Research Kayaks in the Buyers' Guide!
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
I am only 5'4" tall, slim, and not very strong so my only concern is that one day, due to it's weight, I may not be able to get it on top of my Escape. The dealer where I purchased it was wise in selling me the rollers that I can place on my back window (it holds on with heavy suction cups) and I just need to get the front of the kayak up to the rollers than push up to my back top rollers and then just roll to the front saddle holders.
Other than the weight of the kayak I love the ride and love the freedom that it allows me. I have no problem with the seat back and for me it is very comfortable. I have suggested this model to several friends who have also purchased the Sundance.
The only adjustment for the seat is the angle of the back, but I have found it very comfortable even for a full day of paddling. The large cockpit makes it easy to access my camera and other gear I want handy.
I consider this a luxury boat for recreational paddling due to the efficiency, maneuverability, and light weight.
I have spent about 4 hours in the boat thus far and really love it. It tracks well in the water and I feel like as long as I keep the target in front of me and continue to paddle, it really doesn't drift. Yes, the ripples and wake from local boats cause it to go to the side, but that's the yak' fault :)
The cockpit is roomy (I am 6'2" at 195 lbs), the adjustable foot pegs are great, and it's actually relatively easy to load and unload from my Honda Odyssey. I imagine if I were shorter, I wouldn't like throwing that up on to my van though.
My only real complaint thus far is that the rear storage compartment leaks so it's not 100% dry storage. The design of the rubber lid is kind of a pain as well, but not a deal breaker. The front bungee strap is nice to have but I would much prefer a paddle holder somewhere on the side. I am sure that is something I can add if I want to.
I have not experienced any issues with the seat at this point like some of the other reviewers and found it to be comfortable thus far. So overall, I would have to give it an 8.5, but had to round up to a 9!! It's a great boat and a lot of fun. I'll probably add some foam around the cockpit to protect my knees but that's pretty much all I am going to change.
I took the Sundance on everything from open rivers to reservoirs, to small creeks. The Sundance had little flotation and wasn’t truly seaworthy, so I supplemented the included foam block and stern hatch with additional buoyant material.
The Sundance is particularly good at surfing power boat wakes. While I was, of course, displeased and often angered at the inconsiderate, illegal, dangerous manner in which power boats and jet skis were operated near me, the Sundance just rode right over their wakes.
I really abused the Sundance. It is beat up and banged up, but still going. I have moved up to a sea kayak, but will keep my Sundance. I plan to use it as a companion boat. I can let one of my friends or colleagues use it and introduce him or her to kayaking.
I may outfit it with outriggers for fishing or hunting, it is a stable boat. I will definitely use it as a "pack boat." Native Americans and early North American trappers frequently towed one canoe with another. The second boat-the pack boat-was typically filled with skins and equipment. I can definitely envision towing my Sundance up a creek behind my sea kayak, carrying with my bow, blowgun, turtle nets, atlatl, bolas, etc. and then towing it out filled with game, shells and skins. The Sundance has two channels in the hull which allow it to track very well; I foresee no problems towing it.
The Sundance is a great kayak for its intended purpose: beginning kayaking or utility use. It is a stable, fun boat that will always make you smile. If you buy one and develop your skills such that you need a sea kayak, it makes a perfect kayak to introduce others to this wonderful activity. Highly recommended.
I went out on a large lake last weekend for the first time. The kayak tracked very straight. It was very calm that day, with only very light winds, so I don't know how it will react in heavier winds. We are going on a trip down a bayou this weekend, can't wait! Glad I bought this yak!
We decided we wanted a stable kayak with a large cockpit opening that was not too heavy to lift on top of the car. After looking at a lot of kayaks it came down to either the Pungo (from Wilderness Systems) or the Sundance. At first we were going to go with the Sundance Airalite because of the weight difference, but then Pungo came out with the Duralite. I did not paddle the Duralite, but really didn't like what I saw. It just looked like a flimsy boat, and I read a number of reviews that said much the same thing. That left the choice between the poly Pungo and the Airalite Sundance.
A lot of people rave about the seat on the Pungo (phase 3 seating) but I actually liked the seat on the Sundance better. I got low back pain from the seat on the Pungo. I thought the Pungo tracked better than the Sundance however. I really didn't like the hatch on the Pungo, and the hatch on the Sundance (Airalite) works like a dream. In our comparisons, the Sundance won.
Here however comes the part where our inexperience shows. We bought these boats with the intention of keeping them for a lifetime. We live fairly close to a sheltered body of sea water, but also have a cabin on a lake, which is where we thought we would use the boats most of the time. Turns out we spent a fair bit of time on the ocean. One day when I was out alone a bit of a wind blew up, and it was all I could do to get the Sundance to move. This was not a major storm, but just a bit of choppy water. Flat bottom and stability are nice, but don't try to move in any kind of choppy water. After this experience we went out and took some kayak lessons, and lost our apprehension about those other "tippy" kayaks. We have now sold both our Sundance kayaks, and have on order two Nimbus sea kayaks. Again, this was our fault, not the boats. For any of you new kayakers, be sure to take lessons before you buy.
For the Sundance, I'd rate it an 8. I liked the Airalite, I liked the seat and hatch. Found the boat handled fairly well, although tracking could have been better. Great boat for calm water, but not good for choppy ocean water.
I went on a 9 mile trip down a small slow flowing shallow river and took me 4½ hours. I found the large cabin very comfortable for my legs! Leg room was never an issue. I had a small cooler in the back compartment also a large trash bag in the front compartment beyond my legs filled with trash I picked up along the banks of my trip! Lots of room! The Perception Sundance 12.0 was great stability wise with my top heaviness!
Great kayak for my size except for a few complaints!
I'm a beginner, but this kayak has met and exceeded my expectations. As I fish out of my kayak I needed one with a LARGE cockpit. The only other kayak with a cockpit approaching this size are the W/S Pungo and Pamlico. On the Sundance there is plenty of room for two rods. I especially like that I am able to store the rods on each side of the seat. You have room to slide them down between the seat and the side of the hull. This is not possible on other kayaks that I researched.
The rear hatch is standard size and large enough to accommodate my set of kayak wheels. There is nothing better than wheeling your yak to the launch site, removing the wheels from the yak, stowing them on the yak and paddling away.
The Sundance is extremely stable. In shallow water I rocked back and forth sideways, vigorously, and didn't tip. (I'm sure of course that it can be tipped with enough effort) Both the primary and secondary stability are wonderful.
It paddles well, tracks well. Let's be honest, it is a "rec" yak, so it's not sleek. It's certainly not as efficient as a high end sea kayak. Still it paddles well for a yak in the "rec" class.
I love the "air bladder" arrangement on the seat back. There is a squeezable bulb which allows you to add air to the seat back to give you varying degrees of lumbar support. When I bought the yak, I thought this was a "gimmick," but it actually works rather well. You can also adjust the angle of the seat back.
The seat base could use some work. I've had to add a gel filled pad to alleviate some butt pain. Still, noting how many after market products there are for enhancing seating comfort, it's apparent that this problem is not limited to Perception seats. Seems to be pretty much an industry wide problem.
So all and all I am very satisfied with this kayak. I did a lot of research prior to buying it, but I also think I was blessed with "beginners luck." I like it so much that I'm considering purchasing a second one so that I'm able to take family and friends paddling with me.
One interesting note: When making sweeps to turn in place, the Sundance will actually make noise at the stern! I thought at first it was my lack of paddling technique, then realized it wasn't the paddle--it was the blunt stern coming around! Yet, it turned as well as these 12 foot kayaks all do.
The Sundance (for me) tracked better than a Walden Vista and a Walden Scout. This also surprised me, because I expected the "lighter" Waldens to be much faster and stable on the go. Now that I've tried one, I would rate the Sundance ahead of both in handling qualities and speed. Conditions included a 10-15mph beam wind, and the Sundance didn't have the tendancy to turn into it like the shorter yaks.
Moral of the story--make sure you try it before you buy it!
I wanted a recreational boat in the 12' range with shallow draft and a cockpit larger than 50" long so my daughter could ride along. It came down to the Loon 111, Walden Scout, and the Sundance as the only boats that met this criteria. I chose the Sundance because of the comfort and because our local dealer carried it.
My only complaint is that the bow wiggles from side to side a little when paddling. This could be somewhat attributed to my paddling technique, but I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect a 12' boat with shallow draft to track perfectly straight. In fact, a boat this size that tracked straight would probably not be very maneuverable, but the Sundance maneuvers very well. I am very happy with my choice.
100,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!