Submitted: 09-01-2009 by GM
Just bought this kayak from Play It Again Sports for $250 about three weeks ago, and I must say, I love it. This is my first kayak I have bought, but have ridden many Ocean kayaks, Cobras and Malibu's, and they don't hold a candle to this kayak. So far, I have only used it in the ocean, and launched it off the beach every time. Waves have been anywhere from 2 - 6 ft facing.
I originally bought it as an all-around vessel that I could do a little small-wave surfing in, but mostly fishing and cruising. I have found that it tracks extremely well, even in choppy ocean water. There is no hull slap. Turning isn't very difficult. A light quick back paddle and a hard front paddle on the other side gets it going around quite nicely. The boat is very stable, and I have never tipped it outside of the break. I raced a friend who has a 3 person aluminum fishing boat (Colby is the brand, I think) with a 5 HP outboard in choppy water with 1ft swells. I kept up with him. This kayak is fast!
The problems with it: the fore and aft hatches leak a lot in the surf. It is best to get through the surf quickly if you plan on spending time out in open water. If you want to stay in the surf, emptying out the water every 30 min or so isn't a bad idea. The check valves in the auto-bailing system are useless. I removed mine and the bailing system works better now. Lastly, when riding over a breaking wave, it is hard to get the bow over the top of the wave. I know that this is due to the length of the boat, and it is not really best for this type of activity.
For you surfers out there, this is definitely not the best rig. It works well in small surf, but anything bigger than 2 ft puts the bow right into the water, and that's the end of the ride. However, I do not consider myself an experienced kayak surfer, and I have gotten a few good rides out of some 3ft breakers in this rig. It might be technique...