I rented one of these and another brand 12' kayak Memorial Day for me and my daughter, 10 years old. She started out in this boat. It was very stable for her and she was able to stay with me in the 12 ft boat. It rode over boat wakes very well and stayed dry. We switched and I paddled this boat for a while. Was able to get it up to a respectable speed that I was surprised by. It also tracked very straight for this short of a boat and did not feel like I was paddling a bath tub like others I have used before in this size range.
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 soonOverall, not bad. I've spent a lot of time on the water, a little in canoes, some rowing, but mostly in power boats. However, this was my first kayak and I was pleased. Primarily used on calm rivers watching wildlife, exploring and just screwing around.
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 just purchased the Sound at Gander Mountain located in Sherman, TX. This is my first Kayak. I am 6' tall and weigh 230lbs and had no problem accessing and exiting this cockpit. The comfort level for me is outstanding. The three year warranty is very generous. I gave this a 10 on first impressions after comparing it to similar kayak's. Lake Crockett in the Caddo National Grasslands awaits me.
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.Since Mainstream was acquired by Confluence, which also acquired Perception, the Sound is now manufactured by Perception and is known as a Perception Sound. It is not shown on Perception's website. I just purchased a new one from Gander Mountain for 20% discount off the regular price. This kayak is a good deal at the regular price and a bargain at the discount price. There is a 3-year warranty.
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.