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The Expression 14.5 is a little tricky to first get into, but once you are in there, it fits like a glove and I love the thigh pads and the feet pegs. You can get a lot of control and extra power using the thigh pads and feet pegs in this kayak.
About the 3rd week I had this kayak, I went out in water up to my neck and spent about an hour practicing dumping it. It was tricky to get back in her, but it is with all sit-in kayaks if you tip-over. I would definitely recommend getting a hand-pump and a large sponge to all kayakers.
The speed in this kayak is amazing, if you want a fast kayak, this is the one to get. Also, I like the size of this kayak, it's long enough to achieve the speed you need, but yet, not to long to be hard to handle.
I will say, if you are a large person, this might be a little tight for you. I am 5'10" and 190 lbs and fit nicely in here with lots of leg room, but if you are over 225 lbs, you might want to get a kayak with more deck height, I believe this kayak has a deck height of 13.5 inches.
Overall, I am very glad I purchased this kayak and the speed is amazing in this thing. The quality of the build is superb and the design is great, however, the skeg sometimes can be a little tricky to deploy fully with the rope release, but I will try and lubricate the mechanism and that might help, I would have probably preferred to have a lever release on this kayak rather than the rope thing, but really, that is my only issue with this kayak.
Remember, a bad day kayaking is always better than a good day on land. Have fun!
The build quality is superb, much much better than the rather ugly and thrown together Northshore; the comfort is superb, the Alchemys were good but a little low on the foredeck. The outfitting in the Perception is similar but has a bit more room. I went for the essence type backband rather than the awful armchair that comes as standard - Perception is happy to make the switch just ask when you order. The seat has a leg lifter and the thigh braces are adjustable. The skeg is a rope type affair with spring loaded mechanism; I thought I would prefer a wire skeg but this system is simpler and if you ground with the skeg down the blade just springs back up into the skeg box.
On the water the kayak is responsive and fun, fast, easy to turn but easy to keep straight as well. I've surfed some small waves and this kayak is fun, the last few outings have been in quite choppy confused conditions, the kayak is super steady and stable without feeling like a barge, the bow rides over most of the chop keeping you dry. In wind the kayak doesn't seem to have any real tendency to weathercock. I've only found the skeg useful in quartering seas where the kayak has a tendency to broach, but most kayaks do in these conditions.
I like the simple 2 hatch design; I can get my ekla trolley in the stern hatch without having to take it apart.
I feel i have finally found my ideal kayak with this one and look forward to many years of enjoyment.
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