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Submitted: 07-20-2010 by shirenv

The first time you take this out (especially if you are a beginner for whom the price point appeals) - you will think, did I make a mistake?
The 2nd and 3rd time, you will start to connect with it, and by 4th go, you and the kayak will become one. It takes a little getting used too, poor initial stability, but once you do, secondary stability is great.

The cockpit opening while generous for a yak this size, was a little tight for my 6' frame, though others who are similar height didn't have as much difficulty. The length of your leg vs. torso probably makes a difference. My leg length also had my knees right up against the edge of the cockpit coming, which took a little getting used too. However, that allowed me to control the kayak using my hips better, without needing knee straps.

The foot pegs are adjustable, but they did not go quite far enough for me. They are also a little trickier to adjust while in the water. The construction of this kayak while largely sound, had little tell-tale signs of cheaper construction in the finer details e.g. the bungee cord for paddle holder came loose on one end. The straps on the ends that attached handles seem a little flimsy also, so far they've held, but time will tell.

It is reported to track straight, but I found my bow ding-donging a bit with my strokes. Could just be my beginner form, but then again it is a shorter kayak.
Paddle length makes a difference. I found a 230cm paddle to be a tad too long, especially since you sit higher up in this craft. A shorter one helps you get a more vertical stroke, and therefore less sideways push.

That said, that maneuverability makes it the perfect kayak to explore little inlets and coves. The one thing that would have been nice, is padding on the side of the kayak, which would help 2 things - protect the edge of your legs when up against it, and made it easier to carry your kayak across one shoulder. The current blow-molded edge is awfully sharp and results inevitably in a cut shoulder when carrying on your shoulders.
The float bag definitely adds buoyancy, and is recommended in the event of that inevitable swim.

Overall, pretty good value for the price, and the 2010 gear of the year rating doesn't hurt.

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