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Submitted: 03-20-2005 by Vic
I bought my Carolina 16 used from an outfitter so it has a few scuffs (typical wear), but otherwise is in great shape. The kayak came with all documentation and was made in December 2003.
I've been kayaking off and on for several years, and this is the first one I've ever purchased, so I did a lot of research before I bought it.
My first time out with it was amazing. I've always wanted a Carolina, but the first time I actually took it out I was thrilled with how fast and fun it is to paddle. It took little effort to paddle a few hundred yards on calm water. I have a fairly cheap paddle, but it didn't really matter, as it felt like the kayak just wanted to cruise.
I put it through its paces in a bay off the Gulf of Mexico (Naples, Fl area). Despite 7 knot winds and a decent current, I made great progress. I then took it into the Gulf to see how it handled 1-3 foot chop, and it easily smashed though the waves with little splash in my face. I was a bit surprised by how well it handled in rougher waters, especially since there was a small craft advisory as the afternoon progressed. Current yanked the back end around some, but I'm sure with the rudder that might have eliminated the drift.
Overall, the Carolina is an awesome kayak for anyone who wants to day tour in water that might get rough once in a while. I imagine it'll be great for short overnight trips, too, as its storage space is ample enough. Hatch covers are attached, so you don't have to worry about them floating away. I'm not sure I'd take the kayak somewhere for a week-long trek, but it'll at least do the job if you want to camp on an island for the weekend.
The inflatable seat adjustment is also a nice, helpful feature, though I'm told it's been even more refined with the latest models.
Besides all those features, the kayak isn't that heavy at about 60 lbs. I can handle it myself. Better still, it's only about 25 inches wide or so at the cockpit. If you're tall (I'm 6' and skinny), it's a perfect fit.