Submitted: 05-15-2006 by Dana
Just bought a Kona 2 weeks ago for my wife and I, and we love it. I've been paddling on and off for years since my youth, mainly in the more traditional "sit-in" type, and this is by far one of the more enjoyable rides there is. Plenty of room for both of us to stretch our legs, storage and molded-in cup holders and gear holders, make this kayak convenient. One of the better features is the molded on-hull "chine" that each of the paddles are bungeed onto, very nice for beaching, storage etc....
Works great in surf or choppy water, our first day out was in 2-3' wind chop/waves (whatever you want to call it in south florida) right off the beach. Tracks nicely and paddles easily without too much drag as in some sit on top kayaks, but maintains great stability--I performed the stand up and walk around test. It's short enough that it still maintains maneuverability. Also works very well as a solo 'yak, just move one of the included seats to the center and strap in, just took it through some mangroves today solo, pretty speedy with one person so it takes advantage of the rocker, and the forward hull design "slices" water rather than "plow" (makes a cool sound too).
Transports easily, slapped on a thule roof rack on my bmw e30, and even for a small car, the kona does not protrude from the rear at all, nice and compact. One flaw though is the molded in "handles" for carrying solo. Unlike ocean kayak brand's handles, you cannot wrap your hand around the handle because it's not molded all the way through the hull, just part way. This makes carrying solo kind of awkward.
All in all however, a great kayak for days at the beach, lake or bay. Would not recommend for camping/long touring excursions due to lack of storage area. There is enough storage though to place maybe a cooler on the rear deck, something small on the bow, and whatever you can fit in a 8" hatch. We load it with snorkel gear perfectly fine. (If used solo though, there is immensely more area for on-deck storage). Paid $950 for the deluxe with everything, and was worth every penny. Can't go wrong with the kona.