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Submitted: 11-19-2009 by red_pepper
During the 2008 USCA Nationals, held in Bristol, Indiana, I was racing Sea Kayak Class and I noted a new and unusual boat in the mix. It turned out the boat was the relatively new (at the time) Think Fit kayak, being raced by John Abrahams as demonstrator. It wouldn't meet the Sea Kayak classifications that year (at 17 feet long and 20 inches wide, it was within the 18' max length requirement, but it was about an inch too narrow), but it would meet the proposed 10% rule (width = 10% or more of length). John used the boat to outrun all the competitors in the field, piquing my interest. But when I examined the boat, I was really blown away by the concept – basically a surfski cockpit with a venturi drain and a combing for a skirt, set into a fast sea kayak design with an ICF based design! My wife really liked it as well, but I wouldn't know how much until this year, when she bought her own at the 2009 USCA Nationals (we came across in immaculate used one for sale at a great price)!
Our Fit had an interesting beginning. With very little experience in kayaking, my wife was trying to test out the boat in the fast, swirling waters of the Allegheny at this year's Nationals, keeping close to the shore area where it was somewhat sheltered. She was doing fine, until she got too close to a tree growing out of the water a little off shore, at which point she got caught in the tree. In short order, the fast water turned her over, leaving her clinging to the tree. She called out to me that she was letting the boat go, giving me enough warning that I was able to swim out and intercept the boat, turn it over, reenter, and rescue her (giving me a chance to test how easily the boat can be re-entered!). At that point she felt bonded with the boat, and bought it!
At any rate, she really likes the boat, and I really like it as well. It's beautifully made, efficient, and boasts a comfortable cockpit and a pluggable drain (really nice if you aren't paddling fast enough to keep the cockpit drained). Speaking of which, you do have to move the boat fairly quickly to drain the water out of the foot well, but it does work well. We really liked the adjustable foot board and rudder pedals. They offer an almost infinite level of adjustment within the adjustment range. Our boat only has the under-stern rudder, but most of the boats seem to come with the option of quickly changing between over-stern and under-stern rudders (one of the neat features we observed in John Abraham's boat). The rudder is easily removed and replaced if you prefer a different length.
As noted by the previous reviewer, one delightful feature of the fit is its very light weight – only 34 lbs in fiberglass, and 6 or so lbs less in Kevlar. At 17 feet, it fits conveniently in our garage, and is easily car-topped as well. It's also a very sharp boat. We get loads of compliments on our matching orange and grey Think Kayaks (my wife's Fit and my Evo) whenever we take them out with other kayakers – even with my fellow racers. One of our local recreational kayakers told me these were the coolest boats he's ever seen! As I understand it, the finish is actually a special paint applied over the fiberglass gelcoat. It appears to be quite durable.
I would have to disagree with the previous review on one point – I find that the primary stability is a little tippier than those used to most sea kayaks might find comfortable initially, but this boat has loads of secondary stability – you can pretty much paddle it on its side, if you so desire. It's very confidence inspiring once you get a feel for the boat. And as mentioned before – it's quite fast and fun.
One final note: Daryl Remmler, owner of Think Kayaks, is an outstanding guy to deal with, providing excellent support. He has always willingly and rapidly answered my questions, and when we broke a rudder pedal (wind-driven waves pushed the boat against the rudder on the shore while my daughter was trying to get out into the lake), Daryl sent us a replacement footboard/rudder system at no cost.
If you're in the market for a sea kayak, or a great fitness or winter boat, this is one boat you'll definitely want to consider.
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