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Submitted: 07-16-2001 by wdv
We just bought a Swifty and were heavily influenced by the reviews that we read on this site. Thanks to everyone who has posted; your advice was right on the mark!
The Swifty is, above all, an excellent value. We purchased from EMS (available at stores only, not on-line) for $319.99; they have had it as low as $299.99. Add in a $50 paddle plus tax, and you can still hit the water for under $400 in a brand new, name-brand kayak.
We bought the Swifty for shared use at a lake house. We needed something simple, light, easy, stable and forgiving, and the Swifty absolutely fits the bill. We've had a number of first-time beginners climb in, push off and start having fun within the first minute. The Swifty makes you feel like an expert on your first trip. It's incredibly stable (i.e. safe!), comfortable and easy to use, which makes it great for sharing with beginners.
Downsides? The Swifty is a very basic kayak kayak. Other than footpegs, carry handles and an adjustable seat with cupholder, it has very few features or options. There's no paddle holder, deck rigging or waterproof containers.
Because it's so wide and stable, it is not a speed demon and has mediocre tracking. It's best suited to smaller lakes and very calm rivers. Experienced kayakers may look down on the Swifty, but it is an excellent starting point and a great way to "get your feet wet" and find out how much fun kayaking can be.
We looked at a number of other brands. The Walden models offered at EMS seemed cheap compared to the Swifty, which is very sturdy. The Old Town Otter is a good choice, although you need to get the more expensive Deluxe model to get footpegs, which are a requirement. We chose the Swifty because it was readily available from a local EMS store and the sale price saved us at least $50 over an Otter.
Overall, an EXCELLENT value and a GREAT choice for a first-timer or shared use on a calm lake.
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