Submitted: 06-21-2003 by richard
QCC500 Kevlar/Carbon Fiber. Paddler is male, 50 yrs., athletic, 5'10", 200#.
Before purchasing, I paddled at least 8 or 9 different kayaks for a few hours each. I thought that a plastic kayak would be best, because it could handle abusive treatment like running up onto a rocky shore. Along the way, I tried kayaks from Perception, Necky, Dagger, Current Design, and Wilderness Systems, to name a few. My kayak trials typically entailed a half day of paddling, although a few models were rejected after an hour or so at kayak demo days. The plastic kayak I enjoyed the most was the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165. That boat handles extremely well and fit my body (and butt) very well also. If a paddler doesn't want to spend the money on fiberglass, kevlar, or carbon fiber, the Wilderness System's Tempest (or Cape Horn series) is definitely worth checking out. However, once I paddled a couple of fiberglass boats (Swift Labrador Sea and Caspian Sea), I decided to explore better materials.
I relied on the reviews in Paddling.Net and found that QCC was consistently rated the highest by its owners. People always say that "word of mouth" is the best recommendation. In this case, it prompted me to explore the QCC website and talk with Phil about the different models. The model QCC500 is the best fit for me in the QCC product line, and I promptly ordered a DEMO model from the website. It arrived the next week, however, despite being well packaged and clearly marked, the trucking company decided to pick it up with a fork lift (holes in the box) and drop it on end (cardboard looked like an accordian). After carefully unpacking and inspecting the boat, it had a couple of cracks in the side and upper shell. I immediately contacted QCC expecting they would say something like: send it back and we'll issue you a credit towards another kayak. I was very pleased when they suggested that I use the current kayak for a 2 - 3 weeks while they build a new one exactly to my specs. Not more than 3 weeks later, the kayak arrived at the local truckiong company. I unpacked it on-site and re-packed the old one to return to QCC. In case you have any doubts or fears about doing business direct with the factory, you can rest assured that QCC offers SUPERB customer service and support. I would highly recommend QCC to anyone seeking an excellent fiberglass, kevlar, or carbon fiber kayak... at about 25 to 35% less than you would pay to a retail outlet.
In regards to the handling of the boat, fit, finish, quality of materials, workmanship, etc., the QCC is equal or superior to every competitive kayak I have seen or paddled. I use it every week to explore the rivers, intra-coastal waterways, and lakes in Florida and could not be more satisfied.
In regards to the comparison to plastic kayaks, one strong benefit of my QCC is the 43# weight, which I can carry under one arm. The plastic boats in similar sizes are all around 60 to 65#, which typically requires two people to carry to/ from the water.
Any questions, please feel free to send an e-mail to me. Other owners of QCC kayaks will also attest to the "WOW" factor of these kayaks. They look awesome!