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Submitted: 05-28-2008 by James
I've owned a Prodigy 10 for a year now and still think it's a great "fun" boat. I should qualify that by noting that I live in SE Iowa and use it only on lakes. This is the first kayak I paddled much, although I tried many different boats at a paddle day and picked this one as my favorite. A recent paddle day allowed me to expand the models I've tried, and I'll stick by my claim that if you are looking for something that will get you on the water for fun at a very reasonable cost, I don't think the Prodigy can be beat. I also paddled the Pungo, but it felt more like a tub than the Prodigy (but it does have a bigger cockpit).
I love the Prodigy cockpit because it is completely unrestrictive for me (5'8" 160 lbs). I can wiggle around, keep a small cooler between my feet, jump in and out to swim or explore, all without even thinking about it. I added rigging to the rear deck, and added flotation foam in bow and stern because the foam provided doesn't really even keep the boat above the surface if its filled with water. However, this boat is so stable I can almost stand up in it, and I have never tipped it, even in the powerboat wakes on Coralville Reservoir (2' high sometimes). The stability also means you can get in and out of the water almost anywhere very easily.
As you would expect for its length, tracking isn't great but it is super maneuverable and I've had a lot of fun exploring tiny creeks (sometimes even too narrow to paddle). Since it's inexpensive and tough, you don't have to worry about having fun with it.
I'd say the only real weakness is the seat back as I broke the tabs off the bottom within a year. Replacements are available for $30 but I repaired/reinforced with aluminum and think it'll last a long time now. I also added foam under the seat for flotation and to keep things from getting lost under there, but it may have had the side benefit of reinforcing it.
This boat won't set any speed records and may annoy others if you are in a group with faster boats. Cruising speed is about 3.5 mph, 4 is attainable but you'll wear out very quickly (not to mention getting wet from both bow and paddle splash, and making a lot of noise). It does feel a bit like paddling a tub at times, but I've paddled enjoyably even in 20 mph winds.
If your intention is to get on the water and have fun you won't go wrong. Be sure to use at least a 230 cm paddle due to the width of the boat and have fun! (HINT: If you are looking for something with many of these characteristics but better performance, check out the Perception Carolina 12.)
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