Submitted: 12-01-2008 by thomaslb
I've been kayaking for 4 years now. I have paddled sit-on tops and for most of that time almost exclusively sea kayaks, particularly a 16.5 foot sea yak. Paddle lots every week, so I am at least an intermediate level paddler at this point. I have used many different hulls including rec kayaks such as the Streak (which is NOT nearly the same quality league as this boat not to mention the differences in hull shapes).
While I love my sea yak, I wanted a rec boat that would get me back to being able to toss a small boat in the SUV and grab the paddle and go without too much work or prep or fuss. Sort of an extension of the ever increasing role of kayaking in my life. *I also wanted a boat that could handle rough washing machine conditions if not white water-like conditions as I plan on taking it to Georgia in up to class 3 river conditions. I sometimes kayak in rough conditions as it is on purpose and have been wondering about the benefits of a more maneuverable boat in those water states -vs- my sea yak.
Purchased an Otter XT and have had it out in a variety of conditions. I am really impressed with this little yak and it is exactly what I was aiming for. Old Town nailed it with this little scooter. Yesterday I paddled it for over 15 miles (google earthed the trip), through large boat wakes and calm conditions at first to over 10 knot winds and 2 foot swells. I wanted it to do some river like surfing on the Indian and Banana River Lagoons which are sometimes present when the wind gets whipping. And I got a chance to try that out a little so far and let me tell you this little yak can handle the rough stuff!
The hull has a nice rounding on the sides to it and in combination with the slight rocker in the hull she handles slop and waves well. I've been having a blast with this boat and, as I've pointed-out, I am used to larger more expensive boats. I use a spray skirt and recommend you look into getting a very small paddle for her, like the Aquabound Shred (very short--maybe 220 cm) which I used on my 15 mile paddle (!!!). It is the right size and blade width to compliment this boat. It will offer you the right amount of torque and not paddle you out of track.
*If you are 6'3" and something like 200 lbs this boat is obviously not for you. Look elsewhere, respectfully. I am 5'10" and 138lbs. Way it is. Tomorrow I'm taking it back out in 20+ knot winds to see how that goes. This is a rec boat that plays very much like a moderate river runner white white water boat but with stability. Good deal.