems??? There are no paddleparks, and the lime green color is a bit obnoxious. (The only color REI has in stock) It fits a little loosely on my hullraiser because of the semi-v hull. but the hull is much stronger than the dagger blackwater that I had previously. It works fine on my hullraiser when I center the flatest part of the hull between the hullraiser bars. I love this kayak. I wish I would have gotten a different color, but The Necky Manitou Sport is the perfect boat for me and those who don't have room for A longer boat. It tracks very well also, and maneuvers quickly. It has the best seat and great outfitting. Try one out, you may not need a long boat to get the effect.
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07-31-2006
Submitted by: krlbchSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I have been paddling for many, many years and we have owned a variety of canoes and sea kayaks. Until our recent purchase of a Necky Manitou Sport, all of our boats have been serious (long and fast), expensive (Kevlar and/or composite) vessels. Our new Manitou Sport is a deliberately un-serious (short and slow), inexpensive (rotary molded) craft. Why bother? The Manitou Sport is easy to handle...both in and out of the water...and inconspicuous in the company of other boats. It's not likely to be damaged or stolen. Equally important, it wouldn't be a big deal if it was. Which, of course, is the real point of this review. Even for a veteran paddler, there are good reasons to own an easy-going little boat that you don't care too much about. There are a number of boats in the Manitou Sport's price range (about $600) and most of them are pretty good. What sets the Manitou Sport apart, in my estimation, is the quality of its outfitting. The two-piece rear hatch cover is robust and watertight. The seat is amazingly comfortable and can be adjusted in a variety of ways...even while the boat is moving. The deck opening, while large, is not so huge as to preclude the effective use of a sprayskirt in heavy water. The footpegs are easy to adjust and solid. The hull represents a nice compromise between tracking and turning. The Manitou Sport is wide enough to offer good initial stability to a beginner...but it's narrow enough and seaworthy enough to allow an advanced paddler to put it on edge and carve a decent turn. All in all, the Necky Manitou Sport is an amazing value. It does a lot of things well and is a whole lot of fun.
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07-05-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned/demoed/borrowed several 12' and under rec boats through the years - Perception Keowee, Old town Otter, Perception Pacifica, and Old Town Loon 120, and Dagger Delta. We currently own the Loon 120 and were looking for another smaller boat, due to storage space constraints as well as the cramped little areas we sometimes paddle. This little kayak is absolutely amazing. I have absolutely no trouble keeping up with my husband in his Loon. As a matter of fact, the Loon feels like a barge by comparison. Although there is a little yaw upon acceleration, it virtually disappears when up to speed. It gets up to speed quickly and is easy to keep up to speed because the glide is phenominal for an 11' boat. The seat is comfortable and easy to adjust on the fly, as are the foot braces. It tracks very well for its size, but also turn easily with a little lean.

My husband tried the boat and liked it as well but thought that it might be a little cramped for him after a while. He's 6'0, 180 lbs. I'm 5'3, 155, and it fits me well.

I have to admit I was leery about down-sizing (I also have a Carolina 13.5), but this little boat is absolutely wonderful. The only thing I would change is the hatch cover - I prefer the rubber ones. And that's why it's a 9 and not a 10.

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06-30-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just purchased a Manitou Sport for my first kayak and I thought it was the best of the 3 yaks I demoed. I first tried a Dagger Element 11.2 which was very stable but more like a slow barge. Next up was a Manitou 13 which was fast and sleek but I thought a little to difficult turning for a new person. The Manitou Sport seemed to have the best balance between the 3 yaks plus the great price on brand new 2005 left over of only $464 made the boat irrestible on my part. I must say after using the yak 2 times on lakes I'am completely satisfied with boat and would recommend it.
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06-21-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I paddled four other rec boats in this class, and I love my Manitou Sport. I've used it plenty on the Sandusky river in NW Ohio, and taken it to some small lakes and reservoirs. I even had some fun in some rougher waters. I've used it when the river was high and moving swiftly with some class 1 or 2 rapids, and it did just fine. The hatch seals tightly and hasn't leaked yet. The seat is about as comfortable as you can get in a kayak, and the adjustable footpegs work great. I use them a lot, adjusting them during long outings. I also feel I've abused this boat a lot, getting stuck on rocks in some rapids, and expected to find deep gouges in the bottom of the boat. Just a few scratches is all I've found. It's very well constructed. For a rudderless kayak it tracks very straight, and it's easy to turn. Also, the weight makes it easy to top onto my Jeep Liberty. If I had a smaller vehicle, I'm sure I could top it alone. The price was great too, found a special and got two for under 600 apiece. I'm 5'6" and I think this boat fits me needs perfectly. This is a great beginners kayak, but I plan to use it for years.
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06-19-2006
Submitted by: Sara LiebelSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the Manitou Sport in March 2005 and I absolutely love it. This kayak is incredibly versatile-I've used it on rivers, lakes, ponds, and even ocean bays. Good tracking for a boat its size, and excellent control. My only complaint is that the adjustable seat broke after only one season. As far as I'm concerned, you can't get a more versatile boat for the price.
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04-19-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is an update of my previous review. I have had the Manitou Sport out many times now. For an eleven foot rec kayak it handles very well. It tracks reasonable and is stable. It is very well constructed. I think for someone my height,6'3", it is a bit cramped. If you are tall you might be happier with the 13foot Manitou. My wife loves the Sport and she is 5'11" and has plenty of leg and foot room. Our other kayak is a Wilderness Systems Big Critter. It is much roomier than the Necky and tracks better. Hope this is helpful.
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03-13-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just purchased a Manitou Sport and have had it on the water three times so far. It tracks very well and turns easily. I am 6" 3" at 175 pounds. Because of a bad back I needed a light boat with a large cockpit for ease of entry and exit. I had to make a few changes to make the boat comfortable for my long legs and large feet. The foam block in the bow had to be cut for more foot room. I repositioned the seat about 3 inches aft to give me more leg room. I couldn't find a boat to try in our area. With the changes I have made the boat is great and will be fine for anyone I put in it. It is very user friendly and stable. This is my second Necky. They do a fine job.
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11-16-2005
Submitted by: Oliver KodySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My first experience kayaking was on Lake Washington in Seattle, where I lived briefly for two years in the mid 90's. Kayaking on the lake was a growing recreational outlet for many of us young urbanites, and rentals were always widely available and quite reasonable. Living in a small apartment on top of Beacon Hill over looking the downtown, I never seriously considered purchasing a kayak of my own. Having since moved to the Carolinas in '97, most of my more recent paddling excursions have been by canoe, traveling tandem with my wife. Some of these favorite outings have taken us through the Adirondacks in upstate NY, interior lakes in Nova Scotia, and more locally, the quiet waters of NC's eastern marsh lands.

I became more interested in Kayaking again in recent months as a recreational outlet - something I could do on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I wanted a versatile boat that I could take to open lake or comfortably navigate a class I or II river. Knowing myself, convenience was also a primary concern. Here I wanted something that would not require a lot extra pampering; something I could quickly throw into the back of my '95 Chevy Pickup and be in the water within a few minutes. In essence I was looking for a lighter, more compact and DURABLE kayak that would fit my lifestyle and sensibility.

After researching the net and then visiting my local outfitter, I narrowed my search to a few boats that best fit what I was looking for. The final two choices were the Necky Manitou Sport and the OT (Old Town) Sport. My wife claims that I tend to be rough on my equipment (whatever it happens to be). Thus I knew I'd do better with a boat that could take the occasional bruise and scrape and not require major cosmetic surgery every year or special pampering. The Necky just feels tough, and it would be pretty hard to break it if I tried. I know this is a boat built to last.

At first however, I was heavily leaning more towards the OT Sport - a fine craft in its own right. I was thoroughly impressed by the OT's overall streamlined design, unique contours and sporty good looks. Climbing inside, I felt this boat fit me like a glove - very well suited for my smaller 5'5 140 lb frame. Compared to the Necky the OT cockpit is quite a bit smaller and somewhat shorter in overall length. To adjust for the wider conformation of the Necky, I placed two 1'' foam pads on the knee rolls, this made for a more custom fit for my body type. Then after spending some time in both (on the dry dock), the more open, less cramped cockpit design of the Necky seemed more appealing.

From my research, and general impression from other enthusiasts whom I have encountered, the Necky Manitou Sport proves to be the better performer in the open water and a better all-around kayak when compared to the OT Sport. Since recreational touring and open water travel would be primary use, TRACKING ability was one of my foremost criteria in choosing the Necky over the OT. This advantage is probably due in part to the Necky's slightly longer frame and well designed built in keel. The OT Sport's hybrid design, apparently draws more characteristics from a true dedicated white water craft, which has a shorter, more streamlined build, and a lower overall profile. Its paired down keel, though adequate in a river setting, would probably not suffice in the open water. However, the OT does provide a more aggressive "drop down" rudder which can be manually adjusted as needed for better tracking. The Necky, built somewhat wider, is probably also more stable than its cousin. That is not to say that the Necky is not a nimble performer in white water. True, if white water where my sole passion, I would probably select a dedicated whitewater kayak versus a 'hybrid type' like the OT Sport or the Necky Sport - something I might consider down the road.

Overall I was quite impressed with Necky Manitou Sport. My open lake "test drive" was a blast and the boat handled exceedingly well despite a moderate cross wind. My personal choice was the Necky, however, take a good look at the OT Sport to compare for yourself. Whichever you choose, I know you will enjoy it as much as I have...

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09-10-2005
Submitted by: mrbSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I'm a beginning paddler, this my first kayak.

My wife and I tried out the Perception Sundance 9.5, Sundance 12.0, Carolina 14.5 at a Perception Demo days. The Sundance's were a little too wide in both our opinions and the Carolina was a little more than I wanted to spend for a first Kayak.

We stopped at a dealer on the way home and based on our comments for the Perception kayaks, he suggested the Manitou Sport. We sat in the kayaks and the fit was excellent (I'm 5'4" and 160 pounds, my wife is 5'3" and considerably less pounds). We bought two Manitou Sports and took them home with us.

Since then, we've had them in the water every weekend. We live in the California Sierras near lots of alpine lakes, ranging from a few acres to 600+ acres.

Observations:

  • These are great for a person my size.
  • They're really stable.
  • It definitely "weathercocks" in a cross-wind. I'm getting better at keeping it straight.
  • At first I had the seat back ratcheted forward quite a lot. Since I started using my torso more, I moved the seat back all the way back so I wouldn’t chafe. So the fancy ratchet system doesn't do me much good.
  • According to my GPS, I can comfortably paddle around 3-3.5 knots, but can't get past 4.2 knots.

    Overall, for flatwater alpine lakes, I'm really happy with the kayak


  • 07-21-2005
    Submitted by: Send Email
    Rating: 10 of 10

         This is an update to my previous post. Since then I've purchased a Manitou Sport for myself, and two friends have purchased. I've used the boat in Class II rapids and wave trains with the skirt, and I'm still impressed with it's stability and ease of handling. For a under $600 kayak this is the best I've tried. I still have my Necky Santa Cruz, which is a better surfer, and is faster, but the Manitou Sport is still my second favorite recreational kayak. I've paddled Old Town, Liquid Logic, Dagger, and Perception and I believe the Necky's are just plain better boats, better outfitted and better designed.
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    06-27-2005
    Submitted by: Send Email
    Rating: 10 of 10

         I have previously owned a Manitou, which I sold because it was hard to turn. I now own a Necky Santa Cruz which is easier to turn and tracks as well as the Manitou. Over the past year I've paddled several recreational boats; Blackwater 11.2, Element 11.2, Jolt 101, America 13.5, Arcadia 12.5, Torrent. Today I tried the Manitou Sport in a Class I-II river and I'm totally impressed with the boat. The seat and rigging are comfy, the hatch is dry, the boat tracks better than any other I've tried in its class, and it turns better than any other in its class. With a skirt on you can heel this boat right over on its side and still feel stable. I like it a lot.
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    06-01-2005
    Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
    Rating: 9 of 10

         I just picked up a Manitou Sport a week ago after demo-ing a number of recreational boats in the under $600.00 price range. What makes this boat different than many of its competitors is that the cockpit is quite a bit smaller, but still easy to get in and out of (16.5" X 40" inside measurement). Also, the knees can be placed under the deck so you're wearing the boat rather than sitting in it. This goes a long way to better boat control, instead of sitting loosely in it.

    On its first trip out I took it out in Northern California's Lake Berryessa on Memorial Day. There was a lot of power boat and jet ski traffic that created washing machine-like conditions. The boat did very well and inspired confidence, even in some good-sized beam waves. It tracks very good for its' short length and was able to maintain course in the turbulent water. I was out for 3 hours and the seat was quite comfortable. The foot braces are easy to reach and adjust on the go. The rear bulkhead and hatch keep everything inside dry. There are plenty of bungees and deck lines. The Manitou Sport is 26.5" wide, making it quite narrower than the 28"-30" beam on many rec boats. It's still plenty stable, though.

    I don't have any way to accurately measure the speed, but it seems to move along just as good if not a little better than some of it's competitors. Where it really comes ahead is in how it handles when the water gets rough.

    There's no perfect rec boat, and a wider and larger cockpit boat can work better for some folks and for different applications, but if you're looking for something different in a rec boat, check out the Manitou Sport.

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    01-09-2005
    Submitted by: ---
    Rating: 10 of 10

         This is a great boat. I have the 2005 edition. Tracks great, fairly fast. Dry compartment works well. Also is a great surf kayak very stable. I am 6'1 and 140 lbs and I still have plenty of room to move around. Definitely get a skirt due to fairly large cockpit. Overall, great beginning to fairly advanced boat.
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    11-11-2004
    Submitted by: JP ShankSend Email
    Rating: 10 of 10

         My wife had been paddling in an Old Town Otter and when she saw the Cloudburst colored Necky Manitou Sport sitting outside Appomattox River Company she had to have it. The clean lines front and rear promised smoother paddling and that is exactly what it delivered. Although not as stable as the Otter due to the slightly narrower beam, it was a much smoother boat to move through the water and was much easier to turn and control than its bigger brother the full sized Manitou, which she had tried a couple months earlier. She loves the storage compartment behind the seat and the light weight in spite of the increase in length - a definite trade up. We will be using the boat on the lakes and ponds in the central Virginia area and the calmer rivers.
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