Submitted: 10-19-2006 by glennpduncan
Early this past February, my wife & I went to a 'try-it' day by Southwind kayaks and tried a Wilderness Systems Northstar tandem (the cockpit sea kayak kind that is 19+ feet!) To my surprise, my wife loved it and said we should get one. Well, before we did, we borrowed our nieghbors Ocean Kayak CABO tandem. We took it out thru the surf at La Jolla (San Diego) paddled over to the caves and even capsized due to a communication error. Other kayakers gave us some pointers and encouragement and we quickly found out that teamwork is critical for re-entry but thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The next time out (also La Jolla) we added snorkeling to the mix and BAM!!! We were hooked! We decided that being able to quickly and easily exit & re-enter was worth having a SOT in favor of the cockpit type. After several more adventures and more locations for experience, we found a used Heritage Tandem for $400. We went out twice a week all summer in all kinds of conditions. It handles everthing we've thrown at it (except very high winds!) It surfs OK once you've practiced a bit and handles chop and swells (my wife calls them "whoop di doos!") up to 5 or 6 feet. It tracks well and requires the usual correcting and sweep strokes, but that's kayaking! I can load it on my truck rack by myself but it IS heavy. (more than 80lbs.) Since it is used, it developed a leak where a previous owner made a crummy repair. I GOOGLED info on kayak repairs and easily fixed it myself. The Heritage website says all thier kayaks are repairable and I have ever confidence that my repair is permanent. We've taken many friends and family out (we have another tandem and 2 single SOT's) kayaking and our boat is always the 'Base Camp'(they anchor to us when snorkling) This boat takes us to great snorkling and lots of adventures and I can't wait for next season!