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Reviews for Drifter Kayak by Ocean Kayak


Rated: 8.82/10 Based On: 57 Reviews

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07-20-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A local dealer had a leftover at a good price so I bought it after a test paddle.At the time I had a longer boat but I wanted something I could just toss in the PU bed instead of dealing with roof hauling.At first I really liked it but I found that after a couple hours my back got sore. I tried everything I could as far as seat adjustment goes but the size/shape of the seat area was simply way to big for someone my size. Nonetheless, this boat would be a great choice for someone large enough to fit it properly.

For it's length-width I was very surprised how easily it paddled and it has good speed to. Like many of Oceans older designs there's a good bit of rocker fore and aft. That's sadly lacking in most boats these days. I guess they're trying to squeeze as much speed out as they can. A mistake if you paddle big waters or where big wakes can be an issue.

This is another boat Ocean should not have dropped from their line. If you're the right size and find one used it would be well worth trying.

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01-14-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love it. I'm 6'1, 280 lbs, I slept in it too. Very smooth, like the Cadillac of the lake, lol. The scupper problem I fixed with the chair leg heels made my own anchor trolley; now I'm putting flush mounts and fishfinder
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03-30-2012
Submitted by: D.BirdSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     Why does OK keep discontinuing this kayak? It is by far their best platform for river running, especially multi-day camping expeditions on moderate whitewater. I've had a Drifter since mid-2011. My river running buddy has had his since 2008.

Pros

  • It handles mild class III whitewater just fine. Little bit of rocker in the hull allows it to be turned easily. Rides up and over waves rather than punch through.
  • Weight capacity - I've loaded the Drifter to the gills with camping gear with no major change in handling characteristics.
  • Stability - great platform for standing to site fish. No problem even in flat, but moving river water.
Cons
Unless you weigh about 120 lbs, the Drifter will be a wet ride. Plugging the scuppers will help in flatwater, but I run rivers and the scupper plugs are useless. Getting wet is part of the experience. The back tank well is a bit small for a 12 ft. kayak, especially if you're on a multi-day camping trip and need more rear storage space. It is not a fast kayak, but speed hasn't been a big issue for what I use it for.

So why did I give the Drifter a 6 out of 10? The #1 fatal flaw with any Ocean Kayak product is the design of the hull. (Is anyone from OK listening?) The scuppers are totally exposed to hazards. I guarantee you will blow out a scupper hole on a rock, eventually, and it will be the scuppers under the seat. Make sure you know how to do emergency repairs or you will be stranded. Other manufactures have figured this out. They place the scupper holes in channels to protect them from damage. It is a fairly simple design change and OK needs to implement it. (Is anyone from OK listing...?)

Why did I buy a Drifter knowing about this design flaw? There is a fix - strong resins and kevlar skids plates to close up the scuppers under the seat. Once you do this repair, the Drifter (in modified form) is possibly the best 12 ft. SOT for river running on the market, if you can find one.

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09-23-2011
Submitted by: JeremySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased the 2011 Drifter for $599 at Academy. I am 340 lbs, and this yak hold me and my gear. I've paddled across lakes and down fairly extreme rivers. I've never dumped this yak, its very comfortable, and price is unbeatable.
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01-11-2011
Submitted by: jay
Rating: 8 of 10

     Tried out the Ocean Kayak Drifter today. I thought it tracked fairly well and had decent speed. However, at 185 lbs, I was sitting in about 2 inches of water at all times.
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04-26-2010
Submitted by: jtSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just purchased the Drifter 09 and I love it. It's not a wet ride; it paddles good. I'm sure there are better kayaks but for the price I think nothing out there can come close this kayak
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12-11-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     - and they are going to make it again: Ocean Kayak had better to keep this mold well stored cause, as it happened with the Scupper models, they will need to revisit one of the best all around kayaks ever made on the 12' range by this company that seems not to find some level of standardization for their final quality control, they make excellent kayaks mixed with some horribly finished ones.

Pros:
tons of them but here goes one to say it all: you go & try to flip her...harder, try harder, nothing yet? you still on her? IT'S A DRIFTER!!! Stability is the drifter's main feature along with an excellent cockpit layout, tank well doesn't fit a standard milk crate but there are several other options for gear junkies.

Forward hatch is enormous to say the least and comes with one of the best hatch cover OK ever made, it's easily accessible when on the water with plenty of room for goodies and/or fishing stuff.

Speed is good, more than good considering the width of this booty lady, she is not intended to be a racing kayak but keeps a nice pace if you know what are you doing.

If you can find a zero mile model it'll probably come with two flush mount rod holders angled for trolling which is a plus for storage & trolling techniques.

Have read the Drifter is a wet ride, scuppers, thick pad under the seat, etc. I wouldn't go there, for better or for worse these craft are designed with an optimization of possibilities, adding stuff jeopardizes balance & performance. When in cold weather some waders will keep you dry & safe, warmer picture in place, who cares for a wet behind?

In days that money is lean the OK Drifter is a good chance of having a good, safe & versatile craft for shooting the breeze, fishing & diving, even surfing for which she is no shy.

Cons:
Might be a bit on the awkward side to handle due to her width, other than that I don't see any other downside.

Mark my words: they are going to make her again sooner than later. Let's paddle!"

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07-08-2008
Submitted by: TeddySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just got this yak for ocean fishing the east coast. It is very very very stable, at 250 it is a good fast ride. Yes you get wet but it is the best kayak I ever fished from. If it is a nice warm day who cares about the water. DON'T KAYAK IF YOU'RE AFRAID OF WATER. In the winter, I wear waders and stay warm. but any sot is like that. I can even sit on the side and it doesn't flip. A great yak for fisherman
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05-30-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Iím a new kayaker. Iím 5í9íí, 190 lbs. I purchased the OK Drifter (Angler Edition) at an ĎAcademy Sports & Outdoorsí store for $599. Iíve taken it out to West Galveston Bay twice already, and I canít wait to take it again.

I love the huge forward storage compartment; Iím able to fit a 30-liter gear bag in it with no problems. I have to use the 240 cm paddle because this kayak is very wide and Iím not very tall, but I can still paddle very fast. Iím also able to paddle against 15, or even 20 mph winds (though, not very fast). Itís not as fast as other kayaks. For example, when kayaking against the wind, I could not keep up with my brother-in-law (a first time paddler) using a WS Tarpon 120. However, we tried both kayaks and the Drifter was by far, more stable.

It is a wet ride (up to 1 1/2" of water in the foot well), but I donít mind because the weather down here is very warm. I bought the scupper stoppers and they do the job. Once installed, the only water that I saw was from the overwash from waves and the paddle itself. The other thing I don't like about it is the small tank well. However, I bought a small Igloo cooler and it fits perfectly. The Drifter also has 2 flush-mount rod holders, so I don't need a milk crate with PVC pipes to hold more rods.

Surfing
I took the Drifter to the surf just to see how it handled the big waves. I was totally surprised to see how well it cuts through 4-5 foot waves. It was incredible! Iíd never thought I could see myself jumping over big waves with a kayak before. I beat the hell out of this kayak for about 2 hours in these waves and I was actually able to surf with it at the beach. After I was done surfing, before I loaded it back onto the truck, I checked how much water was inside; surprisingly, there was almost none (not even 1/2 cup). I was able to dry the inside with a small rag. My brother-in-lawís Tarpon 120 had about 2 cups of sea water inside. He also wiped out in the surf about 10 times; on the other hand, my Drifter only threw me overboard twice. Next time, Iím going deep-sea fishing!

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04-14-2008
Submitted by: John \
Rating: 8 of 10

     I recently picked up a 2008 Ocean Kayak Drifter as my small-water boat. I plan to primarily use this kayak exploring and fishing backwaters around the Chesapeake Bay. It will be a back-up to my Trident 15. Keep in mind that the Drifter is now only available in yellow, as it has been moved into Ocean Kayak's Classic Angler series.

The boat came rigged with flush mounted rod holders, and more padeyes than I could probably find uses for... A nice bonus! This is the hull that had been redesigned a couple years ago to create a dryer ride than the previous Drifter mold. At about 230 pounds, I had heard that I would probably still have a bit of water in the footwells, as I did. This can easily be solved by use of scupper plugs (Which of course I make from Nerf balls.). Just remember that this way any overwash you get will not drain out.

As for handling, the boat was surprisingly fast for the less-than-sleek hull. By the way, I really love the classic Ocean Kayak lines! It also tracks quite well, and handled very well in about one foot chop. The handling was great for a kayak in the 12 foot range.

I am very impressed with this kayak, especially for the MSRP of $699. This is a great SUV kayak, and a very capable fishing platform. As with all Ocean Kayaks, the workmanship is also top-notch. If you want a great recreational sit-on-top, or a handy fishing kayak, this is a great choice.

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03-31-2008
Submitted by: Setex
Rating: 10 of 10

     My family has purchased 12 various low-end yaks over the past 5 years, 9 sit in and 3 sit on. We usually just go out on a nearby creek for fun and exercise. The extras are for when friends visit, etc.

I picked up a 2008 Drifter Angler a couple of weeks ago and added scuppers, a foam seat pad and the yellow OK seat back. I picked it due to max weight rather than fishing rod holders, etc. Using a baling sponge for paddle drips keeps me totally dry (5'10" 200lbs) and I've loved every trip taken in this yak so far (about 7).

Good tracker and maneuvers well - it just feels right no matter how much I load it up. The longer paddles are a better fit, but I've personally had no problems with our 220 cm ones either. Since I got the Drifter, I've been looking for any excuse to head for the water even if only for an hour or so.

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10-12-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     Today I purchased a 2007 Ocean Kayak Drifter Angler. Today I also Returned a 2007 Drifter Angler. Let me start with the fact that I'm 6'2" tall and 250lbs, I wanted a big boy yak with lots of room. The things that attracted me to a Drifter were; price at $599, width for stability, plenty of room for fishing, and a weight capacity of 450-500. Perfect for me in theory. After launching I soon noticed that this boat was designed poorly, the guys at Ocean Kayak need to add at least two inches of height to this yak. Water poured in the scuppers holes like crude oil on Jed Clamped's Arkansas homestead. Scuppers are for draining water out, not in. The yak claimes to have a wieght capacity of 450-500lbs. As far as I'm concered the wight capacity is more like 200 lbs. There was more water IN the boat than OUT. Scupper plugs only masked the problem that this boat just wasn't right. So I returned it, luckily, and will be buying a different kayak. Please try before you buy! Go to a demo day, and take your time. Buying a kayak should only hurt once, not twice after you figure out you purchased the wrong boat. As far as the Drifter, it is a good fishing yak for someone who; is under 200 lbs, needs the stability, and wants to get in cheap.
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07-31-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought my 1st kayak May 2006. It was and still is a 2004 Drifter. It is all the things that everyone else has said. It is slow, but I'm not in a race; it gets wet, News Flash: you're in water. I have fished inshore and stayed very dry and I have gone off shore and gotten a little wet & soaked, depends on the weather & the waves. The one thing I have not had happen is getting dumped and I have had some BIG wakes come my way from motor boats. It is a very solid yak and I use an ice chest in the tank well for all my gear. And when I catch a big fish I don't get the feeling I'm gonna get pulled over. Its a good yak all around, its just a bit hard to paddle with a strong current or the wind against you because its so wide. If going into the ocean is your thing, this is a good choice.
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03-05-2007
Submitted by: JDDSend Email
Rating: 2 of 10

     Wet, Wet, Wet... I am 6'2" and 260 lbs. After reading many reviews on how great the Drifter was for a big mans yak I found a great deal on a new 2006 model. Hopefully I can return it. Tank well had 2" of water in it, the seat had 1/2" and my feet were in water up to my ankles. It paddled nice, fairly fast, and stable but riding in it is like sitting in a kiddie pool.
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11-10-2006
Submitted by: MikeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've heard some say the Drifter is wet and slow. I have a 2006 Angler seriese Drifter. The only time I really got wet was when I was power stroking (and I'm 6'2" and over 200lb). And I managed to get it fast and keep it fast enough to keep Spanish Mackeral interested in a spoon I was "trolling" with on the gulf. It's not really a touring kayak, but it does track well, its stable, and pretty fast. I really like the front hatch when I'm fishing- easily accessed while on the water. Maybe the others rode an older version, and need to give a newer model a try. I love mine, and so do my kids.
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06-28-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my Drifter for over a year now and I could not be happier. The only problem that I have had with the drifter is the tank well area with a create, but with a little imagination I was able to take care of that problem. I have had my drifter off shore as well as on the flats and it has performed great. This is a great kayak for the beginner as well as an advance kayaker and it is great for us big guys, I am 6'2" and 250lbs and I am comfortable in it. Would highly recommend the kayak.
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06-19-2006
Submitted by: Patrickj
Rating: 8 of 10

     I just got a drifter last week and i like it alot, this is my first kayak so i cant compare it to anything else. I was surprised after reading so much about it being a wet ride that it wasnt really that bad, most the water in my yak is at the footrest area.

Now i'm a pretty big guy, 6'3" and 310lbs. and this thing is very stable, took me all of about 2 minutes to get used to it. let my kid try it out (she's like around 100lbs if that) and she handles it just fine.

So big or small, if you want a stable kayak, the Drifter is it.

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06-01-2006
Submitted by: P.MossSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased a drifter to fish the flats around the Skyway Channel. Seeing how this sot was more stable I gave it a shot. After mounting a pole holder and hooking up an anchor system, I couldn't belive how much I enjoy fishing out of this boat. I'm not a small person 5'10 and 215lbs I can stand up in the seat area and sightfish mangroves. I can also throw my castnet for bait while drifting. You couldn't ask for a better fishing platform. I've taken it out almost every weekend and cannot find problems with any of the design. It is the newer angler model. I've heard of the older models being slow and wet. They must have fixed the design since then cause the newer model stay pretty dry(with the scupper plugs in). All in all it's a solid flats boat that I will enjoy for a long time.
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04-11-2006
Submitted by: frankcSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I wanted a Prowler due to the reviews on the web, but when I sat in one, it was not suitable. Weighing 245 lbs at the time, the Drifter was a perfect fit. After losing 25 lbs, it still is. The Prowler is a wet ride for me and carries water in the tankwell even with the main scuppers plugged.

For some reason, people always comment on the wet ride. Plugged scuppers and a sponge for paddle drips keep my yak dry and it has a low profile which is nice in the wind. The front hatch is accessible while on the water, and the stability is very good. You can crawl all over the yak with perfect safety.

Speed wise, it is not that slow. The boat is used for fishing and was a replacement for a SIK which was faster with the paddle. The Drifter is three times the SIK when it comes to fishing. Try a high angle paddle if more speed is desired, but for fishing, a more comfortable low angle paddle suites my style.

People worry about the small tankwell. A soft side ice chest solves that problem readilly. Access to the front hatch enables carrying all the tackle you might consider for a days fishing, raingear, etc.

The boat has met my expectations. It does what it was designed for very well.

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06-17-2005
Submitted by: B. TracySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I went in thinking that I was going to pick up the Prowler 13. The dealer suggested the Drifter, but I wasn't interested, thinking I wanted a more streamlined boat. I tested the prowler and even though it was quick, it didn't have nearly the stability that I was looking for (I am 6'1" 230lb).

Next I tried the Scrambler XT, the Tarpon 120, and the Caper. Finally, after fighting it for as long as possible, I took the Drifter out for a spin, and I was instantly hooked. This yak is not the fastest in the fleet, nor is it the most maneuverable, but it by far the most stable yak I tested and is great for fishing, which is what I was looking for. It was a little quicker than the Tarpon 120 and the Caper, but lacks the speed of the Prowler.

I did try out two Drifters, the older version and then the newer one. Without a doubt the newer version offers a dryer ride and after adding the scupper plugs, it is as dry as any yak I tested. You can tell the new version by the oar holder line on the side and the mini tackle box line holder in the middle of the yak.

I ending up purchasing the new model of the Drifter and have had a couple of chances to fish it on a local lake. It holds more gear than I would ever need, offers a pretty dry ride (with the scupper plugs), and isn't hard to move around the lake. I haven't tested a yak that I like nearly as much as this one.

It is a pretty big kayak and is not the easiest to load and unload, but again that is one of the prices you pay to have a yak that is this stable.

Overall, if you are a big guy looking for a stable fishing platform, check out the Drifter before you buy anything else.

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06-12-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased the Drifter as my first kayak and I absolutely love it. I took it out on a local lake, and it performed like a dream. The only water that ended up inside of the kayak was my own fault, and was easily taken care of by the bilge sponge (a must have for a sit on top). The scupper stoppers really do make a difference, so I will definitely take them everywhere.

This boat is the first of the fleet I am planning to acquire, but I feel like a sit on top is great for summer use when you want to be out in the sun and have the option of swimming and paddling. I would recommend the drifter to everyone. Having a boat over 12 feet makes for streamline tracking, which is important on longer trips. Anything shorter may start to feel like it is going from side to side.

Finally, the people at Ocean Kayak are great, and were very helpful in making my buying experience great! A+.

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09-11-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     My husband is disabled and a sit on top is better for him. So He tried a ocean kayak drifter out. He loved it. I also tried it and it is great. I give it a 10.. light, responsive, easy to get in and out of. We both really like the way it handles. Awesome... it is just what he needed. Now he can go out with me. Happy kayakers...
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07-20-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Have just purchased a Drifter. I was looking for about one month and was trying to decide between a WS Ride and the Drifter. I finally decided on the the Drifter mainly based in price ( was able to get the Drifter for about $150 less)I am 6'3 and 215 so I wanted a roomy stable Kayak for flyfishing. I went ot the coast on a fishing trip this past weekend and was very pleased. I was slighly slower than some others but not much, really enjoyed the stability, I may add a rudder system later if needed. I would highly recommend this kayak.
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07-01-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I was in the market for a fishing kayak a few month ago, and the Drifter was one of the ones I tried. I'm 6'5", 215lbs., and the boat was very comfortable. I'm a beginner, so I doubt my stroke is as efficient as it could be; however, I didn't find it as slow as others have mentioned, especially given its extreme stability. I also tried the Prowler, and I didn't think the Drifter was all that much slower. Unfortunately, I don't have a GPS to quantify the differences, but I bet they weren't much given my skill level. The Drifter also tracked well. The storage seemed ample. The biggest drawback, as everyone mentions, is how wet the ride is. I even tried the new "drier" model. Scupper plugs would fix it, but there are now several other kayaks for large paddlers concerned about stability to choose from (the Prowler, Wilderness Systems Ride, Hobie Outback, among others) and I would go with one of those unless the Drifter had some feature that the others didn't.
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06-29-2004
Submitted by: heftyakkerSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Great bay fishing boat. Have fished Rockport, Corpus Christi and Port Mansfield. I'm 6'1"/260#; stay dry by cutting 4" sections off my kids' "noodles" and making plugs out of them. Excellent stability. If it's too slow for you- get in the weight room!!! Onlt problem-water in the hatch. Biggest asset-can carry a 12-pak cooler in the back in case fish aren't biting.
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06-10-2004
Submitted by: Mike AmosSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I just purchased an Ocean Drifter Angler edition yak. I am 6'1", 240lbs, so I clearly needed a big stable yak. I took it out, the day I bought it, to test it out. It was extremely windy -- white caps and huge reservoir waves. I felt completely safe and stable regardless of how I chose to hit the waves. I did what I could to make it tip, but it was simply rock solid. The only complaint I have is the amount of water in the cockpit. Granted, I am a big paddler, but I expected it to ride dryer--especially since the 2004 model is called the "dry" model. When I got home, I found some water inside the yak itself. I am assuming that it snuck in around the hatch. I emailed the company about this but I have yet to receive a response. In defense of the yak, I was hitting significant waves and, as a result, funneling quite a bit of water over the nose of my drifter. The hatch has a drain channel around the hatch. Unfortunately, the drains themselves are not flush with the bottom the channel (design flaw???!!??). Therefore, a certain amount of water always remains in the channel around the hatch. In my opinion, this simply creates an opportunity for water to sneak into the yak. I also emailed Ocean about this poor design feature -- no reply yet.

If you are looking for a relatively cost effective fishing platform with a huge weight capacity -- the drifter is the kayak for you. If you are looking for a happy medium between the short 9' yaks and the huge 15' yaks that still tracks relatively well -- the drifter is the kayak for you.

The drifter is a no-nonsense, extremely roomy kayak that is very stable. Is it perfect--NO! Is it relatively good at what it is designed to do--YO BET! I recommend the Drifter to my fellow "big boyz" who want a yak that will safely take them anywhere and give them the room to play. I just wish Ocean would address the two design issues I pointed out.

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05-28-2004
Submitted by: JasonSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had the Drifter for some time and use it down here in South Florida both in the ocean and bass fishing. My friend has the 15' Bimini and i usually can keep up easily with it.
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04-26-2004
Submitted by: miguel - portugalSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a drifter last week, and I think its not so slow as some guys say.Maybe those guys might need to workout out biceps, triceps, delts, and back. I use my drifter for costal fishing, and it's super stable and confortable. It's not a fast kayak, but it's not slow at all!! And I'm not Arnold Schwarzenegger...
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04-09-2004
Submitted by: StephenSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought an 04 Drifter and took it out for the first time. I had the gray "highback" seat and did not experience the wet ride. I'm 6' 195lbs and the only time I really got water near the seat was when I crawled to the front of the boat to get my other rod out. Some water seeped in the foot scupper holes and when I moved back to the seat ran back toward the seat. I still did not get wet butt syndrome. I had wet thighs but after a short paddle all the water drained back out. I then decided to push my luck standing on the kayak. No real problems there... The paddled did seem a little slower than a more narrow kayak, but I never really felt bogged down. I also ran it through about three or four inches of water and slid back in to some shallow coves without much effort.
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09-17-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've been fishing this thing for well over a year now, just about every weekend the weather allows, and I love it. Stability, price, functionality; it's got it all. Yes the ride is wet, if you dont use scupper plugs, but I drop them in every time with some electrical tape wrapped around them to prevent any leaks, and the only water I get in the boat is from paddle drips and the occasional unexpected swell.

I use mine for costal fishing and have been in everything from calm 1-foot seas to blowing 3-4 foot seas, and have never had a problem with stability. It tracks pretty well. Im usually anchored in some pretty strong currents/winds and am thinking about getting a rudder to help control the angle of the boat for casting.

There's enough room for a cooler in the back (yeah!) and plently of room to pack a folding chair and some other non-fishing related stuff for when I just want to paddle out to the sandbar and crack open a cold rine to relax.

Writing this review has me stoked for the weekend. I would suggest this boat to any paddler who likes to have, or needs to have, a little extra room. Buy a longer paddle, it's wide. I jusr recently bought a seabound expedition paddle and it seems to move the boat pretty well.

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09-16-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 3 of 10

     This thing is wet and slowwwww !
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09-08-2003
Submitted by: MikeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     LOVE IT! I have had mine for 2 years. I use mine for fishing in the ocean its super stable and like other kayaks this one I can surf in without dumping it. I have 3 kayaks and have demo everthing this kayak is made for the big guy to go fishing me 6ft 210. Yes it is wet but if you sit on a throw cushion you're ok, it is not a touring kayak but its not a tank like that other review gave it. All kayaks have stong and weak points. Know what you want to do with you kayak before you buy.
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08-18-2003
Submitted by: RiptydRickSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I had been wanting a SOT kayak for years but had a hard time finding one that "fit". I am a 6'1" and 295# Firefighter who loves the water. I am also a semi-retired NAUI SCUBA instructor. I had the chance to try the OK Drifter at a demo day. I was able to try the entire OK line and then some of the Hobie line. The hobies are for the narrow butt types. The drifter however was more than enuf room for my butt, and then some. Yes the ride was very wet. But on the day I tried it it was nearly 100 degrees out so I thought nothing of it. I decided to buy the drifter and have loved it ever since. After a month of enjoying the wet ride I decided to look into scupper plugs to dry out the ride for the comming colder months as I do not want to shelve the boat for the long hard southern california winter (yeah right). I went to my local Home Depot and found a variety of rubber plugs (in the hardware section in the drawers next to the screws) got 2 large ones for the footwells and 2 slightly smaller ones for the seat. The seat ones needed to have a rubberband wrapped around it to give it the perfect seal. Then I took it out to newport/balboa harbor (my favorite paddle spot) and found that the drifter sat about 4 inches higher in the water than before. Was completely dry for the duration of my 3 hour tour (except for paddle drips) Seemed to track better and was a lot easier to control. What a difference $5 worth of plugs have made to this boat. Forget the $16 plugs that OK sells (I hear that they tend to leak). But on the down side my plugs dont have to cool little pull loops. I suppose I could drill the center and push a cord through. If I wanted to latter on. In the end For a dryer ride try the HD plug trick, it worked wonders for me. If anybody is interested I will report back on how the boat and plugs did when I load it up for scuba diving. I expect it will ride lower again but we will see.
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08-04-2003
Submitted by: ZedSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     Very WET and Very SLOWWWW! This thing was like paddling a sherman tank through a mudhole! I guess if your #350lbs its ok. I'll be getting something else!
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05-19-2003
Submitted by: TALSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Had my boat about a month now and have paddled it over a dozen times and love it more every time I get to use it. It has all been said before about the Drifter and you should believe every word. The only draw back is the wet ride. Every thing else is excellent. I had a rudder installed on mine and I would not trade it for the world. The rudder is really not at all neccessary for crusing around even though it does make it much easier in strong wind. However it works great for fishing down shorelines. I drifted nearly half a mile down a shoreline fishing using the rudder to keep me just casting distance away from the grass line and I never had to pick up my paddle once. Like every one else I'ld have given it a 10 if not for the small swimming pool that ocean kayak installed right in the middle of the boat but as long as it warm outside a little water isnt really that big of a deal. I got a set of scupper plugs from the dealer and they help a lot but if your in the water very long the water still seaps in some. Also the Drifter Scupper plug set does not fit real well because the front and back scupper holes are not exactly the same size. The dealer was nice enough to take the scupper plugs from several different kits and mix and match them so the fit my boat.
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04-21-2003
Submitted by: GavSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     It's all been said here. I'm a big fat yakker at 280 and 6'3", and this thing has enough space. That's quite a statement. I think I'd have to stand up in it to tip it. It's that stable. Anyone could use this boat. I'd give it 10, but it is wet, really wet. I know you shouldn't be on the water if you want to stay dry, but there is a point where you may as well swim, and the Drifter loses a point for being too close to the line. Scupper stoppers on order.
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03-25-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I got the drifter last summer, and liked everything about it except getting wet. I solved this by getting a package of 1" stool leg caps, which work great and only cost $3.00. I also sit on a square boat cushion, which keeps me pretty high and dry and comfortable.
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02-20-2003
Submitted by: MagichelmtSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Well what can I say, I love this yak! I am a big guy (6ft, 280lbs) and this is the perfect kayak for a big guy. I move all around in it with no worries. I had to try pretty hard to dump it over. I was leaning very far over and even then I had to try harder. I paddle wherever I can, but mostly in the Ocean (Miami, Fl). It is a wet ride but I live in Miami and I can get wet year round. I fish from mine and have no problem reaching my rods, tackle, or anchor. As for speed, it is not a race boat, but I have no problem outrunning some of the guys I fish with in longer boats. Try it out and you will see.
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10-25-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am interested in getting a kayak for fishing in the ocean and bays around San Diego Ca. I talked to a lot of people and surfed the internet and found that most people around here fish out of Scupper Pro TW'S, Scrambler XT'S, or Cobra FnD's. I tried the FnD and didn't like the way it handled. The S.P.T.W. wasn't the boat for me either. I'm 6'2" 250 lbs. I didn't have enough room in the seat. It wasn't stable enough for me either. And don't try to tell me you'll get used to it. If I'm going to spend a lot of money on a kayak it had better feel comfortable right away or forget it! The scrambler xt felt very stable. I liked the way it paddled. The only concern I had was the weight capacity at 350 lbs. Me at 250# + all my fishing gear+ a live bait tank. I thought that was pushing the limit. So Allen of Allen's Kayaks in Mission Bay suggested the Drifter. It felt like I had been paddling it for years the first time I tried it out. It has tons of room in the cockpit. It has a huge hatch up front that I can store 7' rods and all my stuff in. It has a 500lb. capacity, which is perfect. I love the way it handled. It's extremely stable. I could turn around in the cockpit on the water and get something out of the tankwell easily. I could hang my legs over the side while fishing and not even worry about tipping over. Some people complain about a wet rear end in this kayak. The solution is to place one of those square floating boat cushions under the seat. I never had a problem with it. I'm definitely going to buy a drifter. I would recommend it to anybody.
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09-27-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Tried out a rental Drifter in I and II white water. Handled great. Bought a new one for all-round paddling. I fish a lot and can troll two rods with little effort. The scupper plugs made for the Drifter did leak a little so I bought slightly larger plugs-but, hey, if you don't want to get wet stay off the water. The only reason I rated the Drifter a "10" is 'cause you wouldn't let me rate it any higher. I really like my boat!
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07-31-2002
Submitted by: PSSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Great all purpose kayak. I bought it exactly for that reason. I can use it in rivers, lakes and the ocean. I would have to admit that it performs best in the ocean after all it is a SOT Ocean Kayak but it also does reasonably well in rivers and lakes.

Very stable kayak. Even in somewhat choppy water I can stand up in it with ease. I can do tricks for the ladies and the kids while offshore at the beach. Backflips into the surf and if calm enough, handstands. After all that, I can reach into my cooler that straps on the back a crack open a beer. It's like a party boat and as you can tell, I have lots of fun with it.

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07-29-2002
Submitted by: MarkSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I recently got a Drifter, and find the previous reviews to be quite accurate. It's VERY stable. I can hang legs over the side, and even lean somewhat forward like that, with no problem at all. Not super fast but plenty good enough for paddling around the lake for fishing. Lots of space in the cockpit, so quite comfy for a larger paddler (which I am). The one drawback is indeed how wet the ride is. At 300lb, I sit in about 3 inches of water all the time. That's wet! Scupper stoppers are on order... I think they'll be used most of the time, though in hot weather I may pull them to stay cool.

Constructional details are good; seems to be a rigid, solidly-built boat. Needs the usual accessories if used for fishing (paddle/rod clips, holders etc.) I would have rated it a 10 if not for the wet ride.

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04-18-2002
Submitted by: G. BaldwinSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I just took up kayaking with my new girlfriend; and, at 218#, wanted a wider, more stable kayak for my first endeavor. Demo'd several and picked the Drifter. All in all, I am happy with my choice. Very stable in rolling water, like close offshore in Florida, and quicker than I would have thought on flat water. the "slap" of small waves under the bow is a minor annoyance. The biggest negative is how much water collects in the seat area. Even with Scupper plugs crammed in as hard as possible, paddle drips collect at the seat, so you get a puddle. I find the O.K. molded seat raises you a little above the puddle. In closing, it's a little "chubby" for quiet river touring, and I plan to get a 2nd kayak for that purpose; but for offshore and bays, it's quite confidence-inspiring to know you're unlikely to go for a swim. And, getting back onboard after, say, snorkeling, is a breeze for a beginner. I recommend the Drifter, scupper stoppers rammed home with a dowel or fat screwdriver, and a pair of water-repellant shorts!
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03-01-2002
Submitted by: JBPSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     What can I say.... I love my Drifter! I am a large paddler 325 lbs and have had no problems with my kayak. Yes you get wet in this SOT. However, if I was looking to stay dry, I would have got a more traditional kayak. I purchased my kayak with the intent of fishing from it about 80% of the time. I have added rod holders between the seat well and tank well along with a portable fish finder. I also have build a custom baitwell to sit in the tank well. You simply won't find a better kayak to fish from in lakes, ponds, and intercostal waters. I have not taken mine off shore yet, but would not hesitate to do it. There is a ridge, for lack of a better word, that runs down the middle of the kayak between the foot wells. This is a great place to mount equipment for fast access. I have taken a bag designed for my bike rack, sprayed it with silicon water proofing spray and velcroed it to this ridge. It works great and holds everything from my GPS to small fishing worm bags! Buy one, you will love it!
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09-12-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have been using my drifter every weekend since I bought it. Its wonderful, I did plug the holes and now it is a solid dry ride ... I love it.
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08-22-2001
Submitted by: SDSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I bought the Drifter and love the size of this kayak, plenty of room for all your stuff and it handles well. Great on rivers and ponds/lakes. However, even after putting scupper stoppers, it is still a wet ride. This should be remedied in the next version.
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05-22-2001
Submitted by: s.m.
Rating: 6 of 10

     I had read all of OK's specs on their new Drifter and couldn't wait to buy one. Fortunately, I sprang for the $30 rental fee and tried it out first -- despite many excellent characteristics, I didn't buy it. Like others have said, there is no more stable or all around functional SOT on the market today. And if you want to surf waves, this is the yak for big people (most wave riders maximum capacity is only around 200#). At 245#, I easily surfed Waikiki and had a blast. But what I didn't like about it and what finally convinced me not to purchase it was how wet it is -- all the time. After 5 hours in the ocean, my back side felt like a prune!!! If you are a big person (and that's what the Drifter was designed for)you are always, always sitting in a great deal of water. Putting plugs in it may be a solution for calm waters, but it sounded too suicidal of an option in large open Pacific swells. Maybe the next generation of the Drifter will improve on this problem.
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05-14-2001
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I just purchased two drifters. The very first day we took them out in the bay between Ocean City, MD and the mainland for about three hours and had a great time. We went out again the next morning for about 3 1/2 hours in the oppisite direction. When I got tired sitting I stood up in the drifter with no problem. Like all the other reviewers have mentioned, there is plenty of gear storage fore (under deck) and aft (exposed tank well). There seem to be more than enough straps and attachment points. There is even a cup holder between the foot wells. Don't buy the rod/paddle slips. Buy some velcro strips and run them through the attachement points for softer and less expensive rod and paddle holders. After we got our boats home we took them out on a 205 acre mountain lake for the afternoon. They were super quiet. I did lose a front scupper stopper however. Perhaps it snagged and was pulled out as I was crossing a submerged stump or tree limb. Until I lost the stopper the boat stayed pretty dry. My wife's boat, however, took on water even though she had all four plugs in. For a watertight seal, make sure those plugs are in hard, tight and fast.
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04-30-2001
Submitted by: JP
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have now been out in my new Drifter 3 times over the past 2 weeks and have found it to be a great boat for all day trips. It is my first SOT and I was a little shocked at how wet the ride was, but the other qualities have made up for that. It is VERY stable, I was fishing out of a Pungo, but this boat is much more stable and easier to fish from. It is also faster and easier to get on and off when the landing conditions are less than perfect. Many times I launch from rocky beaches or ledges which do not allow for the classic techniques used with sit-in kayaks, no problem with this boat, just step off and walk ashore. The front hatch is wonderful and with a little practice you can open it on the water, the boat is that stable. Overall it is a great platform for all recreational activities.
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04-09-2001
Submitted by: JAWSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Love the Drifter. After testing several other brands I took a chance and bought the Drifter without trying it out. I am convinced that I did the right thing. Maiden voyage was in Texas winds of around 27mph and it met the challenge, tracks better than the others I tried, even without a rudder and moves through the water with ease & plenty of speed.

Love the room too. Even as a large (female) paddler I can stretch out and not feel unstable. So roomy I could probably nap on it! It's low in the water so it's easy to get on and off, even in deep water after a swim. Make sure you get a long paddle due to the yak width. I had to switch from a 230 to a 240. It comes with all the bells & whistles already installed too. Will even hold a small ice chest and dive equipment.

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04-04-2001
Submitted by: BWSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my new drifter , I tried them all and I'm a big guy #260lbs nothing came close to the stability for fishing. A+ for this kayak.
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04-04-2001
Submitted by: saltyfly
Rating: 10 of 10

     What can I add that hasn't already been said? This is really a well designed yak. I bought mine with the intention of fishing from it most of the time. Now that I have paddled it for a little while, I feel that it could easily be used for duck hunting. I could load it with all my "dekes", set my spread, paddle back and hunt. As far as ease of paddling goes, I took my son fishing the other day and when we got back he asked if he could try to paddle it. I let him try and he literally took off. He weighs 60 lbs and is only eight yrs. old and had no problem turning and paddling the drifter. Kudos to Ocean Kayak and thier design team for a well thought out Kayak.
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04-03-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've owned my Drifter for about a month now and literally use it 4 times a week. This is the best toy in my box. I bought the Drifter because the salesman told me to... no really because of its incredible stability, light weight and versatility. Since I had never kayaked before, weigh over 200#'s, and wanted to fish, dive and play in the ocean, these seemed like good qualities to have in a kayak.

I have only used the Drifter along our gorgeous south florida coastline in all the winter weather conditions it offers; waves, winds and spinner sharks, and have (probably unwarranted) a lot of confidence in using it. Its stability make me more apt to use it than worry about weather I am going to get rolled in the seas; its great. So many people have come up to me and asked me about it I can't help but think that its ease of use makes others wanting to get into this great sport.

I can't really say its better than other kayaks, except that I can't think that there is a better kayak which is such a pleasure to fish from, and yet is easy to handle and a great way to get out and excercise! Thanks again, Ocean.

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01-03-2001
Submitted by: TigSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've owned a Drifter for about a month now and enjoy it more than I ever expected. There has been a lot of hype and expectation about this new yak from the fishing world, and it has lived up to it well. I use it to fish the Galveston area bays and flats, as well as explore rivers and creeks. The first word that comes to mind when describing it is "stable". This is an understatement! I can actually stand up in it and cast. I can sit on the deck behind the seat well, as well as sit cross ways dangling my feet overboard. So yes, it's secondary stability is as good it gets.

Usually a stable, 12' 6" by 34" wide kayak would be as slow as a barge, but the Drifter somehow manages to defy the expected limitations. It's not as fast as a Scupper Pro or Wilderness Freedom, but the difference is not all that noticeable, especially in heavy chop. The Drifter also tracks extremely well. I was able to easily maintain heading in open bay, heavy 20-knot wind chop at any angle. For those who like rudders, go with the factory installed one. For my use, a rudder isn't needed since it tracks so well to begin with. It turns easily too. Ocean Kayak did a great job designing this hull. The only noticeable wave slap noise while anchored was when the waves hit it abeam.

This kayak is also about space. The big 12" x 22" bow hatch is among best in the industry, keeping the storage area very dry. The bow under deck storage is ample for everything up to overnight camping. There's plenty of room for an extra paddle, soft cooler, and much more. The tankwell is a must for fishing and is plenty large and deep. I attached a plastic milk crate with the straps above it for easy access to items like dry bags.

The one thing this yak has that no other has is a very roomy seat well. I'm not a big person, yet I don't get lost in it. It is a little deep, so scupper plugs are recommended in the Winter. Buy a really good seat and you'll be as comfortable as if you were in your dad's recliner! The extra width of the foot well area is nice for adjusting your legs to any position you may want.

There is plenty of room for accessories and attachments. You can rig this yak any way you want. The side carrying handles are perfectly placed. The light 56-pound weight and 12' 6" length make it a breeze to port around on land. A 240cm or longer paddle is highly recommended due to the wide beam.

This yak is rated at 500 pounds and has the widest seat around, so it would be perfect for big paddlers as well as beginners. Before you buy a kayak, try several that you think you might like... just be sure to try the Drifter before you decide and it might change your mind!

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12-29-2000
Submitted by: B. Fomerstill
Rating: 10 of 10

     A super kayak , I have replaced my Scrambler xt with a new drifter and Its even better. I am a large paddler #260lbs and it is more stable. A+ for Ocean Kayak.
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11-15-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I absolutely LOVE everything about the Drifter!!! Fast, very stable, light, no downwind helm in a cross-wind (very important!), tons of storage under the front hatch, cuts through chop like butter, excellent tracking, cockpit room GALORE, super comfortable to sit in, etc.... You guys definitely got this one right the first time! It is so fast that I was catching short rides on the 9 inch swell running our way inside the outer jetty!

I guess if you were to FORCE me to say something negative about it I would comment on the fact that you sit in quite a bit more water than in other models due to the fact that the seat pan and deck are lower and closer to the bottom hull on this model. This design feature greatly ENHANCES the stability and sitting comfort of the kayak, and, for touring or anglers that aren't diving and don't want to get that wet, there are always scupper stoppers or duct tape to keep the cockpit dry (assuming no surf entries requiring draining).

I did my first two lobster dives of the 2000 season (both night dives) with the Drifter without making any additions to it and plan to use it most often now. I can't imagine needing a different kayak for diving unless I want to take three tanks out, in which case I might use the Scupper Pro TW. The superb stability and seaworthiness of the Drifter on a choppy, wind-blown, pitch black ocean made for the most comfortable night dive imaginable in such conditions. I also did a day dive with two tanks on the Drifter. I put the second tank in the forward hatch with the greatest of ease, leaving plenty of room for all my other gear, including wetsuit jacket, anchor, fins, etc... The extra weight up front did bury the bow a bit and slowed the boat a little, making it about as fast as a Scrambler XT, however it left plenty of waterline to deal with accessing the forward hold and didn't seem to affect the stability in the slightest. I found a 13 pound anchor on a recent dive and brought it back in through the surf on the Drifter.

Because of great tracking, even in a crosswind, I also can't imagine ever needing a rudder on this boat, however, the rudder mount made for the perfect place to sick my dive flag! I WILL add a few eyelets to further secure the tank in the tank well, to provide two attachemt points for the anchor, and to run a side line for attaching game bags, lights, cameras, etc., however, it was very doable without these additions by making creative use of the existing eyelets.

It looks like the Drifter could be destined to be one of the best kayaks on the market for the bigger diver. They have combined the very best features of their other models and put them on a totally new hull design that is just as wide and slightly longer than the Malibu Two, yet lighter than most kayaks in this size range. I already love the Malibu Two as a great, stable dive platform with a huge cargo capacity even without a tank well and good under-hatch storage. The cockpit of the Drifter is HUGE and the Scupper Pro type forward hatch provides easy access to a whole lot of storage below!

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10-23-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I had heard a lot of "pre-production" hype about this boat and at the Houston Canoe Club Fall Rendezvous last weekend was finally able to try one out. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I own a Scuppe Pro T/W that I think is the most able fishing platform of all the SOT's. The Drifter is shorter and 'fatter' with more room in the seat and a little larger tankwell. It is VERY stable, tracks well, and is almost as fast as the SPT/W. For "stouter" people this is the perfect kayak! For smaller folks, this is the most stable fishing platform you'll find anywhere. You can stand in it, sit on the seat back, or pole it through the mud flats or marsh. I highly recommend it.
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