Submitted: 09-05-2006 by NJpaddler
I have had my first Futura II about two years and my second one about four months.
The good: The Futura II was far more stable than I expected. I have had friends with little kayaking experience have no trouble paddling it. Capsize recovery is by far the easiest of any SOT I have paddled. The light weight of the carbon kevlar setup makes it very easy to carry to the water and helps make it fast once you get there. This is a great design for those just wanting a high performance SOT or those looking for a beginners surf ski.
The ugly: Too many problems with quality. On my first Futura II the hatch seal joint used electrical tape to seal it. When I unwrapped the kayak the electrical tape was already coming off. The eyelets for the deck bungees and thigh straps were not properly secured. The hatch seal leaked badly (even after replacing the electrical tape with a bicycle inner tube patch) and despite trying many different things I was never able to get it to seal well. The hatch was slightly too big for the hull opening and this made fixing it difficult. My second one had a rudder that locked up shortly after I started paddling it and it had bad leaks in the pockets where the rudder pedals go into the hull. The hull could take on seven quarts of water an hour through those leaks. While the repair sounded easy it has taken most of the summer and two different shops to fix it. I have spent more time trying to fix these problems than paddling the kayak.
It is really sad that a design this great comes with so many problems. These kayaks are not cheap and I really expected better quality for the money. I would have given the Futura II a much higher rating but spending months fixing manufacturers defects have really taken their toll. This is truly a case of buyer beware. You may get a flawless boat or you may spend months fixing problems. Until Futura gets serious about quality control it is tough to recommend them.