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Submitted: 07-31-2006 by krlbch

My wife and I have been paddling for many, many years and we have owned a variety of canoes and sea kayaks. Until our recent purchase of a Necky Manitou Sport, all of our boats have been serious (long and fast), expensive (Kevlar and/or composite) vessels. Our new Manitou Sport is a deliberately un-serious (short and slow), inexpensive (rotary molded) craft. Why bother? The Manitou Sport is easy to handle...both in and out of the water...and inconspicuous in the company of other boats. It's not likely to be damaged or stolen. Equally important, it wouldn't be a big deal if it was. Which, of course, is the real point of this review. Even for a veteran paddler, there are good reasons to own an easy-going little boat that you don't care too much about. There are a number of boats in the Manitou Sport's price range (about $600) and most of them are pretty good. What sets the Manitou Sport apart, in my estimation, is the quality of its outfitting. The two-piece rear hatch cover is robust and watertight. The seat is amazingly comfortable and can be adjusted in a variety of ways...even while the boat is moving. The deck opening, while large, is not so huge as to preclude the effective use of a sprayskirt in heavy water. The footpegs are easy to adjust and solid. The hull represents a nice compromise between tracking and turning. The Manitou Sport is wide enough to offer good initial stability to a beginner...but it's narrow enough and seaworthy enough to allow an advanced paddler to put it on edge and carve a decent turn. All in all, the Necky Manitou Sport is an amazing value. It does a lot of things well and is a whole lot of fun.
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