Submitted: 11-13-2001 by Chris S.
Have paddled previously on the East coast at a young age so I was anxious to expose my children to kayaking as well as get back into it myself. I tend to over analyze boat specifications and then decide on which boat to buy when I find one that comes closest to my expectations. My requirements were stiff hull, speed, capable but not superior handling, weight less than 50lbs, narrow (23" or less) and good quality. After training my wife and children in a Necky I bought myself a Catalina to join them. At first I thought the Seeyak would be the boat for me but the weight and the narrow width of the Catalina kept calling me back. After picking up the Cat and going out it was amazing. It felt like the fiberglass boats I was used to paddling, absolutely no hull deflection or twist. The tracking is equally impressive. It came with a rudder but I am now thinking of removing it. It goes through the water with little effort as well. Initial stability is slightly tippy but who cares. Secondary stability is excellent. Once going this boat is so controllable that you can lean to the edge of the cockpit and feel comfortable doing it. I was worried about the perceived tightness of the cockpit but getting in and out is no problem once you set the seatback all the way back. Once in, you are in and become part of the boat which I prefer. I am 5'11" and 175lbs. This boat is very quick and handles well. I guess I would call the feel of the boat crisp, not syrupy.
Prijon states in their literature that this boat is for smaller paddlers but I think they are steering a lot of people away from a great boat. Even the Wildwasser (Prijon) rep tried to steer me to a Seeyak which I almost did. Even my children recognize the Catalina as something special. They are constantly asking me if they can have the Cat while I get the Necky. Don't get me wrong, the Necky is a great boat, but once you have tried a Prijon Catalina everything else pales in comparison. Lesson learned: Don't get cheap on your kids boats if you want them to take off with kayaking. Give them the tools to succeed and they will take off. They will also become your best kayaking companions. As for the Catalina, I suspect I will need to buy about three to four more now. Great boat! Thanks Prijon.