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Reviews for Ultimate 14.5 Kayak by Native Watercraft


Rated: 8.67/10 Based On: 30 Reviews

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07-24-2013
Submitted by: S.P.Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Native Ultimate 14.5 is stable, fast, roomy, easy to paddle, and super comfortable. The open design allows endless possibilities for packing and outfitting. Also, the open design makes fishing from this kayak a dream! The seat is relaxing and easy to adjust on the water. The large foot braces are the most comfortable that I have experienced on any of the kayaks I have paddled. The Ultimate's plastic does not feel as thick as some boats like Wilderness Systems and Old Town, but I like that the Ultimate is light and easy to load.

I gave the boat a "9" because the high sides catch a lot of wind, and might make a wet entry interesting. One benefit of the high sides, though, is they help when entering and exiting the yak. I have several kayaks, but on most paddling days, I load the Native Ultimate and leave my other kayaks safe at home in the rack!

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10-17-2012
Submitted by: Tallgrass05Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had the Native Ultimate 14.5 for four months, and have used it solo and with a partner, both for fishing and paddling around on small to medium lakes.
    Advantages:
  • It's light, I can easily carry it by myself from the shed in my back yard to my truck in the front driveway. I don't actually use the Native Watercraft cart I bought. For reference, I'm 54 years old, 5'8", 165 lbs. Very easy to load into the bed of my truck.
  • It's stable.
  • It glides through the water very nicely.
  • The rudder is an excellent feature. I've paddled with and without the rudder deployed in conditions with no wind, into a 10 mph wind, and 90 degrees to the 10 mph wind. The rudder is better in all situations.
  • The camo color is just cool looking.

    Disadvantages:

  • It's not really made for two adults, it's really for solo use or with an adult and a small person. It's okay for two adults with glassy calm water. If you want a true tandem, get the Native Ultimate 16 or a canoe.
  • I definitely wanted a sit-inside rather than a sit-on-top kayak, but do note that sit-on-tops have more space and functionality regarding storage options, ease of ability for adding things like depth finders, rod storage, etc.

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09-19-2012
Submitted by: ColeSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Have only paddled this on quiet waters and a little windy chop thus far but a super boat in these conditions. Wonderfully comfortable, fast and really great tracking. Love the unique open hull. Only slight downside: The somewhat finicky footrests...make sure they are locked into place or they will move w/ foot pressure. Without doubt, the most comfortable yak I've paddled. I suspect it has a broader range than most suspect. Especially w/ the optional spray skirts. Will find out soon.
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05-18-2012
Submitted by: mhSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This boat has some great features like the pedals and very comfortable seats. It has plenty of room for my wife and two small kids. The stability is one of its best features. I can easily stand and envision stand up fishing by myself with no problem. It does exhibit some flex when the water gets choppy.

The main problem we had with the first one is terrible tracking. Like a previous post our boat also tracked hard in one direction. With two paddlers pulling hard 6 times on the same side we could keep it straight. One pull on the other side and we were drifting hard offline. Once it started off line it was nearly impossible to get it back. Basically we would serpenting across the lake. We returned the boat to our local dealer with no problem and the new boat works great. Obvious defect in the twin hull.

So to the person who posted with this similar problem. Go back to your dealer and demand a return. If they don't believe you, let them paddle it for themselves. My dealer had no problem exchanging it for us. Why would they or the manufacturer want an unhappy customer. There isn't many problems worse than bad tracking. A leaky boat comes to mind but the tracking problem will ruin your day on the water and for a beginner will either send them for lessons or dry land forever.

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04-12-2012
Submitted by: JRSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the Ultimate 14.5 Solo a year ago. I've had it on streams, lakes, and rivers. I have nothing bad to say about this boat. I'm 6'5, 250lbs. My foot pedals have never slipped as some of these others have stated. Put a twist or two in your straps to avoid the noise when it's on your roof rack.

I recently started standing in it, and it's actually easier than paddle boarding...much easier. You can haul an absolute ton of stuff in this boat...there's no way you'll ever run out of room. I do have the anchor trolley on it and although I've only used a few times in windy conditions on a lake, it works great. You can rotate your boat 180 degrees using this. It floats through some pretty skinny water without dragging, too.

I don't have a front or rear skirt for it, but may buy the front skirt, although I've never really needed one. I would say you don't really need one unless you are in pretty choppy water. Even when water does come in, it doesn't get you wet, because the seat is elevated. The seat is unbelievable, by the way. I have a bad back and I can sit in this thing all day with no issues at all. You can even sit sideways and hang your feet out the boat and it doesn't waiver. I could go on and on about this boat, but I won't.

Basically....anything anybody in another review says bad about it....they're wrong. It's not heavy, either. It's 58lbs without the seat and you don't haul it on your car with the seat in. I load it on my car by myself and have no problems. It's not heavy, it's just a matter of balancing it. Buy this boat, or you'll wish you did when you settle for something else. It's pricy, but I'm in the mindset that I like to buy something one time and never have to buy it, again.

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04-09-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     Very Comfortable - Excellent seating. The tracking is terrible. Even with no wind it tracks to the left very bad. In a slight breeze I was the only one paddling and only paddling on the left side, and it still tracked to the left. If the breeze changed slightly it would track to the right, but not as bad. I get wore out just trying to go straight! New to kayaking but have canoe experience. Hate to have to throw another $300 at it for a rudder system.
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04-05-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought a used Ultimate 14.5 last summer, just before the drought hit Texas. Got a little use in fresh water and enjoyed the Yak, but did not get a lot of experience other than one trip to Destin.

Last week took it to Grand Isle, La and fished the marshes hard for four days. Can't say enough good about this Yak. I (67 yo computer worker) was able to go all day in relative comfort. Could keep up with, and sometimes outrun, my 37 yo policeman son in his SOT. Traveled through tides, chop, and very shallow oyster beds with never a problem. When we hit the super calm water needing stealth to avoid spooking the reds, could make the yak move like a ghost.

All in all the Yak did what I wanted. Highly recommend this to anyone wanting a comfortable day fishing.

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03-01-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I purchased a composite Native Ultimate Elite 14.5 several years ago and paddled it about six times before trading it for a Kaskazi Marlin. First of all, call the Native Ultimate what it is, a low-profile canoe. This is not the boat you will want to be in when there's a foot or more of chop, especially with two people on board. Be certain to have a hand bilge pump on board at all times, or a pair of good swim fins. There is also considerable hull slap and, when I've fished with others who own Native Ultimates, I can hear them from a good distance away due to the hull slap. Perhaps this is a result of the tunnel hull.

It's not a bad fishing boat in quiet water, like small lakes, protected bays, or streams. Like others have noted, the sides flex easily, both in the plastic and the composite models, and most of the accessories they offer that attach to it are cheap plastic gadgets.

Tracking is good, it's relatively easy to stand in, and the composite model is plenty light enough to carry for short distances. However, if it's a canoe you want I'd recommend a conventional canoe over an Ultimate. If it's a kayak you want, I'd prefer to be in a conventional sit-on-top kayak.

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02-12-2012
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Other reviews go into more of the technical details, so I will just hit the highlights. I have owned my Ult 14.5 for about a year and a half. It bought the tandem but in fact have used it as a solo on every trip so far (it easily converts back and forth). It is super comfortable, easy to turn (I donít have a rudder) and tracks pretty well. It is slower than my other yak, an Old Town Cayuga 146, as others have mentioned the stable hull makes it a little slower. A little slower, not a lot, I can still keep up with the pack. The other thing that I notice is that since I'm relatively short (under six foot) the 31 inch wide hull would benefit from a longer paddle.

Honestly, I can hang out in this boat all day and still be comfortable. Holds my ice chest with no problem and you can actually move around in it to stretch. I recommend the front skirt as I did take on a little water in heavy chop. I would buy it again, it is well made, great seat and even for short trips to get a little exercise I choose it over the Old Town because the seat is so comfy. Did I really mention comfort three times in this review? Well, that says something, does is not?

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02-06-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my Ultimate 14.5 Solo for approximately 3 years and have loved it from the day I bought it. I fish from mine constantly and have had a fun time rigging it for fishing. Our testimony for the Ultimate's is a family endorsement since my daughter paddles a 14.5 Solo to accommodate her 65 lb Black Lab Mix dog and my Bride really enjoys her Ultimate 12 for being on the water with me whenever I fish. These are awesome kayaks!
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12-29-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I got the Tandem for me and my son. It does everything well. I paddle it solo when my son doesn't come. We take it camping and load it down with gear. It is the most comfortable boat on the market. Great for fishing also. You can customize it for any purpose. This boat is the do everything workhorse.
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06-02-2011
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Not a ton to say about this that hasn't already been said. I own the Ultimate 14.5 tandem, 2008 model and have had great success with one exception. The "adjustable" footrests will virtually always slip and won't stay locked in place. Seen this on 3 different Ultimates of around the same age. Great kayak overall, awesome seating and stability but shockingly poor design on the footrests.
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05-17-2011
Submitted by: MAPSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Lets keep this simple. The Native Watercraft 14.5T is aptly named as it IS the ULTIMATE in fishing kayaks. I spent 4hrs. both standing and sitting in the kayak this past Sunday and it met all expectations & the only problem I experienced was the First Class seat was so comfortable... I did not want to get out of the kayak. Yes... it is that comfortable. Standing in the craft also meets all expectations in its stability. Make no mistake, Native Watercraft is the apex of kayak engineering and you will not be disappointed.
10+ in my book.

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04-15-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the 14.5 tandem at the Canoecopia show in 2008. I fish 150-200 days a year from it and I can tell you that this is by far the best fishing kayak ever made! I musky fish 50% of the time and the 14.5' tandem helps out a lot. I have landed a 58.5 incher with a 31" girth from this kayak. That is probably the biggest fish anybody will ever face using a sit "in" type of Kayak. Yes ocean fisherman can catch bigger fish but they are using sit "on" top kayaks. The reason I bought a tandem is because my wife goes fishing with me a lot and there is more than enough room for two people plus all of the gear needed. The Ultimate paddles easy, floats in skinny water and is rugged enough to run up on shore to get out so I don't have to get wet. That is one of the best reasons to buy this kayak is that you stay dry for the most part at least I do!

I love fishing from a kayak mainly because you can catch more and bigger fish. I know it sound crazy but it is actually true. I use to fish B.A.S.S. tournament for a living in the 1980's and won 4 tournaments and placed 2nd 12 times. I have also competed in some professional musky tournaments and done quite well. I have learned more about fish and fishing from fishing from a kayak than the other 45 years combined. Fishing from a kayak makes you fish all of the water around you. If you are not catching anything you can't just fireup the motor and fly across the lake to the next spot. It forces you to fish everything and you would be surprised at what you'll find. I have found that really big muskies are generally not in the deep water. In 2010 I boated 89 muskies total. 42 muskies were 40" or more and 5 were 50" or more. I would say that if I were still fishing out of a regular boat I would have only caught 20% of those muskies. The reason is simple with a kayak you can get to water that regular boats can't. I take my kayak up into small stream and deep lily pads where no boat could ever go and I catch tons of fish. Fishing from a Native Ultimate kayak is the best investment you can make!

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02-02-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought my first Ultimate 14 in 2008...did about 140 yak outing with it mostly fishing ones. Then I bought another one in 2010. I love the ca-yak a a lot.

Love the space in them...way more then my sit on top kayaks I own. Love the stability... can't beat it. Love the way I can transport it... like a canoe... way better then my sit on top, very much harder to move around with them.

For the weight after your seat is out... just the hull is not bad at all. It's fast on water... stable. Tracks well. One little thing is hull flapping sound... when it's windy to to the hull shape... but it's minus... to all the good stuff you get. so i am very happy wit them.

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12-23-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Love my Ultimate... I mostly use my Native 14 for fishing/hunting along rivers and a few backwater lakes. Very quiet to operate and handles well in current. Sometimes you go for long stretches without touching the paddle as it tracks well. I use this boat at least once a week when weather permits, so I have slammed some logs and drag it over rocks quite a bit of rough treatment and I can hardly tell its not new.

Pros: great for fishing and very stable. Only con so far is one of my footrests will not lock but fixed myself in a few minutes. FYI - Buy the paddle holder that sits on top of the kayak and not the one that clips on as they fall off and are more expensive. Get a milk crate and tie in some 2" pieces of pvc in each corner for rod holders. I can carry 5 rods easily on lakes but do not suggest for rivers stick with a pole or two. Instead of the fancy anchors that get stuck and lost. I drag a 3-4 foot length of chain off the back of the canoe wrapped in duct tape to avoid the noise of the chain. The great thing about this is you do not have to pull it up every time and you can still move the Kayak and make your casts, great on lake too in the wind. The cheap man's way.

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11-19-2010
Submitted by: David GSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Had this 14' Ultimate tandem poly roto molded kayak for a couple years. I'm online now shopping to get an additional one because every time I want to kayak, BOTH kids want to go with me! What a great buy this has been.

I've had this out about 50 trips and I go from 4 to 7 hours at a time. I'm a strong, fit guy, age 43, so the extra heaviness of this boat and the extra power needed to overcome extra drag this boat has isn't noticeable to me. It may be to you. It's a kayak/canoe hybrid...and they added extreme stability to the mix.

I usually paddle on class I and ATTEMPT class II. I have swamped it only once when I went sideways over a 3' drop, and even completely full of water it still floats.

I use it primarily as a fly fishing vessel and sight seeing tandem. If you are a fly fisherman...just suck it up and pay the extra $ on this kayak because this kayak is the most practical fly fishing small craft I can imagine.

PROS: Extremely Stable (Yes you can stand in it but that's like standing on a floating log. The boat won't flip but you might eventually) The longer length 14.7' cuts water much better than the 12' version (I've used both). Tracks very well (skeg or rudder would be a waste on fresh water). It has TONS of room for 2 people plus gear plus massive cooler. Built tough. Very comfortable seating for long days. Lots of available add ons (great spray skirts, holders, great fitted coolers, storage cases, etc). Travels in 8" of water. Lots of people will stop you at gas stations and on the water complimenting this kayak.

Cons: It's heavy. It takes two strong people to portage without dragging (me and my athletic 11 year old daughter struggle at times). Needs a car loader to safely load on top of SUV if you are alone. The Ultimate is way too expensive, but no other kayak does what this one does. The stable W hull adds extra drag surface compared to typical kayaks. It tracks so well that you won't avoid all Class II water boulders. The stabilization cross bars are a mild pain to remove (I change their positions around every trip and in transit). Front passengers feel unstable and 'slightly' cramped until they get used to it.

Hints: Forego the Angler model and add the anchor trolley and rod holder mounts (actual rod holders aren't included) where you want them yourself. It's much cheaper. Also, buy the rear cooler. It is amazingly practical. Finally, get the front bow skirt. It makes front passenger feel secure and it keeps them dryer when a ski boat throws a wake over the bow.

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09-03-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have an Ultimate 14.5 Solo that i have outfitted for fishing with anchor trolley, fish finder, compass, GPS, fishing crate and Scotty rod holders. This is truly a pimped kayak. The roominess and stability of the Ultimate is unbelievable. I am 6ft 3 inches tall and weigh about 225 lbs and my Ultimate offers more leg room than you can imagine My daughter has an identical Ultimate and shares it with her 65 lb Black Lab Mix. Both have a ton of room and the dog can move around easily. The Ultimate 14.5 is a great boat.
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08-05-2010
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     Was going to purchase one of the Native kayaks with the foot paddling feature for my wife. We went to a facility and tested 6 of these on a lake. Every foot peddle device broke on all 6 new Native Kayaks. I am glad I tested before purchasing.
The store owner told me that once his inventory of Native Kayaks were gone, he would not be selling any more from this company. Every single one that he sold has come back for repairs. It seemed like such a nice feature, maybe Native should rethink the engineering on this device or go with another supplier...possible shimano or similar. Someone that has been in the sprocket business for awhile.
We ended up with a Hobie for the wife. It is a wonderful canoe, no issues. This is our fourth kayak that we own, still have all of them. Ocean, Wilderness Systems, 2 Hobies, and a Mad River Canoe. We are avid paddlers.

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08-03-2009
Submitted by: JakeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had my Ultimate 14.5 for 2 years and it's fantastic. I paddle in it with my wife or with our dog or both. Stable as all get out. I easily maneuver it on and off the top of my Outback without much problem. Just great overall.
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03-03-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my 14.5 (in solo) over one year, and have used it for camping several times. The boat is very stable, maneuvers well in quick rivers, and holds everything I need for a comfortable four day camping trip. I sleep in it at night, and it is more comfortable than my tent.

If there is a more versatile boat I haven't found one. I live on a lake and use the boat all year. I have even broken thin ice with the boat. The only problem I have is I hit my knuckles on the rear seat arm rest plastic support.

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09-03-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Fantastic. I bought this last winter and have been out weekly since June. It has performed well on lakes and slow rivers. Even the small little creeks in the Pine Barrens. It was a great platform to teach my two children 7 and 5 how to paddle. My son graduated to his own yak in July and my daughter will be getting one over the winter. Great for families. I have had 2 adults and 2 small children in it at once. Plenty of gear space tandem or solo and extremely stable for fishing. Can not wait to do some camping with it. Yes, I have stood up in it. Took some time but it is possible. The seats are extremely comfortable. This is a great yak. You will not be disappointed.
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08-01-2008
Submitted by: A TSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Disregard the poster who gave it a 5 - how can you review something if you were using it improperly? It would be like reviewing a paddle if you were holding it backwards.

I love this, and use it mostly in saltwater, in both tandem and solo configs. I'm a fisherman, and find this great for holding all of my gear, landing fish, and standing up comfortably. The design of the seats is great, but also not for the serious paddler... I think of this as a boat for people who use boats as a tool to do other things... not those who want to zip around in a trim little yak.

One concern: I've yet to capsize this (knock on wood), and wonder how it would handle being swamped... an awful lot of volume to pump out for a little hand bilge. It is so stable, that I wouldn't worry about being able to get back in it though.

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06-13-2008
Submitted by: Randy AurandSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had my 14.5 Ultimate for about a month. This is my first yak so I am new to kayaking. I am 5'10" and weigh 370lb so I'm no little guy. I got the boat for fishing w/ angler package.

I tested many yaks before buying, most were to small, to wet, or would not turn. The Native is very comfortable, stable, and sturdy. Have caught well over 100 fish in it so far and counting. Only complaint is the paddle holders that snap on the sides fell off. I have had no problems w/ the foot rests, they lock very well for me. No problem with flexy here.

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05-19-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     Tested the Ultimate 14.5 in the solo configuration; For me this yak is to flexy - sides flex out, seat not really secure in place, foot pegs tend to move when pushed on. Many folks rave about the comfort of the seat; somehow I end up sitting ON the bar that the seat hinges on - not so comfortable. I also found the boat to be either too wide, too high, or too straight-sided for my paddling style, I kept banging the sides and wishing there was a bit of inward curve to the sides. To be fair, when I got back to the dock I realized that the boat had not been fully changed over from tandem to single: the seat had not been clipped in place just secured w/ the foam blocks, and straps and bars had not been clipped in from side to side. If the boat had been fully set up, it might not have been so flexy.

So, even tho I had been prepared to love the Ultimate 14.5 for a photog. platform (and there is plenty of space for gear), I didn't like the yak itself or the way it paddled.

I have a Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 pro that I like for general paddling(except that it has gotten a tad narrow in the seat/ cockpit). I wanted a yak w/ a wider seat that was more stable for a photog. platform; ended up buying a LiquidLogic Manta Ray 14

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04-30-2008
Submitted by: Michael DaySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had the Ultimate 14.5 tandem for about two weeks now, and have had the chance to take it out a few times with my daughters (3 and 6 years old) for some quiet paddling on a local lake. I had decided that this was the kayak for me even before I went to the dealer to check it out, and I bought it after floating in it in their small wave pool.

I really love this kayak; it is my first, however, so I cannot compare it to much (unless a comparison to the 16 foot aluminum canoe we used when I was a kid is fair!) I can hoist it myself onto the top of my SUV, and it is very comfortable, so much so that I imagine I will need to remember to sit up to improve my paddling form. I agree with reviews elsewhere that the molded cupholders and trays are really un-useable, they even collect water from the paddle after you're on the water a while.

I plan to use this at the GA coast and the FL panhandle as well, so I imagine that the bow skirt would be a good addition. Based upon the amount of flotation foam in the bow and stern, it seems that if it were completely swamped that you would have no way to pump it out or otherwise empty it unless you had someone along with you in another boat (I have not tested this, however).

For the paddling I plan (lakes, river floats, coastal "backcountry") it is perfect. I haven't tried to stand yet, since I have always had a little one along in the front seat. I am very happy with my choice at this point; I can't see that changing.

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12-19-2007
Submitted by: michelleSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Love this kayak. A great family kayak. Solo to tandem quick change over is so well done here. Great at keeping us dry and seating is well designed.
Travels well and love the material the kayak is made of.
Uses - Murray River, Australia.

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10-29-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     My wife and I go out as frequently as possible. This boat is much more stable than my MantaRay 10 (liquid logic) and while it's a bit hefty (60+) we manage well since we're car-topping on our sedans for now. Liking this boat very much... would rate higher but there's too much we don't know to be that competent at rating. Great Tandem at a sub $800 price.

PS: the previous reviewer is correct... the straps make an un-Godly roaring sound so we will try the criss-cross method to see if the noise is abated.

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10-22-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     My wife and I, and our new Yorkie pup demo'ed this boat at the Okeeheelee Park Expo last weekend. We were looking for something to replace our "serious" sea kayaks for our more recreational use. Also, I hoped for something that would treat my injured lower back more kindly than anything I've been able to rig in my sea kayak.

Conditions were quite windy, so this was a good test of how a boat with more freeboard would behave on all points of sail. To my surprise, I was easily able to turn and point the boat wherever we wanted to go. Tracking was never an issue.

Pressing a foot against the easily adjustable (though somewhat flimsy looking) footrest and slightly "edging" brought the hull about smartly. Speed was not a requirement for us, but I noticed that we were moving about as well as any of the "rec boaters". Our fore and aft separation was enough to prevent all but an occasional out-of-sync paddle clash. Our paddles were a bit short for the beam of the boat, so I splashed in a bit more water until I slid the drip rings further out. The seats are WONDERFUL! I could sit in them all day long with NO discomfort whatever.

So why didn't we buy the boat on the spot?
Simple. Even with the seats removed, the 60-plus pounds of the hull was more than my wife and I wanted to wrestle to the Yakima Hull Raisers atop our Honda Element on a regular basis. A spoiler mounted at the top of the rear door prevents the use of the suction cup mounted wheel accessory for rear loading.

We are waiting for the chance to demo the new light material version (composite) of this boat.

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06-22-2007
Submitted by: K R BardSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought this kayak at Canoecopia 2007 in Madison, WI. I've used it more often as a solo than as a tandem. My interests are exploring small lakes, marshes and calm rivers often in connection to birding, nature study & photography.

Pros:
reasonably quick (especially with two strong paddlers), extremely stable, maneuverability is great, the seats are very comfortable and can be removed for transport or reconfigure solo/tandem

Cons:
freeboard is minimal, capacity is relatively low, during transport on the roof rack the hull shape makes the straps roar in the wind (criss-cross them to reduce this), the foot rests need to be tightened with a phillips head screw driver or else they slip (no longer truly adjustable).

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