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Submitted: 08-28-2013 by kayakz4me
For reference a little background. I consider myself an advanced beginner, I'm 6'3" 210 lbs with a 36" inseam and size 11.5 feet.
I picked up a used Gulfstream a few months ago. It's unique in that it's a carbon fiber layup. Possibly special order or a prototype. It has no H-channel and weighs in around 42 lbs. The bulkheads are composite so I have not experienced any of the issues with plastic bulkheads.
I have padded the thigh braces with 1/4" foam. This went a long way to give me a more connected feeling. I would agree with others who say this is not a boat for slight builds though I've seen them very thoroughly padded out in hips and thigh pads to accommodate slender builds.
Overall, I would agree with the consensus that this kayak is a very good all-arounder and fun to paddle. It's very responsive to edging, it is quick though not fast (but not a tub by any stretch). It is a pretty high volume craft that sits quite high in the water, in spite of this it behaves fairly well in wind with any issues being easily remedied with a little skeg.
I wouldn't categorize it as a 'roller' but it comes around quite easily for me and I have only this summer developed a layback roll. The back deck is quite high as it characteristic of CD kayaks.
Initial stability is very good with the secondary being very solid and predictable. It is not as 'locked in' as some harder chine boats, but I've had very inexperienced paddlers use edging to steer for the first time in the Gulfstream. The boat inspires confidence.
If you are new to the sport, or thinking about an upgrade from a rec or transitional kayak...I would certainly give the Gulfstream (or roto version Scirroco) a whirl. It really does have a nice blend of favorable characteristics as far as speed, acceleration, and handling.
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