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Submitted: 11-07-2007 by stevenf
I've only been out with the Cordova a few times, so that's not enough for a proper evaluation. Thought I should put some impressions down, and amend the review later if things change.
Picked up the Cordova after looking at the AE Expedition and Advanced Frame kayaks. Since I'm a very happy owner of a Spree 1 I thought I would give the Cordova a try instead. I was very impressed with the Spree, especially the high build quality and the Cordova is up to those standards. The Cordova won over the AE Expedition mainly for two reasons. The fact that the deck can be fully removed on the cordova, for those hot lazy day paddles, and the mesh storage bag on the deck. I found the one on the Spree to be so useful, and the AE Expedition looks hard to store water bottles, camera, etc. The bungies are too far forward.
The kayak is 10'10" and presents a more traditional kayak shape than the spree. The inflatable floor is the unique feature of this boat. Rather than the standard, flat I-beam floor, the Cordova's floor is enclosed within the hull, and when fully inflated gives the hull a deep v-shape. The enclosed floor also makes drying the boat easier than the Spree, as water doesn't get between the hull and the floor. It has two adjustable foam and nylon strap footpegs and the seat has adjustable straps buckling it to the side tubes. When softly inflated the kayak has a flat bottom, and more initial stability. Fully inflated it's a bit tippier, but gives more glide and better overall performance. When fully inflating the floor, take care to make sure it's lined up straight in it's shell, or the boat will track hard to the left or right.
The rear storage compartment easily fits a large footpump and a 24-liter drybag. It's not waterproof though. I have an Advanced Elements sprayskirt and it fits well around the inflatable coaming on the Cordova.
One strike against the Cordova so far. The top deck and rear hatch covers are very saggy, and will lay lower than the rest of the hull and pool water. The loose deck also makes the front bungees pretty useless. Can't get enough tension to really hold anything and if you put a water bottle on their it will make the deck sag even more. This is a bit of a trade off for having a fully zip off deck and there are additional d-rings on the tubes to compensate.
I'm 6' and 260 lbs and the boat handles me okay, with just a slight crease in the tube. I don't feel like I'm overloading the boat and I have leg room to spare. Overall a more comfortable ride than the spree but the back support is not as good.
Overall I'm pretty happy with it. Not perfect and I would still say the spree is a better bang for the buck. If you're looking to start with inflatable kayaking it may make more sense to buy two sprees for the same price. I got an amazing deal on this used, so I can't complain, but for the price, you may want to check out the Advanced Elements boats before taking a leap.
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