Submitted: 05-28-2002 by mghendrix
After years of tandem paddling in the bow of other people's canoes, I decided I wanted a boat of my own. I also wanted a solo boat. When I started shopping I found that solo canoes to meet my needs were beyond the price I could justify. My dealer asked where I would be using the boat. I said I wanted to do river float trips (which here in Alabama usually involve at least a little whitewater - up to class II) and an occasional overnight camping trip. I also enjoy fishing.
He suggested a recreational kayak. I thought there were only whitewater kayaks for the "hardcore" whitewater people and sea touring kayaks. After researching several models that he had available I chose the Blackwater. Since purchasing the boat in mid-March I have done two river day trips, one overnighter and two lake fishing trips (with my boyfriend in his Dagger Delta that he purchased a month after I got my Blackwater).
The first time I ever put the boat in the water was for the overnight river trip. I'd never paddled a kayak before in my life. I fell in love with the boat. It was very responsive and easy to handle. A couple of whitewater kayakers were on the trip in their canoes and gave me some paddling tips.
I have had no problem with leaking of the bulkhead - but haven't taken on a lot of water either (I used a nylon sprayskirt). On the lake I had no problem paddling into the wind or with cross wind. One trip we had a lot of jet skiers and water skiers in the area and even in their wakes the Blackwater handled well.
For fishing the cockpit is large enough that I was able "fiddle" with the equipment without much difficulty. (A Velcro strap attached to the bungee cords on the front deck held the paddle nicely while I fished.
Regarding the "plowing" some people have mentioned I did experience that the first time I was on the lake but found that it was related to my posture in the boat. If I leaned forward and really "dug in" with the paddle it plowed but if I relaxed a bit and paddled less forcefully the boat just glided over the water.
I am very pleased with the boat so far. I haven't done much "whitewater" yet (are that isn't my primary interest) but the little I have done has not been a problem and it is good to know the boat can handle it.