Submitted: 10-17-2006 by Cliff Roach
Follow up review after one year of use: Still an awesome boat. Some notes: I paddle mostly flat water and sometimes very shallow water. I thought I needed a overstern rudder for this. I bought a used understern for the price, but found something unexpected. With a two inch rudder, the boat will bottom out in the center before it even touches the rudder. I currently am running a four inch rudder for better control (21 feet is hard to turn). But, don't be afraid of the understern. On stability, it really is all relative. I came out of a 22 inch wide sea kayak, and the Tbolt was a huge handful at first. After a year of heavy paddling, I am totally comfortable in this boat. I can reach for my water bottle, watch planes overhead, and put layers on/off with no problem. I now have a spec surf ski too 19' X 19". Spec skis are generally believed to be the most stable (with a few exceptions) of surf skis. The Tbolt is more stable. I don't feel the Tbolt is inferior in any way when I race against the faster surf skis (flat water). I think a radical olympic K1 like the Nelo Vanquish is faster in flat water, but only for someone that has really put in the time to be efficient in it. Many people complain about the lack of bulkheads, and choose surf skis instead. I will say this though, the Tbolt does not sink when capsized intentionally (has foam center supports). You can add float bags if you are really concerned. Additionally, I can jump right back into my Tbolt with no floats or support(I really should just learn to roll, duhhh!). Yes it is a pain to pump out the water, but I feel MUCH less likely to tip in my Tbolt than my surf ski. I can paddle much faster in chop in the Tbolt too because I feel much more stable. I would consider the Tbolt similar in stability to a Laser, which is listed as a five (on a scale to ten) on a olympic scale for stability (one is radical K1, ten is 23"wide sea kayak). As for speeds: I paddled sustained above 6mph from day one, and now cruise at up to 8mph with short sprints to 10. I have worked hard to get these speeds, but 6mph is realistic for almost anyone in this boat. Hope this helps.