2 months ago I got the Cobra Eliminator, 17 feet by 22. I'm 5'11" and 210 pounds. So far it has been an exciting learning experience. I have been paddling for 3 years and experimented with different types of kayaks. Right now I own a Necky Eleho HV and the Cobra.
The first time I tried the Eliminator I was disappointed. I bought the kayak used, and I was thinking that I wasted the $650 I paid for it. But once you start learning to "ride" the Eliminator you don't want to paddle any other kayak. I have been practicing about 6 hours every weekend spending time mastering my bracing and stroke. A month ago I got a wing paddle that is helping me go even faster.
In the last 2 weeks, I got very comfortable paddling through rough waters (at the beginning I used to fall into the water once in a while). I usually go out in Miami's ocean inlets with a lot of boat traffic. In the canals the wake of the boats produce a wired effect in the water with waves coming from different directions (waves bouncing back from docks and other natural barriers); the Eliminator (or lets say me), is handling the waters pretty well in these sea conditions. I recommend this kayak for any body who wants to go SUPER FAST in the water, like to workout, is willing to learn new techniques and is not afraid to fall into the water once in a while.I bought the Cobra Eliminator because I was at Lake Tahoe on vacation, didn't have any of my boats with me, and had a chance to get a demo Eliminator at a good price. I've had it for three weeks and it's been the kayak of choice ever since. But, it takes a little getting used to. In my experience, it's a dry ride up to about 6" chop, takes an occasional slurp at 1', and over 1 1/2' requires serious attention to avoid a capsize. Longer period waves (e.g. big lake or ocean swell) should be less of a problem. A little dicey in following seas. On flat water, the stability is fine. The shape of the hull actually seems to encourage good paddling style with blade entry close to the narrow hull and strong torso rotation. The self-bailer is a great feature. I haven't had any trouble getting back in and paddling the boat dry quickly after my two capsizes.
My only negatives are that the boat with rudder weighs about 10 lbs. more than its advertised 42 lbs. (Cobra says they beefed up the hull and haven't changed the advertised specs) and I'd like to see an attachment point in the bow for a rope for more secure roof rack transport.After paddling an Islander Ventura for a year I decided I wanted a kayak that would cover more miles faster. I went for the pseudo race boat Cobra Eliminator because it is light, relatively cheap, plastic, and kids can paddle it. The hull is sleek and slippery and slices through the water like a knife. I was immediately able to paddle about a half mile further in an hour using about the same energy as when paddling the Ventura. As Iím getting used to the boat Iím able to do a little better. Yesterday I paddled almost 12 miles in a little over 2 hours (so close to 6 mph while paddling, took a couple of breaks). Itís nice taking the kids (14 & 12) paddling with this boat because a kid in the Eliminator can almost keep up with me in a slow boat, and we get to see more than when they paddled the slow boats.
The Eliminator sits low so that you get lots of water in with you on rough days. It doesnít have scupper holes because you sit below the water surface. It has a venturi that you can open to suck out the water when you are moving fast (and swamp you when sitting still). The Eliminator is not a stable kayak, initial stability is not too bad, secondary is very low. This is not a fun boat to paddle in rough water, with all the fighting to drain the cockpit and stay upright.
The toe-operated rudder is nice because you can push on the foot brace without turning. It came with a strange fiberglass thing to sit on. This is nice for the kids because it can be adjusted for the length of your legs, but it made my legs fall asleep. I got rid of it and put in a foam Hot Seat, which is much more comfortable and lifts me out of the puddle. The boat comes without any lifting handles. I riveted on strap handles front, back and on the sides.