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Submitted: 07-24-2013 by DH
Purchased a Qwest and Qwest LT in January. We are beginning paddlers in the NW but learning quickly. For the price you can't beat the Qwest. If you can go for the LT version the lower weight makes more of a difference at the end of a long day than you would think.
Because we live in the NW we were able to see the boats before purchasing and the guys were patient with us and answered all our questions.
Overall impression is very good. This is a boat that wants to go straight and fast. No need for a rudder. Paddlers just starting will quickly settle in. If you want a nimble surfing boat this is not it. Down wind / down current turns are a challenge. With that said we had both boats in the Oregon surf last weekend and they did fine. Punched thru 3' to 4' breakers without a problem. On flat water we can keep up with anybody.
There are a few things I would change. First, the grab lines are inadequate for rescue work. I have relined the deck all the way to both ends and it's much better. Second, the grab handles need to be single line, not loops, that extend past the ends of the boat. In surf conditions when you are trying to control a boat while in the water it can trap a finger or leverage the boat out of your hand instead of letting it rotate. Third, we are having trouble sealing the hatches. In normal rainy conditions it may only be a couple of tablespoons. In a full day surf class when your in (capsized) and out of the water a lot we got well in excess of a cup.
Summary assessment is this is great starting boat for normal touring particularly at the price. Much better than any roto mold boat I've seen. An easy retrofit makes it much safer in challenging conditions but is not needed if most of your kayaking is on calm water.
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