Submitted: 03-08-2012 by Anthony Norris
I am not a "kayaker" per se, so forgive the naivety of this review...THE SAFARI ROCKS!!! I purchased it to use as a tender to a moored sailboat and it has functioned well in that capacity. I weigh close to 200 lbs and have loaded up the Safari with 50+ pounds of gear with no problem. Your butt may get a little wet if you are as heavy as I am, but that is, IMHO, a trivial thing compared to the advantage of having a self-bailing boat. It is a feature I didn't know if I would like, but now am in love with. The Safari's initial stability is not the greatest, but its secondary stability is very good and the boat is actually pretty hard to capsize. You almost have to do it intentionally. Wet re-entry is a snap if it does happen. The boat's performance on the water is remarkable. I have paddled quite a few hardshells, folders and inflatables over the years and this little boat has the best performance of any portable kayak I have ever been in. With the skeg installed, it paddles like a hardshell, tracking remarkably well, even in stiff crosswinds and chop. It is not the fastest boat in the world, but it is pretty quick for a 10 footer, especially a 10 foot inflatable. Without the skeg, it handles like a completely different vessel...it can spin on a dime. The thigh straps give you a real feeling of control on the water. The seat is comfortable and the foot rests work surprisingly well. Everything about this boat is surprising, actually. The construction is outstanding. It has plenty of room for gear..even overnight trips. I bought it to use as a dinghy, but now use it as a sea kayak, a touring kayak and even occasionally in the surf. And I still use it as a dinghy. I have owned it for 5 years and still have yet to patch it. I simply dry it off, keep the air valves lubricated and occasionally treat the skin with aerospace protectant. Have I mentioned that I sometimes bicycle to my destination with the Safari on my rear rack? It is true. The boat is remarkably light and portable. It packs down to about the same size and weight as a Sevylor Tahiti, but is lightyears away from the Tahiti in performance...nothing against the Tahiti...for an inexpensive little "play boat" they are not bad. But the Safari is a REAL boat with amazing versatility and stunning performance. I cannot recommend it highly enough.