I fully support the positive comments made by the other reviewers. I have had the Axis 12.0 for three months now. I also own a sea kayak and a sit on top fishing one. This is a splendid all around kayak. Both initial and secondary stability are excellent. Track very well for a recreational kayak. I have tried other brands recreational kayaks and I haven't found anything better yet.
With the skeg down, it tracks like an arrow, very useful on a larger lake with a rear-side wind. The large cockpit makes it very easy to come in and out even for larger paddlers. It also comes with a very comfortable seat and plenty of room for the legs. The hatch lid is tight and totally leak-proof.
My wife and I have used it on flat water, small and large lakes. My wife loves it because she feels very secure and it is so easy to control. I have used it on Class I and II rapids and again it handles very well. My only word of caution would be to add a flotation bag up front; otherwise if you capsize the nose will quickly dive down. In a rapid this can result in causing damage to your boat and on flat water it will facilitate recovery. Mind you that on flat water if you wear a spray skirt and know how to brace, it becomes very difficult to capsize considering how stable the boat is.
In short, we are fully satisfied; I can only recommend this kayak very strongly.I am 19, 165lbs, and I'm 6'2".
The Dagger Axis looked amazing in person, even better than it did online, so that's a plus. The longest trip I've taken it on was 11 miles of flat/slow moving water from the Yamhill launch site in Dayton, to the Dundee paddle launch site (Oregon).
Specifics:(1 being lowest performance, 5 the highest)
Stability - 5
Seat comfort - 5
Skeg - 5
Weight - 5
So it pretty much aces my test. Dry Storage..It's my first kayak but I don't see how any other kayak could have much more dry storage space unless it was longer than 12ft. The lid to the dry storage is pretty hard to get off and on until you get used to it, it kind of breaks in.( I've only opened it 3/4 times).
I would TOTALLY recommend this kayak to everyone, great boat.I bought this boat just about a month ago. I've used it on the Monongahela between Morgantown and Fairmont, WV, and I've also used it on the Savage River Reservoir in MD. While I didn't necessarily need the whitewater capabilities, I went for them as I wanted a more nimble boat if the need were to arise.
It is nearly impossible to express just how much I really love this boat. It is faster than I'd hoped, and I can almost keep up with my wife in her Tsunami 120, a sleeker speed demon of sorts. Plus, the skeg is amazing. As advertised, if you drop it, you're going to paddle in a straight line. As a point of comparison, I'd also tried out other beginner boats such as a Pungo 120, a Pamlico 120, and a Perception Zydeco. Why anyone would purchase one of those over this sweet Axis is beyond me, but then I suppose others have their own needs. But all of those above felt and maneuvered like tanks, often veering to wherever they wished, while this one just makes every stroke a joy.
I should also mention that it has some pretty nice storage solutions. The deck bungees are great, obviously, and I really like the mesh on the bow, but it's the rear storage compartment that won me over. It doesn't look like much, but last weekend I stuffed a soft cooler full of drinks, fruit, and sandwiches - and ice - in it, and there was plenty of room for at least one more, plus something else. I think I could camp for a week out of it - maybe only three or four days, but certainly it holds more than I'd expected.
Finally, though, I should mention that I am a really large person - width wise, that is. I am 6' tall, and I weigh in at 330. There is room to spare in the cockpit, which is great as I really hated the wide open cockpits in the other boats I'd tried. But this one fits me beautifully, and it's not too tight a squeeze to get into or out of. It's pretty simple, actually. And I also suspect that once I lose some more weight, I will actually be able to keep up with my wife in her boat, but in all, I could not possibly be happier with my purchase. I hope this boat lasts me forever; although, that may be tough as I intend to use it A LOT!I've owned this boat for only a short while, but in the few times I've used it, I've grown to really like it. My previous boat was a Perception Prodigy 12, and on the smallest of river rapids around here, it would dive like a submarine, so I wanted something more capable on the rapids, without going to a whitewater boat.
The Axis is just what I was wanting. It handles small rapids without a problem. I've had it on class II, and stayed dry. And on flat water with the skeg down, it tracks well, actually better than the Perception Prodigy 12.I bought the boat based on web reviews and the ability to "cross over" from flat to moving water. First and foremost, I REALLY like this boat, the cockpit is a nice size (I'm 6'2" ~225#) without feeling like a big open rec boat. I do think that it is better suited to moving water, but the drop skeg does help track, as does good paddling style.
I am not sure the company claim "beginner" is accurate, as a rec boat with full keel may feel a bit more stable primarily - the Axis does hold its own, but more so on secondary stability I think. The hull is a sort of V/U hybrid shape that gives the best of both without limiting the design (where the crossover comes in).
If you can only have one boat I think you would be very happy with the Axis - I am, but I knew what I wanted going in! I have flat water boats and river rigs, I wanted something that I could travel with and do both pretty well instead of bringing two boats that do separate things very well. I wouldn't expect the 12 footer to bomb down some III/IV water - especially rocky, but anything less would be a-OK.