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The Edge has a shallow V bottom and hard chines. This makes it track well while paddling. As soon as you stop, it wanders off, but I suppose that is do to its under 10' length. The flat bottom and rounded chines on the Blast make it feel more stable. For a rec kayak, the Edge feels less stable, especially when going very slow or dead in the water. It would be disconcerting to a beginner. The Blast keeps its direction better when you stop paddling.
The Edge bow splits waves better than the Blast. When the waves get over 12", the Blast ride gets wet, unless you slow down. The Edge can keep up its speed better without taking on water. It seems like a very miniature sea kayak. One reason I purchased it was a p-net review by someone who uses his in San Francisco bay.
I took the Edge in only one river, and the V bottom hit bottom a few times. It needs more water than the Blast to make rivers work. The Blast is rated up to class II, and I concur with that. Any water that required quick adjustments would be more fun in the Blast.
A small person could have trouble with the Edge. It is a big kayak for a big person.
The seat is the reason for the 9. It is only comfortable for a couple of hours. I do like the mesh water bottle holders. For flat water and black water, I prefer the Edge. It is faster. The more shallow a stream and the closer it comes to class II, the more the Blast comes into its own. It is also a better newbie boat. If you want a kayak or two for friends with little experience, I would highly recommend the Blast.
I will keep both my kayaks, even though I plan to purchase a couple of 13' kayaks. If there is such a thing as an advanced rec kayak, the Edge is it, and when taking my friends out, they will get the 13 footers or the Blast, and I will use the Edge.
Pros: The boat fit almost every thing that I was looking for: it is light, large cockpit and 350lb capacity. It tracks well for a short boat and is easily maneuverable.
Cons: The V bottom does leave me wanting for a comfortable place to rest the heals of my feet and my feet get tired but I think I can modify that. I have had the boat high center in fast shallow water and turn me sideways where flat bottom boats slide on down the river, so far I have not rolled it and been able to get myself out of the situation pushing off the bottom of the river with my hands and the large cockpit allows me to get out quickly and stand up in the water.
I wish the seat was little more comfortable - after about 4 hours I'm pretty much done and ready to get out of the boat. I would recommend the boat to others and for $200 I would not pass up another one.
Considering how incredibly short it is, the thing tracks very well. As it loses speed it will skid a bit but won't leave you doing donuts and feeling helpless like most rec boats. It took me awhile to get used to the slight rocker since I was used to long skinny sea kayaks. It will turn with ease so controlled strokes are needed to keep it going straight. Leaning the boat seems to have very little effect on steering as the hard chines seem to want to track straight. Since it turns so easily with paddle strokes, I consider that a non-issue.
Now to stability. I've never seriously tried to roll this boat (I didn't buy the skirt) but I did notice it has a tendency to self right. For a boat this wide it's primary stability (tippiness) is a bit less than what one would expect but it's secondary stability locks in solid. In short, it's not an easy boat to tip. It's very unlikely you'd tip it by accident and would have to try really really hard.
I have noticed some people seem to expect the boat to be something it's not and review accordingly. It's not a sea kayak. Though I regularly take it out in fairly heavy seas and surf, I'm very experienced and kind of dumb. It's not a playboat, It's a couple feet too long for tight work in rapids and though it turns fast, it's not that fast. My review is based on what it is, a rec boat, and compared to others in it's class it stands head and shoulders above the rest. It's cheap, tough, tracks well enough, carries plenty of gear, turns fairly easily, and you don't have to be a seasoned pro to paddle this boat. Considering what it is, I have to give it a solid 10.
I would not recommend this boat to smaller people. I don't consider myself an expert but I'd say anyone under about 150 lbs. would have difficulty with this boat. This boat is designed to carry a lot of weight... and it needs a fair amount. It's sides are high so for kids with kid sized arms, even with an extra 100 lbs. of ballast, it would still be a handful. I tried. It's a vee-hull with a moderate rocker so with a light person, there just won't be much boat in the water and you will have a great deal of difficulty with directional stability. Though it's short, it's a boat for bigger boys. If you want something that you can toss in the bed of a pickup that's good in most types of water, this is the boat. You can cross the bay but won't won't win any races. It is short enough to explore marshlands, sloughs, and estuaries but cuts through the waves well enough to get you home again.
Cons: Speed, but still good for such a small kayak.
I have 200 meters down to the water where I live. I just put this thing on my shoulder and walk. This little thing catches many eyes and people often stop by and want to lift it up and ask questions about it.
I give it an 8 cause it's an 8. It's not a 10. It could have been lighter, more stable, faster, more comfortable, could have had more features, etc etc. However, at this price you won't get the perfect kayak. I can highly recommend this kayak.
The most disappointing thing about the boat was the seat. While padded and comfortable, the back seemed to slide down and bunch up at the bottom if I leaned back. I got mine used with a Bending Branches paddle for $250.
After some initial wobbles, the Edge was fairly stable. I had a few instances that were enough to make me say "whoa", but not too many. I won't be setting any speed records, but it wasn't too bad, all things considered. Tracking was horrible, but I think that had more to do with my inexperience (only my second time in a kayak, the first was with the boy scouts 20+ yrs ago) and the fact that there were 15-20 MPH winds today. I know, I know, I should have waited for a calmer day, but I really wanted to get it on the water, if only for a few minutes.
I'm about 6'1", 230 pounds, and I fit in with no problems. The capacity of this boat (around 350 pounds) was one of the main reasons I bought it, as some friends & I do an annual overnight trip on the Toccoa River (class I & II up to light III's). Of course, that won't be until I've gotten some more water time under my belt. The other reason I chose the Edge was the reviews I read here. Thanks for the great resource!
I'll write back with deeper impressions after I get more time in it.
It is very stable when you get on either edge of the V shaped hull. It is fast (for a short boat) when you stay in the middle of the V. It turns well and felt great. The sides are higher then others and the cockpit very roomy. I have used SOTís in the past and I think the Edge will work very well in the class 1 and 2 rivers and the lakes I go to.
I guess the best thing about it is that its a great combination of lightness and performance for an affordable price. We use it on lakes and slow moving rivers. We spend hours in it, the seat is comfortable and easy to adjust. I would rather be on the water in a light, easy to use kayak than have a more expensive heavier one that sits in the garage because its trouble to get loaded and on the water. It is 5 minutes from deciding I want to go to having it off its storage straps and in the back of the pickup, with all the gear in the cab. We are very satisfied with this kayak.
I wanted a smaller poly kayak, to use over the winter, and on the local creeks, as I won't take my Assateague in rocky creeks. I wanted an inexpensive "play boat" to do class 1 white water with the local kayak club, and for on small lakes.
I found this to be a downright FUN little kayak! I can see there was a lot of thought put into it's design. It has a Swede form hull, to help it be a little faster for it's width, and the width is enough to give it great initial stability (Compared to my Assateague). It has sort of a fin at the rear to help with straight tracking also. Plus it has a hard chined hull to help maneuverability. I can paddle it as straight as a line as I want, but lean the boat on it's side a bit and it will turn a tight little corner. Plus the seat is really comfortable!
On new year's day, I did a section of the local Creek with the white water group of our club, and it did real well. We did mild class 1 rapids, and I had a blast. I never felt like I didn't have control of the situatuion in this little boat.
If you are looking for an inexpensive little kayak, to have a lot of fun in, check out the Emotion Edge. I believe it will be fun to whoever paddles it.
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