Great Kayak for Newbie or Overweight person 225-300lbs ! This is Sit-inside and 12 foot Long! I use this Kayak all the time in the Cold Weather, I have spray skirt for it and I stay Nice and toasty if it rains or other cold stuff.
I do have a sit-on top too that I use for summer. But if you ever plan on having a guest use a kayak... this would be the one to give them! I have put 300 lb people in it and kids! I have NEVER turned it over and either has anyone else... STABLE! My sit-on-top is faster but WET and not as stable.
Tracks straight... in third year I finally used the foot braces and I can go alot faster then without useing them. It really is a nice looking kayak. 399 New and came with paddle and cockpit cover. Many times in summer I take this kayak out because it's light 38 lbs. And jump out of it and swim ...then cowboy up the back of kayak. I find it the EASIEST kayak to get back into ... easier than my sit-on-tops. This was my first kayak and I have let lots of folks who never kayaked before use it. It's nice... I can beat it up and for 399... after 4 years who cares! And it still looks in Excellent condition! Not the Fastest kayak but Stable and Dry.This was my first kayak. I bought it used, and it was excellent to learn on. I did some research, and this is what I discovered. Mainstream is owned by the same parent company as Dagger and Perception, an Islamic investment company, if you can believe that. Anyway, though the people at Mainstream deny it, I believe that they make inexpensive knock offs of the boats in their name brand sister companies, and sell them more cheaply, through Sam's Warehouse. The Inspiration looks exactly like the old Dagger Delta, and its specs, weight, cockpit size and shape, almost everything, is exactly the same as the Delta's. Which was fine with me, I sure couldn't have gotten a used Delta for what I paid for this Inspiration.
Anyway, the factors that drew me toward the boat were it's stability and capacity. I am an old guy who weighed in at 255# when I bought the boat, and I wanted that 350# capacity. And they weren't lying when they said it was stable--after a week or two practicing, I could just about stand up in that boat, in still water. My grandson sure could, and did.
A boat that stable isn't going to be too fast, and it wasn't. And it isn't going to body turn all that well, either, and it didn't. And it was all that stability that finally led me to sell it. After a while, you just get to wanting something a little less...safe, I guess, a little less comfortable.
The plastic was nothing special, but it didn't scratch badly on the sharp rocks in the lake here. There was a hint of oilcanning in the wide, flat bottom. The cockpit was huge, making getting in and out a snap. Sometimes I miss that big cockpit.
All in all, a perfect beginner's boat for a big person, and maybe a perfect forever boat for a cautious person. The 9 rating is for the time and purpose I used it for.