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Submitted: 08-13-2004 by Bill

Just got back from my 2nd paddle. It's a very good inflatable kayak, not perfect but very good. The weak points, if you can call them that, are the so-called military inflation valves #1 and #2 for the 2 main air chambers. They take a bit of TLC to work properly but once you get the hang of it, all goes well. The boat tracks like an inflatable, wobbles just a bit, but nothing excessive. I especially like the stability and the ease of getting in and out of it. The inflatable floor gives you plenty of support even for a 6' 1" 195 pounder like myself. I wouldn't think of putting a plywood floor in which seems to have been done on earlier versions. This one is plenty stiff. I paddled in a moderate chop on a large salt water inlet and felt very comfortable both going out and coming in. It can't be compared to a hard shell touring kayak as far as speed is concerned but it does get up to its own speed in fairly short order and doesn't require a lot of effort to keep moving at a reasonable pace. I like the light weight, the speed of inflation (under 10 minutes the 2nd time!) and the compact size when it's all stowed in its duffel bag. The workmanship and materials used are first class. Most importantly, when properly inflated it looks like a kayak! At REI's price of $339.95, I'd call it a best buy. I have a friend who's a condo dweller who has limited storage space. I'm going to start working on him to get him to buy one too!
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