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Submitted: 11-08-1999 by DFM
I purchased the Echo after long deliberation. My wife and I love to kayak in the San Francisco Bay. In single kayaks we would often become separated due to different paddling speeds. I wasn't a big fan of the large doubles mostly because they were very wide and difficult to transport. I found the fiberglass Echo at a local retailer and was impressed by its dimensions and fit. At 18 feet long, it fits into my garage nicely. The 25" beam allows the boat the feel of a sleeker craft with excellent secondary stability. It tracks nicely in calm water. With wind and chop, the rudder is necessary. This kayak is very fast and seaworthy. We have taken it through some tough conditions on the San Francisco bay without ever feeling a loss of control.
Recently I purchased a neoprene cockpit cover to paddle the Echo solo. To my surprise it paddled very well. The rudder was not necessary, even in chop and a breeze. It handled the currents around Alcatraz without difficulty. I was careful to avoid hull slap over some of the larger ferry wakes which was not difficult when taking the swells obliquely. I recommend this kayak to anyone in a similar situation, namely intended use with a partner ~75% of the time and desire to paddle solo on occasion. The 18 foot length and 70 lb weight make it fairly easy to transport and store.