I have 5 of the Perception/P-Sport kayaks for family and guests to use. However, about 2 years ago I bought the Search for myself. I previously used a Hobie Maui and found the Search to be much more stable (30" wide) and have more gear storage.
It's heavy and long (13' and 60 lbs) so if you had to lift it onto a vehicle, you may need 2 people. I keep it on my dock and slide it into the water and then pull it out when finished by myself, so transport wasn't a concern when buying it.
What I like about the Search is the Comfort Seating System, deep well in the back with bungees, side storage pockets, paddle holder bungee, and the molded cup holder. I've taken the deep well bungee off and carried a child back there and the yak was still stable. I've also had my large Shepherd aboard and there were no issues. I've never used the hatch - its way too far to reach and awkward. The hatch placement is the only reason I haven't given this yak a score of 10.
I mainly use the Search for snorkeling and cruising up and down the south coast on the island of Roatan, where I live. I'd highly recommend it.I kayak fish, in fact, I started a local chapter. I have owned and paddled many, many kayaks. Without a doubt, the Perception Search (13 in my case) is a fantastic boat! I've paddled head on into 4' waves and it held a true line as well as paddling with or into a quartering wind. Great glide and plenty of room for my 6'1" frame.
The comments about initial stability are, in a word, wrong. It is not as stable as say an Ultimate 14 but definitely a stable boat. I sold my Search after 3 years of hard usage and regretted doing that so this year, I found a new leftover Search 13 at the insane price of $550 out the door. I bought it and am overjoyed with it ...again! Unless there are major changes in the newer kayaks, this one will be my keeper for life.I bought mine used for $500. I don't think that I could have made a better purchase for the price... you get decent tracking and glide, enough room for overnighters, a comfortable seat, and the stability that makes this a great fishing yak.
I am a long legged 225# dude and this boat, unlike others in it's class, fits me well. I did take off the foot pegs since I had them at the very end of the rails anyhow... other than that the boat is a great fit and I LOVE it!The Perception Search 13 is the first kayak I have owned and I love it. I've only been on a lake with it, but I'm really looking forward to taking down our local river. It is smooth and goes straight- just glides. Plenty of room (hope to get my Golden Retriever trained to sit in the rear tankwell-it's roomy enough), lots of storage and a great look make this kayak a winner for me.
The reason I'm not giving it a 10 is the carrying handles. They are on elastic bands which in nice, as they retract, but the handles are slick plastic and uncomfortable; I can't carry it too far before I have to put it down and re-arrange my grip. I plan to change them out for bigger rubber handles.
Other than that, I am really happy I bought the Search 13.I've had my Search 13 for a month now. Two words... Love It!
Tracking and glide is outstanding. Stop paddling and you can sail straight forever it seems. Handles waves well, and the initial rigging is really well thought out. I like the floor mounted bungee to clip rod leashes and my camera drybox to. The velcro side pockets are a nice touch, and gives a handy place to put pliers, hooks, plastic baits, and the like. And the rear tankwell is massive, although I was disappointed that a standard filebox won't quit fit in it. I believe a milk crate will do fine. The floor slopes forward toward the front scuppers, so your rear end can stay dry.
Downside, the good tracking means it is harder to turn. And the rear tankwell takes on water routinely, so anything in back is subject to soaking. A little extra height there would have been good. I'm 5'10", 220#, and the legroom is excellent and the ride is only a little wet.
A really nice ride that, for some reason, seems to be a bit of a secret.The only reason I didn't give it a ten is because nothing is ever perfect. This is the best SOT I've been on. Owned it for about a year and have not found a better SOT. It's Quick off the start, and has great glide and tracking. Stability is excellent (I commonly climb back on it after a quick dip in the river). In addition to being the best performing SOT I've been on, it is loaded -- rod holders, HUGE tank well, dry storage for a weeks trip, and EASILY accessible smaller storage, not to mention the cup holder.
The only draw back for me is it is a bit cumbersome to load. It's not all that heavy, but seems awkward to handle -- but a snap with two people.