Submitted: 03-06-2005 by mrule
I just received my new Sonoma last week and it has not yet been in the water and I am a new paddler, so look upon any comments with that in mind.
I love the boat and its compromises are well suited to my needs. However, it has some serious issues from construction and (presumably) handling that I would suggest you look for if you purchase or own one.
I had looked at kayaks for ages and bought the Sonoma within a day of seeing Outdoorplay's price including delivery and with no tax. Cool.
It arrived in only 3 days. However on unwrapping it, I found the bolt ahead of fore bungie clip had been overtightened. This produced a 1/2" stress fracture in the gel coat and a "whitening" stress line in the plastic of about 2". Also, the bow foam support leaned rather dramatically, with the centerline being about 1" from the edge of the 4" wide foam. I sent pictures to Outdoorplay and they made a reasonable adjustment to the price and I effected an ugly repair necessitating drilling the ends of the crack and filling the surface. Not a problem as I intend to cover it with a compass. However, the boat also showed signs of really sloppy glue work- smeared on the front of the hull and not wiped off at application??(it can't be removed now) and just generally poor workmanship. To add to these woes (on such a gorgeous little kayak!), I think the boat has been poorly handled. It has a bonk in the bow in the hull and one on the deck about 1" ahead of the crack. Most importantly, the decking overhang is cracked in a long continuous split where it overhangs the hull, exactly the length of the Perception writing and logo on the port side. If I had seen this earlier, I never would have accepted the boat. I have no idea how that long crack could occur without damaging the hull, but it is there, and now glued. There are a few other small dents in the surface and I would guess that the material has a "memory" and retains them.
My conclusion is that Perception has a very nicely designed and attractive kayak that is being very indifferently assembled. Caution is advised.