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Submitted: 06-15-2004 by Rich

Looking for a good recreational kayak for a decent price? Confluence started a new company (Victory Kayaks) that has taken some of the old Wilderness System molds and made a line of budget kayaks. The Classic 12 is the old Pungo. I won't go through all of its features and instead I suggest those who want to get a sense of the Classic 12's performance to look at the Wilderness Systems' Pungo reviews.

A friend and I bought Classic 12s a couple of weeks ago and we're happy with them. Given that they are essentially re-badged Pungos, they have the same stability and superior tracking performance that people love Pungos for.

So what don't you get with a C12 that you would if you spent the extra money for a new Pungo? (1) Most noticeable is that you don't get one of those great Phase 3 seats. The C12 seat is pretty basic and could do with some cushioning. (2) There are also no bulkheads in the C12 and only a small rear hatch. The C12 flotation is a piece of pretty skimpy foam in the bow and stern, and I think at least one of these should be replaced with a flotation bag. Like the Pungo, the foot braces are also skimpy and some might want better ones. (3) The C12 has only minimal bungie cord rigging and more would be needed for anyone planning on carrying anything on deck. (4) As of 2004, I think the C12 only comes in the 4 primary colors (yellow, red, green, & blue).

Bottom line: If you want a less expensive, barebones yak that has most of the wonderful attributes of the Pungo, the Classic 12 may be what you're looking for. It's a good recreational kayak for beginners, and for those who'd like to pick up an extra one for not much $. Even though it lacks some of the nice features of the new Pungo, I give it an "8 out of 10" score because it paddles well and is lots of fun.

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