This is one awesome kayak! Pretty quick and stable too even with a 23-1/2" waterline width. The first day I bought it I took it straight to the intracoastal and went for a paddle. I did 4 miles in an hour at my normal pace even while stopping for a couple of sips of Gatorade. The kayak is slim so even with my high angle paddling style and the Werner Ikelos paddle I didn't bang the side of the kayak very often.
The kayak is very low volume and low profile so the wind did not seem to cause any weathercocking at all. The turning ability was good and the low profile deck did allow waves from some yachts to splash over the front but the vertical dam in front of my feet kept the water out of the cockpit.
I tested its stability by sitting sideways and allowing the 2" to 2.5" yacht wakes hit the kayak sideways, other than getting soaked when the wave drenched me and filled the kayak with water it was VERY stable and I would feel confident in the ocean with this kayak. The seat is very low in this kayak but the self-bailing scupper valves seemed to work flawlessly, some paddling and the water gets sucked out of the drain valves. It was a very dry ride for a sit in!
The kayak has foam bulkheads front and back so plan on adding deck hatches to the center part for extra storage and access to extra items you might add such as rod holders etc. It also paddles a straight course very well as the bow design gives it a very long waterline.
OK, now for the cons:
Overall this is one of the best SOT kayaks I have paddled so far in the intracoastal. Check out my Youtube video. It pretty much shows the kayak and its details. It is sitting next to my Dagger Echo 14 and Perception Prism for size comparison.
- I am 6' and 230 pounds with short legs (30" inseam) and the footpegs were at the furthest position but still comfortable. anyone with longer legs may have to remove the pegs to get the extra 2 inches.
- No attachments to carry it by the side, so plan on adding extra loops and use a shoulder strap to make it easy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVs8Y2aogkcThis could quite possibly be the fastest polyethylene sit-on-top that I've paddled! This boat has a low deckline making it less susceptible to crosswinds, but also compromising storage area under the huge trapezoid shaped hatches. There is also a small round hatch just in front of the cockpit that can be accessed from your seat. There is no molded in water bottle holder, nor is there anywhere convenient to place a drink. Lateral support is good even without a backrest (there is a removable, molded backrest that came with the boat).
Tracking is great even without a skeg system attached. The stern of this boat is flat, so a skeg or rudder system would be an easy installation. Primary and secondary stability are excellent with this boat. Mine is a '99 model, and does have a large "oil can" dent in the hull, but I notice no negative effects from this.
There are two drain holes in the cockpit. The ingenious part is that there are no plugs required; Hydra used a one-way scupper valve (a thin rubber valve) that only lets water out of the boat. Works great!
Overall, this boat is very fast and extremely stable, but has minimal covered storage due to the low deckline.