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Submitted: 07-08-2009 by schlippg
I am 6'4" and 210 lbs so by QCC formulas I fit best in a Q500 but the Q400 fit best in my garage. After a call to Steve I got the Q400X. I did not get the thigh braces to make entry and exit easier. The standard padding under the deck is just right.
I am a beginner so my handling description is limited by my experience. I wanted a kayak that has lots of room for my skill set to grow into. I wanted a fast kayak that handled well on large lakes, rivers, the bays and eventually the ocean. So far I noticed that it likes rough water, seems to paddle as fast backwards and is fairly stable. I got a rudder just in case but you won't need it until extreme conditions. I got the basic fiberglass version. Back band is fine but I had to pad out the bottom in front of the seat for support to my long legs.
I did a lot of looking and web research before buying. QCC kayaks have the best value for the quality. I did not mind paying a little more for what I perceive as much more build quality. And it is cool to pick whatever color combination you want. They are one of few companies that actually spells out their warranty in plain English. I heard a lot of the old, "we stick by our product" from other manufacturers but try to find it in writing.
It is a leap of faith not to try it or sit in it but I am sure you read it in all the QCC reviews, don't worry it is an excellent buy. The more I use it the more I realize that it would be really hard to tell which kayak really is best unless you are very experienced. A beginner just can't pick out little nuances between kayaks. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do demos, I quickly learned that I did not want a poly boat or something like a Pungo. I also saw the difference in kayak width, handling, and stability.
I noticed the little rub marks and scratches to the gel coat from small rocks near the shore. I am careful but a beginner. One of the things I did do to protect my hull was to add a thin clear layer (8 mil) of protection 3M film that I have used on my cars for 10 years. I put on a 18 in wide by 8 ft long strip in the middle and 6 inch width to each end. I got the bulk film from XPEL.com for a cost of about $120. It is easy to peel off by heating it with a hair dryer and then wiping the hull clean with alcohol. Get the install kit if you do it.
And naturally everybody gives their kayak a 10 unless it really sucks.
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