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Submitted: 08-05-2008 by bmmckinney

This is my first boat. I recently got into kayaking after a great white water experience on the Yak in Pennsylvania a few months ago. My brother owns an outdoor store so I got a decent deal.
Important things to know:
  1. Don't leave home without your pressure gauge, you can easily ruin your boat forever by over inflating and you'll track horribly by under inflating!
  2. Keep the bailing holes closed if you don't want to be wet and you aren't out on really rough water. I learned this the hard way by struggling in open slow water.
  3. Take your bag and pump with you, I attach it to the clip on the back of the chair so that it will stay attached if I were to roll. This is not a rolling boat.
  4. If you are going to use this at all on open water get the rudder, I use it all the time on the Potomac and it is a much more enjoyable experience. Mine fell apart after about 20 uses but Stearns replaced it for free which was great, I would give them an A+ for customer service!
Ok, so about the boat. I'm the most popular boat in the water when I'm out, everyone from the docks and other boats including the taxes and million dollar skips check me out so if you want attention you will get it.

This boat handles fantastically in the ocean and rough rivers going against the current, straight as a dart and a lot of fun paddling! nfortunately it rides the waves going with the current and I'm never sure if I'm going as fast as I think I am because of this so be prepared for that.

I bought thigh braces and use them when I don't use my rudder and it helps make me feel more secure. I am jumping the wakes of speed boats in the Potomac as much as I can which is a ton of fun! You will get wet paddling in this boat though even with a good technique because you sit so low. I'd recommend a pump but I haven't bought one yet!

Setup and tear down are fairly easy once you've done it a few times. There is a trick with the rudder rope though, you don't put it through any of the holes from the back of the rudder on the boat like you'd think because it doesn't really work at all then so the side ropes that connect to the foot pedals should go right from the rudder assembly to the pedals around you, there is no other way to do this and get a good use out of the turning with the footpetals. You'll need to readjust on the water.

This is a good exercise boat for open water and you'll enjoy paddling BUT you won't want to do more than a few miles. I just bought an Advanced Elements Expedition to get a touring boat to have something more fun for open water. It is nice to have a second boat so friends can come now too!

The skin is tough as nails. I took my baby to Harpers Ferry and the Shenandoah Rivers and got caught up on lots of rocks because of the low water level and had to really punish my bottom of my boat to get off by shifting my weight. She held up nicely and I have no holes. Make sure the bailing holes are closed securely though as they'll leak if they aren't completely closed! I take my boat out and dry her each night after I've used it to avoid mildew.

She'll spin on a dime which is nice but it is tough to keep up with hard shelled! My longest trip was a 10 mile excursion on the Shenandoah River with friends who all rented and they did better because I sat on rocks a lot because of the really low water level. I wouldn't take her back to that river at this water level, maybe the spring!

I'm 6 foot and 225 and I don't feel cramped in my boat.

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