Submitted: 08-11-2010 by ibapaddler
When you buy your first kayak you think you can buy a one that will be long enough for open water but not too long for rivers- you want to have a boat that does every thing, but soon find out why old kayakers have so many boats. But I have to say if any boat comes close to doing that in it's price range the Carolina 14.5 does.
My dealer replaced a 13.5 Carolina Airlite with this model (no rudder), when I had trouble with the airlite material on the previous boat. Though it is heavier and less responsive than the airlite, it is much more durable and grows on you. I have paddled it on Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and in numerous rivers.
I have since purchased a boat for more serious touring (along with a more serious investment) but before doing so, loaded with camping gear I kayaked around Grand Island in Lake Superior with my 14.5. with no problems. I also kayaked the chain of lakes on Drummond Island, MI and from there out to Harbor island with equal success.
I may replace it for a shorter river boat, but this past weekend on a river with many turns I found I was doing as well as some of the other paddlers in 8 and 10' boats. It's flat bottom makes easy to get over close to the surface logs and shallow areas without getting out of the boat, but the sharp bow and stern helps in maneuvering.
I would recommend this boat for beginners who want to get a taste of kayaking before they invest big money in the sport. I would give it a 9 out of 10 for this. A 9 as I haven't compared it to every boat out there.