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Submitted: 05-16-2005 by bruce
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I am 5'9 and 150 lbs. and purchased a Calabria to begin my second year of kayaking. Prior to the Calabria, I paddled a WS Pamlico 135T tandem primarily with my wife, kids, and occasionally solo. I have taken it out in both calm and windy conditions. I am very pleased that I purchased this kayak.

I did not demo it prior to purchase because most of the water in the upper Midwest was in a solid state. However I sat in it for a long time at Canoecopia (some of the more experienced paddlers on this board informed me that comfort is an extremely major factor even if you do not get a chance to demo).

Here are my general impressions:

  • The plastic is durable, stiff, and well-molded (extrusion blow-molded; not rotomolded).
  • The seat, imho, is more comfortable than the WS Phase 3 seats. The Calabria seat is rigid and keeps you vertical and comfortable for long periods. There is a little storage area in back of the seat which can be used for average-sized dry bags.
  • The foot rests are solid, firm and comfortable and the adjustable thigh braces are a great feature.
  • Initial and secondary stability are very good.
  • The yak is fast for a 14'5" boat with a 25" beam. It glides and carves through the water. I have no idea what effect the trihedral hull has because it still looks like a relatively flat bottom to me.
  • Tracking is very straight in calm conditions. On windy days, the Calabria has a tendency to weathercock a bit more than expected. The yak comes rudder-ready but in the near-term, I would prefer to refine my technique. It can be leaned and edged fairly easily and has a hard chine.
  • The Calabria is costly for a plastic yak- $1,100. A few hundred dollars extra for a preferable yak was not an issue for me.
  • It comes in only three colors in 2005: red, mango and turquoise- I selected the mango.
  • The Calabria is a high volume boat and I think it would comfortably fit paddlers of many varying sizes.
  • There is no front bulkhead; just a form-fitting flotation bag. This did not matter to me because I will use it primarily for day trips on lakes, rivers, and the Great Lakes in non-threatening conditions.
  • The yak is 50 lbs. and is easy to car top.
  • Storage space is good but I will not need that much.
  • The personnel at Prijon were very responsive when I e-mailed them for info.
  • The coaming is firm and it's easy to enter and exit the keyhole-shaped cockpit. The keyhole shape is also nice because when I'm ready for a cigar and Gatorade break on the water, I can rest my feet outside the cockpit.
In summary, the Calabria is a great transitional hybrid model when you want to graduate from a basic recreational yak to something somewhat more advanced; without being overwhelmed.

Thanks to Maximadude and the other reviewers of this boat for their insightful comments.

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