Submitted: 08-11-2011 by PaddlingGirl
I Love This Boat!
As an avid paddler for the past 10 years, I finally saved enough money to buy the kayak of my dreams. I test paddled many, many boats at dealers and paddlefests before deciding on the Swift Saranac 14 in carbon fusion.
My prior boat was very heavy, so weight was a main concern. I also wanted a boat that would work well on lakes and rivers, but also short enough to explore smaller streams. 14 feet in length and about 33 pounds fit the bill perfectly.
This boat is a pleasure to paddle. It gets plenty of glide so it can be great for a leisurely trip. But on those days when I want to race across a lake, the Saranac is fast and responsive. It will carve turns sharply, although I had to get used to the initial rockiness. Secondary stability is good and the seat is extremely comfortable.
I've paddled it in heavy winds, from many directions and with 3' swells, and in waters surrounded by many power boats with wakes creating "confused waters". The boat handled everything that came our way with ease. Since having a skeg is new to me I often forget to drop it, but when I do she stabilizes beautifully. Tracking is great, and waves and wakes handle with ease.
I am only 5'3" and weigh over 200 pounds. This boat fits me well, since the sides of the cockpit are lower so I don't feel like I am sitting in a hole and I don't bang my knuckles on each stroke. The hatches are very roomy and comfortably fit all my gear for a 3-day trip.
I did have a problem with the boat initially (hairline crack in the skeg box that leaked) but Bill Swift took care of it. His customer service was wonderful and he made several trips between his factory and where I live near Albany NY until I was completely satisfied.
On the downside, when you have a boat that is expensive you worry about it more. I saved my money for a long time to buy this kayak and so I have also invested in a good cable lock for it. The carbon fusion is strong, but if I go on a trip where I am apt to cross a beaver dam I take my plastic boat. The carbon fusion construction requires a little bit of TLC...but I am so happy with this kayak that I am happy to provide the extra care!