Submitted: 09-04-2012 by dstireman
I'm 58 and my wife and I have been paddling SOT's for more than a dozen years, ever since we got our Tarpon 160s (the best 16' SOT, period). We do lots of day paddling, but also get in at least one extended 5-10 day paddling trip each year.
Four years ago, I was drawn by the beauty of the Hurricane Phoenix 160. I was able to pick mine up at the Salt Lake Outdoor Retailers Show for a super deal.
What I like: Very dry ride. I can load my 220 pounds and 75 pounds of gear and never see any water come up through the scupper holes. It has cavernous storage in the front hatch and reasonable well storage in the back. Oh, and did I mention it is a very attractive boat? It gets lots of approving looks. The Trylon material is super tough and maintains its glossy finish well. For quickness, it seems to hold its own against my Tarpons; I can paddle this boat for 8 hours on the ocean without tiring me excessively.
What I don't like: Initial stability leaves a bit to be desired. This is a very high ride and sudden movements, river currents, or waves give a feeling of instability. I never felt that in my Tarpons. However, in four years I've only been flipped once. The rudder is almost useless. The boat rides so high that even with my weight and 75 pounds of gear, the rudder only extends 3 or 4 inches into the water.
Would I buy this kayak again? NO! But I'm also not quite willing to part with it, especially since I still have my trusty old Tarpon.