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My Swifty and I have shared many exciting adventures together. I have explored vast lakes, quiet coves, rapidly moving rivers and shallow swamps with ease. The sleek Swifty has also allowed me to enjoy days of peaceful paddling on still waters where I have been in communion with the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. Through it all, the polyethylene construction of my Perception Sport Swifty, has held up in every possible condition, from jagged boulders, protruding logs, and floating debris.
Fishing from my Swifty is a joy because of the total comfort, and the outstanding maneuverability through the water, in and out of small coves, searching for that prize fish. The cozy cockpit & cushy seating, built in molded rod holders, roomy hull and the convenient built in dashboard for all my modern necessities, makes fishing such a luxury. Also, the paddle holder is a huge bonus while baiting the hook.
The built in molded handles and the lightweight of my Swifty makes transporting a breeze. Thank you again, Perception Sport, this kayak certainly lives up to itís name; Swifty. I look forward to many more years of fun and adventures with my Perception Sport Swifty Deluxe 9.5!
I'd give it a higher score but the seat is where you really see why the price is low. The seat back needs help... I'm sure you can figure something out... like tightening it up and using your life vest as a back brace. Plenty of room inside. Have yet to try to sink it...curious to see if I need to add more foam. If you dent it, warm it up with a heat gun (gently) and push it out with a gloved hand.
Excellent beginner kayak. It is durable, stable, roomy, tracks well and for its size is fairly fast. It is light enough for my wife to load no problem. We leave it chained up at a lake about 10 min. walk from our house in our city. My wife is able to paddle 3-4 times a week without the hassle of loading it up and we're not too concerned about someone stealing it. I offered to buy her a new one with better seat and storage and she said no, she'll wait until this one wears out - guess I won't we won't be shelling out any cash any time soon as this thing is so durable.
I have used the Swifty to fish and have been out a kilometer or more on Georgian Bay with 1-2 ft. waves steel lining for lake trout without a skirt and not worried too much as the kayak is that stable. Good enough storage behind the seat for a light day trip which my wife and I often do when camping.
The Swifty is not designed as a touring or fishing kayak although we have used it for both. But it is an excellent introductory kayak that will get people into kayaking at a reasonable price and head and shoulders better than other kayaks in that price range. And it will be a joy long after. The seat is serviceable but is probably the only thing that can be improved on. Still, it's a 10!
I got this kayak on sale for $206.00 and am very happy with it! I ran over a couple of underwater stumps in the lake yesterday and the material took it great - just enough "give" to take the impact with no problems. This kayak is easy to carry and fits in the bed (diagonally) of my short bed pick-up.
Great beginner kayak!
If you think you will progress through the sport and want to take longer trips on either flat or moving water, then you will outgrow this boat quickly. But I bet you'll want to keep it for those times when you want to include a non-paddling friend or when you just don't feel like hoisting a heavy boat onto your car.
Where do I start? Bought the thing as a recreational run around kayak about 8 years ago at Ramakko's in Sudbury, Ontario. The thing is light- my wife has no problem throwing it in the truck which she does with the Manitou. It's stable. I've had this thing out a mile in Georgian Bay steel lining for lakers a hundred feet down with no skirt, a wind and a 2 ft. chop and no rod holder. And I catch fish each time without worrying about flipping the thing.
For a short, wide stubby boat in the recreational class it tracks damn well. I made it out and back on those trips on Georgian in reasonable time. Taken it for much longer trips too. Manitou is faster but it should be. Again, this is a recreational beginner kayak. As for storage, no water tight compartment, but good room for gear behind seat for a day trip or spartan overnight trip. With a skirt I can roll this thing no problem. Simple rigging and extremely durable plastic
For a beginner to intermediate boat this thing is excellent in its class- recreational. The only complaint I have is that I didn't buy another one when I saw them on sale for $250 at Paddleshack in Ottawa!
It is slowish. It is very maneuverable and very stable. I had no trouble paddling a couple of miles, and I am in no way, shape or form athletic. It's really fun, and I can get it in and out of the water without assistance. It is really great for what it is, which is a fun boat to play around with on fairly quiet waters.
I have no trouble getting in and out of it with it part way in the lake, part way on land. Paddling is easy and burns a lot of calories (I hope - lol) and it's stable as a dream. It took the wake from power boaters like a champ. Its light weight, solid and comfortable to use. Easy to carry to and from the truck and I fit pretty comfortably in it and I can also sit in it and put my legs out and lay them across the top as I meander down the river in it with out fear of flipping over.
If you're big like me, get it, if you're not, get it cause I can only imagine how much I'd love it if I were 170 -180 lbs! lol
We would recommend the boat to anyone who is interested in beginning to kayak. We are looking forward to exploring the waterways of southwest Florida in our boats.
I'm a relative rookie at kayaking so we took them out to a nearby desert lake. They are easy to transport and very stable when entering. The lake had a slight breeze and some chop. We stayed mainly near the shoreline and only hit a bit of powerboat and jetski wake. Handled this no problem. We paddled for about 3 hours, no drifting with a current here. Seat was great never felt un-comfortable. It also tracked very straight.
The Swifty was sluggish at times. Into a wind was noticeable, but, what Kayak doesn't have a problem with this. I would say "sluggish" wouldn't be much of an issue on a flowing stream or river. I'm not into speed, so I do not care. This is a great fitness yak, as you can work as hard, or leisurely, as you want. I'm a tweener. I did notice very minor yawing as I paddled, but this was my technique more than anything. Once I made adjustments, no problem. It handled and manuevered as advertised for a smaller kayak. Turned when and where I wanted it.
What you get in the Swifty in this price range would be very hard to match. Don't expect a Beamer, but this is a solid Toyota.
Next week going to the lower Salt to try the Swifty out on a fairly easy "river."
A better seat and easy to clean hull I'd give it 10 stars. Thanks! and Hope this helps!
I bought the Swifty 9.5 at the end of May 2012 from Dicks and just finally got the time to get out on the river. I absolutely loved this kayak! I put in about 6 hours or so today, in calm waters along with some very mild rapids. Paired with my Quest Chute paddle, i had no problems at all maneuvering or stopping on a dime. For my first time, im very pleased with how easy it was to just jump in and go with this kayak. I love the width for the added stability, i never even got close to rolling it but did rock it around a little bit just to test its stability...all checked out well. Also, i really like how light the Swifty is, picking it up and loading on the car was a breeze as well as getting from car to the river. My buddy and I partnered up and carried his kayak to rivers edge first, then came back for the Swifty. He commented more than once on how light the Swifty was and that he liked that aspect. I would say his kayak probably weighed about 5 more pounds than the Swifty but that 5 pounds was a big difference.
Maybe the only drawback i can see, is what lots of others say...the seat is quite mediocre for sure. It does its job but im sure there are some aftermarket seats that will improve the comfort.
-Price point($279) -weight -colors to choose from (i went with orange/red) -stability
-Seat leaves a little to be desired, i will get an aftermarket seat down the road at some point
Months later (today) I took her out for her maiden voyage to see what it was like. I did sit in her at Dick's, but come to find out, my size 11 feet can't fit straight up and down in the boat. How do men with bigger feet than mine buy this kayak! I was told this was a big problem by a kayak expert. I've read all these reviews and didn't see anything about people's feet not fitting. I have to bend my toes against the roof in order to stretch my legs. This is without shoes, too. Maybe you're not supposed to be able to put your feet up and down in a kayak? Well that's weird. I've been in many where I could.
Aside from the scrapes and indents and my feet not fitting, the seat is pretty comfortable (including the adjustments I had to make and the homemade cushion I made out of a life preserver I stuffed behind the back rest). The colors are pretty, I felt safe, I could get in and out with ease, it was very stable, and I thought it tracked pretty well. People complained about that, but, well, ummm, if you paddle unequally, you WILL zigzag. Sillies. I thought I was going at a pretty good rate, too. I would think to get the full use of the channels on the bottom of the boat that the bottom of the boat would need to be FLAT, but the very LARGE indent has not come out. A woman at Gander Mountain told me to leave it in the sun and it will pop out, but that hasn't happened. She said it's from being on the shelf for so long. Sooo, with the scrapes and dents, I got an old boat from Dick's for $329. I was told it will be a good starter boat, but alas, I'm a teacher and buying multiple kayaks is NOT in my budget.
-no room for lots of gear or coolers
-no cup holder
-my feet are too large to fit
Very easy to transport due to small size and light weight. I can get it fully inside my Subaru Forester if I lay the seats flat, or just toss it on the roof & tie down. It fits a lot of body types. Has room for a day's worth of stuff. Tough & durable construction, and the fore & aft bungees on the deck are handy for lightweight things.
takes on water more easily than the Heritage Featherlight 9.5, a similar boat I prefer over the Swifty. My friend who is a slim 6'4" cannot get into the Swifty without bending his knees uncomfortably, and his weight unbalances the lines of the boat- he's not a heavy guy, just tall.
You will outgrow the Swifty quickly, but it is a good boat to have for a quick trip on a local lake or slow river. I have introduced a few friends to kayaking with my Swiftys.
The boat is stable and easy to maneuver. It is stable, tracks well for a short, wider kayak, and has a huge cockpit. I bought cheap clip-on cup holders for water, and besides the paddle, is the only accessory we need. We can get both kayaks into our Toyota Highlander, and secure them and the rear hatch with bungee cords, which is fine for local trips. With the front seat laid back, I can fit one inside and close the hatch.
The only reason I rate this kayak a 9 out of 10 is because the seat is adjusted with a strap, which tends to want to very slowly slip backward. I don't know how long it's going to hold up. One tip...the salesman sold me a paddle that was too short. IMO 230cm is the minimum length to comfortably paddle this kayak, due to its width, and is what I use now.
Though I've only gone out on the water twice, it seems quite stable. the first time I was out, it was on very calm water. The second time I was out, it was on choppy water... between the storm that was rolling in and the motor boats buzzing across the lake, I didn't have any problems keeping it balanced.
I recommend this kayak to any beginner kayaker. It's really fun, small and light enough for me to carry with barely any upper body strength, and wonderful exercise.
We decided to try it out the largest of the local lakes here. It was very easy to get him in the seat so that was a big plus. The kayak handled very well for him the 4 hours he spent in it, we couldn't talk him out of it even after the wind really picked up putting serious chop on the water. He finally tired out and decided to set on the shore for a while so I decided to try it out.
It has less primary stability then my Tarpon but more then the Captiva I first learned on years ago. The secondary stability is great, I could tilt it in a turn until it would start to fill with water without worrying about a flip. The tracking was better then I thought it would have been on a 10 foot kayak but still very responsive. Of course it was noticeably slower then my Tarpon but for what it is I thought it did great. It was a lot of fun on the large waves on the lake, so much so my fiancee didn't think I was going to give it back. I might buy me one just to use in the smaller waters and to play on and of course my fiancee needs a kayak.
I only have 2 complaints with it:
The finish is way off on it,the cockpit hole wasn't cut or molded square and needs about 3/4 of an inch shaved off and just some basic finishing on some rough edges here and there.
The other is that a boat that seems a great option for kids the foot peg rail is a bit short it seems, but I guess the kids don't care.
We are looking forward to a lot of fun trips together with it. PS: I'm 5'11 220 lbs and my Fiancees son is around a 100 lbs now for reference.
The little kayak was very stable, extremely maneuverable and has a decent speed. At one point I even laid down in it with my feet up on the deck. A very stable little boat.
It's very responsive to the paddle. That might be bad for some people as it noses left and right if you really dig in the paddle...but on a positive note you can do a 360 degree turn within a 10' diameter. Great for tight spots.
It handled the wind very well. Even though the wind impacted our speed, if we stopped and drifted we didn't drift any more than in a canoe or fishing boat.
Speed wise it definitely has a limit. You have to paddle hard to get good speed. But on the flip side if you paddle gently you get better speed than you would expect from the minimal effort. And if you stop paddling it does glide along straight rather well.
I would HIGHLY recommend these for the price we paid, $299 at Dicks. I would recommend them for novice and intermediate paddlers. Unless you have a special need for a specific type of boat, the Swifty will exceed your recreational kayak expectations. Order your paddles from Amazon.com and save even more money. We got some awesome sturdy paddles for $24 a piece.
But seriously - if you've been considering tandem kayaks to introduce your kids to flatwater paddling then don't waste your money on something that can't be used for other things. Worst case with a Swifty + child seat is that you'll get a smallwater fishing boat all for yourself.....at under $300! How good is that?!?!!
The Swifty was spacious enough to hold plenty of gear plus me...and we probably overloaded it just a bit. I found the kayak tracked pretty well, but it took a considerable amount of effort to keep up with my Perception. The Perception held most of our gear, and it handled like a dream. While paddling the Swifty, it seemed to just stop when you stopped paddling....almost like it had brakes.
I think the Swifty would make a great workout kayak (you'll definitely get one), but as a lazy river paddler, I'll definitely be sticking with my Sierra.
As for me, I'm no expert either. I've been kayaking for 8-10 years in several boats of varying types with several multi-day trips in lakes and rivers. Still, I wouldn't claim to be more than moderately experienced. I'm guessing the experts haven't bothered to review this boat yet, if they did it would be memorable. So was my one experience with the Swifty. It seemed that I exerted more than 50% of my energy just trying to keep it straight. When I stopped paddling, the boat stopped like it was attached to an anchor. As with many of the lower priced Perception boats, the quality seemed noticeably cheaper than other boats in similar price ranges. Which brings me back to cost. If you want a boat to bash around the lake in and not care about getting anywhere soon, don't mind being frustrated by the extra effort of correcting the boat, and won't use it enough to justify spending more money, then this is the boat for you. If you plan to do any trips in this boat or keep up with anyone in any other boat, I highly urge you to investigate other boats.
Boats I currently own -Dagger Zydeco -Dagger Bayou -Wilderness Systems Manteo -Ocean Kayak Frenzy
I now own a second Swifty and another brand that I am not nearly as happy with. I am looking to replace my 3rd with another Swifty once it goes on sale.
If you get the Swifty into some fast water that comes across rear of the boat, the water will come in around the bungie cords on the deck. What I did was to remove the cords and plug the holes. Home Depot sells a pack of four 1/4 inch plastic snap in plugs. They fit perfect and require no sealant. The total cost of this modification? $.88! That's right, 88 cents.
This boat is easy, anyone can jump in and make it work. Great little boat.
I think as a beginner this has proven to be a good choice. I give it an 8 instead of a full 10 because I don't like the foot pegs or seat back and it doesn't track real well. But overall, I think I really got my money's worth. Lots of trips planned for this summer.
You will read reviews stating they aren't performance kayaks, weathercock, etc. Reality is, these won't weathercock if you're actually paddling. ALL such kayaks have one issue or another. They are not priced or meant to be performance kayaks.
I have three boys, who paddled them effortlessly, never flipped them, from the age of 7 on. I have had many novice adults paddle them just fine. Dicks is now selling them for less than $300 (I think). What cheap recreation, that can last years.
We've been out in the Swiftys twice already and we could not be happier. They are VERY stable, easy to paddle, easy to maneuver, easy to carry and, most importantly, they are comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they track and how fast they are despite their short length. Our kids haven't tried paddling them yet but I'm sure they'll have no problem since they seem like very forgiving kayaks.
Overall, I have no complaints whatsoever, other than not having more time to enjoy them.
I love it. I bought it for its long cockpit - much easier for 6'4" me to get my legs into than my kids' Old Town Otter-Sports (aka Rush). I wanted a no-nonsense, lightweight and handy (easy to car-top), versatile, quality kayak with the must-have features: padded adjustable seat, footpegs, deck rigging. And a good value (Dick's, $269). I use in on lakes from 25 - 3000 acres, bays, broad flat rivers, fast-running streams (class I-II so far) and even played around in the Gulf of Mexico.
I love the upper body workout to balance my running and cycling. I'm not worried about racing someone to a destination quickly - I paddle for fresh air and fitness on my own, and for outdoor fun & scenery with my family - so I'm not to worried much about performance. Serves me well. I'd recommend it to anyone for all the same reasons.
So why the 7 rating you may ask? This boat is one of the least expensive and widely available ones on the market. You can experiment on anything with this boat from whitewater to flatwater and for me the most attractive aspect of this boat to me is its highly portable nature. It fits in the back of a minivan! Not on top, mind you, I mean inside the vehicle! My 10 foot Waldens greatly outperform the Swifty in nearly every aspect but are just big enough to be a lot less portable.
For the price, portability, and versatility this beginner kayak gets a decent rating but don't expect it to excel in any way against other rec boats.
I am by no means a small person, at 6'3" and 250lbs. I can attest to the 300lb capacity stated upon purchase at Dick's. I've even exceeded that a few times on calm water. My size 12.5 feet don't fit perfectly, but if I wear aqua shoes or no shoes, and with the foot braces forward (not all the way, surprisingly) I am very comfortable, and can put effort into paddling. It's also quite comfortable with my feet against the foam block in the center of the bow.
I'm still working on my paddling technique, but I routinely get 3.5 mph in no wind conditions with sloppy (relaxed) paddling. When I pay attention to technique and really paddle hard, I see 3.8 - 4 mph tops. Tracking is also very good with little to no wander when easily paddling, and slight wobble of 4-6 inches (approx), when paddling hard. Naturally that is with little to no winds from either side or current.
The seat is pretty comfortable, but the backrest is the weakest point (I feel) with the boat (A regular old square rowboat cushion behind you fixes it though). The boat is very stable, I've done a lot of fishing from it, and I've fished in 1-1.5 foot swells, as well as currents, and it performs well. Waves higher than 1 ft occasionally come over the coaming, but less than 1ft, and you hardly notice them. Lighter paddlers may have different results (for the better I would think). FYI for those who lean towards fishing, the harmony fishing deck fits like it was made for this boat, while adding a place for a scotty fishing mount (it's one of my favorite accessories now). Makes for a nice setup.
As would be expected with a short rec boat, it turns on a dime, but with pretty good tracking. It has good speed and a high weight limit as well as good, solid construction. On top of these other qualities, the stability is excellent. I've never rolled it (on purpose or by accident) so I can't tell you about secondary stability... I'm not that skilled yet. This boat is hard to beat, especially considering the price. Fits nice in the back of a pickup too, and at about 35 lbs, is easy to get in there.
Upgrading to a 14' Cayuga for longer trips, but the Swifty is going to stay on as the one that gets thrown in the back of the truck for the quick fishing trips, as well as a spare for guests.
A good, stable, straight line boat. My 10 YO son took mine out his 2nd day into 1-2 ft surf with no trouble. Seat is not comfortable for long periods, & the footpegs are too narrow (IMO). All fittings needed to be sealed B/C of leaking through the screw & Deck webbing holes. (RTV fixed this but annoying.) New footpegs & seat pads are on order.
I have paddled the Swifty on a couple of lakes so far, and it is pretty much exactly what I expected. It's not extremely fast, but it is certainly fast enough for small lakes, ponds, and rivers. I wouldn't make any 10 mile treks in it on open water, but for short jaunts, it's great.
The kayak is very stable. The bow does tend to push sideways just slightly with each paddle stroke, but overall, for such a short boat, it tracks well. It turns on a dime and stops quickly. The seat is comfortable enough for short paddles (1 to 3 hours), and it adjusts very easily. There is ample storage behind the seat for a dry bag, water, anchor, etc.
The boat rides amply high even with a fairly heavy load. It is rated for 350 pounds, 100 pound more than the Perception Blast. That buoyancy works out well for me, since I'm 6'1" and 200 pounds, and I usually take some gear with me when I paddle.
One of these days, I'll probably go for one of those speedy touring boats, but right now, the Swifty is just fine for what I want/need. As long as you know you're buying a recreational kayak and not something else, the Swifty will treat you right. It is a well made little kayak for the money.
The padded seat is comfortable and the adjustable seat back is a simple but good feature. The boat is lightweight and easy to drain with the drain plug on top of the stern. I am 6'1" and 235 lbs and am able to be comfortable in the boat. The adjustable foot pegs are a nice feature. My wife who is 5'4" also enjoys paddling it. I have not had the boat in current, but it handles well against the wind and in small chop.
I have found it to be a great boat for the money for a small sheltered lake. I got the boat on sale at Dicks Sporting Goods last year for just a little over $200. For a boat under $300 that is 9.5 feet long, it exceeded my expectations.
I am 5'11" tall and weigh 195 lbs. The boat paddles easily, and glides decent when you stop paddling. It turns well and is very responsive, I have had large powerboats come by and it handles the wake satisfactorily. I have been in the boat several times over the last week for more than an hour each time. I am pleased with the boat at this point. Well made, looks good.
Where the Pamlico 120 cuts into the water the Swifty don't. and allows easier turns. I would recommend this model to anyone beginner or advanced for an inexpensive do-all rec./fishing yak. My outlook is that it would be hard to buy a better SIK for the money on the market today.
I'm looking for a SOT next, but if I'd run into a Swifty Cheap used I'd buy another just for the fun of it. I have over $400 in mine with the rigging I did to it and I wouldn't sell it for that. This is an unbiased write, my opinion is not for sale. Anyone who can't paddle a Swifty straight needs practice - it's not the boats fault.
I bought the Swifty mostly as a "loaner" because I came across a good deal on a used one - I didn't think I would want to paddle it much myself. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it out. I fit fine in it (I'm 6'2' and 245 Lbs.). Also, it seemed to be almost as fast as my longer, slimmer kayaks (like my Necky Santa Cruz). I didn't have any problem with tracking straight - or turning when necessary.
My Swifty has been on lakes and rivers up to about class II (maximum) with lots of smaller rapids. It has done fine. I wouldn't mind getting another. I still usually pick my Santa Cruz, but would be almost as happy with the Swifty most of the time. It is also easy to load, move, and store. I didn't plan to write a review, but I read the negative review about this being a "tub," not tracking, etc. and didn't want that to scare people away from this model. No doubt there are higher performance boats, but I think most people - especially new kayakers, or those who don't plan to cover long distances or carry lots of gear will be very happy with the Swifty. I think its a great boat for paddling lakes and ponds, or for going down rivers that don't have over class II rapids. And I don't work for Perception or have any vested interest in talking up this boat - I was just pleasantly surprised by how well it performed for me.
Handling: Boat steers straight, little effort. Resists "tacking" (pointing to the side after each stroke). Handles lake chop and power boat wakes with no loss of stability Speed: Only a slight increase in effort is needed to maintain speed as compared to the Pungo or twin Acadia, if all boats are paddled for pace, not speed. Doesn't glide well when forward motion is ceased.
Manueverability: One Sweep stroke will turn boat about 45-60 degrees. (as opposed to about 2 strokes in Pungo and 3-4 in Acadia)
Stability: Completely flat, does not lean into turns, which is not necessary due to its short size and excellent flat-turn.
Comfort: Acceptable for several hours.
I loved my Swifty so much, I bought my husband and 14 year old son one each, for Christmas.
It's a fun boat for play and an afternoon on the water. I wouldn't do an entire day or a long trip in one but for a couple hours on the lake or calm river, it is wonderful. Short enough to turn around on a dime, handles well and weighs little so anyone can pick it up. All in all, it's an excellent entry-level boat, excellent for kids and useful as a back-up boat.
Getting back to the Swifty. It's a good starting point. Very basic. It's light and very manuverable. Especially helpful on the rivers down here. There are very few swift waters here so the Swifty is perfect. It's made for day trips that don't require a lot of gear, maybe a lunch and some light fishing tackle. I took it out one day on a local lake that has some size. It was very windy and choppy (1 1/2 waves). I turned back quickly as I didn't think my skills and the boats capabilities were up to it. Hard to paddle in those conditions. But on a slowly meandering stream or river it is perfect. I feel I made a correct choice when I purchased it. I will probably move up to a larger model as my skills improve.
The Swifty is, above all, an excellent value. We purchased from EMS (available at stores only, not on-line) for $319.99; they have had it as low as $299.99. Add in a $50 paddle plus tax, and you can still hit the water for under $400 in a brand new, name-brand kayak.
We bought the Swifty for shared use at a lake house. We needed something simple, light, easy, stable and forgiving, and the Swifty absolutely fits the bill. We've had a number of first-time beginners climb in, push off and start having fun within the first minute. The Swifty makes you feel like an expert on your first trip. It's incredibly stable (i.e. safe!), comfortable and easy to use, which makes it great for sharing with beginners.
Downsides? The Swifty is a very basic kayak kayak. Other than footpegs, carry handles and an adjustable seat with cupholder, it has very few features or options. There's no paddle holder, deck rigging or waterproof containers.
Because it's so wide and stable, it is not a speed demon and has mediocre tracking. It's best suited to smaller lakes and very calm rivers. Experienced kayakers may look down on the Swifty, but it is an excellent starting point and a great way to "get your feet wet" and find out how much fun kayaking can be.
We looked at a number of other brands. The Walden models offered at EMS seemed cheap compared to the Swifty, which is very sturdy. The Old Town Otter is a good choice, although you need to get the more expensive Deluxe model to get footpegs, which are a requirement. We chose the Swifty because it was readily available from a local EMS store and the sale price saved us at least $50 over an Otter.
Overall, an EXCELLENT value and a GREAT choice for a first-timer or shared use on a calm lake.
High points: very lightweight, decent tracking & speed, great maneuverability.
Low points: somewhat uncomfortable, a bit too small for a large framed person.
The Swifty is fairly quick for a non-touring boat; I had no problems getting up to a decent speed and keeping it there. It's not going to win any races, but it's better than its larger cousin, the Sierra. Turning is a breeze, and tracking is decent too. A serious downside to the boat was general comfort; the seat is really uncomfortable. Also, the boat itself was somewhat small for my larger frame - over 200lbs. It was fairly difficult to find a good footpeg setting that allowed the rest of me to be comfortable.
For what it is, the boat is pretty decent. The thing is light as can be, like picking up a bag of dog food. This would be a great starter boat for kids, older folks, or smaller framed people. It has good initial stability and a large enough cockpit for even big people to get in and out.
comfortable speed 3.0-3.1 MPH
fast pace 3.7 MPH
peak attainable briefly 4.0 MPH
This on flat water with negligible wind, 230 cm flat-blade paddle set feathered, my weight 200 pounds. Measured flow of South Platte River north of Denver varied from 1.2 to 3.5 MPH at < 1000 CFS (low flow, braided channels). So getting upstream varied depending on where, and the depth, many places too shallow to even paddle.
Also: I'm pleased that the Swifty is very easy to drive in a long straight line, although necessarily at some cost in maneuverability.
It is a great little yak for the kids to learn in. It doesn't track very well, but has great maneuverability. I use it for saltwater fishing in the Galveston Bay system. It runs so shallow, I rarely have to get out and portage it over reefs at low tide. It works fine for my style of artificial lure plugging in the winter (No room for ice chest or live bait well). I stay dryer than if on a sit-on style yak, but during warmer water times, a sit on would allow easy climb-in and outs. Overall a nice boat for the whole family and anyone who is small-framed, since it's so easy to move on dry land.
There are several advantages to this kayak, one of which I had cousins who would steal the paddle while I or someone else was out on the lake. It was quite easy to paddle with our arms and still make good time and headway! Another advantage is the Swifty sits high enough in the water so I could easily glide over rocks that were only 8" to 10" below the surface. Finally, as my husband and I were cleaning out sand and rocks from the hull, we had the Swifty completely filled with water, and it still floated several inches above the surface of the lake!
Anyone looking to tour lakes and rivers, or buy a sturdy kayak for child, should definitely consider the Swifty their number one choice.
I bought the Swifty at Eastern Mountain in Allentown, PA, though Nestor's have then now also. I paid $349 including paddle plus tax against a list price of $380 plus tax.
My 6 ft 2", 160 lb. fits in the Swifty very easily. The foot braces are very easy to adjust. The kayak moves easily, is stable, and seems to track well. I have since tried a 14' Sun and found it tracked less well and was much less stable. However, I am the first to admit that my lack of experience was probably the cause of my problems with it.
My choice of the Swifty was made because it is one of the few general purpose kayaks that would fit INSIDE my Chevy Venture Extended minivan together with my two windsurfing boards, booms, five masts, six sail, and all my wet and dry suits, gloves and hats! At 9' 5" by 29" by 13" and 37 lb. the Swifty is no trouble at all to get in and out of the van. I could have bought the Caspia which is about a foot longer but all the experts I contacted said that the Swifty would be better for my needs.
I have paddled the Swifty on calm water and had no problems at all. In winds of 16 mph and choppy water it was fine; I could easily keep it heading into the wind, though forward progress was slow. I can easily get into the Swifty from deep water even with a lifejacket on. Several other people have tried my Swifty and all seemed to like it.
I have had only two minor problems. First, the two piece paddle would not fit together! I found that the ball on the clip on the one half would not reach to the hole on the other half and secure the two halves together. I noticed that this was caused by the plastic covering the aluminum shaft permanently expanding past the end of the aluminum. This was due to the above 90 degree heat. I had the same problem with an Ocean paddle I happened to have so it must be a function of the plastic used on all such inexpensive paddles. I used a utility knife to cut back the plastic covering by about 1/8" and all was fine. The second minor problem was that I lost the drain plug out of the upper stern deck. I have no idea how it could have happened but it did! No real problem, but annoying as there is a retainer which is supposed to prevent such an occurrence. The shop gave me another one. I will add an additional retainer dropped inside the kayak.
In summary, I think that the Swifty is a great buy for those wanting to just putz around a lake or lazy river.
Legal disclaimer: The views above are my personal opinions and I take no responsibility for the actions or results from anybody buying or using a Swifty!
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