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The beam is narrow enough for speed and wide enough for stability. The internal keels provide good wind drift tracking. The top space GREAT without clutter for the big fish fights. The kayak can easily be customized to the fishermans needs. Added Scott's pole holders, anchor cleat, etc.
One final thought, the seats keep you dry and have a perfect center of gravity for stability, not seen in any others. For a long distance coastal and Great Lakes fisherman and his family, Native... bring the Magic 14.5 SIT back!!!
Needless to say, the Magic certainly did not live up to expectations or its potential...and Native Watercraft will ultimately shoulder the blame for the Magic's many failures for years to come. With a little more vision on the part of its creator, the Magic could have been a great kayak.
The "Plug-N-Play" system was initially billed as versatile and modular. However, Native did not develop the Plug-N-Play concept to meet the demands of kayak fisherman. This probably explains why the Magic has now been factory discontinued. Specifically, user friendly rod holders, paddle holders and stake out pole holders would have been a good start. For example, the Scotty rod system is awkward, unstable and inconvenient riding on the Plug-N-Play bars. Other MFG's like Malibu incorporated these systems in a user friendly way. Then, Native discontinued the Plug-N-Play dash system altogether...unannounced...before I even received my Magic.
The rudder pedal fasteners continually break and the P-N-P snaps are a pain to use. Moreover, the lack of a hatch system makes this kayak an even bigger under achiever considering the Magic's hype and high price tag.
Finally, the 85lb weight on this kayak is ridiculous considering that its carrying capacity is low...50% less than comparable kayaks in its fishing class!! In fact, after this experience, I would never consider purchasing another Native Watercraft product again.
Mostly we have used it on flat water, but last month we went to the Buffalo National River in N. Arkansas, and only took the Magic. After lots of rain the Upper Buffalos was up high, with lots of class II rapids. We were really surprised how well it performed. Some of the rapids had high enough waves to completely fill the kayak with water, making it a little wobbly. But we just slowed up a bit, and the water soon drained through the scupper holes.
The search for the "perfect canoe" led me, one sunny Sunday afternoon, to Oak Orchard's Water-port store and test pond. Several hours (and several test paddles) later, I found myself driving down the Thruway with an SOT on my SUV trying to figure out just exactly how and when my "canoe dream" had morphed into kayak reality. The past year and several outings with the Magic (as well as some of its cousins) has convinced me that SOT's in general and this SOT in particular offer the physically limited (and the horizontally challenged) an opportunity to share in the fun of paddle sports, (Rumor has it that SOT's also work well for fishing. You fisher folk will have to judge for yourselves. I get mine at Wegman's)
So what makes the Magic special? Excellent initial stability, tracks like the Super Chief, glides very nicely and has a comfortable, easily adjustable and very sturdy seat. Although the (adjustable) foot braces appear less sturdy then they might, they have yet to fail to do their job. The shallow sides make getting in an out (or on and off) doable without assistance. Turning the Magic, which was a challenge when using a 240 cm paddle became a non-issue when I switched to 280 cm. (Teddy R. was right about the "big stick" thing.) Wind has thus far not been a problem (keeping in mind that my paddling has been on relatively small bodies of water) and while I have yet to test the limits of the boat's secondary stability, my sense, from dealing with motorboat wakes, is that you will fall out long before you are able to tip the boat over. The weight, which makes a helmet mandatory for anybody trying to car top the beast, seems to be part of the reason for its excellent stability. As for the rotomolded polyethylene hull; love it or hate it, the stuff is truly bomb proof.
There are some caveats. The plug in modular system for seat and foot braces needs some attention from the folks at Native. A relatively simple redesign of the plastic clips would make the whole system a lot more user friendly. Also, sturdy stainless steel bow and stern rings (for those all important bow and stern lines for out of water transport) as well as the odd paddle and water bottle holders should really be an integral part of a boat whose price tag is in the $1k range.
Overall however, I'm glad I ended up with this boat. It's allowed me to return to paddling and as my skills improve, the boat seems to grow with me. Most important, I'm having fun and in the end, that's what it's all about.
I chose the Magic over the Ultimate due to it's speed and upgradability via the plug and play rails. I've created all sorts of ways to connect my gear and rod holders using this system, and changing from solo to tandem configuration takes 40 seconds.
This boat is very fast, has good tracking and glide. It is stable and I am able to stand and fish, but not near as stable as the Ultimate. I'm very satisfied with this kayak and would highly recommend it to others looking for a sit on top and tandem/solo convertible. My wife is looking to join me on outings in another kayak and I may consider getting the Ultimate for her since she would benefit from the stability and would not be following me out in 2' of choppy waters.
Only con on this kayak is that it is HEAVY. In back of a pickup or trailer should be no problem at 74 pounds, but on top of a SUV it might be harder to manage. I put my kayak on the top of a truck topper, but made a PVC cart that allows me to load and transport much easier by myself.
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