First kayak, intermediate paddler (canoeing, overnights, whitewater) Bought w/out a demo (I know I know) based on specs, from Joe Signs Equipment on eBay, a great experience. Other kayaks demoed:
Otter, Pungo 120, Perception Swifty, Wilderness Tsunami 140, Squamish 15,Hurrican Aqua Sports Tampico 135L and 135S. My next (dream kayak) will be the Tampico 135S but that's another review and an extra $1000 ;-)
Why I chose the Iqaluit: for small paddlers (I'm 5'4" 115 lbs, female size 6 shoe) not so wide or tubby as some of the other intro rec boats. At 46# I can cartop it myself. Five year warranty on a triple layer hull. At just under 12 feet it stores nicely in my small condo yard & can fit inside come winter. At this price the adjustable footpads, sealed rear bulkhead (still bone dry) & for and aft deck riggings cinched it, as did the remarkable amount of storage. Can easily overnight this w. a 2 person tent, bag, food, ministove, etc. I added front floatation just to be safe & still have plenty of room.
Now for the test - after 8 hours of actual paddling: the long bottlenosed dolphin prow cuts the water silently without splash over the bow, unlike, say, the Dagger Zydeco which I almost got. That with the extreme primary stability makes it great for photogs. From a dead stop to 8 strokes I can generate four wake lines at the prow. Moves much faster than I thought, other rec kayakers just stared and a few small engine boatowners out panfishing were intrigued what with the price of gas and all. The Iqaluit moves & tracks well owing to the widest part being behind the paddler, different shape entirely than the bigger Inuvik. Turns, backs up on a dime. At 11'8" you can explore well branched shorelines, narrow creeks and river channels. On a medium sized lake w. boats it handles chop very well using proper technique. Footpegs adjust very easily on land or out there which is important if you need to change position slightly. Coaming smooth topside & above, nice on the legs. And the adjustable seat w. the inflatable lumbar pad is *way* better than kayaks at twice the price! My back and butt thank Clearwater Design for this innovation!
This is not for whitewater, it'll not roll,too wide for that at 28 inches. It'll do anything else for a novice kayaker looking for a few features over basic & a little more zip than the pumpkinseeds. Plus, at $473 shipped I could get two excellent paddles,(Sawyer Orca & Bending Branches fiberglass Infusion) a removable cartop system, half skirt by Paddle Stuff,kayak cart for those long portages or when I am lazy, two NRS dry bags, a Pelican Box and a quality Class III PFD by Liquid Force (the Venus, which I highly recommend to kayaking women). I give it a 9 cuz I wish it were narrower so I could foam fill & brace it. But for what it is and what it's designed for,it's kickass. Vive les Canadiens!