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I had tried out different kayaks, and found they were too bulky. The Riot Stealth is made for those of us who are on the thin side. I am 5'9, 135lbs., and my waist is 30"... a perfect fit for my size. I tried regular shoes, plain socks & bare foot... I have found that the 5-toed shoes work great in the small space for your feet.
In the future, I plan on buying another kayak, and it will be a Riot Stealth ES w/ Skeg.
No leaks whatsoever. If you have big feet, you will have to go shoeless. I wear size 8 womens and have narrow feet, but can only get very low profile shoes in the boat. Also, the boa fits me perfectly. I like a tight boat, and at 5'9" and 125-130 lbs, I have no problems. However, I wouldn't recommend this for anyone any bigger than me! My son also loves my boat. He is 12 and 5'2" and 110 lbs.
The boat is very quick and does not weathercock hardly at all.
One annoyance: mine had the skeg - the kind that mounts on the end of the kayak (not underneath). It's a hassle when loading and unloading the boat, and I never actually used the skeg. With the channelled hull, this boat doesn't need it.
I think this is a good compromise boat for someone who can't quite decide between a whitewater kayak or a recreational kayak, but you need to know something about moving water dynamics to use it to best effect on moving water. Not saying you need to be some kind of expert, just the basics such as knowing which way to lean when crossing an eddyline and such.
The boat tracks fairly well and is manuverable.
First impression & handling: This odd-looking shallow arch hull (referred to by some as a "hybrid" or "crossover" style) pushes you upward, and causes you to sit somewhat high. It feels tippy at first. After 10 minutes, that feeling is gone; I got acclimated to it quickly. It moves through the water quite nicely. While I wouldn't call it fast exactly, it's not slow, and it has a "quick" way about it (similar in that way to the Manitou 13, and I think quicker than the Necky Zoar Sport LV), tracks very well, maneuvers okay. You can edge turn it pretty easily.
Comfort: I'm not real picky; it works for me. Nice foam under the seat, adjustable backband, easily adjusted footpegs. It's fairly lightweight - 45 pounds, an easy carry. I'm female, 5'7 tall and a tad on the heavy side, but I had no problem getting in or out. However, my shoe size is 7.5 or 8 (which would translate to 6.5 or 7 in men's sizes), and while my feet were fine in it, I wouldn't want them to be more than a size larger. Just my opinion, but I think a man with more than a size 8 shoe can forget fitting in this boat. Very nice for women, though, IF they have small to medium sized feet.
Storage: My boat is a 2004 model (bought it new, but it was a "leftover") and it has foam pillars in bow and stern for floatation, but no bulkheads. I've heard some of the Stealths do have a bulkhead or two (?) and that MAY be true of the later models, I'm not sure. The stern hatch opening is quite wide, neoprene with a cover. Goes on easily, and has attachments points to make sure you don't lose the cover or neoprene. The storage space is smaller than it looks, as this is not a high volume boat. Still, good enough for my purposes. Mine doesn't have a bow hatch, but has netting and is "hatch ready", meaning there is a molded place where I could put a hatch (and probably will).
That's all I can think of right now. While I'm trying to be objective and contain my excitement, I must admit my gut reaction is "I REALLY LIKE THIS BOAT, A LOT!!!". Just has a nice way about it, I can't explain it really.
I'm giving it a 9 for now just because I need to see how it does on faster moving water before I give it a 10, but I was tempted. All in all, NICE BOAT!
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