Submitted: 02-05-2003 by BigJockJoe
Bought the 2000 version of the Merlin XT in Carbonlite. This kayak is finished inside and out very very well. Anyone considering this kayak should definately TRY IT OUT before purchasing. I bought mine in the winter and didn't try it first. Cockpit opening was a major problem-too small for tall/heavier people. Definately a smaller-person boat. The hard plastic seat and seatback were also numbing after only a short distance. I think my biggest gripe was stability. Think you might like to quit paddling the Merlin XT and take a break? NO WAY JOSE! Unless you want to do eskimo rolls. Just sitting still in the XT was a feat only a high wire artist could appreciate. I have never sat in a kayak so tippy in my entire life. It has a pronounced V hull, and even at 23 inches in width, this thing was like straddling a torpedo. You simply couldn't take a rest or God forbid try to open your sprayskirt for a drink or a snack! I gave it the benefit of a doubt and took it out on three different occasions in three different environments to see if it was just a fluke, but I came away disliking this kayak more each time. Luckily, I sold it for more than I paid for it, so that wasn't disappointing. Definately NOT a beginners kayak, and not one for taller/heavier people. Quality and workmanship are top-notch, however the carbonlite isn't that light in weight. The newer version of this kayak has a much larger cockpit opening- but that still doesn't address the stability issue at all.