Submitted: 09-18-2007 by pjwlk
Although I've done a couple of 5 day kayak trips in the 125-145 km range, one on the ocean and one river trip with class II/III white water, I still consider myself a newbie at kayaking.
I'm a big guy at 6'3" and 240lbs yet I found the Kodiak fit me very nicely and easy to get into to boot. My size 13 flippers also fit into the cockpit too!
I rented the Kodiak for a weekend just to play with it and test it's abilities (and mine). My test were done on a small lake with calm water and a slight breeze. The first tests I did where just me and the boat, the second test the boat was loaded with two rocks (1 front 1 back) that totaled 110lbs. Please note that the loaded boat with me in it was 345lbs and over the rated capacity of 330lbs. I did this intentionally as I know from experience that a 10 day trip will probably see that much weight in extra food/gear.
I found the Kodiak much faster than I thought it would be and would guess that 6 or 7 kph would be easy to maintain without a lot of effort. The initial stability for me wasn't too bad empty and improved a lot when loaded. I didn't find the secondary stability as good as others have described, but that is probably due to my inexperience. Secondary stability got better when loaded.
I have never done an eskimo roll before and this weekend was no exception. I tried numerous times with no joy - again inexperience. The boat definitely turns better when leaning over; when empty however it became quite clear that I would need a lot more practice before I would find turning acceptable. Loaded I found the turning to be less than desirable and likely to get me into trouble if I need to negotiate any fast moving water.
The seat was comfortable and nicely adjustable for big guys like me. Testing the rudder I found the cabling and adjusting straps rubbed against my legs at times. I would have thought the rudder to be more effective but it is a 17' boat after all and the rudder doesn't go very deep into the water.
The quality and workmanship of the Kodiak is outstanding and the HTP plastic is a lot more rigid than the regular polyethylene. I also read somewhere that this type of plastic is field repairable where as polyethylene is not.