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Submitted: 09-02-2002 by Jim

I live on the edge of the Pine Barrens in Southern New Jersey. We have some very beautiful and interesting areas to kayak and canoe. Water levels have been pretty tricky since we have been in pretty consant drought conditions this year. I bought my Loon 138 a couple of weeks ago as a left over from a very congenial and knowledgeable gentleman named "George" (I forget his two dogs names!) at the Paddle Shack in Mays Landing, NJ. I looked at several entry level boats and found that even though the Loon was not the flashiest or sleekest I kept coming back to it. I should mention that I am 5'11 and 275 lbs! Obviously ease of ingress and egress were of great importance followed closely by stability! During my first 3 days of ownership I took my yak out on Lake Lenape 2x and both up and down pretty long stretches of the Great Egg River. I was pretty fortunate in that we had a heavy rain 1 day before my adventures up and down the river. Those of you that have paddled in the Pine Barrens know that our rivers are clear and brown colored form all the tannin in the roots and soil-not to mention that our streams are probably the most winding that you will find anywhere! It may be 2 miles "as the crow flies" but it's double that following all the twists and turns! I had a few problems going up river with the Loon but I may be able to attribute that to my lack of experience with a kayak. I found my trips very enjoyable and the boat to handle well for me. I like the large cockpit and the ample areas for storage both front and back. The seat stops do seem a little "cheesy" but so far they have held for me. I do find that my PFD rides up from the high seat back, but this is a small price to pay for the comfort of the seat. The weight does make it a little cumbersome to lift up onto the car top (Jeep Grand Cherokee) but I find if I approach and mostly push it up onto the contoured foam blocks from the rear, that it goes pretty well.The Loon 138 has a few minuses but I feel they are far outweighed by the plusses at least for my specific needs. I would recommend it for anyone as a general recreatioin/touring kayak.
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