Submitted: 05-01-2006 by Geoff M
The Necky Dolphin is the ideal kayak for warm water paddling in a wide range of conditions. I have launched my Dolphin through 5 foot breaking waves on the Atlantic Coast, and in windy conditions with whitecaps on the Intracoastal waterway and the Dolphin handled it well. It is great to fish or scuba dive from. Simply put, this is the SUV of kayaks. If you want pure speed, you need a long fiberglass or kevlar Sit-inside. If you want a go-anywhere kayak that is easy to reenter if you take a swim, this is it. I own 4 kayaks, two of them are Dolphins. Although one of my Dolphins has a rudder, I never need to drop it. I always pick my Dolphins whenever I take a newbie friend out for an initial paddle. I have introduced dozens of people to kayaking with the Dolphin and the only complaints about "tippiness" come from people who also have trouble with office chairs.
My only complaint is the one mentioned elsewhere-the integrated hand grips are a pain. However, the simple solution is to hook a pair of padded thigh braces into the deck hardware and sling them over your shoulder, or balance the kayak on your head.
Overall, a great all around kayak with a few compromises. If you want versatility in a kayak, this is it. One last note. I'm 6'1 and 175 lbs. If you're over 6'3" and over 225 forget this kayak. It will feel like a tank.