This was my first kayak, purchased in February 2011, but I have been paddling it for over a year on over 100 trips, average trip about 8 miles, longest per day 35 miles. I have used it on small Panhandle Florida creeks and rivers with downfall (flat water with little elevation drops), large rivers (upper Missouri, Apalachicola) and lakes large enough for wind-driven waves.
It's not as maneuverable as my 10 feet Dagger award which I use as a transitional river kayak in Canada, but it seems to be as good as or better than kayaks of equivalent length. It seems to be much faster than my husband's Perception Carolina 14 and even without a rudder or skeg tracks as well, except when confronted by crosswinds and high waves as we were on Lake Ilo in North Dakota. However, it did not take in water on that trip, and my husband's did (no skirts). Although it required much more strenuous paddling, I have no complaints about its performance under those conditions -- it's stability was awesome.
I am 5 feet tall and it is made for a taller person, so I really should add an extension to the pedals which is set at its limit and the width makes for less than comfortable edging. Both hatches are tight and large enough for camping gear and water, there is room in the cockpit for additional storage if necessary, but have not had to do that. Fully loaded, one doesn't notice the extra weight after about half an hour of paddling. It was tested on a fast, rocky bottomed river, Brule in Wisconsin with class I and II rapids. I could feel the thermoform skin flexing on the bottom, but examination of the hull showed no damage or stress. We maintain and properly store our kayaks when not in use, but the coat on the Expedition looks like new.
While we are careful about maintenance and storage, I pretty much give this craft everything it comes across -- over logs, rocks, tight cornering, and downfalls and it has not disappointed me in its performance.
It is 38 pounds. A new version of the Expedition which is much heavier by over 6 pounds was introduced in 2012 and I have not tried it, but if this version is on the secondary market now, I would have no problem recommending it to someone who kayaks the kind of venues we do. It would have been nice, however, to have a better way to secure the craft when left all day in a primitive camp site -- there are no holds or loops which cannot be easily cut, although the carrying loops at both ends of the kayak are much easier to use than the Perception's.I recently purchased a Hurricane Santee Expedition 128 for flat water use. I have a Liquid Logic Remix XP10 that I use for whitewater conditions. I bought the XP10 first but wasn't happy with it's flat water performance. Here is my opinion on the 128's characteristics:
Manufacturing - The Hurricane boat appears to be well made. I could not find any problems or flaws with the boat's construction. The hardware appears to be of good quality except for the seat adjusting pull cords which look like an afterthought.
Stability - This boat feels tippy initially. Part of it may be the large cockpit and lack of thigh braces and hip pads. The secondary stability is very good however as this boat can be put on edge when desired.
Performance - This boat feels fast to me. It accelerates easily and maintains it's speed. The 128 has more glide than the recreational kayaks and the whitewater kayaks I have paddled. In terms of handling, it turns well for a boat of this length. It won't turn like a whitewater kayak, but then again, I didn't expect it to.
Comfort - The seat and it's position are comfortable for me. I'm 5'11" and weigh 190lbs. There is plenty of room for a larger paddler.
Appearance - The 128 looks good. In my opinion, it looks much better than a polyethylene kayak. People frequently mistake it for a composite boat. I have had many complements already. We will see about durability over time.
Rough water performance - I took this boat out a river mouth into Lake Superior on a day with 3 foot waves. It performed very well in breaking through the surf keeping me reasonably dry. I have seen longer boats perform worse in the surf as they cut through the waves instead of going over them. Out beyond the breakers the ride was smooth and stable and the boat tracked well despite strong winds. The only negative for me in the rough water was the lack of hip and thigh pads that could of helped me control the boat while adding to my sense of security. In 3 foot waves or higher, I will stick with my XP10 that excels in rough conditions.
Conclusion - The Hurricane Expedition 128 is a good value for someone who wants a recreational cockpit with a fast hull. It appears to be a good value for the money. I would recommend it based on my experience.Just bought this a few weeks ago, along with a Tracer, to replace my Necky Manitou 14. I decided that it was time to get out of a transitional, good for a variety of conditions boat and go for 2 boats tailor made for more specific conditions. First the Santee, because I've paddled it more.
It took me a bit of time to get used to the roominess of the cockpit coming from the Manitou. But this is more of a rec boat, but not in the beginner boat sense. Feels at least as fast as the longer Manitou but more maneuverable. Also feels easier to lean. In fact, it felt somewhat tippy until I readjusted my foot pegs. Also has front and rear bulkheads. You must check out the Mango color. In the sunlight, you see streaks of yellow (my friends yellow Tampico streaks green in sunlight).
Fast, maneuverable, light, what more could I ask? I'll give my impressions of the Tracer after I've paddled it some more (so far, so good though).
I'm loving my new Santee!