Submitted: 09-01-2007 by RDAnys
This is my third and best yak. I tested out a rental after my lumbar area was killing me after a long day in my previous kayak, and I knew I would have to find something else for those long trips without breaks. The seat is fantastic in this yak; maybe as customizable as the inflatable bladder versions in the touring yaks, but achieving the same results with easy to reach straps and pulls. One in front by the drink holder adjusts the height of the backrest; one under each knee adjust each thigh support separately, and one behind the right shoulder adjust the seat back angle.
The reason I only gave the 140 an '8' was the lack of a front bulkhead. Being accustomed to a flat bottomed yak, my second trip out in this slight v hull resulted in my rolling it over after going over a 4' high dam. As others have said it was impossible to bail empty without beaching and turning it over. Fortunately I was in a not-too-wide river as it would have been dangerous in the chop of a bay or ocean. I read another reviewers comment that the company will email you a bulkhead template and sell you the foam block to fit one yourself, but that information is not quite accurate; they promised to email me the template (it's been 5 days and it's not here yet) but they won't sell the foam block. They said "go to any dealer of Wilderness Systems kayaks and they will order it for you." My dealer said he had never heard of that (and he's been a dealer of theirs for years), but promised to look into it for me. To not offer a front bulkhead is foolish to begin with, but why bother to have a front hatch if you don't have a front bulkhead? Seems stupid from the get-go!
As for the handling and speed of this yak, I am more than pleased with its quietness and smooth glide and considerable swiftness, but I am still learning to anticipate starting my turns in narrow, tight, winding streams early enough as this yak doesn't exactly turn on a dime as my flat bottomed yak does. In the flat bottom yaks they use channels and chines for tracking control, while the gentle v hull doesn't need them. But that v means no 'turn within your length' maneuvers as I have become accustomed to. And leaning doesn't help carving a turn one iota!
The only other thing I found missing was side bungee straps for holding my paddle that my previous yak had, but I've already added those in myself. The front and rear bungees are only good for small packs and accessories.
On the whole I am quite pleased with this kayak, and my much more experienced yak buddy has commented that it is one good looking and running yak. Buy one and you won't be disappointed!