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Submitted: 11-09-2004 by JW

As has been stated previously, this is a fantastic boat! I have owned my Avatar 16.0 for approx. 1 year, and have enjoyed every moment. Several excellent points have been in previous reviews, as well as some unfair ones. It is not my intent to criticize, but I do not understand how it is possible to buy and spend nearly $1500 on a boat without first checking it for proper fit and comfort. To berate a fine kayak because one makes a poor decision is not the fault of the kayak. That being said, the Avatar is as close as a performance kayak can come to being perfect in plastic.

This boat responds to your every input, turns on a dime, accelerates quickly and holds its speed, and rolls like a dream. I have found the fit and finish to be well above average for a plastic boat. Ninety percent of being happy with any boat is knowing what you want out of your kayak. If you want a performance-oriented, British style kayak with a skeg, but don't want to fork out the cash for a composite, this boat should be on your short list. If you want rock-solid initial stability, get a bath tub, not an Avatar. If you want to wear your boat and make it an extension of yourself, buy this type of boat. Please don't buy a British style performance kayak and then complain that it is not a Lazy Boy.

I do not recommend this boat for people with large feet, or those who wish to wear hiking boots while paddling. British style boats are shaped differently from conventional kayaks and require that you make some adjustments to how you position your feet, and are much more comfortable if you wear booties or water socks. In my opinion, this is one of the most comfortable boats on the market.

Storage capacity is limited in the front by the sloping deck, and in the rear by the skeg box, so it is not suitable for month-long excursions. I have found the hatch covers and bulkheads to be virtually water tight even when rolling and practicing safety maneuvers. Deck rigging is adequate for most uses. The skeg operates well, though it is sometimes necessary to adjust the bungee and clean out the skeg box. The seat and backrest are quite comfortable, though the slotted back rest does not facilitate the use of rolls requiring the back deck; I replaced my back band with an aftermarket Harmony for about $25. The cockpit measures 34"X19" so spray deck choices are practically limitless.

I can not stress enough that a potential buyer needs to decide what type of boat they want. There are advantages and sacrifices made with every boat, no one kayak can do everything. If you buy an Avatar, don't turn around and bash it for not being a Carolina. If you consider yourself to be an aggressive paddler who wants to wear your boat and do things you didn't know you could do in a boat, the Avatar is a fine choice. Accept this boat (just like any other) with its limitations. In the case of this fantastic kayak, I believe the advantages FAR outweigh the limitations.

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