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Submitted: 09-05-2005 by salliez
Looks like nobody who has posted before me has tried this boat in surf. I would advise you not to do so. In flat water this boat is fine - it's stable, easy to handle and such, but when you get it out in surf, it has a big issue. At first I had a blast riding the waves, but the one time I did happen to capsize in the surf, the little hatch lid popped open and suddenly the hull was full of seawater. The boat naturally becomes a beast to handle when it's loaded with water, so you have to get it back up on the beach (weighing a ton, since it has so much water in it) and drain it by the little plug at the stern before you can continue. If you don't drain it, the waves will punish you for being lazy and leaving the hull heavy; the bow won't pop over the waves like it should but instead plunges down into them and you take a beating.
This boat was borrowed - but the owner said he had the same problem with the hatch coming off in rough water. Personally, if I owned it, I would glue the hatch shut (after thoroughly drying it out inside) and apply a watertight seal around it to keep the thing from ever opening again. It's not like that little hatch is very useful anyway - if I needed to bring gear or something along (not when surf-playing) I'd stick a dry bag under the bungee cord in the stern instead.
Wilderness Systems! Fix that hatch issue and you'd have a fun little surf boat! I would have rated it with a 9 or so (not a 10 because it doesn't paddle as fast as some other SOT kayaks I've used) had I not had this hatch thing happen. As it is now, it's just an average little flat water SOT kayak (and a longer boat would track so much better in flat water), so I gave it a 5.
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