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I've owned this boat since about 2009 and have since upgraded to a Trident 13, but I still use the Scrambler 11 sometimes and have no intention of ever getting rid of it.
Basically I got bare boats.
I think the problems people have with the Scrambler is that they don't accept the boat for what it is! It is a dive platform. Scramblers do not race, they are a stable platform for scuba divers that transforms very well into a fishing platform. They are the choice of rentals because they are stable, easy to get into, and very forgiving.
BUT, this stability is because the seat well is so low, you are below water level and so sitting in water. Adding scupper plugs simply traps the water in the well. Since I paddle Arizona or San Diego, I find the water pool under my tush to be acceptable when compared to the assets.
Although I HAVE raced these boats, always loosing, I realize that they are not fast! I have not camped in them but I hear it is possible if you think like a back-packer and accept that you will need to drybag everything! And my kids enjoyed tying them to a drowned tree and using them as a play-dock for diving and swimming.
Bottom line... If you want a fast boat that carries a lot of gear. go elsewhere. If you want a stable boat for exploring and fishing, this is the one to get!
I put scupper stoppers under the seat to keep dry but I can sometimes feel them through the seat especially after a couple hours of paddling. To me, getting wet is no big deal since you're sitting that close to the water and the occasional wave will get you anyway.
This is the only kayak I've ever used. Definitely if you can, try before you buy. You learn what to look for and what questions to ask after youíve used one for a while.
I'm looking forward to reading reviews of Ocean's new Tetra 12.
I'm sorry to say that I am very disappointed with the Scrambler. It is slower than I expected at a pace of 2.5-2.7mph. on flat water. There is no glide at all and a lot course corrections are necessary compared to larger boats like the Prowler. The worst by far though is that it is very unstable in even 1' foot chop in a following sea here on Lake Erie it feels like it may lurch and roll at anytime. Sitting in the water by itself it takes only a little pressure on the hull from a finger to make it roll. In larger waves 3-5' completely forget about it, it is like riding a greased bull.
The cockpit is long enough for me but it is very narrow in the hips and footwell and my butt is smaller than most! My leg falls asleep in 5min. and I have to dip it in the water constantly to help it out (even with the gray $85 dollar backrest). Did I mention that IT LEAKS! It arrived brand new, with a massive leak through one of the scupper holes into the hull (one gallon a minute.) I put a foam golf ball into the scupper and the leak slowed enough to allow me to discover that the Scrambler is:
-Uncomfortable and unsteady for anyone larger than average.
By the way, Backcountry.com or Ocean Kayak are happy to send me another Scrambler to replace the defective one. Since I don't like it I'm asking for a refund or a different model and it seems that their customer service is cooperating well. I'm soured on the Scrambler, but not the store or the brand. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
My only complaint is that at 5'11" and 220, it's a bit narrow and small for me, but then, I didn't get it for me either, and on shorter trips that really wouldn't be an issue. I like the fact that to get in I can straddle the boat in the shallows and then just sit down, and at just over 40 pounds I can pick it up and carry it over my head for a couple hundred yards if I have to.
I learned to kayak in Keowees and loved the sport, though I considered myself a terrible paddler. When I later rented a Walden sea kayak, I felt like the training wheels were removed and I wasn't so bad after all. The boat responded to every move rather than clunking along and it was easy to paddle steadily for a few hours at a stretch. My sister and I actually had to trade at the end when we were fighting the wind and waves coming back in. In the sea kayak, she could keep up with me paddling the tank she'd rented for her intro to the sport. After that I swore I'd stick with the sleek.
The Scrambler responded fairly well, though of course not as nimble as some. Very stable, I never tipped in spite of collisions with submerged logs. Tracked well from what I could tell. I spent the first half of the trip dodging shallows and obstacles. By paddling hard on the second half, I passed twelve of the fifteen canoes in our group over a five mile stretch. The next day my muscles were sore, especially my back, but it wasn't back pain at all, just that pleasant post-exercise tingle.
On this trip, since I borrowed the Scrambler, I didn't have a back rest, but I really wasn't sitting to use it since I lean forward to paddle. There was plenty of storage room with rigging fore and aft. I found the scupper holes fascinating, and didn't mind the water since I was plenty wet from hopping in and out to drag the boat over logs or just splashing with the paddles. Of course 80 degree weather doesn't hurt either... I would definitely use a sit-in kayak preferably with a spray-skirt in a colder climate.
As a petite 5'6" 110 woman, I'd say the boat was roomy to sit in, but still a little much for me to carry on my own. I definitely would need a friend to help me load and unload, but that's just me. The guys there were carrying Scramblers solo to load up.
I do recommend the Scrambler as a good boat all round for touring. I would even brave a camping trip with one if I had the chance. As with all boats, there's a chemistry there. Try it out first to see how it fits you.
As for me, I'm looking to try a Venus if I can since it's smaller and would be easier to load and store (still in a dorm with roommates). Thought about a Yak board, but that sounds too geared to surfing for my use.
In 3 words it can be described as SLOW, FUN, and VERSATILE. Itís also lightweight. Speed-slow, though not slower than most other recreational boats. Fun and Versatility-it can handle just about ANY ocean conditions with great ease and fun.
Tracking is better than you'd expect from a 11 ft long rec boat but thatís not saying much.
It CAN be used for overnight camping if you pack like a backpacker. Done it.
It makes a lot of bow slap so I wouldn't try sneaking up on anything in it.
At 45 pounds it's pretty light. They ARE prone to oil-canning like most plastic boats, and I donít think the plastic is that thick, but it survived 10+ yrs of abuse so can't be that bad. Don't abuse one of these (or any plastic boat for that matter) and it'll serve you for a VERY long time.
I'm 6'1 and 175#. I find the cockpit to be plenty long even if I was taller. Seat is very comfy. My girlfriend on the other hand hates the boat because it doesn't fit her hips right, so try before you buy.
Final Verdict = good recreational boat, though you should also consider most of other Ocean Kayak products and Wilderness Systems Tarpon sit-on-tops.
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