Research Kayaks in the Buyers' Guide!
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
Some remarks wrt its vices and advantages: Be _very_ careful when going over waterfalls, as it's very likely to pencil in if you don't have enough speed or the angle is wrong. The boat has little rocker and it will tend to go straight towards the bottom if you dive in vertically. The cockpit size is standard Eskimo size (very big!), that, in combination with the lack of central pillars, allows very easy acces and exit, which IMHO adds to its safety. The speed of the Topo-Duo in combination with the well placed mass of two paddlers allows this boat to punch or bridge holes that most other kayaks would sty in. This speed is also its disadvantage, making it somewhat harder to control through boulder gardens and on low volume creeks.
Buoyancy: Since this boat can contain well over 500 litres (~1100 lbs) of water, I have added a small airbag in front of the front footbace, a medium sized one in between the front seat and the reas footbrace, and another medium sized one behind the rear seat. That definately helps with the recovery, and it allows the partially swamped boat to be paddled to shore once one paddler has had to bail out!
Enders: This boat can easily be endered, you simply paddle forwards into a big hole (schnorkel mandatory for front paddler :-)), however, once you get stuck sideways in that same hole, it can be a real challenge to get the Topo-Duo out... Be careful there.
I love the boat, more for paddling with other experienced paddler than with newbies. They are made of very good quality blow molded plastic, which can stand a lot of (ab)use. New price in the U.S. should not be too bad, due to the good Dollar-Euro rate. Second hand they go for roughly $800, so you can use one for a couple of years and then sell it for almost the same amount of money. There is a lot of demand for them, so act quick when you spot one for sale! (did I mention that I love mine? :-))
One of it's hidden selling points is that stacking it on its side on the car roof racks, allows you to literally stuff it full of paddling and camping gear when used in conjunction with good cockpit covers. The boat new is not cheap and I believe that may contribute to the lack of numbers of them on the water. like $1400 for a new one. I sold mine used (8 yr. old) for $800 and had its share of battle scars. Was never able to ender it due to the bulbous and short bow, but then it could've been the wate I was on. perhaps putting the heavier paddler in the bow for these exercises would be beneficial.. Only reason I sold it was financial, ie kids graduated into their own boats and it was collecting too much dust.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!