Submitted: 02-06-2012 by CV
I bought my Shadow 16.5 new in 2000. Twelve years later I still love the old girl. I do feel that the seat is a bit uncomfortable as I've become older (I'm 50 now) and heavier (5'7" 180lbs). My teenage son has a Wilderness Systems (WS) Tsunami 14.5 Lite that is unbelievably comfortable and stable, but not as fast as the Shadow. I should probably get a new WS Tempest 16.5 or 17, but it's hard to let go of the old Shadow. It does weathercock a bit in the wind with the rudder up, but I compensate by edging the kayak in a strong wind. It also tracks very well. The guy at the kayak shop wanted to sell me a new WS Zephyr 15.5, but the Shadow does everything I need.
I paddle mostly in Everglades National Park and go anywhere from 10 to 18 miles on a good day. It's not easy to maneuver in the tight turns of the mangrove tunnels in the Everglades, but does well in the bays and ocean. Car topping her alone on top of my pick up truck is difficult since she weighs @58 pounds, but I usually go with someone else who helps out.
Overall, a really good kayak that can do almost everything. I would recommend the Shadow for a smaller paddler. It's a tight fit! For more comfort, go with a Wilderness Systems.