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Submitted: 04-07-2014 by volklgirl
This is my first kayak purchase, but I have paddled some other similar boats. This kayak is great fun, very stable, and super maneuverable on class I and II rivers but it's very susceptible to weather helm from even the slightest breeze, and paddling it in open water on even a short jaunt takes some serious skill to keeping it going straight (although I was told that towing a full water bottle would help, and it did, but who wants to do that all the time?).
The cockpit, though fairly small for a rec boat, is very comfortable, the thigh pads are acceptable, and the seat back is quite nice. We added a foam stadium seat pad under the stock seat on ours to raise the seat height just a touch and add cushion and better drainage. The placement of the deck bungees are perfect, but the rear bulkhead and Tupperware hatch are NOT watertight on either of ours. In addition, there's no drainage port, so in the case of a flip, there will always be some water in the bottom of the boat as it gets caught in the deck and under the cockpit combing.
The Swiftwater 10.5 was originally a Dagger Blackwater and was designed with a retractable skeg. Judging by it's current handling characteristics, I'd guess that it was a fairly competent and fun hybrid boat in that configuration, but by retooling it without the skeg, Confluence has turned it into little more than a fun little beginner's toy boat.
After just one summer in the Swiftwater, I already want to upgrade to something either in a similar length with a skeg, or something in the 12-13' range for better tracking on open water.
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