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Submitted: 02-27-2013 by kerry
This is one sweet little kayak. I've been paddling kayaks for 35 years and have sat in and paddled many different boats from whitewater to seakayaks. I currently have 5 different kayaks in the 12 to 14 foot range but the Delta is my favorite.
The thermoformed plastic is strong and well made with a nice glossy appearance. Yes, all thermo boats scratch somewhat easily but there are good polishes that buff them out to look like new again (Novus makes a good one). I love the hatch covers, while in the water besides the boat it is easy to remove them to retrieve something from the bow or stern in an emergency on open water. There are plenty of deck lines and bunjis and the straps to hold down a paddle for a re-entry work very well...these should be standard on all sea-kayaks.
This kayak handles very well as a coastal boat in rough water. The high volume, flared bow parts the waves and prevents pearling as you ride a wave into the shore. Initial stability is excellent as well as the secondary stability due to the hard chines, this is a great combo for those like me who like to be able to use this as a "rec" boat on calm water one day and then play in the surf on Lake Michigan or catch and ride boat wakes the next. The sliding seat helps to get a good fit with the thin padded but adequate thigh braces. For me the seat fits well and is comfortable for hours at a time.
I take out a variety of people to paddle with me and the twelve 10 accommodates everyone from ten year olds to my 74 year old father(I weigh 128lbs and am 5'7" with a size 7 shoe). I paddle 5 to 20 miles several times a week from April till freeze up in the fall and the Delta gets used for at least half of my time (I'll use my Necky "manitou" on rocky rivers or exploring closer to rocky shorelines, I do a lot of scavenging...you'd be surprised at all the neat things you can find:)
Speed? while not the fastest boat on the block, it is adequate. I usually average about 3 to 5mph while paddling and that's good enough for me. Some reviews I've read mentioned problems trying to keep the kayak on a straight course... I've had no issues and I suspect it may be due to either lack of experience paddling a kayak without a rudder or skeg or the weight of the paddler and gear need to be centered better in the boat.
I get a lot of people asking me advice about kayaks and one thing novices are unsure and confused about is whether they should buy a longer seakayak or a shorter recreational/daytouring/weekend kayak. Be honest with yourself! Ask yourself where you are going to do most of your paddling and under what conditions? I bet most of the folks who buy a full fledged, longer seakayak would have been better served getting something a bit less glamorous and shorter. Yes that beautiful, long, skinny kayak that looks great in the showroom just may be a bit more of a boat than most of us need. IF you are planning on kayaking for more than say 20 miles a day or for trips of 3 days or longer, then yes a longer touring kayak of 16 to 18 feet may be what you need. A longer kayak generally means more volume which is needed for packing larger quantities and bulkier items on extended journeys. Also the longer hull will generally give you a bit better glide between strokes which will be more efficient in keeping a better line between destinations and less exhausting for the expedition paddler. If you expect to be encountering rough water and heavy surf over long distances then a seakayak 16 to 18 feet that is designed for such conditions would be essential. If most of your kayaking will be less than 20miles a day or maybe for a day or two on a camping trip then most so called day/weekend type kayaks about 12 to 15 feet in length will suit most folks just fine. And if you just want any old hull to keep tucked in at a lake cottage for occasional use, then any recreational boat will do the job (while saving you a lot of money too:). Still it all comes down to what YOU want. With experience and training you can paddle most any kayak in any situation. As you become more aware of your paddling skills and acquire better equipment you may end up specializing by having several boats or more which will be used in your different pursuits on the water (one for just fishing, one for camping, one for whitewater, one for speed, etc.) No matter what, just remember that the best kayak that you own is the one that you USE. If it sits in the garage cause it's too heavy or doesn't paddle quite right then get rid of it! Get something you truly like and that you will use more often because life IS short...get out and paddle!!
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