Submitted: 10-18-2010 by Kevin C.
Several months ago my wife and I decided to try kayaking. I went to our local sporting goods store and found us a couple of the Old Town Otter XTs at a cheap price and bought one for each of us. Having never been in a kayak and believing them to be unstable, I wasn't all that willing to put much money into the sport. The Otters were cheap enough to get us on the water to try it out without breaking the bank.
After a few months of paddling the otters around, (and I proved my fears of kayaks being so unstable as unjustified)I decided to stroll in to our local kayak store to see what they had on display. I gazed around at the rows of boats standing against the walls while wiping drool from my chin. But... I wasn't looking to buy, only window shopping as it were. After several minutes of looking around I was heading for the door when one particular boat caught my eye. The Dagger Axis 10.5 in red. For a month I thought about that boat until I admitted to myself I had to have it. So I bought it, licensed it and set out for a nearby lake to put her in.
I found the boat to be very roomy. (The Otter forces me to curl my toes due to the low deck height. The Axis has enough room I could wear work boots in it... though I never will...)
The boat is very stable, comparable to that of the Otter and the cockpit is roomy enough for me to get in and out with very little effort. There is NOT a lot of room between the seat and rear bulkhead, but there is a little. Just don't expect to store much behind the seat. The dry storage at the stern is room enough for storing gear for a day trip or an overnighter if you pack light. There is also room in the bow to store some small things if needed.
I was impressed with the forward deck rigging as it comes with a netting of sorts. This is perfect for storing small items that would normally fall through the normal bungie rigging. It also has a console of sorts inside the cockpit with a cup holder and a tray with a couple bungies to stash small items.
The seat is quite comfortable and has an adjustable back.
When paddling the boat with the skeg in the raised position it is very maneuverable if not a little...loose(?)... But once the skeg is dropped this boat will track very nicely even in strong winds.
In all, I am very pleased with this boat and would definitely buy another. My wife being somewhat shorter than I found the deck height on the Axis to be a little more than she wanted. She said it felt like too much boat to her. I ended up buying her a Dagger Blackwater 10.5 which has a lower deck.