Submitted: 02-11-2006 by mikeschmid
After reading all of the reviews I felt like I had to chip in my 2 cents. I used the dolphin in Guantanamo Bay Cuba when I was stationed down there with the military in 2001. I made numerous trips averaging 11 miles with it. I found the dolphin to out perform all of the other kayaks available for renting. (and many since)I ran it through a guantlet of trials. I went into caves with the surf breaking into them, ran flat water up the river and played in the surging swells but the most impressive trial came by chance, a friend, paddling a sit inside kayak, and I were out where the bay meets the ocean having a blast cutting through jagged rock formations protruding through the breaking swells when, due to time constraints, we had to turn back. On our trip back in we paddled along cliffs for aways then ventured further away from the le of the land and out into fairly strong cross winds. Neither of us had rudders, yet the dophin tracked fine. My friend's kayak was all over the place and he was nearly exhausted as we rounded the point, completely leaving the lee of the land as we headed back for the rental ofice. We found ourselves heading straight into 30-35 knot winds with two to three foot white caps relentlessly pounding us. My friend bailed out and pulled up on land but I wanted to see what I, and this kayak could do. I admit is was a work out but I was impressed. I felt totally safe and in control as I forged ahead. This is where you realy appreciate the secondary stability. If you don't understand the difference between primary and secondary stability you may not be ready for the Dolphin. You probably do not understand the basic stroke or leans and the kayak may seem tippy to you, but once you understand and feel comfortable with secondary stability you'll know what everyone is talking about when they rate the Dolphin as a very stable and very well tracking kayak. As mentioned by others, the people who rated the boat low are either 220 plus or probably are not at home in a kayak yet. This is a remarkable handling boat. For many, the primary stability (barge stability) maybe what you need. I feel so confident in the dolphin that I am planning a 60 mile open ocean venture in the near future.