Submitted: 06-20-2005 by dan-philly
This is an update to my earlier review. Since that time, I've paddled the OI in a wide variety of conditions, from very big (10 ft) surf and swells to windy conditions on the Great Lakes. In all fairness, rating a boat with a number system is tricky, because if you are using a boat designed for one purpose for a different one, it will get a low rating.
The OI was clearly not designed for surfing or big water conditions. The boat has little rocker, and the bow plunges when paddling out through or surfing down big waves. It has so little maneuverability, it is absurd. However, it was not designed for these tasks and understandably does not perform well in these conditions.
The OI does do many things well, such as track straight, run fast and roll. It is amazing how well it rolls, and yet is beyond stable in all conditions.
My biggest problem with the OI is that despite its low profile, it is affected by wind. The bow consistently wants to blow downwind and off course. This behavior means that the skeg is a useless ornament, serving only to exacerbate this problem when deployed. People have suggested weighting the front end to rectify this. Perhaps that will work, but it will make an already none too buoyant bow even less so.
Not to be misunderstood, I very much enjoy paddling the OI, and would recommend it to those paddlers who do not rely on a skeg to maintain course, who enjoy rolling for fun, who camp only overnight or daytrip, and who appreciate the comfortable fit and nice finish and appearance.