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The boat is a bit wide and deep for someone short, 5'1" but adding a cushion helps. I have had to make some small repairs from cracks where heavy boat fell on it in in a storm. An emergency repair with a little Gorilla glue and tape worked just fine.
The black PBC paddle that came with the boat is perfect for me- very light and balanced. Drilled a hole in the top of each blade so that the paddle can be locked with the boat when I paddle to town. I have paddled my Poke boat fully loaded with groceries, a 20 lb dog, furniture, lumber etc. and have a great deal of respect for its stability and ease to paddle.
Great boat for a camp - mine often is so loaded I have to think outside the boat. I also have shared the boat with another adult - not comfortable but easily done.
Most importantly I use the boat because it is light, not a chore to move or to car top. The only improvements needed would be a less minimal seat and the cost to buy a second one.
First, it draws very little water so between it's relatively wide and crowned bottom it is very sensitive to every stroke. Stroke right, it goes left, stroke left, it goes right so if you don't stroke with equal force & duration you will be using adjusting strokes to keep the boat straight. That also means it responds quickly to a strong stroke, lean, and foot pressure so that what you lose in one capacity, you gain in another.
Next, it collects water easily and I should have put a skirt on it. it rides high even though I'm 6'3" and 225lbs. currently. The seat top is pitched forward and bothered my lower back the entire time even though it had a padded seat. Next, I will try it on a rough lake with a skirt.
I'm of two minds with this boat, it's light, draws 3", easy to maneuver, but back hurt, it collected water easily w/o skirt, and is easily drawn off course with each stroke. It may turn out well, but was tiring to paddle for such a stable, utilitarian boat. I bought mine used. I suggest you paddle before you buy to see if you like the ride. I'm going to try it next with a canoe paddle to see if leaning it over & paddling it that way makes a difference. The jury is still out...
Poles good in shallow water; can get out of easy and drag into those nasty spots. Everybody I have let use it, wants one. They are a little pricey; I bought mine with a minor defect and have not had a problem.
Second, stability. The Maxi II has the broadest beam of any Poke Boat at 37 inches. This fact along with its flat bottom provides what I consider extreme stability. I paddle with many thousands of dollars of photographic equipment and thus stability is extremely important to me. The first time out I tested stability by standing up in the boat and then gently starting to rock the boat side to side. Iím 5í11Ē and 220 pounds. I proceeded to rock from side to side as hard as I could. I didnít even come close to tipping over. I have absolutely no qualms that Iím risking my camera gear in this boat. Yes, with a flat bottom and a 37" beam there is a down side, but it also helps to provide a draft of only three inches and together with Kevlar I have a 51 pound boat with extreme stability, which for my usage is just great.
Found it a bit weak though on shallow water where rocks were present, current was swift and it took a bit of a beating and I bought one small crack in the bow which was easily repaired. Great to fish from, though I do recommend a miniskirt for the overly large cockpit. Great for calm water or rivers where rocks are not a threat.
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