Submitted: 04-09-2012 by mikeingeorgia
First off I'd like to point out that there are further reviews available by looking under Perception and under Dagger Catalyst. This boat has changed names but is still a very nice design.
I'm 5'9" and 200 lbs and I've been paddling for a few years, mainly in 9' 6" rec boats and also in a canoe. My main reason for wanting this particular boat is for flat water rivers, reservoirs, and inland lakes (not the Great Lakes). I wanted to be able to more easily travel longer distances on flat rivers especially all while hauling the things my kids bring when we go paddling.
It weighs about 51 lbs, which isn't bad to get onto the roof rack of the car, and being about the same thickness as the rec boats it rides nicely on it's side along with the rec boats. The Kayak Karrier handles are shaped nicely to give a comfortable grip when carrying it too.
When getting into the boat I appreciate the texturing they've added to the top of the decks because I sit on the back deck and then put my feet in, then slide into the cockpit so as to not drag my keel on the rocks. The bottom of the hull is more rounded than the rec boats which makes it less stable but easier to edge which is really nice. When I got it up to speed I decided to see just how far I could edge it and I was able to shift my weight far enough onto each cheek alternately to bring the edge of the cockpit right down to the water and maintain that position while moving. I like to edge while turning but it turns well while sitting straight up but of course it takes a greater radius to do it in. Something else I really like is that the attachment points for the deck bungies are molded above the deck instead of simply having holes drilled into it, thus preventing water from getting through and dripping onto your legs. The footpegs are the same style as I was used to in my rec boats (slide-lock style), and I'm quite happy with them. The seat hasn't gotten the best of reviews but it is height adjustable, and has a strap to adjust the angle. I paddled for 3 1/2 hours and didn't feel any better or worse than any other time I've paddled for that long.
The day I was out was pretty windy for the first half of the trip so I decided to try getting hit from all directions by paddling in large circles out in the middle of the reservoir. The waves were about 6" tall and coming with great frequency. When going straight into or away from the waves the ride was really smooth and of course with them coming perpendicularly I'd bobble back and forth but I never felt as though I'd turn over. Quartering just required corrective strokes to keep on track. The boat has all the points molded into it to add a rudder if you want but so far I don't feel like I'll be needing it.
I didn't have waves washing over the storage hatches so I can't vouch for their water-tightness or not but there is ample storage if I felt like camping out of it.
If I could have anything different for this boat I'd add thigh braces and a small day hatch on the rear deck that I could reach while sitting in the cockpit. Maybe have the cockpit molded in a way that thigh braces could be added by the user if they wanted them similar to how you can add a rudder if you feel the need. I used a splash deck with mesh pockets and my pfd has pockets so I don't HAVE to have a day hatch, but I'd like to have one.
Overall I feel this boat is perfect for someone wanting to paddle flat water trips on inland waterways. As soon as time permits I'll be taking it to a river to see how it does on some moving water.