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Submitted: 03-13-2005 by korinda

I am a lifeguard and boating instructor on Dewart Lake at Camp Ella J. Logan in Indiana and I have been using the Islander Hula kayak for three years. Not only does Islander offer great colors, but a soft design. No snagging your swim suit on ill-shaped plastic and, unlike Ocean Kayaks, no back, abdomen, or thigh problems. You can sit comfortably in the Hula for three or four hours without feeling muscle strain. A back rest is always a nice addition for basic recreation, however.

The boat is lightweight and easy for one or two people to carry. Although there is no storage space on board, I have found that I can easily attach a cooler, water bottle, and/or throw rope to the front carrying hook. There is plenty of leg room so that you may even put a PFD under your legs.

My novice campers enjoy this particular boat because it is easy to turn and comfortable, so it is easy for them to learn the basics without having to work too hard to see a result of their skills. On the other hand, I have been kayaking for 7 years and I really enjoy this boat because I can hook up thigh straps and a paddle leash and head straight into the surf with a fun little boat that will do the job in the surf. It is stable and durable and, with the specially designed bailing system, does not retain excess water in the hull. It is also a great kayak for lifeguarding, as it is quick in the water.

The rocker (bottom underneath) and gunwales and rails (sides) are perfectly shaped to maximize versatility as a recreational kayak, but although it is a great boat for a novice to start with or an experienced kayaker to play in, an activity-specific kayak is a better choice for surfing and touring.

The only things I would add are a few more eyelets and the option of a fin package, but I give the Hula high marks and am pleased to suggest it.

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