Submitted: 08-02-2010 by Larry
I have owned an RM Avocet from new for three years now using it two or three times a week mostly for day trips, rock hopping and in deep water surf/play sessions. Being a quite light paddler (65kg) this was recommended to me when I started off and I am happy to have gone with it as it has seen me well since then.
The build quality is excellent with no defects and despite a fair few nasty scrapes, bangs and drops it has held up well with people asking if its new still. The hatches are as watertight as the day I bought it. It does come in quite heavy and seems to weigh more than most other plastic kayaks I carry.
The Avocet turns brilliantly on edge and is perfectly stable at all points. It is reliably predictable without any surprises once you have been paddling it for a while and rolls up very easily when you do something silly. It is really maneuverable in rock gardens and caves able to pull off tight moves and quick turns that are needed in surging water around the rocks. It comes in to its own in rough water and its nice to be the one going faster in the group when it is the other way around on flat water! The Avocet isn't badly effected by the wind and the skeg isn't needed as much as on other kayaks I've paddled, the slider button could do with being smaller as it sticks out and I've bashed my fingers off it a lot.
The only let down for me would have to be the standard seating arrangement and thigh braces. The seat is uncomfortable and doesn't promote a good posture and the back band is pretty much useless. Valley really should have sorted this out a long time ago as its the most common valid complaint about their kayaks.
I have recently complimented the Avocet with a faster composite kayak for long distance paddling and crossings which isn't the Avocets strongest point however I have kept it as my day to day paddling and playing boat and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a fun kayak that you can have total confidence in. I may replace my RM Avocet at some time in the future though, but only if I see a composite Avocet for sale at a decent price!