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Reviews for Reggae Kayak by Islander


Rated: 7.71/10 Based On: 17 Reviews

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04-18-2006
Submitted by: KevinSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is an update to my 3-10-2005 review. I've added another modification to improve the tracking on flat water and smooth out the maneuverability on surf. I came into some scraps of carbon fiber panel recently though this mod could be made with 1/8" aluminum as well. I fabricated a center tail fin out of the carbon fiber panel scraps which is about 5" at its root and contours to a "loose J" at its terminus about 8-10" from the root. The carbon fin is a little over 1/8" thick laminated from a piece of 1/8 and 1/16 carbon fiber. One inch of the root is reinforced to be three times this thick. To that is attached 2 5" lengths of 1/1 aluminum angle to form a "fin box". This is attached to the tail end of the Reggae with 4 1/4-20 stainless hex round head bolts and wellnuts. The attachment is very strong and I can pick up as well as rotate the kayak in slings by the fin. The fin is bolted with 1/4-20 nylon screws and stainless steel nuts so that shearing in the long axis of the kayak can take place if the fin comes into something (like the bottom) too hard. The trailing edge of the fin is tethered to the aft toggle handle.

The length and shape was chosen to eliminate the tendency on flatwater for the stern to pivot forward as well as improve carving in surf conditions.

This boat is now out of production but the fin can be easily removed if necessary by loosening the 1/4-20 bolts that mount the "fin box", and screwing them back in to the wellnuts, thereby plugging the holes.

If you're interested, e-mail me for photos.

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08-24-2005
Submitted by: DCSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Perfect for paddles out to the end of the reef to SCUBA, fishes great too. Tracked well on the Potomac in class I-III and surfed with the best at Assateague island, MD. Now it's in Okinawa Japan getting lots of use for a wide variety of activities. Long trips, short trips, SCUBA, camping, surfing, and much more. I'd buy 10 if I could find more here.
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04-29-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought this Kayak recently second hand. I had been well looked after and it came with a paddle, seat and a pfd for a very good price. As it was the only one avail within driving distance I bought it. And I can say that I'm happy that I did. It is VERY stable. I've had my son on it with me (he's 5) climbing around like a monkey and the thing is nice and steady. It does tend to steer a bit to one side or another when I paddle too fast and I'm not watching what I'm doing but I have found that rocking my hips away from the turn makes all the difference in the world. It's certainly helped my paddling strokes.

I will be looking for a new boat soon but I will not get rid of my Reggae. I like it too much (and you always remember your first) besides that, 5 year olds won't stay 5 forever!

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03-10-2005
Submitted by: KevinSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     The paddlers that complain about this boat have missed the point of the Reggae. If you bought it as a touring boat somebody sold you the wrong boat. Where this boat excels is in the surf. It is relatively easy to launch in breakers with a simple mod - a 2 foot loop of 8mm climbing rope through the cord for the front grab handle. Also I replaced the cheap cord for the grab handles with Gemini climbing cord (a synthetic kernmantle cord with a combo of Kevlar and Spectra in its core). Gemini is quite a bit stronger and a bit stiffer so if you need to grab a handle in an emergency it doesn't flop around. The "launch loop" allows you to drag the kayak behind you as you enter the breaker zone. Haul off and slide the kayak past you and as it points into the waves, jump on it and start paddling to get past the break. You will need to lean forward to get the bow down into the wave so you can get past the break. Once you are past the break, lock into the thigh straps and start looking for swell. Launching into the surf, the hull design of the Reggae points you INTO the wave rather than broaching you like a touring hull does.

Once you have chosen a wave to ride, simply drop your blade into water as a stern rudder "on the "downhill" side to keep your trim on the face of the wave and enter the barrel. At some point when you are barreling, you'll pull your stern rudder and plant the opposite blade into the face of the wave as a brace. Simply pull down on this blade, which will pop you and the boat up over the crest and back into the swell.

It's too bad that Islander no longer makes this boat - they've obviously bowed to marketing pressure to compete with the other rec boats. This boat's home was in the surf, but it works well as a rec boat too. You just have to know your paddling strokes - very stable and lots of fun when you don't want to mess with closed cockpit and spray skirts. If you're not looking to surf, then look for another boat.

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06-19-2003
Submitted by: Ed CodySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my Reggae February 2002. Mine was made at the Manufacture for my desired color and shipped to my outfitter. I use my Reggae on rivers class I-III, surfing the ocean, scuba diving, and flat water tours. Yes you need to take the time to get use to it and the way it handles. I take it on long flat water trips with great speed and pushing it, and I have no problems keeping it in a straight line. Easy to slide out of and to climb back in. The eyelets have not scratch me once like other kayaks I have owned. The hatch makes it easy for storage when on long trips. Again the back is big enough for scuba equipment, camping equipment, cooler full of water and pepsi!! Plus there is plenty of sitting room and very comfortable. Really a great kayak. Any questions please feel free to email me.
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05-31-2003
Submitted by: DPHSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I was very curious about the Reggae for a long time; I liked the look of it, but after reading all the bad reviews, I was afraid to buy it. However, Andrew's review convinced me. I bought a Reggae two days ago - the same one I've been staring at for over six months, every time I stopped by the local outfitter's store. I got a really good price because it was on close-out.

I'd agree with everything Andrew says except I've never been on Class III rapids so I wouldn't know. But I wanted a SOT kayak for using on rivers. For that purpose it's great! Very maneuverable, stable, fun, and I think it is a nice looking boat. I also like the way Islander makes their hatches. They're less likely to pop open like those rubber seal hatches sometimes do on other manufacturers' boats.

On flat water, it tracks just OK... and that's assuming you're not "pushing" it. Don't get me wrong - it's not a total dog, but it doesn't want to go fast on flat water. If you try too hard, it turns to the side. But it can be fun on flat water too as long as you're not expecting too much of it. I like my Reggae, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to use it on moving water.

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05-21-2003
Submitted by: Andrew J. HoldenSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've owned a reggae for two weeks now, and taken it out 5 times on a class II-III river, and twice on flatwater. If you want to paddle long flat lakes or rivers DO NOT buy this boat. If you want to use it for surf, or a river with some current, this boat is GREAT!

Readers can dismiss most of the bad reviews above as pretty ignorant- these are people who bought a surf boat as a pond boat or touring kayak- it's not- it's a boat designed for rivers with at least some current, or the ocean.

The boat does not track well on flatwater, but a combination of practice and SLOWING your strokes down, above all else will fix that problem. Don't use correction strokes, just slow the boat down, and try a different sort of stroke every now and then- you'll figure out what works.

On the river this boat is a gem, long enough to ride out a big wave pretty easily, but with enough flotation and maneuverability to make it a lot of fun. It's particularly good as a sit-on-top at 'diving' down into a big hole, or over a drop- it pops back up right away, and stays stable too.

I definitely recommend it for anyone who has a river with a few rapids nearby. You'll want to put a seat in it likely (there's a great strapping one available), because, as with most sit-on-tops, the carved seat has little back support. With the seat in, it's the most comfortable boat I've ever owned. It's very easy to stretch your legs etc, without affecting the boats stability- especially in current.

I'm a VERY HAPPY BUYER, and hope that you will purchase the boat only if it's best for what you intend to do.

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04-07-2003
Submitted by: JimSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I am new to the kyak and this is my first one. I am using it in rivers and the intercostal waterway. The faster you push it the more difficult it handles, but at my pace (aprx 3-4 mph) I have no problems using the boat. It definatly is more stable than the canoe I use. The price was hard to beat and the cargo capacity is generous. It is well suited for what I do with it which is putzing around on the water fishing and camping. Like someone else stated it does leak at all the rivet points, so my gear is in bags. It is light weight and easy to manipulate onto the jeep after a long day on the water. I like it.
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03-11-2003
Submitted by: jcsSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I paddle one of these, and after learning the tendencies of the boat, have had no problems on the very flat and slow moving Florida rivers I fish. I donít have any problems heading to the fishing spots on the bay and it gets there quickly when paddled correctly. Heavy winds make it tough, the boat wants to turn broadside. Other than that, I see no problems with its tracking. Itís a perfect boat for fishing, goofin around, etc. and now its on closeout, so you can get it at half the price.
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09-06-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This thing is a blast. Shame on everyone who complained about the tracking - didn't you look at the hull before you bought it? This thing isn't made to be a fast boat - it's made to be a comfortable and stable play around boat that can turn on a dime. I could complain about my Carolina not being good for whitewater - and anyone in the know would laugh at me for mentioning it.

The Reggae is "the bomb" for class II whitewater - even for the less skilled paddlers. I took a beginner paddler with me down the San Marcos - and I couldn't get the boat away from him. He took it through BrokenBone and Cottonseed rapids without even blinking. We're doing the Guadalupe River this weekend (Class II/III) and I'm not letting anyone else in the Reggae.. I'm also taking it to the ocean to play on the waves next weekend(I'll use my Carolina for the long hauls thank you very much - hahaha).

The Reggae has a tendency to push when you try to pass a certain speed - so don't go that fast. The tracking is much better than I expected - I really love it. Of course - I can make my WaveSport Y track straight so this thing is easy. It's like riding a bike people - you can't do it until you get the feel for it - and then it's no big deal. :)

I bought the boat to have something between my WaveSport Y (whitewater) and my Perception Acadia (recreational) that could feel comfortable loaning to people new to the sport for class I/II water. My Acadia will do class II easily with me in it - but less experienced paddlers can't turn it through a current. The Reggae just goes calmly across it (don't even suggest putting a beginner in a Y).

I would have rated it a 10 except the pop rivets holding everything on should have been siliconed at the factory. I took it over an 8 foot dam (Rio Vista in San Marcos) with 330cfs in about a 6 foot slot. The boat totally submerged (I'd never gotten a sit on top to do that), but it came up controllably and my dog landed in my lap as I came back up. The only problem was that the pop rivets leak like a sieve when underwater - so I took on water. The pop rivets I could reach from inside I sealed by putting silicone on them - the rest I removed and put a glop of silicone in the hole before I replaced them. No big deal.

Islander has discontinued the Reggae - so if you're interested in one then you should get it before they're all gone. I think I'm going to get a second one - because it's such a blast I don't want to give it up... :)

FWIW: I tried the Sit on Top whitewater boats (Yahoo, Pegasus and Torrent). Talk about them if you want to talk slow and poor tracking. They don't have the comfort level or the weight capacity of the Reggae (I'm 6'3" and 240lbs)- and I'm better on the Reggae than I was on any of them. I'll be keeping my WaveSport Y - but only for when it's cold - or for above class III...

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08-27-2002
Submitted by: MarkSend Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     I've tried the Reggae twice. I was going to write a review after the first time I used a Reggae, but I decided not to do so. I made a lot of mistakes, such as not bailing out the hull or trimming it properly. I also used it on the ocean, a far cry from the flat, inland waters in which I usually paddle. I took out for a second time today. Even though I took out on Barnegat Bay, an estuarial body of water here in NJ, I found a couple of protected coves and lagoons that are close to flat, inland bodies of water. Here is my review of the Reggae.

It's an ok boat, but do NOT use it on the ocean or a larger body of water. Like a previous reviewer said, the Reggae doesn't track or hold speed well. Being a recreational type of boat, I didn't expect it to do either. However, that's not why I'm less than enthused about this boat. The above flaws were expected; if those were the only flaws, I would have rated this boat higher. No, this boat has a flaw that I do not like-it breaks loose!

When you're paddling along, and the boat drifts off course, you make some correction strokes. On the Reggae, if you do too many correction strokes, the boat will all of a sudden break loose; it'll just take off in the direction in which you're correcting, and it will swap ends. If any of you have ever seen an open wheel race car break loose, you know what I'm talking about. In fact, the action is just like that of an F1, Champ, or Indy car losing the back end; the only difference is that this boat doesn't do as quickly. That is my main gripe with this boat.

Oh, BTW, I tried various seating adjustments too. I tried different trimming fore and aft; I tried different seatback angles. I tried everything I could think of to make this boat track halfway decent, but nothing worked. The best I could do was to LESSEN the tendency for this kayak to swap ends. When I was on flatter water, the boat was better behaved. On flat water, it tracked almost as well as a Loon 111. Even on flat water though, the boat still breaks loose; it just doesn't do it as often or as badly.

When I trimmed the boat aft, when I made it stern heavy, it seemed to be better. It still exhibited its tendency to break loose, but not as often. The tracking was somewhat improved also. The Reggae was designed to have some cargo in the aft storage area, since it is billed as a day tripping boat. Perhaps if one put some ballast in the aft cargo area, the stern would sit more in the water, and it might track better for you.

I would not recommend this boat. It's not because it doesn't hold speed or track as well as it could. Being the type and size of boat that it is, one expects a slower, less precise boat. However, when it doesn't track quite as well as a Loon 111 with a big guy (I'm 6'2", 245#, pushing the limits of the 111)), I'm not impressed. That is not its Achilles' heel though; that is not why I'm panning this boat. It is the tendency for the boat to swap ends; it's the tendency for the boat to all of a sudden break loose while you're making correction strokes to keep it on course. The Loon 111, the boat I have the most experience with, tracks better than the Reggae, AND, it doesn't swap ends!

If you're going to use this as a fun, goof around boat, and you can get one for a steal, think about getting one. But, if you can at all possibly do so, get something else. There are plenty of boats that will track and hold speed just as well if not better than the Reggae, and they will not swap ends. Thank you.

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05-31-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've been demoing numerous sit-on-tops lately in Florida, and the Reggae is a great boat, IF you are paddling it for its intended use. Definitely not a distance boat (doesn't track or hold speed well), or something you'd want for wide, slow rivers, bays or estuaries. However, its turn-on-a-dime character and stability make this a fun boat for Florida-style surf, or narrow, twisty rivers like the Loxahatchee. If you want to paddle wider or more exposed water, you'll like their Moku, sized about the same but a very different ride.
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05-06-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     For what I bought this Kayak for, it was excellent... Playing in the surf & goofing off. It wasn't the fastest on distance, but it still did well. I admit to some tracking problems on the STRAIGHT, FLAT water, but what do you expect from a boat designed for moving water?
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04-16-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     This is a sorry boat. The bow has no point and therefore the boat requires constant adjustment in direction while paddling. There's no way to get it to a decent speed because of fighting to go straight. Obviously the Islander people acknowledge how bad this boat is because they now offer the Moku in the same length. The Moku is a far superior boat. I don't know what the designers were thinking because this boat doesn't seem to be good at anything.
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01-28-2002
Submitted by: TWS
Rating: 10 of 10

     Are you guy's crazy. This is the most stable boat around. I can stand up and throw and cast a rod and reel. As far as control I guess if you've never been in a boat befor yeay you need a smaller more aggressive boat. This is a cruser not a speed boat...Try this about on a three hour paddle while fishing and you will see why I love this ultra stable machine
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06-15-2001
Submitted by: yak
Rating: 6 of 10

     This kayak is not a very good boat for long distances. It's fun for not going long distances. Tracking is ok but don't expect to get up to a very high speed. Paddling is kinda tough too. It's very durable and can take some swells. Buy this kayak for fun, not for going long distances and touring.
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04-23-2001
Submitted by: MikeSend Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     I've paddled a Reggae on several occasions (they are rentals at a facility I use). I've also paddled an OK Scrambler, Perception Swing, and Necky Spike. I have to admit that all three of these boats are far superior to the Reggae. The biggest negative is the overall handling. Tracking is horrible. Worse yet, the boat doesn't respond smoothly to correction strokes. It will initially resist any attempts to turn it, then turn sharply all at once, forcing you to compensate in the other direction. About half my paddling strokes were correction strokes. Several other people I know have also tried this kayak and said they never would have gone into kayaking if this were the first boat they were exposed to. Enough said.
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