After lengthy research and testing of kayaks in the 12 to 14 foot range, my wife and I both purchased Prijon Cruiser 430's. One red and one mango. Being new to the sport (previous canoe owners) we found the stability, tracking, speed, maneuverability, storage capacity and weight of this model to be exceptional for the categories in which we were looking.
We have now owned our kayaks for over two years and absolutely love them. We have had these kayaks on local small lakes, calm rivers such as the Mississippi, and even toured part of the Lake Superior North Shore. (The Lake Superior tour was done during calm weather). We primarily tour on day trips for exercise and the pleasure of being on the water. I sometimes attach a clampable fishing pole holder on the forward portion of the hatch ring and trowel while I paddle. The open cockpit suits this type of fishing perfectly. We have paddled into 2+ foot swells with no issue. Wind becomes a bit of a tracking nuisance when blowing above 15 mph.
The only reason I don't rate this boat a 10 is because I expected it to actually be a bit lighter than it is. Though it is lighter than any comparable roto-molded kayak we tried, I believe the weight is closer to 50+ lbs than the 44 lbs originally advertised. It is still no problem to hoist onto our racks on top of the SUV. This is a new boat for Prijon, and I'm a relatively new paddler. We bought a Capri Tour for my wife and the Cruiser for me. We didn't have a chance to test paddle them, but had tested many other boats, and researched endlessly on the internet and talked to shops about what boats would be best for us at a starting level and beyond.
When I sat in the boat in the showroom, it just felt really right. The Capri felt a bit tight, being more narrow and having a lower deck. The Cruiser is a bit wider - 26.75" than the Capri 25", which makes it a bit more stable, but also a bit more recreational in the way it feels. From a stop it doesn't accelerate as fast as the Capri - that has something to do with the heavier weight. Once up and moving it does just what it is called - cruises. The large cockpit lets some spray and drip from the paddles in. This boat turns about as good as any 14'+ boat will turn, at least from those I tested. The drawback is that it is hard to keep on track especially with a brisk beam wind. There is a place for a rudder, but the salesperson didn't know if one could be ordered for it. Have to check with Prijon for that. With a rudder, I'm sure it would track straight in the wind.
This has been a very fun boat to paddle, but I'm already looking for a more advanced design with better glide to evolve my skills with. The price on this boat was really great, we got them from Ramsay Outdoor, a local NJ outdoor chain, and they were around $750 each. I like the blow molded plastic vs the rotomolded, as it seems to be stiffer and lighter - sort of a halfway between rotomolded and thermoforming which is the way I look at it. One thing about the hull is that when car topped using shaped foam blocks the underside of the hull deformed each time we tied them down. Our racks are pretty close together and the hull around the cockpit area is the widest and has the least amount of stiffness there. The impressions came out after a few hours sitting flat on the garage floor, but it was a bit surprising to see. We now transport them upside down as the straps over the underside of the hull seem to spread the load more than the shaped foam blocks did and eliminate the pressure points.
Overall this is a really nice kayak, but a bit more beginner oriented than what I was looking for. Strangely enough, the shorter Capri feels better once I tried it on the water, and suffers less weather cocking in side winds probably because of less overall volume.
One last thing, the hatch on the Cruiser leaks, a lot. After a couple of wet exit practices there was about 3 gallons of water in the hatch. I'd be interested to see other reviews of this boat in different conditions.