Research Kayaks in the Buyers' Guide!
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
I was looking for small stable boats for beginning paddlers as well as something to use on rivers in N WI where one might meet a few unavoidable rocks. These track fairly well on flat water. (I had a Wilderness Systems [a.k.a. Trinity Bay] Critter that tracked better than any short kayak I have tried since, but I sold that one because I was not comfortable in the hard seat.) The Perception Sport Sound doesn't swing wide or "washout" in the tail end like some other short kayaks do when making a sharp turn. This must have something to do with the blunt end design in the stern, which I think essentially takes 6" off of what is pretty much a 10' boat. This slightly squared off end also makes this boat fit in the back of a smaller pick-up truck nicely. I am a 5'5" 145 lb female with strong paddling skills, and find I can get this kayak up to a decent speed but it is a bit of work to maintain the speed. I have not had these in fast water yet. In moderate river current the Sound requires a bit more corrective steering. The 225 cm paddle seems a bit short for working over the height of the cockpit, however the coaming is shaped nicely downward for accommodating the paddle stroke as you pull toward your body. Others who have paddled this boat like the stability.
At this price point, the seat is better than most, although the seat back is not attached to the seat base (it is tethered by a strap). The seat back can pop completely out of the slot that holds it. I have not had this happen at all while paddling, but it can happen if you straddle the boat to enter the cockpit from the stern and bump into the top of the seat back. I have had the flotation foam blocks come loose from inside the stern; it was not easy to wedge back in. The 'free' paddles are pretty nice - oval shafts, 2-position, lightweight. These are good sturdy little boats and have so far proven great on short lake outings or shallow river water, are easy to carry, and fun to share.
The boat is very stable in waves but it does rock from side to side if you paddle too vigorously. It took me about an hour to get comfortable in it. I had enough leg room but I had to sit with my knees bent. There is no compartment to keep your gear dry so you have to add a watertight bag and tether it to the boat. I don't know if this boat will sink or not and I have not tried to get in to it after tipping over. I suppose I should practice that next time I'm out.
It paddled and steered pretty easily and was fairly stable. The best part of this is that it fit inside my Subaru Forester, at exactly nine and a half feet long, if fit nicely on the diagonal with the seat folded down. It's also light enough to carry from the parking lot to the lake without having to back the car close to the shore. It's a great boat for the price.
I read a lot of reviews before I bought it and I feel good with the purchase and would HIGHLY recommend this boat for any beginner. Easy to steer. Easy to paddle, she feels pretty stable. I watched a few videos on line before I took her out. Looking forward to my next trip out! I would not hesitate to recommend this boat, PLUS, it's MADE IN THE USA! Not China!
Large cockpit is easy to enter & leave; high deck leaves room for feet & knees. There is no closed storage & has foam flotation under the stern deck. Plenty of open storage under the decks for day trips. Tracks well and turns easily. The Sound has a tri-hull, but looks almost flat; can be transported on a rack right-side up. The Sound is roto-molded high-density linear polyethylene, but is sure a lot lighter (38 lbs) then any others I've seen. It's not a fast boat, but is very stable. When paddling hard, you can hear the water coming off the squarish stern.
Only weak point is the folding seat back, it is not attached to the bottom & is held in place with straps but it can easily pop out from bottom. I've added shock cords to keep to pulled down tightly.
Have had this kayak for 4 years & find it the best for slow moving rivers.
Cons include a pretty uncomfortable seat, zero storage and a very useless tray. Great cost though makes those issues seem minimal.
Again, very happy with the Sound 9.5, it served me very well as my first kayak!
The only thing we don't like is the seat, these are the low end kayaks so did not expect much. Will be upgrading the seats soon. I have a small car and these are easy to load and launch even for my daughter. Would recommended these to anyone that needs small, easy to load and launch kayaks for flat water. Will be using them a lot this summer.
Now the only reason I did not give it a 10 were for the molded in seat that collects water (from where I was splashed a few times by my daughter) and remained wet. I guess a quick fix with a drill bit. The other was no place to hold your paddle, again a quick fix with a kit. The company that rented these had them on sale and am going to pick up 2 soon
The high points: Lightweight and easy to handle on land. Comfortable seat. Good length for maneuvering in tight spaces. Got the hang of it on my first time out. Only rough water I've encountered was boat wakes which were a non issue, even on my first trip. Was no problem for me at 6' and 215 lbs.
The lows: Not the fastest thing on the water. Not a terrible amount of storage, which really isn't an issue when all you need will fit in a small bag for the day, but wouldn't want to use for fishing or overnight trips.
I will give my impressions later on the actual test run. If first impression can be trusted I expect my lake trip to be outstanding. By the way the salesman at Gander Mountain was extremely helpful and polite and made my visit there memorable, thanks Sam.
At 1/3 the price (new for new) of my Hurricane Santee 116 Sport it's every bit as good, if not better in some areas. Ergonomics are very similar (cockpit opening is the same size), weight is about the same, but seat is more comfortable. There is no closed storage, but plenty of open storage under the decks for day trips. Tracks well and turns easier and is about 2 ft shorter. The Hurricane may be better on open water because of the long keel. The Sound has a tri-hull, but looks almost flat. When paddling hard, you can hear the water coming off the squarish stern. The Sound is roto-molded high-density linear polyethelene, but is sure a lot lighter (under 40 lbs) then any others I've seen. It flexes about as much as the Hurricane's Trylon, and probably won't hold up to white water kayaking. Good for slow moving rivers and small ponds and lakes.
There are no sharp edges as others have described, maybe now due to Perception manufacturing it.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!