Submitted: 01-24-2006 by theyakfisher
I've had my Whistler for a few months now and have paddled open water, flat and slow moving rivers so I feel compelled to write up something in hopes to help a would be buyer with their decision. I've paddled recreational type boats for about 10 years now and have no need for a long skinny composite touring sea kayak. For me paddling is a means to an end, like fishing or camping so stability takes precedence over speed/efficiency. My criteria for a new boat was a polyethylene hull to be able to handle oyster bars without complaint. A cockpit big enough to fish from but small enough to keep the ocean out if need be. A high enough volume to be able to pack a week's worth of gear into. A rudder to provide a little hands free control while fishing. And stable enough to stare straight up at the sky without tipping over. The Whistler fits the bill pretty nicely.
It handles like a '74 Buick Electra 225. Heavy as heck but glides forever once you get it moving. Maneuvers well enough for small creeks, and seaworthy in open water. Hard to control in a following sea but manageable considering the wide beam that's carried far forward. That's where it gets its high volume so everything's a trade-off. You can really pack a lot of gear in the hatches and it stays dry if you keep water out of the cockpit. Hatches don't leak, bulkheads do.
I have to consciously try not to drive it too hard because one of my previous boats had accelleration instead of glide. This boat has glide and once moving only takes minimal energy to keep it going. Overall considering my needs, I feel good about my decision. This will be my primary boat for slow rivers, salt water estuaries, large lakes, ponds and open water sounds. Oh yeah, the seat though unpadded is quite comfortable even over long periods. Rating scale, 10 is perfect and doesn't exist. 9 cannot be improved upon. 8 means very happy with decision, haven't found better considering my needs.