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Submitted: 01-26-2009 by ADKontheSevern
This boat was purchased online from REI (delivered to their local store). This boat at $900 was a good buy and a good value. The fishing related hardware is positioned well enough for convenient use in an Adirondack lake setting. The boat handles competently with the rudder on lakes, rivers, and open harbors. The primary and secondary stability are good. The kayak can be entered readily in shallow water and from low lying docks.
As a long-legged 6'4" 260lb paddler, this boat fit me better than the Looksha 14 with rudder because the forward bulkhead in the Zoar Sport is positioned further forward than the one in the Looksha 14. The Looksha handles better without a rudder than the Zoar Sport. However there isn't enough room for my feet and legs to operate the rudder pedals in the Looksha. The space forward of the cockpit is roomy enough to permit on-water adjustment of the rudder pedals. The ExtraSport seat has the feel of Chevy Tahoe style seating - you can paddle comfortably for hours depending on bladder size. Unfortunately you need to lower the seat back to use the Seals spray skirt reliably (I do recommend their Tropical Tour spray skirt for open water travel). This kayak travels better on the interstate with the older Thule fixed J-rack than their newer folding one due to the height of the forward cockpit.
The rudder was not fully installed when it arrived at REI. There were no instructions supplied regarding position of spacers, etc. I had to obtain a couple stainless fittings from Boaters World. The parts department and customer service at Necky aren't particularly responsive (as of summer of 2008) regarding retrofitting this with a backband (Necky "outfitter" style). The Johnson Outdoors (Necky parent company) folks and the people from Immersion Research (who supply some Necky components) provided much more timely and useful assistance. Old Town customer service was also more helpful last summer regarding some items for an Old Town Adventure XL139 I also own.
With a rudder, this kayak is good for upper Chesapeake Bay paddling. As noted earlier, the reduced space of the forward bulkhead/ compartment afford this boat with more leg room than the newer Looksha 14 and Manitou 14 designs. The 25" width and the lower aft cockpit and deck make this also suitable for people about 5'5" as well (I usually let my women friends paddle the Zoar while I use the wider aforementioned Old Town)...
An enjoyable and stoutly built boat for the price.
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