I am a semi-experienced paddler (not a novice, but not an expert). I received this kayak as a Christmas gift. It's a bobber. Center of gravity is very high making the boat pretty unstable during adjustments or attempting to get at the storage compartments. They are not water tight and do not hold much. I had to buy another paddle b/c the one that came with it is terrible. I also bought a gel seat cushion b/c the seat is only hard plastic. First time out, I paddled for a little over an hour and traded kayaks with another paddler. This boat does not track for anything and makes for hard paddling in any type of current and easily gets blown around by the wind.
On the positive side, on calm glassy water, this kayak moves. I did not have a hard time keeping up with the bigger kayaks and the cockpit made getting in and out very easy. Unfortunately the positives did not out weight the negatives and I ended up returning the kayak the day after Christmas. I don't think I will be purchasing another Pelican.It all depends on how you want to compare this little kayak to other kayaks.
It is relatively short (11' 10") and does not track worth a darn. Unless you fashion or buy a rudder system for it (I did), you're going to constantly struggle to keep going straight. Glide duration is very short, so you have to paddle all the time in order to get anywhere.
It is relatively light. I have little trouble lifting it onto my Yakima rack, and I mounted the rails on top of my Ford F150's camper shell.
The foot braces are sturdy and adjustable, but cannot be used to control a rudder. I had to buy another set of sliding foot braces in order to control my home-made rudder with my feet.
The forward and rear storage compartments are next to worthless. The one in front is too far forward to be within convenient reach, and the plastic hook that grips the shockcord is forward of the hatch itself, making it very hard to re-attach. The same is true of the rear hatch. I'd prefer to have no hatches at all.
There's a length of shockcord on the paddler's right that is supposed to hold onto the paddle, but it isn't designed very well. The paddle keeps slipping out or the shockcord pops out of the plastic hook.
The cockpit is roomy and reasonably comfortable, although it would be a lot more comfortable with a padded seat. The hard plastic seat is murder after a few hours on the water.
I bought the optional sprayskirt, and it SUCKS. The cockpit coaming is not a perfect oval. The sides curve inward slightly, so the sprayskirt does not fit snugly all the way around the cockpit and has a tendency to pop off. It is also very difficult to put on initially. I got around this problem by sandwiching the sprayskirt between two thwarts held together by two 3/8" bolts and wingnuts. I also use the top thwart as an anchor point for small cleats and a compass.
I also created a mast mount, mast, and sail for this little kayak. It works great, and I'll never kayak again without a sail. There is a good spot for a mast mount just forward of the front storage compartment. My most recent iteration of a mast mount is on a hinge that fold back toward me, allowing the entire sail (mast and boom) to fold back toward me. In a steady 10 - 15 mph wind, I can reach speeds of 5 to 6 mph (according to my GPS). Faster, if I paddle.
I've tried to figure out a way to carry enough gear for an overnight trip, but I gave up. Even though the kayak will supposedly carry 350 pounds, there's really no place to store anything. There is certainly not enough room for a sleeping bag, pad, tent, extra clothes, and all the other stuff.
This was my first kayak, and I feel really lucky that I selected this one instead of a SOT. To me, the Pelican is a "real" boat and not just a modified surfboard. I have paddled many, many miles in this little boat in various water and weather conditions, and it always brought me home safe. The RAM-X construction (whatever that is) makes for a very rigid frame.
All in all, it's a great little boat for the price.