Submitted: 02-11-2002 by fish
I apologize if this review is long. I know how difficult it is to find a kayak that performs well and most importantly fits well, especially for a smaller paddler. I hope that this helps.
I purchased a 2001 Impex Mystic and it is a wonderful(perfect) kayak for the small paddler. To categorize myself, I am 5'4" tall and weigh 130 pounds, and have intermediate paddling skills (edging, bracing, and working on my rolls). Anyone over 150 pounds, or 5' 10", or a shoe size larger than size 8, may have a problem fitting into this model.
Fit: This kayak fits me like a glove. The fiberglass model is 14 feet, 21 1/2 inches wide, and weighs only 40 pounds. The one downside to a small and lightweight kayak is the limited storage space in the compartments. If you are planning a trip, you will need to pack very carefully. But for a day trip, there is ample storage space.
Comfort: It is so easy to carry and load, even after a long day of paddling. The seat is one of the most comfortable molded seats with a very nice back band with ratchet style adjustments.
Quality: The quality of the construction is top notch. All of the fiberglass seams, the gelcoat finish, and the through hull fittings are well built. The gelcoat has a bright finish with a deep, rich color. The grab handles are curved rubber that are bolted through the deck. The bulkheads are all fiberglass and glassed in place. The 2001 model has replaced the square hatches and rubber seals with the round hatches from VCP. The VCP hatches are a better fit and more water tight; a nice improvement. The coaming has a nice prominent edge that makes it very easy to put on your spray skirt, even a very tight neoprene skirt.
Enough about the size and fit, what about the performance. The performance of the Mystic is outstanding. The bottom is more flat than round. This adds to the initial stability and greatly improves the surfing ability. The bottom and hull design gives this kayak very predictable initial and secondary stability.
The Mystic is 14 feet long. In spite of this length, the speed and tracking are excellent. This model is equipped with a retractable skeg. It tracks very well without the skeg, but with the skeg down it track on a rail, even in heavy wind. With the skeg raised, the turning ability is a real joy. You should be able to spin this baby around in a swimming pool.
Every single time that I go paddling, I always think of the phrase "What a craft!". It is one of the most enjoyable kayaks I have paddled and it is also has very attractive lines details in the design that generate nice compliments.
I have rented or owned kayaks from Perception, Wilderness, P&H, and Current Designs. For a small paddler, this kayak outshines all of them. I realize that the Mystic is not for everyone. I own three different kayaks. The Impex Mystic, a 9 foot recreation kayak, and a 17 foot touring model. The recreation kayak is for the children, but I enjoy taking it out for a quick paddle on the lakes and streams. The 17-foot touring model has all of the features and storage capacity for extended trips.
But I absolutely love the Mystic. If you are a small paddler, and you do not plan on going on paddling trips for a week or more, then I would most highly recommend the Mystic. It promotes confidence, makes paddling for hours a pleasure, and has all of the quality and features you would expect. Also, the fiberglass model is priced under $2,000 dollars. Not a bad price for a 40-pound touring kayak, when compared to other models. A definite 10!