Submitted: 06-14-2007 by Frostbite
I've had the Java for about a year now, it was the first Kayak I owned and unfortunately I don't have very much experience with a "proper" sit-inside kayak to compare to. I live in NYC as the result, a folding kayak was the only option for me. What attracted me to the Java initially was its ease of use as well as stability, both of which I would say exceeded my expectation. Unlike the review below I never had much problem with inflating the bladder equally, I did experiment with inflating the bladders to different amount to see how it would effect the overall performance, but I never notice any significant differences.
Since the Java sits pretty high above the waterline and is pretty light, it does get blown around easily and don't really go straight unless the skeg is deployed at least partly (I like 45 degree instead of full 90) I do notice that some time the holes for the skeg don't line up with the skeg after all the bladder has been inflated, which prevents the skeg from being operated with the rope from the seat. I now check this regularly before I set off. The skeg works pretty well fully deployed as I have tried paddling sitting sideways with my legs dangling off of the kayak into the water one side and surprisingly it was still going in a straight line.
It is also very stable, if there aren't too much waves, I can actually stand up and look around (this must look weird from the shore) and I am working on that hand stand next...
I also brought the Java down with me on my last trip to the Grand Bahamas Island and used it as a snorkeling platform. It is perfect for this purpose as it is very easy to get in and out of and allow me to snorkel the reefs beyond easy swimming distances from the beach. I don't have my own scuba equipment, but I would imagine that the Java would be perfect for scuba diving as well.
Overall I am very happy with the Java, it's very forgiving for a beginner and is very flexible (I have the optional 2 person kit) The only downside I would say are it's low speed: it averages about 4mph and I can push it to about 5 1/2 mph but that's about it. And also I would imagine if someone likes to kayak during cold weather it would be nicer to have the protection of a sit-inside.