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Reviews for Manteo Kayak by Wilderness Systems


Rated: 8.65/10 Based On: 34 Reviews

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10-15-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I absolutely love this wonderful kayak. A more stable boat you will not find. She will rock a bit, but you absolutely will NOT capsize her. Her well designed hull lends itself to her incredible stability.

Lots of space where you need it the most, and one of the most comfortable seats you will ever encounter in a kayak of any kind. Wonderful tracking and speed!! I was able to keep up with my colleague and he was in a QCC composite. Unlike the higher priced composite, or kevlar boats she is very durable and can take whatever punishment you can give her, including the water moccasins of Texas!! She handles the waves with ease, and has lots of storage space for overnights, or fishing. I love that I can take pictures of local scenes while seated inside without the fear of rolling. Too bad they don't make this one anymore.

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10-13-2008
Submitted by: Paul GSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The 1st Kayak I ever owned, and by far the easiest to paddle!! Very stable, and surprisingly fast with excellent tracking!! I parted with it to upgrade to a sea kayak, and have greatly regretted that decision. Unfortunately, WS no longer makes this one. May have to buy a Cape Horn or Tsunami to come close.
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07-19-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     I bought this boat in '97 knowing very little about the sport or the company. Now, with hindsight I feel I can give a realistic review. The construction itself is quite sturdy thus the 60+ pounds in weight. I beat that boat up in the Great Lakes and it held together quite well. It had great initial stability but was problematic to get into. I'm 6' and around 190lbs. The foot pegs in mine were not adjustable so longer rides just were not comfortable. It did track very well and never needed a rudder in my opinion. The plastic was a bit soft and by the time I sold it it had quite a few gouges in it. For a beginner that is only going to do some sporadic paddling this boat will suffice. Car topping the manteo with all its weight is a bit more challenging.
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04-26-2004
Submitted by: SeanSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Bought my Manteo nearly 3 years ago, and I couldn't be happier about it. Although it can be difficult to handle in high winds, I'm extremely impressed by the boat's diversity. I've taken it on lots of flatwater, some estuary paddles and on class I & II. The boat is wide enought to be very stable, but the chined hull makes it a lot easier to handle. I've also taken this on camping-paddling trips and find that it has plenty of storage space. Excellent boat for someone who wants to do a little bit of everything....
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08-13-2002
Submitted by: PaulGSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I use my Manteo for fishing for striped bass in the Merrimack River in Mass. It is easy to cartop, although a bit heavy. I like the flat front deck for mounting a rod holder and for unhooking fish. It makes a good work surface for dealing with uncooperative undersized fish. Any striped bass I keep (>28 inches) I just slip into the cockpit between my knees. I find the kayak tracks well, but sometimes seems to want to point into the wind. It is extremely stable due to the double-chined hull, but somtimes seems difficult to turn in confined areas. It is is an excellent all round kayak and I haven't seen any other design I would prefer to fish out of.
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08-05-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I use my Manteo for multi-day trips on small creeks and rivers. It handles log crossings (sometimes jumpings) very well, although it will bend when pulled over a log loaded down with camping gear. I use a seat pad and a rolled up sleeping pad under my knees for long trips. It has proven to be bullet proof thus far. Best money I've spent in a long time...
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08-01-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Manteo is my first kayak. I bought it in Sept '01 because of it's versatility on Lake Superior and rivers and streams. I have been quite satisfied thus far. Initial stability is not the greatest though I can enter/exit it quite effectively now but secondary stability (which I bought it for) is terrific. I've had it on Lake Superior from smooth as glass to 4 ft. whitecaps and it's done well in both. It's a blast in rough seas actually. It's multi chine hull keeps it tracking straight and weathercocks minimally, which is easily corrected by a paddle sweep or two. It keeps up fine with the sea kayaks I paddle with. Because of it's 13' length it manuvers well inside the sea caves and narrower rivers/streams. I have yet to try it on a rapids river (having too much fun on the BIG lake :-) It is built so sturdy I do not worry much about scrapes, rocks and no rudder to worry about. It can take alot of abuse. It is versatile for all size paddlers. I am an average size 5'6" female but it has accomodated smaller and much larger paddlers......one 6'3 and 230 lbs. The seat is better than most but I am happy to see the new Phase 3 seat is in the newer models (shucks, bought mine a year too early). The one rear hatch is very adequate for hauling gear and there is plenty of room in the hull if extra storage is needed.

The down side: heavy...heavy...heavy, especially if there's gear in it. At 60 lbs. it's a beast (thus the sturdiness of it). I can carry it only a very short distance (and I'm strong for a girl). My friends like to carry the heavy one (mine) first to/from the put-ins. I am seriously considering a little 2 wheel cart to tow it along. I use the Yakima Hully Roller/Mayo saddle system for loading/hauling my kayak which is a must for me. I do not use thigh braces but have thought of installing some decent ones, not the thin foam pads they supplied with it. Because of the high cockpit I am not sure how they will work. I maybe could use some hip pads but I have not had much of a problem thus far. A smaller paddler would much benefit from some. I have not tried to roll it yet though may participate in a clinic soon. The high cockpit is a definite advantage in rough seas but a bugger to get back into during a T-rescue or a self rescue as I found out during a safety class. During the T my partner had to lean my kayak almost even with the water before I could get up on the deck. However, it is possible. Those with lower decks have a definate advantage.

I am starting to shop for a second kayak and have no idea what I'll end up with but I will definately keep my Manteo. It's versatility for my area can't be beat and it's a wonderful kayak to put a beginner in.

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06-25-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     As a novice kayaker I lucked out! We bought my Manteo in Florida in December and I had just a few chances to try it out on the intracoastal in Boca Raton. Since then I have had it on the Chesapeake Bay, in quiet water lakes and on the Susquehanah River. This kayak has handled all of it just fine! I love the stability, speed and ease of paddling. I am an average size 5'6" woman and am finding that with practice I can get in and out at docks now. My husband has a Hobie sit-on and occassionally I will let him use my Manteo...but frankly I let that event happen less and less. LOL. I would highly recommend the Manteo for any novice paddlers and am very happy with mine.
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05-28-2002
Submitted by: noneSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is a wonderful kayak. The final stability is excellent. The boat will rock a little with your movements, but will not capsize. Once a certain point is reached, the beautiful shape of the hull causes it to steady itself. Suitable for all sizes of paddlers, I notice that many of the previous reviews are from heavy people. I am 100 lbs and I find that this boat works well for me too. Very roomy, space to stretch, comfy seat and backrest, I have had no trouble with the bulkhead, excellent tracking, I suggest that narrow paddlers get some foam to stick by their hips. I will do so because I noticed that I would occasionally sit on one side of the wide seat causing the bow to change direction. Unlike fiberglass boats this one is durable and will stand some scratches and bangs without the slightest bit of trouble. The 'pebbled' deck is also a nice feature because it keeps the sun's glare off when the deck is wet. I love that feature because I like to paddle while the sun is low and in the evening, when sun is reflecting off of everything and can block your vision.
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02-25-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     This past summer I took an almost complete novice friend paddling with me around Parry Sound (Georgian Bay). I suggested he rent a Manteo to learn the basics of kayaking, bracing , etc. I had just previously owned one! To make a long story short, he had difficulty staying on course, so we swapped kayaks (I gave him my Cape Horn 15' w/rudder).

So I got a chance to re-review my old Manteo! Yes, initial stability sucks, but trust me, after the Cape Horn, it's like trying on Oprah's skirt. It's so wide don't worry about tipping over! There's more secondary stability than you could possibly need in reserve!

I was also surprised that I could keep up to my buddy who although is a novice is in great shape (we did 35 kilometers!). So believe it, the Manteo does move fast for it's size. For some reason, 4-5 ft waves from behind did not bother me (so disregard previous complaint).

It would just be so much better if it came with knee braces and the new Phaze 3 seat! Is that too much to ask for WS? Anyhow, I still love my Cape Horn, it's way better looking, better comfort, yada yada. I guess my point is: THE MANTEO IS BETTER THAN I THOUGHT!!!!! So this time it's an 8 and not a 7!!!

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02-11-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     I have used a Manteo for about two years about 2- 4 times a summer. I have had it on lakes and a rather swift moving class 1-2 mountain stream. Overall not to bad. There are better kayaks out there! I am 6' 205lbs and found this kayak hard to get in and out. I fitted it with a spray skit and tried to roll it in the stream. It was very hard to recover back into the upright position. I think that it weathercocked way to much when I paddled it on the lake. I was always correcting the bow. The ride was average and dry. Anyway, back to the stream. The Manteo was not responsive enough in large standing waves and was way to tippy for this type of water. I could turn it using regular strokes, but did not find it responsive to skulling. When my friend offered it to me for sale, I declined. It is nice watercraft, but not for me. I bought the OT Loon 138 instead and I quite impressed with this one.
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02-11-2002
Submitted by: P.C. GriggSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had a Manteo in rasta for almost four years. I bought it as a beginner after paddling it and upon the advice of Shelly Smith and it has taken me through all phases of my growth as a paddler. I have done everthing in this boat. I have hunted, fished, camped, surfed, toured, downhill in the snow and even beach launched into 15' faces. This boat has never failed me.It's great in placid, chop and ROUGH fresh or salt water. I'm a larger paddler 6'0" 250 and I have no problem getting in or out of it. I wish Wilderness systems had put more comfort thought in to the setup ie. Real thigh braces and an advanced seat would complete the package of an all around boat.
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01-09-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased my Manteo in the spring of 2001 and use it primarily on flat H20 (NY Finger Lakes, Adirondack lakes and tributaries). I'm rather large (6'1" 260 lbs) and have no problem getting in/out, or with this boats performance. Being relatively new to 'yaking, and having tried a number of other boats, I like the Manteo's initial stability. The tracking is excellent. I like the fact that it has a bulkhead and a very roomy rear hatch. It's a great boat for beginners. The Manteo is easy to paddle with the performance of longer more expensive boats. Only problem is that my lower back begins to hurt after about 2 hrs of continuous paddling. I take a 10 min break... and keep on going!
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11-08-2001
Submitted by: Phil HollywoodSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Having owned a number of whitewater/river-running kayaks, over the years, I thought I'd try sea kayaking, for a change. A friend recommended the Manteo, as a good starter boat. I'm 6' and 210lbs and the Manteo's cockpit was amazingly roomy, with a comfortable seat and backrest. Thighbracing, with the supplied self-adhesive foam pads, was primitive compared to my Perception ARC, as was the initial sensation of tippiness. Once under way, however, the ride was smooth and fast. There was a tendency for the stern to come around in wind or waves, but correction with a few sweep strokes soon bought the craft on line again.As a beginner's sea kayak, I think it's just fine, but I'm ready to move on now, so I'm trading in the Manteo for a Prijon SeaYak.
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08-20-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Part II - Well my Manteo has far exceeded my expectations :-)) Yesterday I went out to paddle in a Tidal Bore, 15-18ft waves, with my Whitewater Buddies. The Manteo was incredible. What a sensation having the Kayak vertical going up a wave!!! Kinda that Perfect Storm movie feeling. Feel kinda sorry for the reviewer who said the Manteo was at it's limit in 3ft waves ;-((

I've also taken it Surfing. Now that is more of a challenge. As long as you keep it straight, or side surf then the Manteo does well, but it does have a tendency to to wanna get twisted. But with some practice, I think it would make for a fairly decent surf kayak.

The Boat is holding up fairly well, did have one of the foot peg tracks spread, but it was just a matter of popping it shut with some pliers (too much torque on peg from trying to Roll). And it does have a few scratches on it, but hey that only gives the boat character ;-) My rating, can ya give it a 11 out of 10 ;-))?

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08-15-2001
Submitted by: ACESend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I'm new to the sport and this is my first kayak purchase. I looked at the Dagger Cypress, Wilderness Systems Manteo, and Trinity Bay Venture. I'll be using my kayak at a nearby lake. Ultimately, I went with the Manteo because it was available through a local dealer at a good price (less than $600). I liked the Venture too; it's a bit longer boat. Both are fast in the water, very stable, provide good storage, and track well. A good beginner kayak. I'm rating the Manteo a 7, because I've found it difficult to car-top by myself- it weighs 60 pounds whereas the Cypress weighs 50. I'm really enjoying it and working on my paddle strokes!
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08-06-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     This was my third kayak. Good speed, wave piercing abilities and storage. I did not like how it handled with the waves coming from behind. It feels tipsy at first. The porous plastic means seaweed and algae stain the hull and will not come off unless cleaned immediately. It also appears to be heavy for it's size compared to similar sized kayaks. The seat is comfortable but you will need to put a life jacket or a bag below your knees if you plan to be doing any serious distance. All in all it's still a great kayak. After 6 months I upgraded to a Cape Horn 15ft and never looked back with regret!
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06-21-2001
Submitted by: Greg KesslerSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have owned a Manteo for about a year and a half and have tested its limits in many ways. It is a Teal demo model bought following a "you can Paddle days" event. I have used it at least once a week during the time that I have owned it.

Prior to buying the boat, I tried a number of kayaks out (and read the reviews found here) as extensively as possible. My greatest concern was that I wanted to get ONE boat that could handle the wide variety of activities that I wanted to do other than extreme whitewater (from class I-II+ rivers to shorter sea kayaking stints). The Manteo has performed excellently on all occassions.

Most notably, I took the Manteo out on Lake Superior into 3 foot waves for a paddle around the Apostle Island Sea Caves and it had no problem! In fact, I was passing some folks in sea kayaks (who seemed shocked that such a smaller boat would even be out on that water). Furthermore, many of the sea kayakers had given up on the trip that day due to the weather, but my Manteo sliced right through those waves without a problem. Celebrating its versatility, I paddled down the National Scenic Namekagon River the next day.

On the rougher rivers it is a bit of a challenge, but I have never had a problem with the milder drops and chutes that I find around SE Ohio and Nearby West Virginia.

Thank you Wilderness Systems!

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06-13-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     I am 6'2" tall and weigh approx: 160 Lbs. I purchased a Wilderness Systems Manteo last summer and have used it quite frequently. It is a pretty fast boat, looks beautiful with it's Blue/Yellow fade color and is simple to cartop. The only problems I have with the boat is that it is uncomfortable for me to use since I have long legs and turning is difficult. There is no room inside for me to bend at the knee which makes the boat uncomfortable very quickly. Besides those two problems I think this boat is fantastic for it's value and would last me for many years. I hope to upgrade to a Prijon Sea Yak or similar boat from another company only because the Manteo does not fit me well. I guess that teaches me not to purchase a boat without trying it first! I just wish the kayak dealers by my location would allow it.
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05-07-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     This being my first Kayak, it's hard to really rate it. Last summer, I did have the opportunity to try a bunch of different Wilderness Kayaks. The Manteo was my favourite of them. The bigger Sea Kayaks, although they were easier to keep straight for a beginner and are ideal for Multi Day Ocean trips, they just didn't seem as fun to paddle as the Manteo. The Kayaks smaller than the Manteo, just didn't want to go straight ;-(

I also looked at a Sun Velocity and a Dagger Cypress. Being 6'4, 250lbs the Manteo was the hands down winner! Sun Velocity was a tight squeeze and quality wise it felt kinda cheap. Cypress, I just didn't fit in :-( I fit into the Manteo nicely, and I've found it's very comfortable for a two hour paddle (longest I've been on so far). It does tend to be a little tricky to keep straight with any kind of cross wind, but by raising the knee on the side you want to point (digs the left or right chime farther into the water) it straightens out nicely. The Manteo also has a fair bit of storage room in the stern. Wouldn't be no problem taking this on an overnighter. I do plan on playing in the Surf once I get a lot more experinced, so I'll let you know how the Manteo is for that. For the time being, I'll be sticking to Lakes and Rivers.

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04-01-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I started kayaking last summer 7/00 tried the Old Town 138 and 120 Loon good boat, but I purchased a Manteo and it is just what I needed. Handling is good tracking excelant speed is no problem either. Almost all my paddling is in the Hudson River around West Point and Cold Spring NY this kayak is still putting a smile on my face ,ENJOY.
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10-09-2000
Submitted by: JimSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     A great recreation kayak that does exactly what I need it to do. I use it primarily on flatwater for paddling around 2-4 hours when I go out. Tracks very well, extremely stable for a short kayak, even in fairly stiff wind. Has many features that are not found on rec boats, such as bulkhead/hatch and a quality seat w/ a low back. Why a 9 out of 10? Nothing's perfect... but this is pretty close.
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09-12-2000
Submitted by: RTW
Rating: 10 of 10

     We purchased 2 Manteos 3 years ago and have put them to the test - perhaps beyond what should be expected. We have paddled all over the coastline of Mt. Desert, ME, Boothbay Harbor, ME and Cape Cod, MA. We have recently taken a wilderness camping trip in northern Maine on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and Chesuncook Lake for 3 days and had no problem carrying gear (too much, in fact). We paddled along side of 16 & 17 foot Perceptions and most of the time were in the lead. We were concerned that we would not be able to keep up in our "small" boats. These small boats continue to amaze us. We are ready to upgrade but will never part with our Manteos. They are wonderful.
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08-12-2000
Submitted by: DJISend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I rented a manteo for a weekend along with 2 othr kayaks (Sun Velocity & Loon 138). Although the Manteo handled quite well, I had difficulty getting in & out. I'm sure my difficulty was due to the fact that I am slightly larger than average. I ended up purchasing the Loon 138. Larger, new paddlers may find the Manteo to be difficult to enter & exit.
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05-04-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Wildnerness Systems Manteo. This is my first kayak. I feel that it has a higher quality of finish and quality than others of its same size, construction, and intended use. I find it to be a source of pride and to handle quite nicely. My wife also has one; we bought two when we made the purchase(s) last summer. The accessories are also of high quality. The kayak is sturdy and comfortable; it turns nicely. The hatch has remained dry on both kayaks. My only complaint is that accessories are somewhat hard to source, i.e., the shipping of same took a while. Other than that, it is a kayak that brings pride.
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01-08-2000
Submitted by: JamesSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This was my first kayak. It has a great price and preforms like larger boats. It tracks well and is faster than any boat of comparable size. It feels a little unstable the first time you step in it, but you are completely comfortable in two minutes. Its 27" beam and its double chine hull make it very stable in moderate waves. Its extended skeg aids in its tracking ability, however, it will also push the stern around a little in high winds or waves. The bulkhead is rather spacious and there is room for gear under the bow. The boat is great for daytrips and weekends. I was looking for a little more out of the boat so I bought a larger Wilderness Systems kayak. But if you are looking for a great all around light touring boat, this is the one. A great first/only kayak for both adults and kids.
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11-09-1999
Submitted by: TimSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I own an Acadia but have borrowed my sister's manteo on many occasions. The manteo is a much faster boat and it tracks so well that a rudder would be a waste. In fact it tracks so well that steering takes some getting used to. It helps to lean to the outside of the turn. It feels tippy at first, but I have had it in some heavy wakes and it takes them broadside or straight on without a problem. In fact it takes all the fun out of playing in the wakes of passing "pleasure"(what a misnomer) boaters.
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10-28-1999
Submitted by: TomSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Great kayak. Perfect for weekend getaways. I travel the intercoastal areas of east central florida and this boat has given me few problems. The only drawbacks are the boat sits a little too low in the water and can be a little slow in steering response. I like to fish the flats and this boat is perfect!
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09-20-1999
Submitted by: JPSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     13' Manteo from Wilderness Systems, teal in color. I enjoy my manteo greatly it is the first kayak I purchased. it does well in the river and the marshes. however it gets a nine instead of a ten due to it is a little difficult to steer.
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08-23-1999
Submitted by: Lee AustinSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Perhaps the fastest 13' kayak out there, the Manteo tracks and cruises like a longer boat owing to a double chine hull. It is ideal for rivers or lakes, has a large load capacity, and can handle some mild rapids making it a great all-around boat.

The trade-off to the sure tracking is that it turns a bit hesitantly and has some choppy lean-steer characteristics due to the hull design. At only 13' feet though, the Manteo is maneuverable enough and will turn around in creeks that would necessitate backing out in a longer boat.

On top of all this, the Manteo has a lifetime guarantee, is well finished, and is available in a variety of colors.

Anyone looking at a "recreational kayak" should strongly consider buying a Manteo instead since it is stable, will do everything well, and the novice user won't outgrow it. Get the [optional] high backrest if you buy one.

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07-12-1999
Submitted by: JCSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     The Manteo is my first Kayak. It handled the sounds and bays of Mt Desert Island well enough. In the protected waters of New Hampshire it handled the still water excellently. However, this past weakend on a large New Hampshire lake (see the Movie, "What about Bob?") I faced three and a half foot wind generated swells. It was obvious that I had reached the performance ceiling of the Manteo. For a weekender the boat can't be beat, as stable as a battleship. In the rough, I longed for a longer boat. End thought, weakend warrior's here's your battle kayak.
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06-20-1999
Submitted by: Doug
Rating: 9 of 10

     Love this boat. It's amazingly fast for such a short boat, a a result of the double-chine hull. We have rented 16 and 17 foot boats and it is no trouble to keep up in the Manteo. It is quite stable and I regularly fish out of it, as well as carry my 4-year-old daughter in the rear hatch (which can be easily removed and a boat cushion put inside). The construction is great and it seems t be holding up better than my friends kayaks by perception and dagger. Would definitely recommend this as a great all-rounder.

The only downside is that the double-chine hull runs a little deeper and thus runs aground earlier in shallow riverbeds. Great first or only kayak.

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05-03-1999
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased a Manteo and find it to be an excellent kayak. Off the water it is very user friendly loading and unloading from the car carrier with minimal excertion. The design of the kayak was well thought out, sleek yet stable, easy to enter and exit, and very comfortable once in it for the ride. (the padded seat and back are very nice appointments) In the water it is stable, quick, and tracks like a train. Recently while kayaking with my wife on Squam Lake in New Hampshire we were inundated with high waves from the many power boats on the lake but continued on with our plan almost undisturbed. Would I purchase another if the need arised, absolutely! Try this one and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.
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01-21-1999
Submitted by: Galen HekhuisSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Being as how I am a gimp, I can't tell you everything you may have wanted to know about the Manteo. I'm also fairly new to paddling, so I can't really say I've paddled a bunch of stuff.

Anyhow, the Manteo weighs only about 50 pounds, and meets all my requirements. It has a rear hatch and bulkhead, which is large enough for me to get stuff into (tent, sleeping bag, etc.) for an overnighter, although (as with any hatch compartment) one should not rely on the watertightness of the cover -- always use dry bags too, if you want to be sure stuff stays dry. It's stable, fast (I do about 3 knots average, 5 if I sprint), and seems to track pretty well. There's room behind the seat and in front of the rear bulkhead to stash plenty of stuff, I carry my bilge pump and paddle float there, and there's lots of room for more.

I was out on a lake in North Carolina when a powerboat decided to play "sink the kayak." The powerboat gave up after circling me for a bit, but I hardly got wet.

It has bungee cords on the deck fore and aft. I mounted a compass on the front set, and there is still lots of room.

So why a 9 instead of a 10? Simply because there is some "sculpting" on the front deck that gets wet. Not real wet, but just enough to irritate me. That's why.

I like the boat a lot, it's light, tough, and cheap. I can attest to its toughness. I've thrown it off the top of my truck lots of times, although I don't recommend that sort of way to get it off a car.

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