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I live in the Tampa Bay area, and had an experience where I was in the middle of the bay, just coming out through the mid span of the Howard Franklin bridge, when a summer thunderstorm came in fast. The winds picked up from 1-2 knots to 20-25 knots. The water before the storm had a 6 inch chop. The winds were pushing the water to a 2-3' foot chop and in a kayak that is low to the water that is big surf. Because Tampa Bay is loaded with sharks, all I could think was this is bad. The waves were breaking over the bow as I feverously paddled toward land about 3 miles away. I was able to ride the surf, and putting my arms as far out on the paddles as I could get them, kept moving and eventually made it.
It is a great ride on top and I recommend to anyone. Also, make sure you wear a PFD.
I'm a 5'4", 140 pound female and this boat is very stable for me. (Full disclosure, I have only ever used sit on tops.) I am very surprised that other reviewers find it unstable, as I have to try hard to tip it over (for practice and safety drills on climbing back in while in the water!).
My lake is small and quiet but I have had the Hobie Pursuit out in moderately high winds and also in extremely heavy boat wakes for extended time and it is stable as can be.
The seat is very comfortable, without causing any discomfort for hours on end. I find paddling my Pursuit like moving meditation; it is a huge stress reliever.
It feels pretty fast to me but I don't have enough comparative experience to say how it stacks up against other sit-on-tops in that regard. I recently timed myself paddling 1000 meters in just over 7 minutes and would be interested to hear if that is speedy for a sit on top!
My only slight complaint is at 44 pounds I find it a bit awkward to carry, but I'm looking to buy another Pursuit for next season so my husband and I can go out paddling together!
The great things about this kayak are the weight, the comfort, and the speed. It is light enough that I or my girlfriend can easily pick up the boat to load it on top of the car. I've been able to sit on the kayak comfortably for hours on end. And since this boat is not built like a stable fishing platform, it is able to move through the water very quickly.
The only negative thing I have to say about the kayak is the hull slap. Due to the shape of the hull, small waves will hit the underside of the kayak and make a slapping sound.
I wouldn't take the Pursuit into surf, as it doesn't seem to have been designed for that. But the wake from big boats going past doesn't upset it at all. Lots of room for camping gear/snorkeling/fishing gear. For me the Pursuit does everything I expected it too when I bought it.
Flipping it over in the water isn't a problem either. I find the biggest hassle is carrying it from my garage down to the front garden, as it's quite heavy and awkward for one person to maneuver. I fixed that by threading a flat nylon tow strap through the plug hole and slipping the strap over my shoulder.
I have used my wife's kayak and I flipped it to, when turning fast, I find this kayak tippier with taller kayakers on it. Not sure if you should be on any kayak, if you keep flipping it and the boy scouts have to save you ever few minutes. My wife has used the Pursuit in all kinds of rough weather and never flipped it. She flipped it her first time out and she got herself back on it like a trooper.
I suggest taking some kayaking lessons and when you are more experienced at kayaking, then you should write another review. The kayaking is great if you are not top heavy, tall and experienced. There are tons of learner kayaks out there for sit in and sit-on-top. Then move up to the more advanced kayaks.
Wife, daughter and myself love the sit-on-tops, we have a hard time flipping them, do it once in awhile for fun to cool off.
I went out and bought used Hobie Pursuit. Not only was it pretty, but also had three dry hatches and high back seat. Couldn't wait to get it into the water. Today, finally, the temp rose to 85 and I went to an area lake because I always make sure I paddle a location with new boat when it is first time. Thank God I did that today or I wouldn't be writing this right now. As soon as I pushed away from shore I felt something not quite right. The lake water was very calm, no wind to speak of, yet the boat would not track straight for anything. I had to continually work to keep her heading straight ahead. Just as I reached middle of lake, I moved my foot ever so slightly and instantly the kayak flipped over on the right side and I ended up shocked by the instant, unexpected, and unexplainable dump - and I could not reach up high enough to get a grab hold of the bottom of the boat to keep myself upright or to upright the boat. Fortunately it is Trail day for the State and there happened to be a boy scout troop camping on a side shore. They saw me flip and heard me yelling for help and saw that I was struggling because my arms weren't long enough to grab the bottom of boat. The men running the scout camp jumped into their canoes and kayaks and kept yelling to me to keep trying to grab the boat and remain calm because they weren't coming. It took two men to turn the boat back over upright!! They towed me and kayak to their camp and after calming a bit, I got back on kayak and began slow paddle to shore - and halfway to shore, without reason or explanation, the kayak flipped over again to the right and then upside down. This time I was able to reach up and put my hand into the self-bailing hole for support until the men could get to me again. This time they had to paddle on both sides of me to get me to shore because the damn boat kept wanting to tip over to the right. And they recommend SOT's for beginner paddlers and children because of its stability???? And its safety!!! And its ability to take into surf??!! I'd hate to see what this kayak would do if one little wave or surf touched it!!! It is definitely one kayak that will never see water again as long as I own it! And it has completely set me against SOT's. Would never buy another one, and would never get on another one! They are flat out dangerous kayaks!!!
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