I got an Emotion kayak for Father's day 2 years ago. I LOVED this kayak. It IS cheap, in quality and price, but was a heck of a value and can be used in a lot of different types of water. It's an 8 to me because of the value.
The seat back is terrible, I finally took it out and added a back band. Must have foot pegs too or it isn't worth a hoot. Once I added those, I paddled it on lakes, at the Outer Banks - ocean and sound, on flat rivers, on class I, II and even III rivers and creeks. I did my share of swimming though. If one has better than beginner paddling skills (I did and do) then the Comet can to a lot. I even eskimo rolled it. I don't advise using it in surf and class III. I fished in it a lot too, but that tough to do if you land a decent size fish.
I have since bought a Dagger Mamba and Pyranha Recoil which cost 3 times more than a Comet, but it is what got me started and prepared for these boats and the waters they prefer.This is a great little kayak from a value perspective. I bought 2 for about $215 each. It does not track like my 12 ft kayaks. I have used these several times in the Delaware River and the South Branch of the Raritan River. They excel in small rivers such as Raritan. I went over lots of rocks and was stuck several times with no real damage on the bottom. The boats get turned with the current, but that actually helped me stay in the deepest water. These kayaks are perfect for small river and you don't really care if the scrape the bottom.
Overall, great entry kayaks and perfect for small rivers. I hope to try the Musconetcong soon.As a newby to the world of kayaking, I wanted something mobile, agile, and easy enough to start with. This works perfectly. It straps to the top of my Jeep Wrangler with zero issues (just add some straps and a couple of towels at pressure points).
The only issue I have is keeping it tracking in flat waters. That could be a result of the short body of the boat or my horrible paddling stroke. It's pretty frustrating at times, but I have noticed improvements each time I go out, which tells me it's probably more user-error than anything else. But, if I could do it over, I would upgrade to a longer Emotion kayak.
The Comet meets all of my needs at this stage but once I get it into moving waters, I'm hoping it'll do just fine.I bought a slightly older Comet 8.5 footer a while back and sold it soon after. I wanted a shorter boat so I could throw it in the back of my pickup and this kayak is light, around 36 pounds and it easy to pick up, but, the cockpit rim has very sharp edges which make it uncomfortable to carry by hand or on your shoulder. I would use a piece of pipe insulation as a cushion for the shoulder.
The cockpit is a bit small for me, 6' 200lbs but the boat is wide and stable. The main problem for me was it didn't cut through the water very well. The shape of the bow doesn't work well for going up stream or trying to move fast. It is maneuverable though and would be good in creeks or mangroves. I also didn't like the paddle holder on the right side. While convenient, the plastic thing that the bungee attaches to sticks out right where your paddle hand is and once you hit your thumb a couple times, you want to rip that thing off. I will look for maybe a 10 footer that will track and cut through the water better.Paddled this little boat on the flat water of the Chattahoochee River in North Metro Atlanta (class I). The plastic is much thinner than that of other small, introductory rec kayaks, and the plastic was shabby in its finish. Tracking was wobbly but not impossible, as expected in such a small boat. The volume of the boat is roomy & deep, probably comfortable for a range of body types (I'm 5'7", 130 lbs, small frame). Easy entry & exit.
Not a bad choice if you are looking for low cost, easy cartopping, and easy entry/exit, but you will get better overall manufacturing quality and better handling if you go up to a slightly larger boat, like the Old Town Otter, Perception Swifty 9.5, or the Heritage Featherlite 9.5 (my favorite in this class by far).The first time you take this out (especially if you are a beginner for whom the price point appeals) - you will think, did I make a mistake?
The 2nd and 3rd time, you will start to connect with it, and by 4th go, you and the kayak will become one. It takes a little getting used too, poor initial stability, but once you do, secondary stability is great.
The cockpit opening while generous for a yak this size, was a little tight for my 6' frame, though others who are similar height didn't have as much difficulty. The length of your leg vs. torso probably makes a difference. My leg length also had my knees right up against the edge of the cockpit coming, which took a little getting used too. However, that allowed me to control the kayak using my hips better, without needing knee straps.
The foot pegs are adjustable, but they did not go quite far enough for me. They are also a little trickier to adjust while in the water. The construction of this kayak while largely sound, had little tell-tale signs of cheaper construction in the finer details e.g. the bungee cord for paddle holder came loose on one end. The straps on the ends that attached handles seem a little flimsy also, so far they've held, but time will tell.
It is reported to track straight, but I found my bow ding-donging a bit with my strokes. Could just be my beginner form, but then again it is a shorter kayak.
Paddle length makes a difference. I found a 230cm paddle to be a tad too long, especially since you sit higher up in this craft. A shorter one helps you get a more vertical stroke, and therefore less sideways push.
That said, that maneuverability makes it the perfect kayak to explore little inlets and coves. The one thing that would have been nice, is padding on the side of the kayak, which would help 2 things - protect the edge of your legs when up against it, and made it easier to carry your kayak across one shoulder. The current blow-molded edge is awfully sharp and results inevitably in a cut shoulder when carrying on your shoulders.
The float bag definitely adds buoyancy, and is recommended in the event of that inevitable swim.
Overall, pretty good value for the price, and the 2010 gear of the year rating doesn't hurt.