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Submitted: 10-24-2005 by Harris
I purchased a Pamlico 100 as my first kayak back in the spring. Originally I looked into the Tsunami 140 but decided I wanted something small and more manageable to develop basic skills as well as something I could easily store on the deck of our sailboat. The salesman warned me that I would probably outgrow this boat within a season. Now at the end of the season (here in Ontario) I wholeheartedly agree with him.
The majority of my paddling was on a small calm lake where I would paddle 2-4 hours a day. For this usage I found it to be more than adequate. I however, found myself immediately wishing for something a bit longer and faster. The area where it really shines is in it's convenience for storing and transport as well as it's user friendliness.
I had the chance several times to try it out on Long Point Bay (Lake Erie), paddling from our anchored sailboat to shore. It tracks reasonably well (I don't have much for comparison) although for someone of my paddling ability I found it to be a fairly intense workout in windier conditions and wouldn't want to be far from shore on days like that.
Two problems that I had: one is that the plastic was very quickly to deform on the hull bottom after a couple car rackings. I tried to be careful not to make the straps too tight, but still seemed to have a little bit of cave in. Perhaps this is due to my own inexperience. The second and most critical point is the lack of bulkheads. I did several test wet exits and when this sucker fills (and it fills fast) it is hard to recover from. I ended up getting a lot of extra bow and stern flotation just for peace of mind. You most likely will never tip this boat unless you try but if you did and did so without flotation, you could find yourself in an undesirable situation fast.
As a first boat I was happy with what the Pamlico had to offer, knowing before I bought it that it would neither provide me with the tracking and speed of a rec/tourer or the swift water skills of a white water boat. The lower price allowed me to get into a boat without too much commitment into one aspect of kayaking. I have since taken several white water clinics and have decided that it is more to my liking than open water paddling.
For its purpose as a purely recreational boat for casual play and paddle I would give it an 8 or 9. This boat is for the true beginner / younger / leisure paddler and anyone getting serious about paddling will look for something more robust.
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