Let's start out with the good.. I got the Apex 130T SE (Special Edition for bulk shopping stores, aka Costco, Sam's, BJ's, etc) 2 weeks ago now and have taken it out twice both in the Ocean (South Florida). First week was incredible. Perfectly flat ocean for the entire morning and only a light chop in the afternoon. Took both of my kids (5 and 6 years old) out separately and while I didn't give either of them a paddle since I didn't have a tether for them to use yet, they both felt perfectly comfortable in the boat. Spent the better part of 6 hours on the water. My only complaint is that I'm 33 years old and I haven't used quite a few of those muscles in many many years and I hurt for a few days after. No fault of the kayak's of course.
This past weekend was a different story. I'll have to preface this bad experience with the fact that I still give the kayak a 10 out of 10 because the problems were 10000% preventable and completely my own stupidity at work.
We got to the beach and immediately saw that the previous week's glass ocean had turned into 5-8 foot waves crashing on shore, but I was stupid and decided that I wanted to make it out to the reef no matter what. Two people on the kayak (the 130T is a tandem and is rated for between 450 and 500lbs total between the two people.) I had practiced getting on and off the kayak from water deep enough the week before that I couldn't touch the ground successfully. The reef is just over a half mile directly off-shore and the first 3/4 of the trip, while being in rough seas, were pretty normal taking roughly 15 or 20 minutes to make it that far. We were towing behind us a BC and tank so that the other member of my paddling team could do some scuba once we got to the reef and I'd do some snorkeling. At this point we were in visible range of the mooring buoys and they were maybe 50 or 75 more yards away from us. The boat seemed to take over at this point and we didn't really move forward no matter how hard we paddled. I got myself to the point of exhaustion and dehydration in those final 15/20 minutes before the rough seas caught up with me and I started feeling nauseous.. I'll leave the gory details out, but to make a long story shorter that it could be, by the time we made it to the buoys and tied off at the reef, I got sick multiple times making the dehydration kick in that much faster. A little while later after a tiny bit of trying to recover, I was towed in by friends of mine that happened to be out there at the same time in their own kayaks.
As we got back to shore and I tried to pull the kayak up out of the surf, the kayak wouldn't budge. That's when I saw it, (or didn't see it) The drain plug at the rear of the kayak had ripped out sometime during the trip out in the rough seas, and I had taken on enough water to fill 1/2 the kayak... the "compression" fitting needs to be a more secure screw in plug and I've already ordered a $4 replacement one.
Please Please Please if you have one of these find a screw in replacement online and replace the compression cork. My situation turned out good in the end, but a little more water in the kayak and things could have been much much worse than they turned out to be.
I still give it to the kayak that holding that much water in the hull it still made it back to shore to be drained. 10/10, but please do yourself a favor and replace the drain cork.This review is after having this boat for over a year. The Apex 130T is Pelican's tandem wonder. My wife and I were first introduced to the APEX 130T when some friends of ours asked us to go kayaking with them near Allen's Fresh in Southern MD. We had never been kayaking before. Being raised in the Boy Scouts, I had been canoeing dozens of times, but middle age set in, and I never realized the joy of kayaking. We had a great time on the water using their APEX 130T, so I went out the next day and bought one of our own at Sports Authority in Waldorf, MD for $430. I couldn't wait for the wife to get off of work, so I took it out solo, and it did just fine without a front paddler. I had very little windage problems, and it was comfortable enough for an entire afternoon.
Since then, We've probably put over 50 miles on the orange beast as a family. My 11 year old paddled it with ease by herself after I purchased two more kayaks, so we could each have our own. The good thing about this boat is that we could invite friends/couples who have never kayaked before (like our friends did for us), and they could enjoy a very stable ride. We did this many times, and have since been responsible for spreading the kayak fever to others.
A very important reason I love this boat is that we have another 9 y.o. daughter with severe special needs who cannot hold her head up. She has never spoken or moved, but she has a smile worth a thousand words. We found a special life jacket for her, and her older sister held her in the front seat of the APEX 130T, and we crossed a 2-3 mile stretch of the lower Potomac River with her. She was beaming. The water was typical big river water, and we stopped on an Island in the middle. It is a VERY STABLE PLATFORM, and there was plenty of room for our picnic gear and extra paddle. We've even taken the family dog on board with no problems at all.
If you are a family who's looking at getting into kayaking, and are looking for a cheap entry to the sport, then I highly recommend the APEX 130T. You can find them most anywhere, however I prefer Dick's Sporting Goods rather than Sports Authority for their selection. That's a whole other review.
Pro's - Stability, plenty of room, easy to maneuver, easily accessorized with day hatches.
Con's - A little heavy for a single lift, but not bad. I haul in the bed of my pickup with the tailgate down and a flag hanging from the back.
P.S. I also own two Perception Caster 12.5's for fishing.