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Submitted: 02-29-2008 by RoninMEDIC
I bought the Iqaluit as my first boat. I am 5'10" and 160lbs. I found this boat quite manageable for my first few trips and rather enjoyed its initial stability and speed. You will get very wet without a skirt when using this boat. However, due to the size of the cockpit, the skirt is also large and after paddling for about 15 minutes, you will lend up with a rather large puddle sloshing around on the skirt. I recommend the Seal Spray Deck if you are going to use this kayak.
Anyhow the seat is very comfortable but if you use the inflatable backrest, you will have to adjust it every so often. The rear storage compartment is mostly watertight but I would recommend you use dry bags for any gear.
Paddling in open water is risky business, this boat is suited for wet exits only and takes on a lot of water very quickly once tipped (poor secondary stability). If you plan on paddling on anything other than flatwater, bring a bilge pump and paddle float or you will have a long swim ahead of you.
In summary, it's a great, inexpensive, beginner boat but plan on trading it in if you decide to stick to paddling. That said, if you have the money to but a better boat, don't buy the Iqaluit. The plastics are inferior to what you will see in the bigger brands. I noticed some buckling and bulging in my hull in the first few months. The boat always tracked to the left regardless of who was paddling it due to a large divot which formed on the bottom of the hull. (My boat was stored properly indoors on kayak holders and transported car top on its side in a Yakima rack. - there was no reason for the defect to form.)
If you go to a store that carries Clearwater boats, take a moment to run your hand along the ridge of the cockpit. You will notice that it has a very rough finish. Now compare that to something by Riot, Wilderness Systems or Perception where you will find smooth finished plastics. For the extra $150, buy the better boat.
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