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The cockpit has several handy features. I had a taco paddle holder put on it which holds the paddle nicely. The storage compartment is nice and can hold small items, as does the one behind the seat. I use a milkcrate for my gear and secure it with the bungee cords. There are scuppers back there but I haven't shipped on any water that I can tell. The hatch at the front is nice to slide extra fishing gear in. I had two tracks placed won each side and mounted a Scotty rod holder.
In the water this kayak is stable and handles well. It can turn around very quickly. I have been in the front of a thunderstorm when the wind picked up blowing quartering across the bow. I shipped on very little water. This is a very nice kayak, nice kayak. I don't know if one could stand in this as it tippy at first. The secondary stability is excellent. I went from a Mad River Grand Teton that I used to solo in which was very susceptible to the wind. This, though it does feel the wind is not bad at all. I put a Yakima roof rack on my FJ Cruiser. The tag along wheel makes it easy to load, if the back door to the Cruiser is opened.
Overall I could not be more pleased with the Manta Ray 12.I bought this at Ozark Mountain Trading Company just east of Rogers, Arkansas on Highway 62. The staff seems very supportive and willing.
Pros: Very rugged and thick molded shell. Oyster beds did very little damage. Easy to store in my 12'x10' shed (at slight angle on wall). Loads on my truck easy. Handles rough water very well, very stable. Good amount of storage. Well laid out design. Accessory rails a huge plus. Relatively fast for a 12' long, 30" wide kayak. Don't expect it to be anywhere near what a touring kayak can do. Stays very dry even in big chop. Of course the seat. I don't think there is a better one on the market. Warranty.
Cons: Very heavy IMO. I am a very strong guy and it is not a problem for me but I can see perhaps a small person like my wife would have problems loading it on a vehicle. But the weight is due mostly to the thick polyethylene material. One of the three times I went out and I was having a hard time keeping up with the fiberglass touring kayak and my AE tandem blow up. Both those kayaks are very fast and the MR is a fishing kayak that is only 12'. I was not that far behind and I also was saddled with carrying a huge cooler full of ice and drinks. The MR is definitely a workhorse. I have a rudder so tracking was not an issue. I don't really have any other negatives.
I was going to give it an 8 but then I realized that this is a rugged fishing kayak and I rated it a 10 amongst other fishing kayaks I have tried like Malibu, OK, Hobie(10 also), and WS(Tarpon). You can't really judge this kayak with touring or other types of kayaks bc that is not its purpose.
Bottom line. Great kayak that I would recommend to anyone who wants a recreational/fishing kayak.
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