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Submitted: 06-07-2006 by runthetrail

I have only had my Kestrel 140 for a few weeks, but so far I am very impressed. I bought the rotomolded polyethylene model, and while not super light, it is still easy for me to lift it up onto my Ford F-150 with Yakima rack (read: way up there!).

My biggest concerns as a novice paddler were stability and afforability. The Kestrel 140's stability had me feeling like a pro in the first 100 yards from shore. Once I found my center of gravity, I picked up speed and even tried some sharp, leaning turns. And the price was right (around $800, no rudder, at REI).

As a guy who weighs in at 270 pounds, I also wanted a boat ample enough to fit my big ol' butt. I'm happy to report that large cockpit is easy to enter and exit and fits my butt just fine. I was also concerned with weight capacity, but my heft is no match for this boat's carrying capacity. And it doesn't look like a total beginner's boat. Style points count, right?

Other boats I looked at had much more elaborate seating systems, with air bladders and four-way adjustable seatbacks. This boat's simple molded seat and adjustable backrest are bare bones, but I have yet to be uncomfortable even after long hours of paddling.

I'm anxious to take it out on some overnight trips. I don't know how the carrying capacity in the hatches compares with other boats in this class, but as an ultralight bike and backpacker, everything I would possibly need would fit just fine.

The calm lakes and reservoirs north of Denver, Colorado are my playground. I primarily explore every inch of the shoreline as I relax before work, but I also get in some interval training and sprints when I can. Even though the boat is wide and stable, it glides fairly quickly through the water. Probably not as quick as those super narrow boats, but that brings us back to my big ol' butt.

I have to give this boat a 9 out of 10. As my first kayak, I have nothing to compare it to, however, I was instantly comfortable and pleased. Highly recommended for beginners like myself who want an atractive, stable, manueverable kayak that will provide years of enjoyment.

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