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Submitted: 07-06-2007 by Raymond
This is my first kayak and I have been paddling it now for almost a year. I go out on it at least once every week or two. Mainly used for flat water lakes and rivers in So. Illinois.
On lakes the boat tracks very well with any kind of stroke. The stability is unmatched as this boat is more or less a canoe you sit in like a kayak and the design pretty much means you have a two pontoons on each side of you. The only way I could ever imagine tipping it would be if you tried standing up in it. This would never be advisable in the first place because due to its construction (inflated floor) all the concentrated pressure would be very hard on the boat.
The issue of durability is a factor many most likely consider with an inflatable. I have found this boat to be pretty tough, you would almost have to try to puncture the boat to do so. I have ran Lusk Creek in the Shawnee National forest with this boat and scraped over everything imaginable with no sign of harm to the boat. After that trip my worries faded away.
Maintenance is an issue because you must hand clean the mud off or it will stain (in So. Illinois almost every river except Lusk Creek is a mud bath). The yak does take a while to dry and you must store it partially inflated so that might be an issue as well. I have also taken the boat on Current River in south central Missouri. On shallow fast moving water it handles very well. The only issue with this type of river is the skeg. Where a normal kayak or canoe will skim over pretty much every shoal this boat has a tendency to drag the skeg and sometimes grind you to a halt. I found that if I lifted my rear end up off the largest of the skegs that I could float a little higher but this didn't always work. This issue isn't very serious though because when you're in a river as pristine as those of the Ozarks its fun to wade in the water :)
This boat is a tandem and on a few occasions I have had others travel with me. I am 5'9" and the passengers I had with me were either 5'5" or 5' and it was reasonably comfortable. Speed was considerably slower but then again I was the only one paddling. Weight of the passengers would also be an issue as the boat is rated for a max of 280 pounds. I weigh 165 and my passengers were roughly 120 pounds. So if you want to take a child or small adult along it would be fine but to full size men would probably not work. Setup and takedown are a breeze. Inflates in a couple minutes with a two way hand pump. But I'm also an avid weight lifter so others times might vary. Break down is as simple as releasing the air and just pressing it out. I was surprised when the boat folded up easily into the bag. Most of the time however I just fold it in half and throw it in the back of my truck.
Overall if someone is wanting a fun easily transportable boat that will do a little bit of anything except whitewater this is an excellent choice.
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