Submitted: 05-22-2007 by hapi_padlr
I did a lot of research and reading of forum posts before finally settling on this kayak. My final choice was strongly influenced by the many positive reviews of this boat and all the good comments about dealing with the folks at Folbot. I was not disappointed. The whole purchase experience was easy and the boat arrived in about two weeks, as promised. Craftsmanship of all components was faultless and exceeded my expectations.
First assembly was completed without any problems and took about an hour, but that included the time to read the instructions and to unpack and remove the shipping wrapping from all of the components. Instructions are straight forward and easy to follow. Subsequent assemblies are now taking about 25-30 minutes and disassembly can be completed in 10-15 minutes, which includes wiping the skin dry and folding it properly so it all fits back into the bag. With the Cooper’s unique skin tensioning system, assembly requires no physical straining whatsoever.
I use a closed-cell foam pad in the bottom of the cockpit to insulate the floor and I let the pad run up over the seat for additional padding. This makes for a very comfortable cockpit.
On the Water:
For a kayak with only 24 in. beam this boat is very stable – easily stable enough for relaxing, photography, wild-life watching, etc. The long cockpit allows easy entry and exit and even with the float bags installed there is still lots of storage both forward and aft. The Cooper accelerates very quickly, tracks absolutely straight and will cruise comfortably at 6-7 kmh (3.5-4.2 mph) with very little paddling effort. With modest effort it will sprint to 9 kmh (5.4 mph) – I have not felt the need to go any faster. I have had it out in 30 kmh (18 mph) winds and it took the waves very well and exhibited negligible weathercocking. Even in those conditions it still felt very stable and secure. I did not order the optional rudder for mine and I have not felt the need for it. This boat is a true joy to paddle!
I use a “Seals” partial spraydeck (size 2.5 fits perfectly) and it keeps the cockpit completely dry, even when waves break over the bow. I find it more comfortable than a full skirt (but of course it would not be suitable for rolling).
Improvements over previous models
The current version includes several modifications over earlier models:
Revised stern assembly – the gunwale longerons now include sliding extensions so that they connect to the stern piece same as at the bow.
Velcro straps on critical frame positions to hold longerons in place and prevent them from popping out of the half-moon clips.
Revised seat with rigid, contoured seat pad and stiffeners in the backrest.
All of these combine to provide a stiffer frame structure. Once the frame is properly tensioned in the skin and the sponsons are inflated, the result is a very stiff and rigid hull.
Summary: The Cooper is a stable, fast, fun-to-paddle boat. It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!