Submitted: 06-14-2010 by imitationcrab
First, about me: I am about 5'7" tall and 180 lbs. I have owned quite a few SOTs and test paddled many others, so I have a good basis for comparison. I bought the Tribe without test paddling, but I have now paddled it three times on Lake Erie. Two of those days were calm, one day had some moderate sized rolling waves and whitecaps, etc.
Relatively lightweight, has built-in carry handles on the sides of the cockpit area, has a skid plate on the stern, nice selection of fun colors (I got the purple fade), comfortable fit, super stable, tracks well but also has some maneuverability, great fun in waves!
I wish it had a hatch or two. Not a big deal though, because I just keep my items in a dry bag and stuff it under the bungees. That's all I can think of for the con side.
It could be my imagination, but I think this may be the fastest SOT I've paddled. Surprising because of the 30" beam, but maybe it's the sleekness of the bow entry - better designed than most SOT's in my opinion. It has enough rocker to be maneuverable and fun on waves, but tracks reasonably well also. This will probably end up being my "throw and go" kayak for local outings.
Other SOT's I've owned: Islander Ventura (my second favorite SOT of all time), Tarpon 100, Phoenix 140, Islander Reggae (fun in waves), Emotion Exhilarator (nice, but had some heinous bow-slap), OK Aegean (let us never speak of it), OK Scrambler (fine if you have narrow hips), OK Sidekick (for fun with the pooch). I've also paddled the Tarpon 160 (nice!), Cobra Tourer (I liked it), Cobra Navigator (nice except for bow slap), and I'm sure there are others.
I only mention the others to give a basis for comparison. Overall, I think the Tribe 11.5 may be my favorite SOT yet.