Submitted: 07-13-2005 by slaman
My wife and I have a pair of the B524 and find it to be a very versatile kayak. I've gone all day on flatwater lakes and rivers as well as a bit of class II Whitewater recently.
It is designed as an expedition touring kayak and tracks very well and certainly hit's that target very well. It is comfortable (I'm 6'1" 210lbs) and has footpeg-like supports at the bow. It has a zippered and bungie covered storage compartment (roughly 10"w x 16"l x 10"deep) at the stern (however this is not sealed and can get wet so recommend placing items in a drybag). The bow spray cover also has a mesh pocket, internal sleeve and bungie cords. This cover is zippered and fully or partially removable (nice for getting in/out with long legs), and encloses to a keyhole size combing. There are also D-Rings along the sides for securing other items.
One nice feature is that the floor chamber gives the craft different properties based on how much inflation you give it. Fully inflated, it is very rigid, and fully fills out the bottom (making it better performance - if a little tippy when sitting still - but otherwise very stable when moving). Softly inflated, and it's very forgiving and stable. Great for someone new or uncomfortable with initial tippiness.
The only negatives I really have is that it is difficult to really get the water completely out of the boat. If you swamp it in white water, it's easy enough to lift and dump water out, but you will need to towel out the water that collects in all the crevasses between the chambers when you are done.
I've scraped bottom, and hit rocks in the rough stuff and the craft barely shows any wear. It seems very ruggedly built.
A Spray skirt isn't yet available from Stearns, but from what I hear, the skirts for the airframe from advanced elements work nicely. This would certainly help with keeping water out in the first place.
All in all, I am very impressed with the B524 for it's adaptability.