Bought my first kayak last summer to see if I'd like kayaking. It was a Victory Blast from Dick's. I'm 6'2" and 200lbs, so I knew it was the wrong kayak for me, but it was the cheapest thing I could find to try out, and I knew I could recycle it for one of my kids. It was good enough to show me that I wanted to keep kayaking.
I obviously needed something larger, and the budget was still tight. Dick's had an "America 11.0" by Victory on sale this December. After a lot of research online, I found out it's the old mold from Perception, and at $299 it was about half what the Perception name used to cost. Actually, it came with a Perception sticker on it, so I knew the research was right.
Took it out twice this week, a few hours each time. Wide, slow moving river, although the Spring thaw has it moving pretty good, but no rapids at all. I was able to paddle easily upstream a couple of miles, something I could never do in our canoe or the Blast. It glides really well, especially downstream. Tracking is great, straight as an arrow until you slow down, then it gets turned easily by wind or river flow. Actually, if just floating downstream, it had a strong preference for going backward. I think it's because there's a prominent keel on the stern, and none on the bow. In the 25+ mph wind yesterday, it was a little trickier to keep straight, but overall it was easy to paddle.
I like the oversize cockpit, but since I fish, it is an issue on where to put a rod holder. The bow is too much of a stretch, as I need to come out of my seat to reach it, and there's no good place behind. There is plenty of room at the front of the cockpit, however, to mount a tool bar across for mounting whatever you need without making entry/exit too tight.
One major difference between the Victory and Perception marketing, however, is that this one came without a sealed stern. There is still a hatch that seems to seal very well, but the stern flotation does not in anyway seal off the entire stern, so the storage is not dry.
Seat was very comfortable, stability was great and overall I'm very pleased. Great affordable kayak for just about anyone.