Submitted: 01-17-2005 by psherman
I have wanted a Mystic for a long time, but it was financially out of my reach. However, the combination of a year-end sale and a generous cash Christmas gift suddenly put it within my reach, and it took me all of 2 days after that to finally own one (no flies on me!)!
I am a 5'2 woman of normal weight. This is my fourth kayak, all of which have been different widths. The one prior to this was the same length and one inch wider. What a difference that inch makes, along with the other differences in the design of the Mystic. I sit in the others to paddle--I *wear* the Mystic, it's like an extension of my body ("fits like a glove" is often used to describe the feel of the Mystic). This must be a large part of why it feels so stable to me, and felt that way from the first time I put it in water. There was literally no adjustment period with this kayak, no learning curve. THIS is what a kayak is supposed to feel like!
This is the only kayak in which I have been able to make use of the thigh braces. In every other one, it has been like sitting in the center of a couch and finding the arms of the couch to be so far away as to be useless, and then moving to a narrow easy chair with the arms nestled on either side of you. Oh, so this is how thigh braces work! And the Mystic's are padded underneath, just one of many details that make this a kayaker's dream boat.
As for performance, this is one very speedy little 14' craft. It laughs at river current as it effortlessly slices through it. It has an easily-deployed skeg for use in windy conditions (I haven't yet needed it). The seat back is perfectly positioned for comfort and support. Which brings me to one of my favorite aspects of this boat. I have been kayaking for about 3 years, this is my 4th kayak. In every other kayak, I have suffered from what I refer to as "kayak butt"--a condition that causes my right hip through the back of my right thigh to become increasingly uncomfortable after 30-40 minutes on the water--to the point of pain if I do not find a place to get out and stretch. I have attributed this to an old bout of sciatica and assumed it was part of the kayaking experience for me. My paddling trips were limited to places that offered stopping points at which to stretch and relieve this discomfort. I was very pleasantly surprised (this is an understatement!) to find that I can paddle the Mystic for 4 hours without getting out and not feel one trace of "kayak butt." It's taken several trips to get used to not always seeking a stopping point--it has also enabled me to paddle the four miles to the top of my favorite river and back, something I could never do before because of the lack of places to get off the water to stretch. It must be the seat dynamics--whatever it is, this has changed kayaking for me.
It sits low in the water; the boat is 11" deep rather than the 15" I have become used to in my other kayaks. I like this very much and I think it contributes to the stability.
The Mystic is a pricey boat but if you can handle the cost and you fit the size recommendation (80-190 lbs), I can't possibly recommend it enough--it's worth every penny of the cost (even at full price!). I'd also like to mention the unbelievably friendly customer service you will get from Impex, which is based in NC. Ask them anything via email and you will receive a reply almost immediately. Their website has a message board that is monitored by the owners, unlike other kayak sites that are left to fend for themselves.
My kayak buying days are over; in my opinion you just can't do better than the Mystic. And if you don't fit the size or weight requirements, I suggest you look into other Impex models. These people know how to build kayaks.