Submitted: 07-17-2003 by Nonsense9
Novice paddler, but someone who's spent a lot of time in canoes and rowboats. The Vista will turn on a dime. However, of the 7 kayaks I tried, the Vista dove to the windward side constantly. This was not paddling stroke or a bent boat. The only other yaks that weathervaned this much were a 12' Perception Sundance and the 12' Walden Scout.
You may any of my further comments due to inexperience, but I am trying to be objective. I know everyone loves their kayak. In fact, after reading every review of 12-14 foot kayaks on this website to date twice, I thought the Vista was going to be great--my first choice, in fact. Nice hull design, insulated, light, decent price...then I paddled it.
The Vista did offer some speed, but not so much more than other yaks that it could be said to be that much faster. (What is fast, anyway? Has anyone timed their speed between two points? If you do, please say so, otherwise "fast" is subjective). My biggest complaint was initial stability. This beautiful kayak felt like a surfboard balanced on a bowling ball. No, I did not tip it, take any water, or capsize; didn't even come close. On the other hand, I didn't plan on swimming back to shore and dumping out water on demo day, either, so the boat kept me honest...when I didn't want to be honest. Scary, but I thought the Scout was just as fast, and more stable--and I'm not in the market for a Scout, either. I had no problem with the cockpit design. The seat could have been better as offered, but if you spend that much time with your own kayak, modification to fit you perfectly really should be standard, so that's really not Walden's fault. A salesman did say I would hear less hull noise due to the Vista's design; I really didn't find this true. I do regret this review of the Vista, because I had its sights set high.