Submitted: 07-09-2012 by John
I believe I'm what you would call experienced, I've been paddling sea kayaks since I was in my teens and I'm 54 now. I currently own 5 yaks with a focus on fishing and open water/surf.
I purchased the 160 about two years ago. I'd like to second the observations of the poster below; The Phoenix paddles well and is a dry ride, not a speedy yak but decent. I was also pleased by the finish and weight. Coming from an X-Factor to the 160 made it feel like a feather.
Now the bad news.
It's surprisingly easy to turtle. (First time I did it just by reaching into the tank well behind my back for a tackle bag) It's also sits rather high and is made of such slick plastic that deep water entry is a pain and it drifts VERY fast. If you capsize this thing in a decent wind it's going to leave you behind very quickly. This is the first kayak I've ever tied myself to with a leash. I would suggest new owners add deck lines for re-entry and safety.
I really do not understand the need Hurricane had for recessing all the pad eyes and such, many popular seat or equipment clips will not fit easily and the carry handles are pretty much unusable. The hatches are worthless unless you get out of the boat and since there are no bulkheads your gear isn't going to be anywhere near where you put it. It's a great fit for tall people, (I'm 6'3") and would make a great day paddler or exercise yak. I will NOT take this thing offshore. For fishing it's a very poor choice. It's a LOT of work to turn around, esp in a wind. In a nasty cross chop the boat gets VERY tender to handle.
Honestly, if someone would trade me a Tarpon 140 or even a Tarpon 120 it would be gone in a heartbeat, which is a shame, it's a beautiful boat.