Submitted: 08-30-2012 by Dan
I picked up an Emotion Mojo SOT kayak second hand off craigslist. I have been kayaking since I was 9 years old (I am 48 yrs old now) and paddle at least 20 nautical miles a week (sometimes in one day), and paddle year round in all conditions, so I have quite a bit of experience I guess. My main reason for getting it was to have a decent boat for my beginner friends to use. With the stability and open "cockpit" of an SOT kayak, worries about flipping and dealing with open water rescues and pumping out the water from a flipped boat are taken care of for the most part. Just flip it over and crawl back on! My primary flat water/ocean kayak is a Cape Falcon LPB in Skin over Frame construction. I prefer fast boats that need aggressive handling. So that means I'll hate the Mojo, right? Uh, nope!
My "baptism" for the Mojo was (after a basic test paddle at the launch site) to load up my 8 year old daughter in the tank well with a 5 gallon bucket and have us paddle from the Oregon side of the Columbia River over to Government Island (near I-205) and pick blackberries. The boat performed very admirably! My daughter's 55 lbs was not an issue to the boat's stability or handling. The boat has decent primary stability, and excellent secondary stability. I can stand up in the cockpit area without too much of a problem, and my daughter was able to stand up in the tank well without throwing the boar over. You can also sit sideways with your feet in the water and it's stable. It's a decent fishing platform, if you are so inclined. Sitting, you can tip it over IF you lean WAY WAY over, but you will not go over accidentally with this boat.
Loaded with me and my daughter, I was able to maintain a 3 knot speed over to the island, so it's not fast, but that's still pretty good for a 12 ft boat. It tracks well, and turns well with sweep strokes as well as lean turns. With the boat empty (except for me in the cockpit), I was able to short sprint it up to 4 knots, but at that point it starts to plane and won't go any faster. It's "fast cruising" speed is about 3.5 knots. The Columbia does have a current that runs about .5 knot to 1 knot in this area, and there are spots where the water gets funny, but the Mojo handled it with no problem. It's a VERY predictable handling little boat.
The Mojo is a bit noisy while paddling. Because it's short and fat, it does push some water at the bow and you can hear it splashing, but not as much as other SOT or recreational kayaks I've paddled, and about the same as others. But, it's very compliant and predictable and has no funny quirks about it, so it's perfect for what I will use it for. The grab loops are functional and strong, and the front hatch stayed dry. The only thing I wasn't too happy about was that water would occasionally wash up through the scuppers in the seat. Not a problem on an 80º day, but I will be getting some stoppers for the seat scuppers to take care of that for when the water gets colder.
So, if you're in the market for a stable, predictable handling boat that is fast for it's length, can carry a decent amount of weight and is one person car top-able, the Mojo is a boat to consider. I think the best recommendation I can give it is that I'm used to very fast, narrow, high performance sea kayaks, and when paddling the Mojo, I didn't feel like I was paddling a barge. It's a fun little boat that is good for beginners and won't drive an experienced paddler crazy.