This is my second year of kayaking and I purchased a used 2002 Impulse at the end of June. Iíve had it out 30 times over the last three months. My usual route is a 4 mile loop in a large bay and the average speed is 5.2-5.5 MPH. Last year I had a Perception Sea Lion and my average speed was about 1 MPH slower. The Impulse is tippier than the Sea Lion and it took a few weeks to get accustomed to it. The ride characteristics are also very different. The Sea Lion would take water over the bow and bounce over wind driven waves like going over a washboard and the Impulse just slices through waves and chop.
I am 6 ft tall, 230# and can easily get in/out and feel comfortable in the cockpit for up to 2hours; my longest trip so far. Iím still experimenting with different types of strokes, trying to get the most speed and exercise into my paddling time. There are a lot of crew teams on the bay here so I usually try to keep pace with them for as long as I can. The hull form of this boat is built for speed and is great for a bay with small wave conditions. In high winds and rough waters I have found it difficult to turn into the wind and following or quartering waves requires lots of bracing.
All in all I really like this boat and find it's great to knock about in.I purchased my Impulse in December, just before the factory holiday shutdown. I have been paddling it for 6 months now (about twice a week) and have had it out on the big bay (San Diego) and ocean in lots of wind and choppy conditions blowing from all points of paddle.
I do half my paddling on windless morning weekends and the boat is fun and a little faster than the Phoenix Isere I was using. It glides without seeming to leave a bow wake.
Where the Ďlong-skinnyí benefits of this boat shine is in the afternoon when the wind comes up; then the boat is much faster than my Isere. Twenty one inches vs. 24 inches of width makes a big difference in waves, the slender Impulse cuts through and seems to go just as fast as on flat water. Less work wasted lifting the boat over every wave. The only time this boat isnít tracking perfect is in a range of 10 to 35 deg off beam in a strong choppy sea; then itís easier to find a different route, or deploy the rudder. The rudder is worth getting for windy conditions around the harbor, or (as I found) in the unexpected high wind condition; it is also good for drifting down wind and taking a break.
This is my first skinny boat, and I might not have opted for this model had I not talked to Joe and Bonny Sedivec, the owners of SEDA. Joe asks about my background and said he thought I was ready for the Impulse instead of the Swift. I already have a short sporty boat and the Impulse has helped increase my skills. (I waited too long to get it padded to fit.) The quality is far better than I expected. I opted for Kevlar without the Jell coat; I was warned I would see flaws that are usually hidden, but I canít find them. The cockpit is comfortable and roomy, and though the boat is big Iím able to handle it at 5ft 8 and 140 lbs. It doesnít feel big on the water. The hatches seal well, though I had a minor sewing problem with the strap/handle to the neoprene inner cover. I fixed it in ten minutes. The covers are a little difficult to close until you learn to hook the handle side first when installing the seal.
This boat is beautiful; though that wasnít a concern to me, I am hard on boats and expect them to just take what I dish out. I would buy it again today, if I were shopping. It isnít for everyone, but if you paddle big water and want to get to distant places this is a pleasing boat to own; itís a ďno compromiseď design and wouldnít be well suited to tight marshes or twisty rivers, but I love it on the bay.