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Submitted: 11-15-2000 by kayakdiver
I absolutely LOVE everything about the Drifter!!! Fast, very stable, light, no downwind helm in a cross-wind (very important!), tons of storage under the front hatch, cuts through chop like butter, excellent tracking, cockpit room GALORE, super comfortable to sit in, etc.... You guys definitely got this one right the first time! It is so fast that I was catching short rides on the 9 inch swell running our way inside the outer jetty!
I guess if you were to FORCE me to say something negative about it I would comment on the fact that you sit in quite a bit more water than in other models due to the fact that the seat pan and deck are lower and closer to the bottom hull on this model. This design feature greatly ENHANCES the stability and sitting comfort of the kayak, and, for touring or anglers that aren't diving and don't want to get that wet, there are always scupper stoppers or duct tape to keep the cockpit dry (assuming no surf entries requiring draining).
I did my first two lobster dives of the 2000 season (both night dives) with the Drifter without making any additions to it and plan to use it most often now. I can't imagine needing a different kayak for diving unless I want to take three tanks out, in which case I might use the Scupper Pro TW. The superb stability and seaworthiness of the Drifter on a choppy, wind-blown, pitch black ocean made for the most comfortable night dive imaginable in such conditions. I also did a day dive with two tanks on the Drifter. I put the second tank in the forward hatch with the greatest of ease, leaving plenty of room for all my other gear, including wetsuit jacket, anchor, fins, etc... The extra weight up front did bury the bow a bit and slowed the boat a little, making it about as fast as a Scrambler XT, however it left plenty of waterline to deal with accessing the forward hold and didn't seem to affect the stability in the slightest. I found a 13 pound anchor on a recent dive and brought it back in through the surf on the Drifter.
Because of great tracking, even in a crosswind, I also can't imagine ever needing a rudder on this boat, however, the rudder mount made for the perfect place to sick my dive flag! I WILL add a few eyelets to further secure the tank in the tank well, to provide two attachemt points for the anchor, and to run a side line for attaching game bags, lights, cameras, etc., however, it was very doable without these additions by making creative use of the existing eyelets.
It looks like the Drifter could be destined to be one of the best kayaks on the market for the bigger diver. They have combined the very best features of their other models and put them on a totally new hull design that is just as wide and slightly longer than the Malibu Two, yet lighter than most kayaks in this size range. I already love the Malibu Two as a great, stable dive platform with a huge cargo capacity even without a tank well and good under-hatch storage. The cockpit of the Drifter is HUGE and the Scupper Pro type forward hatch provides easy access to a whole lot of storage below!
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