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Submitted: 12-11-2010 by Amy

It seems logical that a shorter kayak would be less pricey and easier to handle, load and unload. But none of that is necessarily true. A shorter kayak will move from side to side as you paddle, requiring more effort to move through the water. The longer the kayak the truer it will track, and the less effort it takes to paddle. Hence our purchase of two Perception Prodigy 12s.

For a first kayak, we didn't want to invest a lot in case our needs changed as we learned. But while you might save a few dollars on initial cost with cheaper brands, those kayaks are thinner, can't take the sun's heat or the rough treatment kayaks often endure through loading and unloading from whatever method of transportation you use. The snaps, straps and cushioning of seats are cheaper and donít last as long. Those are important elements to consider when purchasing a kayak. The Prodigy 12's seats are comfortable even for long trips, although we added some padding to ours. The snaps, straps and handles are well made, easy to reach and are built to last.

Prodigy 12s are roto-molded polyethylene kayaks, which are easy to load due to their light weight, and relatively inexpensive compared to Kevlar or fiberglass kayaks. Ours have been amazingly durable through the loading process and occasional scrape on rocks, trees, etc. Even though they're around 50lbs., they are easy for me (female) alone to swing onto the back of a 4-wheeler, or stand on end and shove on top of my SUV.

The Prodigy 12' is stable and surprisingly quick due to its streamlined design. The 12' length causes it to track straight and true for undemanding paddling even upstream, yet it's still nimble enough to make turns and curves without a lot of back paddling. It's a sit-in kayak, which is definitely the choice for a dryer ride, although not for the rotund.

The Prodigy 12 has durable foot peddles that are easy to adjust thanks to well-placed handles that are easy to reach even during paddling.

There's a long forward cockpit where foam is mounted for buoyancy, yet thereís still a lot of space for a cooler, jacket, etc. The bungee-type exterior bow cording allows for placement of towels, life vests etc. for easy reach. The exterior tail section is closed off but easily accessible via a top waterproof hatch, giving that portion of the kayak duel purpose for buoyancy and dry storage. Itís great for items you donít need to access during paddling but want to carry along for long trips or times when youíre able to pull on shore. And the paddle-strap mounted to the side guarantees you wonít loose your paddle while taking photos or eating lunch.

Oddly enough, color is an important factor when choosing a kayak. If you plan to spend time in waters shared by motorized boats, you want a lively color that allows you to be seen. If youíre photographing wildlife, colors that imitate nature will help you blend into the environment more effectively. We chose a tangerine color for the former and a sand colored one for the latter.

Weíre completely impressed with the Perception Prodigy and especially glad we chose the 12s. Our friends with the cheaper 9ís are getting Prodigy 12ís now!

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