Submitted: 01-17-2005 by CarabouJim
I LOVE THIS BOAT. I'm 5'6", 220, and paddled a Perception Eclipse for 2 years, and an America for 2 years before that. I was never completely comfortable with the Eclipse (too buoyant) and because of this, limited my paddling to "safe" locales, days and techniques. I bought the Caribou used from Rusted Moon Outfitters in Indianapolis, and after a brief adjustment to the lower initial stability, have really learned to kayak. I am now comfortably doing braces, edging, and leaning for sweep turns, things I would have NEVER had the confidence to try before. The boat tracks well without the skeg, requiring very modest paddling corrections in anything less than fierce wind and with the skeg down, feels like it's on a rail. The skeg control is a solid slider next to the cockpit, and several friends have commented on how much they wish their boats had this control.
It carves turns easily on edge, and will sit on one side of the hard chined hull with considerable stability. It is the fastest boat I've tried or been around. While not a speedster (age 55), I have not had trouble keeping up with anyone in the paddling group, and can paddle for hours very comfortably.
My only criticism is the crappy backband, but I replaced it with an NSI whitewater band, and now am PERFECTLY COMFORTABLE all day.
The hull of this boat has NO round areas, and is completely multi-flat surfaced. It takes some getting used to, as it wants to lean over on one edge or the other when standing still, but it is a dream to paddle.