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This is a great hull design, stable, turns easy and tracks well. And the boat has the best seat in the business, you can spend hours in it pain free, then pull it out to use as a beach chair. The storage compartment stays dry, is quite spacious and is easy to access. It is light enough to throw over your shoulder and the knee pads are in the right place to serve as shoulder pads. The little sail adds another dimension of fun and versatility. I am really surprised there are not a lot more of them out on the water.
Obviously out of the gate the seat is VERY comfortable; I took it out on its maiden voyage Sunday. We put in on the Ohio River and paddled about 500 yards to a feeder creek and paddled upstream from there about 1 mile before it dried up. A short trip but at least I was able to get a better feel in some different conditions, the river was running fast and tracking was very straight even with some large waves stirred up by a coal barge.
I originally set the seat up in the far back position, I am 6'3" 240# and was looking for the extra leg room. I put my 5 year old boy in the dry hatch in the back and he claimed to be plenty comfortable as we cruised around. Because of the extra weight in the back of the boat (heís about 45 pounds) the bow was riding pretty high so we pulled over and I moved the seat to its standard position (after stopping for a little snack and sitting in the chair on the bank, I am going to LOVE this feature when I go on extended trips this fall!). At the standard position with the foot pegs set all the way back I do have a slight bend at my knee (which I know is the way itís supposed to be). Only downside with that is because of the extra large "easy foot" pegs I could see where it will be difficult to stretch out my legs past the pegs on longer paddles. Once I was in the standard position the bow came down nicely and tracking (which already was at least average) became even better.
So first impressions a very comfortable and surprisingly nimble ride, Iíve ordered the spray skirt and will post an updated review in a few months after I get out for some extended trips.
This boat is really stable, I don't think you could heel this boat if you wanted to. It turns easily so that's not an issue. I weigh in at 245 and this boat fit's just fine. I've always liked Heritage for their fit and finish, and this boat is no different.
I still find the seat to be the most comfortable that I, with limited experience in different boats, have ever used. I have had a couple of occasions where the seats lower crossbar has interfered with my comfort, but this has only been on long paddles (more than 15 miles) where I was trying to find a REALLY different position for a period of time. Usually I find the seat to be extremely comfortable.
The cockpit is quite wide, and I find that no matter how I setup my paddles drip rings I end up with a lot of water inside the kayak. I have tried a lot of friends kayaks and find that the Marvel 12 does an excellent job of keeping "bow splash" out of your face or the cockpit. Much better than several other popular boats I have tried.
I love the footpeg positioning system as I have let my wife borrow the boat several times and found it extremely easy to make adjustments. I complained before about the difficulty of closing the rear hatch, and must admit I have since found the secret. You have to treat the hatch as you would a Tupperwear container, if you line the cover up over the hatch and "burp" the cover as you push it on, it goes on easier than any other hatch I am familiar with, particularly neoprene. I have never had any water enter my rear hatch, which I think is a great testament to the design.
So, overall, I love the boat. I wish the cockpit were a bit smaller, the boat a bit narrower, the color a bit brighter, but that's about it. I know I'm pretty much a newby, but that's my take on my boat. I'd love to read a review from someone else that owns one.
I will write a more thorough review of this recreational kayak after I have spent some more time in the water with it and have used it in a larger variety of conditions. I even hope to do some overnight camping with it this summer. Overall I think this is an excellent boat for it's purpose and one I hope to own for many years.
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