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Reviews for Sundance 9.5 Kayak by Perception Sport


Rated: 9.2/10 Based On: 44 Reviews

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10-14-2013
Submitted by: KarenSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Feels stable yet sleek. Easy to handle. Spunky. The streamlining and "cuts" resemble a canoe. It has a nice, wide cockpit but cuts through the water with ease. Very nice kayak. Haven't tested it yet in rough water. With only calm lake water so far as a test, I'll give Sundance a "9" at this point. She may yet rate a "10" though on future adventures!
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05-08-2013
Submitted by: JMSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've paddled lots of kayaks and I think this design is very stable and fast compared to other yaks of similar size. The seat is comfy and fully adjustable in the one I got, foot room is a little cramped so I would say shorter people will be more comfy. I have always stayed away from yaks that have tunnels in the bottom, I thought this slowed them down but I must say that is not the case with this model and it improves the tracking immensely.

I highly recommend this kayak for recreational lake and creek paddling. I see no reason it won't do fine in a river but since I have not taken it in one yet I won't comment on its suitability. I bought this new this month but it was manufactured in Sept. of 2010, the material is not the flimsily plastic you find used in a lot of newer models.

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12-18-2012
Submitted by: jodySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     It's slow, but you get acceptable speed for it's length and width. Obviously, this is not for touring. It's tracking is flawless and you never feel unsafe in this vessel. I'm 6' 200lb and I fit well in this boat. It's not built for comfortable long journeys, but for a few hours on the water it's comfortable enough. I've had it for three years now and had a lot of fun with it. it's time to move to a faster boat though.
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03-16-2012
Submitted by: jaredSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just got the boat today an i love it. Its very smooth in the water even when its chopy it is very hard to flip it will go to this one point but it wont flip the seat was nice and the foot pegs where just right for my feet an i was out there for 3 hours and if i didn't need to leave i would be out there all day. The only down side is it don't have a hatch but there is a lot of room behind the seat for a 9.5 it is a really good boat and i think it will last me a long time im very happy with it this is the boat to buy for lakes and rivers all in all it is the perfect boat for beginners or experienced people
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08-23-2011
Submitted by: RBMSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased my 9.5 about three weeks ago as an alternative to bicycling; paddle one day and pedal the next. I've had plenty of experience with canoes; but this is my first Kayak. I live on a river that goes into the Gulf in Florida.
The little boat's been great and handles very well. I think it's a great purchase for the money.

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08-15-2011
Submitted by: PeegeeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This boat rocks! It is my first kayak and I had only kayaked twice prior to buying this. I use it every day in the ocean and on lakes. I have NEVER flipped it. Whoever said it flipped easily is not a very good paddler. I have gone through waves and boat wakes and never had a problem.

This boat is so fun there are no words. I would really have liked a small hatch and a cup holder but I make do. There is enough room for a large dry bag as well as my kayak cart. I could want no more for a little

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08-09-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Excellent little boat, picked one up for my girlfriend, nice to have a little light boat you can just lay in the bed of the truck. I put my Looksha 14 on the roof and the Sundance in the bed and off we go. I was actually surprised how nice the seat is for a "cheap" boat, the foot rests are also on par with far more expensive boats. Too bad it does not have any bulk heads or hatches but for a 9.5' boat you can't really expect it to. For a short boat it tracks reasonably well and has descent hull speed. throw on a 4.2 spray skirt and you could have lots of fun in the surf or light rapids...
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08-08-2011
Submitted by: JPSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife has one & has never had any issues keeping it right-side up... and, no, neither she or I work for Perception. This kayak is very stable (in the three years that my wife has been paddling this kayak, she has flipped it only once) & it tracks reasonably well. We have six kayaks, of which three are Perceptions. Unless we're doing class III or higher, my wife always uses her Sundance 9.5.
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07-19-2011
Submitted by: geneSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     I do not know who has been gushing over this kayak, probably hired by the company. I recently bought two kayaks. One for me and one for my son. I got the Old Town Vapor 10 and he bought the Perception Sundance 9.5 because it looked cool. The Vapor was incredibly stable in the water while my 20 yr old son rolled his Sundance 9.5 not 30 seconds after he launched it. Being the good father I traded with him and could barely get my Vapor 10 back from him. The next day I took the Sundance out for one last run to see if I should trade it in or not. That thing is tippy and has a large opening without much freeboard I wound up rolling it half way into my trip. Yeah, a spray skirt would have helped, but when the seat is several inches off the floor your center of gravity is working against you the whole time.

Bottom line... you do not know me and I do not know you but I was sent terribly askew when I was reading all of those glowing reviews.

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06-12-2011
Submitted by: JP
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just got back from my first outing with the Sundance 9.5. All I have to say is that its an AWESOME little 'yak!! Turns great, handles mildly choppy *2ft chop* waters extremely well, staying stable the entire time! Tracks well and with the good amount of leg room/cockpit space, you can easily pull an overnighter with this kayak. For $300, I'd have to say that its probably one of the most versatile kayaks that you'll find!!
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03-01-2011
Submitted by: TM
Rating: 8 of 10

     I purchased my Perception Sundance used in 2008 for $200.00 and will never even consider selling it! It is so easy to grab and go for a quick Yak ride down the local lakes. This is easily one the best starter Kayaks...Tracks well, Turns well and is light enough to cartop. Did I mention that Gander Mountain has them on sale every spring for under $300.00! I did upgrade to a Dagger Savannah 14.6 for more performance and storage...But the Sundance will always be a part of the fleet!
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08-09-2010
Submitted by: JMBSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased the Perception Sundance 9.5 a few weeks ago and I love it. It's my first kayak, so I'm not experienced, but so far it has worked out great. I've paddled in San Francisco Bay a few times with it, as well as several times along some smoother areas of the American river, and it has performed just fine. My only complaint so far it that sometimes it tends to not track as well as I'd like, drifting off to the right. I would recommend to any first time kayak buyer!
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07-19-2010
Submitted by: Sharon G.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently bought the Sundance 9.5 and LOVE it. I am a novice kayaker, and have only owned a tandem kayak, used about 5 times. I realized I wanted my own kayak, and hadn't seen reviews on this kayak till after purchase. I am so thrilled, the reviews are awesome. I also give it a solid 10 score. Very comfortable, very nice looking, handles wonderfully. Not too heavy to carry even for a small woman. I have used this kayak in lakes and in the river, with no problems. Very stable, quick and easy to handle. I highly recommend this jewel of a kayak
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06-14-2010
Submitted by: KennyBSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had one of these since March of 2006 and have no complaints. I have paddled in lakes, rivers, ponds, and the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. the latter not in the best of weather and still felt safe. I highly recommend the Sundance 9.5
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08-07-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just got in from my first paddle in my brand new Sundance 9.5. The reviews here strongly influenced my decision to buy the thing (thank you), and I couldn't be more pleased.

I paddled up a short section of the Cape Fear here in Erwin, NC. I went upstream, through small rapids (easy), portaged one small rapid that I couldnít paddle up (lightweight and easy to enter/exit). The boat tracked very well upstream and on rails downstream. I knew I had bought the right boat from the moment that my paddle hit the water. By the time I turned around to come home, I was in love.

I wanted a cheap boat that could do a little of everything. Instead I got a cheap boat that does a little bit of everything and is comfortable, fits in (yes IN) my Pilot, looks pretty cool, and is super fast for a wide 9.5. The best part is that I got all that for less than $350!

When you really think about it, this boat is designed perfectly for what it is. It has an almost magical balance of speed, maneuverability, and stability. If you want a short, all-purpose Rec. boat, this is your choice. It just makes paddling easy!

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07-26-2009
Submitted by: Chappy SinclairSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought my Sundance 9.5 in 2003 and just love it. I'm 6ft 230 lbs and I rip this thing all over up to class 3 with a Dagger approach skirt! Plenty of room behind the seat for overnight trips and responsive handling make this little rec boat slap the S#$T out of similar models. And no it's not an upgraded Swifty. Entirely different hull design for the guy who obviously knows very little about hull design.
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07-01-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A 10 for sure. Paid $319.00 bought 2 boats. Handles lake, rivers and streams very well. Loading is no problem. A good solid boat. Stable, responsive, and very VERY comfortable seat. Nice adjustments too. Great room for cooler and food or tent. I'm 6' plus and have plenty of footpegs left.
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06-15-2009
Submitted by: JAR
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my Sundance about 2 months ago --$350. This kayak does everything I want it to do very well. I live on a Class1--Class2 river and this boat handles it with a lot of stability, control, and maneuverability. I can easily, at the last minute, skirt around hidden rocks and avoid rough waters. Never felt out of control or on the verge of tipping. On medium size lakes it tracks very straight and with pretty good speed.

It is a fun boat to be in especially with the large cockpit and adjustable foot-pegs. I still have not purchased a skirt yet and don't think I will. Great boat!!

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06-06-2009
Submitted by: MelissaSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I absolutely love this boat. Granted, it's my first one, but I've had it for about six months and have no complaints. This boat handles beautifully. It is highly maneuverable and very steady. I've had it in some pretty heavy chop and taken some waves from power boats and have never felt like I was going to tip. I don't have a skirt or deck for it either and it took on minimal water. Also, even though the chop obviously slowed me down, this kayak still cuts through it and keeps a decent pace (and I'm not that strong of a paddler yet).

I chose this shorter length so my boyfriend (who has a Swifty 9.5) can strap them down in the bed of his Chevy S10 and go. It also has tons of storage space and leg room. It's quite comfortable to to sit in for an extended period. I'm hoping to add some extra flotation and get a full or half skirt so I can take it out on some more challenging trips (no open seas though but possibly the intercoastal on a calm day).

My biggest "complaint" would be that it is not easy for me to re-enter in deep water. I know that this a sacrifice that is made when you get a recreational instead of a sea kayak though. However, my boyfriend can pop right into his Swifty (which is similar to the Sundance) from deep water with no assistance, so I'm hoping that with some practice and a paddle float I'll have some better luck. We live in Florida and it would be nice to be able to get out, swim, and get back in without dragging it to shore. I also had a bad experience where I flipped (my fault) and the "shore" was hip-deep, soupy mud.

All in all though I feel this is a very versatile kayak that can handle everything but large waves. And you can't beat being able to take them along without having to use the roof (no wind drag=less money spent on gas). I would definitely recommend this kayak if you're like me and want to do more than just ponds and small rivers but don't want to lug around a big long boat.

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08-29-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am a novice kayaker and this is the first kayak (besides an inflatable) that I have purchased. I purchased the Sundance 9.5 for two reasons. The first reason was size. I need something small and light because I'm a small woman. I also wanted something that could fit into my Honda CRV without the need to put it on the roof rack. The second reason I purchased this was because it looked to be well made and it was a Perception. The seat felt really comfortable and it was fully adjustable.

Getting into it wasn't really difficult although it was mostly grounded in the shallow water when I stepped in. I just pushed off with my hand to get moving. I was a little nervous about the tippyness being that I have never been in a real hard shell kayak before but after awhile I realized I wasn't going to tip over.

The speed was a little on the slow side but I'm not a fast paddler (not yet anyway). Also I felt that it didn't track perfectly straight unless I put an effort into a good paddling technique. But by no means did I get off course at all, it was more of a slight tracking offset (less than a foot either way) without using a good paddling technique.

This kayak was very easy to handle and turn which I liked. I'm more interested in maneuverability than speed. I would have liked some more convenience features with this kayak though. The water bottle holder is in an ok spot. It's not too difficult to reach. But it would have been nice to have a paddle holder already attached to it.

My first impression of this kayak is a good one. I'm only planning on using it on lakes and it should fit my needs well.

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05-02-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had my Sundance 9.5 for about a year and a half. It's a good boat for its intended purpose, stable, comfortable seat, easy to get in and out. Tracking and speed are OK for its size. The only minor complaint I have is the water bottle holder on the deck behind the seat -- not the most convenient place. I also bought a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 around the same time. I still have the Sundance while the Pamlico lives somewhere else now.
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04-10-2006
Submitted by: MT
Rating: 10 of 10

     I don't understand why Perception mentions only lakes and ponds for the Sundance 9.5 while they also list calmer rivers for the swifty. We now have two Sundance kayaks and love them. They handle so well, even around winds, waves, and boats. We have had them in some really rough weather and never been in danger of flipping. I'm totally satisfied.
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01-10-2006
Submitted by: K.
Rating: 9 of 10

     I was searching for a kayak for casual paddling in the lake in my backyard. Mainly on the strenght of reviews here I decided to go with the Sundance, but also because the 2005 models were on clearance sale at a local store. I've had it out twice and am very pleased. What I wanted was a stable feeling boat with a roomy comfortable cockpit that I could easily get in and out of the water and paddle around while remaining dry myself. This boat fits the bill very well. It is very easy to control, and on my calm lake it's fast enough. In the spring I'll probably do some fishing from it too. It is certainly stable enough. The seat is comfortable and I like that it's easy to tweak the back support if I want to adjust it while I'm out on the water. Great boat!
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10-23-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I started this year in a whitewater kayak, Dagger GT 8.1. I could never get it to go straight, and it was always spinning. I had trouble lining it up. I was about to give up on kayaking.

I bought a Sundance 9.5 (it's really an upgraded Swifty). I really like it. It tracks well, turns well, and is very stable. Sundance is a great little boat. I recommend it.

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10-09-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just bought this yak near the end of summer. Great investment. I had a 12 foot jon boat for 10 years and probably only had it out a dozen times. Too much hassle. This yak is great itís fun, easy to transport in my truck and my girls love it. It is a great family yak and Iím getting 2 more for my girls. I would recommend this to everyone. Iíve already convinced 2 friends to get one.
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10-05-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased 9.5 because of storage concern. It tracks pretty well. The hull is a bit shallower than I thought. The cockpit is very wide so splash comes in more easily, so I recommend a longer paddle. It becomes a good thing when paddling in a warm/hot day. The seat is very comfortable. I feel I can sit for hours without a problem. The speed is good for its length.

I have another short yak, OT Rush. Sundance is lighter than Rush, and is much lighter when car topping. I don't play in river or long distance, and don't fish on it, either. Therefore, this kayak is perfect for my situation.

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09-09-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had my Sundance 9.5 for a season now, and have really enjoyed it. I bought it because I wanted to paddle the calm water river near my home nightly for fitness. I chose the Sundance 9.5 because I wanted to throw it in the back of my Explorer for transport, which I do easily. The price was right. It's light and sturdy, tracks and turns well for a short inexpensive yak. I've never swamped it, so I don't know how it floats. I've been surprised, actually, it's a bit better than I expected. The adjustable backrest is nice for a big guy (6'2", 230) and there's still plenty of room for a cooler. I'd take this little yak down 1's and 2's with no hesitation at all, and I intend to this fall!
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09-06-2005
Submitted by: Mike Heaps
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great boat for the weekend paddler. Nice to fish out of and tracks very nicely.
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08-16-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is the first kayak that I have owned. I have lots of canoeing and a little kayaking experience. We have several area rivers with class I & II runs. I have also spent time on several lakes. I did not expect a high performance touring or whitewater craft. I did expect a craft with reasonable stability, tracking, maneuverability, and portability. That is what I got. This boat is just plain fun. It was well worth the money.
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06-27-2005
Submitted by: tpSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     It is a great boat for just paddling around and having calm fun on the lake. I however was looking for a boat that I could paddle on a lake, flip/roll, play in large wakes, and so forth. This is not it due to the HUGE cockpit. I do use a skirt that fits well with a tension/implosion bar ... it doesn't work if you want to try to roll. Anyway, I wish someone would make a boat for crazy fun on the lake ... and under 10 feet.
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06-22-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had this kayak for just over 6 weeks now but I have been out in it several times. On the lakes it is smooth and easy to paddle and I have never felt unstable. On the streams and flat rivers it also paddles easy and I feel that it will go anywhere I want to go with it. There is room for a dry bag behind the seat and I carry a soft cooler up front between my feet. I would not be afraid to go on class ones and twos with this kayak. The size makes it easy to transport it fits on top of cars or just put it in the back of a pickup. The main thing to remember is what it was made for, just going out and having fun on the water. People get way to technical about tracking, speed, and other things. This yak was made to have fun in so go do it!
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05-11-2005
Submitted by: MSRSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     What a boat!!! I'd rented the Sundance 12.0 several times and knew it was a great model. Went with the 9.5 b/c it is easier for me to store and transport. Honestly, the only compromise is the lack of a hatch but there is plenty of deck rigging and cockpit space. Have had it out twice so far, once in pretty choppy water. It tracks amazingly well for a small boat and turns pretty easily too. Definitely recommend the Sundance 9.5.
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03-08-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We just bought a Sundance 9.5 for my wife. It's her first boat, and her first experience on the river. If you were to ask her, she'd probably rate it at a 20 instead of a 10. She loves how user friendly the boat is, and how well outfitted it is.

The surprising thing is that when I tried it out (whitewater paddler with a Pyranha H2) I loved the thing, too. The seat is like sitting in front of my big screen with home theatre system. It's that comfortable. I was surprised at how sturdy it is, and how well it cuts through the water. Everything on this boat is user friendly. The quick adjust foot pegs to the little water bottle spot under the deck bungee. Really, a fun little boat.

We did purchase a spray skirt and paddle clips for it, too. It's going to become my photography boat (shhh, don't tell her...)

The only weird thing for me is that this boat doesn't turn as quickly as my whitewater boat, but that's not what it's meant for. This boat is everything that every advertisement I read said it would be.

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02-21-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have a Sundance 9.5 and a Sundance 12. The Sundance 12 is faster but I really donít think it tracts a whole lot better than the 9.5. I used the 12 on a river that Iíve only done with the 9.5 and had trouble in some tight spots that I was able to breeze through with the 9.5. After using the 12 for awhile a realized how easy it was to get around with the 9.5 and I also realized that I would rather use the 9.5. I guess Iím saying that the 12 ft. isnít doing anything that the 9.5 didnít do, except for speed.
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07-26-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I drive a Mustang convertible and this boat fits between the two front seats (stern first) and overhangs over the spoiler about 12". Point being, that I did not think that I could own a hard shell, and now I do, thanks to the designers of this clever little boat. A couple of pulleys and some rope, and it hangs easily in the garage. I've owned this boat about six months, taken it out harbors, lakes, the ocean, and have even surfed with it. Super comfortable seating (especially with a couple of stadium seat pads), lots of leg room, adjustable foot pegs (don't know why others complain of cramping...I'm 6' and I can sit cross-legged in this bad boy all day). Tracks well, surprisingly fast for it's size, easy to sling over a shoulder and keeps up with my son and nephew in their larger yaks (actually, they usually have to keep up with me). Been out in very gusty winds and big swell and spray. Invigorating, fun and the most pleasant workout on the planet.
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04-26-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Love mine. Tracks well. handles big waves, shallow rivers and turns well. Great for small streams and tight areas. Light weight, stable and cofortable seating.
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04-21-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I took the sundance into a very large lake on a very windy day with water skiers also on the lake. I wanted to see how it would handle. The wind was making waves up to 1 foot and the skiers added some to that on occasion. I was very happy to discover that it tracked very well and cut through the waves very well. I usually on paddle in a slow moving river so i'm not very concerned with speed but on the lake it actually moved pretty well, especially under the conditions. This is a perfect size for me since I have tendinitis in my shoulder and i can get it on top of an expolorer without struggling. considering i usually take one or 2 of my sons and have to put 3 kayaks on the roof. I will not need another one of these but my kids use sparky's and I plan to get them sundances.
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04-15-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my Sundance 9.5. I have taken mine all over and it does surprisingly well in all kinds of conditions. Most of my paddling is Midwest lakes and rivers, but I have had it out in the ocean (on a REALLY calm day) in OBX. It tracks amazingly well for a short boat. It's a little slow due to it's width but that just gives you more of a workout when you are paddling with friends in longer boats. The only time I've had qualms with it was when I had it out of it's element, it got to be quite a handful in the Pamlico Sound at OBX on a windy day with 2-3ft chop but still it was very stable, it was just difficult to make much headway, turned into quite the epic 2mile paddle. I also tested the Dagger Blackwater 10.5 and thought the Sundance tracked better and was more enjoyable than the Dagger. One note on the Sundance, the stock flotation is only enough to float the boat by itself, if you swamp it, it becomes a submarine if you try to re-enter it. If you are going to paddle it anywhere where a capsize will put you in distress then add more or replace the stock flotation with something that will keep you and your boat afloat, and test it out thoroughly before you need to depend on it.
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10-21-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a great little yak. It handles pretty well on the water. The tracking is not perfect, but it is very good. It glides through the water pretty well, too. It is definitely a good beginner boat.
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10-09-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     My daughter (8 yrs) uses this boat and absolutely loves it. Great small boat, easy for pond, river and creek paddling. It is a good bridge between the "rec yak" and a starting touring yak. Plus it is light enough that she can pull it if she has to.
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04-28-2003
Submitted by: Mat O.
Rating: 9 of 10

     So far, the only things I've found less than outstanding are the relatively slow speed (compared to the Dagger Blackwater 10.5) and the leg cramps after a couple hours. The cramps aren't bad, just need a little walking around. The speed isn't that big of a deal. Its a quite comfortable kayak all-in-all with plenty of room for fishing gear, water, and more. The stability is great. I've fished from it quite a bit and its awesome for that. It strains the abdomen less than the Blackwater 10.5, only really straining the shoulders, which is good for me...exercise. My buddy with the Blackwater 10.5 could barely get to his fishing pole on his side, whereas I can cross my legs while paddling, access all my gear, and...the turning is more abrupt than his. I love it!
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04-08-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I'm rating this a 10 compared to like sized kayaks. The only thing better than this kayak is two of them. My wife was somewhat against kayaking but after her first time out she was ready for me to get her one too! My wife was very reassured by the amount of stability.

I love this size because it's so easy to carry, put on top of the car, and to store. At 9'5", I'm able to store them vertically in the garage which takes up very little space compared to having a larger kayak that I would have to store horizontally. I know that a larger kayak would probably track better but I was really surprised by how well they do track.

Size-wise, I'm able to put my 6-year old in front of me and take her too and we're very comfortable for around an hour, then out legs start getting cramped. We even take a fishing pole and small tacklebox for fishing.

Overall, I wish I had bought my boats years ago and I can't recommend them enough. I looked at the Dagger Zydeco and the cheaper Perception Swifty but the Sundance 9.5 was better made, cheaper than the Zydeco, and in my opinion had better styling than the other boats. It also has deeper, longer grooves in the bottom which I would think help it to track better.

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03-18-2003
Submitted by: RLHSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Our first kayak. Very stable easy to handle. Seat adjustment is very nice. I am very pleased.
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12-16-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     A good little kayak that seems to handle well on smooth water. tracks well and turns well to. with a easily adjustable seat that is padded a very nice ride.
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