Submitted: 10-30-2006 by rookedad
I suppose I have to rate this kayak a 10, because it is the best kayak I have used yet. I bought it because of the good deal I thought I was getting. After using it about 10 times on Lakes, in creeks and in the Ct. River, I have decided that I got a GREAT DEAL! I have used it enough to adjust the seat and to know it makes a difference, it does get better.
The Kayak I got has a rudder, and it also makes a great difference. I am fairly new to kayaking[ at 56] and still need to learn a lot about technique. Got in the river the other day and the wind was blowing really stiff, I put the rudder down and only had to worry about paddling, not controling. It could have been a pretty rough day, but it turned out great because of the rudder.
Went out this evening, again pretty windy, put down the rudder and practiced my paddling rather than have a fight for control. I needed to make a fast trip because it was getting dark. I think my stroke is improving.
I had been using the kayak without the rudder in better conditions, and it is fairly easy and comfortable to control by edging and stroke. I prefer to not have to use the rudder, but I am really glad to have it, to extend my usability of the kayak. I would have to think very carefully if I really wanted to try conditions that I have already been in, without the rudder.
I am not to thrilled looking at the hatch covers, but I think they work fairly well. Maybe I just have to learn to put them on tighter, if that is possible. I had been looking for about a 45lb. kayak 12 - 14'. I am about 200lbs. so the extra length of the 160 carries my size better. The 54lb. weight is a bit more than I wanted to load and unload myself, but it is doable. Most 14' kayaks weigh this much anyway.
The keyhole is the smallest I could reasonably use, smaller than I wanted. But again it is working out great, smaller is good when the splashing starts. Every time I use the boat, I like it more, more glad that I went for it. Every time I adjust the boat, it fits better, glad I adjusted it and could.
I am sure there are better boats out there (for more money, much more than I paid) but I won't be needing a better one for a long time. I can just buy a better paddle and I will be able to improve that way, for less money!