Submitted: 01-03-2001 by Tig
I've owned a Drifter for about a month now and enjoy it more than I ever expected. There has been a lot of hype and expectation about this new yak from the fishing world, and it has lived up to it well. I use it to fish the Galveston area bays and flats, as well as explore rivers and creeks. The first word that comes to mind when describing it is "stable". This is an understatement! I can actually stand up in it and cast. I can sit on the deck behind the seat well, as well as sit cross ways dangling my feet overboard. So yes, it's secondary stability is as good it gets.
Usually a stable, 12' 6" by 34" wide kayak would be as slow as a barge, but the Drifter somehow manages to defy the expected limitations. It's not as fast as a Scupper Pro or Wilderness Freedom, but the difference is not all that noticeable, especially in heavy chop. The Drifter also tracks extremely well. I was able to easily maintain heading in open bay, heavy 20-knot wind chop at any angle. For those who like rudders, go with the factory installed one. For my use, a rudder isn't needed since it tracks so well to begin with. It turns easily too. Ocean Kayak did a great job designing this hull. The only noticeable wave slap noise while anchored was when the waves hit it abeam.
This kayak is also about space. The big 12" x 22" bow hatch is among best in the industry, keeping the storage area very dry. The bow under deck storage is ample for everything up to overnight camping. There's plenty of room for an extra paddle, soft cooler, and much more. The tankwell is a must for fishing and is plenty large and deep. I attached a plastic milk crate with the straps above it for easy access to items like dry bags.
The one thing this yak has that no other has is a very roomy seat well. I'm not a big person, yet I don't get lost in it. It is a little deep, so scupper plugs are recommended in the Winter. Buy a really good seat and you'll be as comfortable as if you were in your dad's recliner! The extra width of the foot well area is nice for adjusting your legs to any position you may want.
There is plenty of room for accessories and attachments. You can rig this yak any way you want. The side carrying handles are perfectly placed. The light 56-pound weight and 12' 6" length make it a breeze to port around on land. A 240cm or longer paddle is highly recommended due to the wide beam.
This yak is rated at 500 pounds and has the widest seat around, so it would be perfect for big paddlers as well as beginners. Before you buy a kayak, try several that you think you might like... just be sure to try the Drifter before you decide and it might change your mind!