Submitted: 08-01-2007 by Richard Powell
I paddled this boat today as a demo (Polyethylene version), and found it to be both better and worse than I expected in some areas. It is a very stable boat, you can in fact stand in it, and it is wide and easy to get in and out of. Standing in it is not as effortless as the advertisement makes it out to be, I found it very similar to standing in our flat-bottomed canoe Ė you can, but it feels like you could go over if you lose your balance - definitely would not stand in it in a wind.
I was primarily interesting in this boat because I fly fish and wondered if I could stand and fly fish in this boat. To be honest, I think it is doubtful. I have seen a video of a fellow poling this boat. Maybe, but you would have to practice a bit first. So, the stability is good, but not amazing.
How does it paddle? One other review compared it to a tub. Not too far off, but unfair. With the skeg down it tracks reasonably well, not as nice as ďrealĒ kayak of similar length, but pretty good. What can you expect for a 12 footer. Dan, the helpful salesperson, suggested a longer paddle because of the width of the boat, and I think this would actually help a bit. It turns on a dime, and is VERY comfortable to sit in. I recently paddled the Necky Manitou and the seat in that boat is a medium density foam which I found to be firm but not at all hard on the bum after an hourís paddle. This seat is cool, comfortable and nicely adjustable. For casual poking along the shore, birding, fishing, and idling, I canít imagine a more comfortable experience. The Easy Foot foot-pads were easy to adjust, once I got aggressive enough with them, but one was broken on the boat I tried. They are made of plastic, so a possible weakness there.
Iím 45 and not terribly active and I found the boat to be a bit heavy to comfortably lift on and off of my Tracker by myself, but I could do it. I would be happier if it was about 10 pounds lighter, maybe the elite Composites is worth looking at, but its only 5 pounds lighter.