I have been canoeing for several years, and somehow looking down on all them kayaks because they're so awkward to get into and out of and had too little load capacity... Then last year I decided on impulse to rent a kayak for a trip. Since I admitted being new to kayaking, the outfitter recommended to take Breeze, and absolutely refused to give me a sprayskirt ("Take a class in wet exit first", - he said).
I fell in love with the kayak immediately, and this season after some market research bought me a brand new Breeze. Took it out on Georgian Bay (Wasaga Beach) close to shore at first, tried it out in breaking waves and wind, practiced wet exit and so on - to get the feel for the boat and to see how far it could be pushed. It proved fairly easy to control - in fact, way easier than any canoe. It dealt with the numerous powerboats' wake easily (those guys never slow down for you, do they?), was nimble and maneuverable, and tracking was never an issue because of the smooth-working rudder.
Last week I took it out on a trip around Franklin Island with two more canoes in the group. It behaved very well, no complaints. The maximum load capacity (150 kg) is quite high for a kayak of this length. However, since there is no bow hatch, one is tempted for simplicity's sake to stuff all the gear into the rear compartment. Don't do this! The boat would be out of trim and it 'd be immediately noticeable, especially in following seas.
I also found out that I had to paddle harder than I expected to keep up with both canoes. Somehow I presumed a kayak would be faster than the canoes. But I cannot pass any judgment on Breeze's speed or efficiency since I am new to kayaking, and it is probably my paddling style that needs improving
On our way back to Snug Harbor we had to deal with 15...20-knot wind from the bay with it's accompanying 3-foot waves, whitecaps and all. Circling the island we had to first paddle into the wind, than take it broadside for a while, and finally paddle with the wind and waves following at 45-degree angle. The Breeze handled rough conditions easily and confidently, it never felt close to capsize and with the help of it's rudder was always manageable. I am thinking of replacing the rudder blade with a foil-shaped one of a larger size though, because I plan to add a sail rig to the kayak. The rear hitch did not leak, and the hull did not flex in waves.
Those were the Pros.
Now the Cons:
The thigh pads are but two pieces of crappy self-adhesive microcell foam, they started coming off in pieces on day two, and will have to be replaced with something more substantial. The cockpit trim is a joke: it is a U-cross-sectioned plastic strip which is simply and loosely pushed (no adhesive!) onto the cockpit edge; of course it won't stay on - one has to push it back on several times a day. The rudder is not a foil, just a cheap aluminum stamping.
But one cannot expect too much for the price of the boat. All the kayaks in this price range (Elie, Riot etc.) have their strengths and weaknesses, but it is always obvious where the manufacturer chose to cut cost. In case of Breeze the shortcuts are fairly innocent, I would certainly recommend this kayak.