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Submitted: 08-09-2011 by J.Sawyer
Ah, the French, they do make good wine, and are purveyors of good food. The Miwok kayak, a product from the French DAG stable, is just as tastefully designed and well produced, as a fine Bordeaux wine.
The lines of the kayak are streamlined, and pleasing on the eye. The European build quality, surpassed the usual mass market feel that one normally finds in touring kayaks. The attention to detail in the nuts, bolts, webbing, and rudder pedal system is far superior to many products in the same price range.
Starting in the cockpit, the seat has an adjustable back rest and once set up correctly is comfortable, however, if you are of larger girth, you will battle with the seating and leg reach. The unique rudder pedal adjustment system ensures ease of operation and accurate pedal adjustment. All that is required is a tap of the toes, and you can change direction in the peddle with minimal fuss.
You sit high and dry in the cockpit, even with an all up weight in excess of 120kg, the paddle was pleasant and the reach was good.
The deck in front of the cockpit has two small recesses, covered with elasticized webbing, allowing storage for your day trip, or water bottle. Further forward there is a recess for an aftermarket compass, great for explorers. The deck to the aft of the cockpit has space for two watertight storage containers, complimenting the above deck storage.
The front and rear hatches have two layers, the soft neoprene layer, covered by the plastic shell. This design is flawed, and has leaked on other kayak designs.
The hull of the kayak has a chine which allows for great secondary stability, and assists with tracking.
The rudder system is effective in the paddle, however, there is no separate up haul and down haul to get the rudder into the water, and leaves you wondering... up, or down?
In the paddle, the Miwok tracks true, minimal rudder inputs are required, the kayak travels very smoothly in the water.
In waves, be sure to have a splash cover, as the cockpit is lower than the foredeck, and water would flow into the cockpit off the waves. Turning the Miwok is a very precise affair, and it can turn on a dime.
I highly recommend the Miwok kayak by DAG for the recreational paddler, however, due to the cockpit size, would recommend that paddlers weigh below 100kg.
Personal ratings -
Tracking (with rudder): 8/10
Initial stability: 9/10
Storage space (with extra storage containers) 8/10
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