Submitted: 10-04-2004 by Doc Boink
Although I was a WSI who taught small craft safety (rowing, canoeing, sailing), many years ago, I have never ventured out in kayaks before. At age 58, I decided to follow a friend's lead into kayaking and without any knowledge of kayaks whatsoever bought a Perception 'Dancer' (great classic kayak for white water--wrong design completely for quiet water trips and large inland body touring). Soon sold the Dancer and started looking for a more suitable recreational kayak.
Several local kayak sellers suggested the Necky Manitou, explaining that it was a good recreational kayak with modest sea-keeping qualities (in other words a hybrid--not quite a sea-capable kayak, but able to track well, handle modest chop and weather within reason, and good for close-in estuaries).
I have found my new Manitou to be everything my 'kayak consultants' claimed it to be. Crafted of sturdy superlinear polyethylene material, it is built well, with great initial stability for my 160 pound 6 foot tall frame; underway, it tracks exceptionally well and enables fairly fast speeds on smooth water without much effort. A comfortable seat, adjustable, supportive backrest, and a rear sealed bulkhead (foam block bow flotation) all add to the utility and enjoyment enabled by this boat; of further benefit is the slightly larger cockpit, allowing easy access and egress.
At a weight of 45 pounds, it is an easy lift to stow on a cartop (even easier on a Honda Civic station wagon!), and shows promise of lasting for a good number of seasons.
My impression is that the Necky Manitou is a great kayak for beginners who want a boat that will 'grow' with their kayaking knowledge to accommodate a variety of still-water kayaking experiences, and provide many seasons of pleasure on smoother inland water. My only complaint is that the poly material is a bit too translucent--I'd have used a brighter, more opaque poly material (such as is used in the Wilderness Systems 'Pungo" series), since their deeper yellow is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the slightly 'washed out' Manitou yellow. A small complaint, perhaps.
In summary: money well spent for a great all-round recreational type kayak.