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Submitted: 07-03-2013 by SSQueen

I bought my Approach 9.0 new this spring (believe it is a 2011 model). I am a 5'4", 115 lbs. female, and it fits me perfectly. I have owned and paddled a number of different kayaks over a 13 year period (17 ft. sea kayak, whitewater playboat, and Hobie sit-on-top pedal and sailing kayaks). I am primarily a flatwater paddler but wanted a small lightweight kayak that I could transport and load myself for outings with friends.

I chose the Dagger Approach after a fair bit of research and consideration. I wanted a kayak to use on creeks and rivers that have a variety of flat and moving water (easy whitewater). I have used it in a variety of conditions (a river that was Class I whitewater, a creek that was Class I-II+ with a few challenging spots, and several lake outings, one of which was a very windy day with swells and whitecaps on the lake). I have liked it for all the applications.

The skeg works quite well for tracking considering the length and lines of the boat. The bow does plow a bit of water in the waves, but not miserably so. I have not used a sprayskirt with it yet, so understandably took on some water in the cockpit in the rapids on the creek and on the windy day at the lake. The back storage hatch remained dry. On the windy day at the lake, some waves were breaking over the bow, but I only needed to sponge it out occasionally, whereas a fellow paddler in a Pelican Pulse 100X took on so much water that his boat "swamped" and capsized.

As far as speed, it is relative to expectations and intentions. I'm sure I would not be able to keep up with a group of experienced sea kayakers in 18-20 ft. boats, but for our group of relatively new paddlers in ~10-12 ft. flatwater kayaks, I have to hold back and circle back to avoid getting too far ahead of them and have chosen to paddle this kayak with the group intentionally to disadvantage myself a bit.

My back hurt a bit my first paddle, so I played with the seat adjustment. I moved the backband forward by unbuckling the straps to the back of the cockpit and tightening the straps on the back of the backband. Then I had to let out a loop of strap from the buckles to get enough length to hook the straps from the back of the cockpit into the seat back. That improved the comfort of the backband a lot for me.

Overall, I am very pleased with this kayak for the purposes I selected it.

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