Submitted: 01-02-2002 by Milan
My wife and I bought two Otters with paddles for around $600 or so a couple of years back. We found them to be very stable, pretty maneuverable, their speed is adequate, and they track well, and are darn near impossible to tip. In short, the perfect beginnerís kayaks.
But a word of caution: we both outgrew these boats very quickly. After paddling a couple of "real" sea kayaks on a guided day trip (and realizing that they were not prohibitively difficult to control, etc.), we simply could not go back to the slow, calm, Otters. I now paddle an 18 footer and my wife a 16'. And our Otters sit unused (except by the occasional novice guestóand they always love them).
The long and the short of it is this: if you are the type of person who "gets the hang" of things pretty quickly, you might find yourself bored in this boat after a short time. I would recommend holding off, saving up, and buying a longer boat (at least 16'). Youíll enjoy the extra performance. Old Town sells several longer boats, and they are relatively affordable.
If you want to kayak once a month or so and donít expect to go beyond your local lake for exercise/fishing/etc., you can get a lot of years of use out of the Otter.
=If kayaks scare the you-know-what out of you and you aren't sure you will be interested in continuing, an Otter will make you feel at home on the water. But in this case I would recommend renting before buying.
If you want to start kayaking today, and you are short on funds, an Otter is a fine choice.
This is a kayak that is very good at it's intended use, and not much else. I wouldn't dream of taking this boat on a rough river, or in open water, but it's not designed for that anyway.