Submitted: 12-09-2004 by atmoltmaker
I have only had this kayak for a couple of weeks and only paddled it a few times but I consider this to be an excellent kayak. Tracks like a dream. I can edge the kayak quite far before it starts to roll over. It is fairly fast (you won't win any races, but you won't be left in the dust either) I had no problems overall keeping up with a Current Design Gulfstream.
The three hatches keep everything dry no matter how much water gets on them and I have given them a bit of abuse on a few occasions. I do wish that there was a bulkhead between the day hatch and the rear hatch but that is a minor detail overall. The hatch covers are somewhat difficult to close, you must make sure to press them down all the way around. Once you know this they are excellent covers.
I am not a big rudder fan but I am learning to adapt to the rudder as I go. So far I really haven't had much reason to use the rudder except to play around with the turning in some small and confined spaces. I don't like the foot pegs on the rudder equipped boats. They are still way to mushy even with the rudder up and in the parked position. I have had the rudder come loose from the parked position when I was doing a low brace turn. Not a lot of fun. I am in the process of replacing the foot pegs with Seal Line Toe Pilot foot pegs .I think this will help tremendously.
As everyone knows the Phase 3 seating is fantastic. I have had no problems with any part of my lower body falling asleep or hurting after paddling. I would prefer a lower seatback but again this is a minor detail overall. I may remove the seatback and install a shorter backband at some point but I am not in a hurry to do that. We will see how well it rolls and then I will make a decision from that point.
The cockpit is a little on the large size for even me. I am 6ft, 200 lbs. I will be adding some hip braces and I have adjusted the thigh braces as well to suit my needs. The thigh braces are extremely easy to adjust. Wilderness Systems even gives you a screw driver to adjust the braces.
Overall an excellent kayak for those of you looking for a smaller touring kayak. I had storage issues and don't have enough room to store a 16 or 17 ft kayak. I can't give it a 10 but it is very, very close.