Submitted: 02-28-2005 by BIRDZONE
I purchased a new Whistler to replace an Advanced Elements inflatable. We had purchased the inflatables anticipating only occasional use. We soon found that we wanted to paddle often, so we wanted hard kayaks with greater range and seaworthiness (along with less maintenance). I paddled a Necky Manitou, Current Designs Kestrel, Dagger Catalyst, Current Designs Breeze, Whistler and Necky Zoar Sport LV.
I am 6'0", 170#, shoe size 11. Of all those kayaks, the Whistler and Zoar Sport LV are in an entirely different class. The Breeze is nothing like the Whistler. Although similar, the Whistler tracks MUCH better, faster, no loss in stability, etc. - no downside. The Zoar Sport LV is actually similar to the Whistler and will also fit guys my size and larger.
Fit wise, my only complaint is the Whistler isn't very comfortable for my feet. With its high foredeck, it seems odd. I'll keep working on the foot comfort problem, but, it seems to be a matter of hull shape and peg placement. Peddle adjusters similar to Necky would be nice. Pivoting foot pedals would be much better,
Performance wise, the Whistler is everything it should be. We paddle in lakes, bays, estuaries and sloughs. I wanted a kayak I could develop my skills in and be happy for a few years. The dry compartments fore and aft and hull design seem to provide a margin of safety when the water gets rough. I always feel comfortable in the boat. I also like the handling. I don't use the rudder much. Open water with wind and/or current makes it nice to have though.
We also bought a Zoar Sport LV which my wife is using. I know she likes it a lot. We'll post on that later.