This was my first kayak and the boat I transitioned from canoe to kayak in. I went from a 14 ft canoe to this 12.5 ft sit on top. My first impression was wow! Now four years later, it is still my preferred boat to paddle the winding rivers of North Florida. I have three other kayaks now, but it is my favorite.
Remarkably it is the dryist SOT I have ever paddled. You sit up higher than in any other but dryer is the trade. The fore and aft hatches do fine for all my day trip needs including a small cooler.
I am 5'9" and 170 lbs and most of my paddling keeps the built in sponsons high. This gives me reasonable speed and tracking with the more aerodynamic hull in the water. The sponsons provide amazing stability anytime you need it.
I have a rudder but rarely use it. The boat is short and wide but that lower hull design and how high I ride in the water, lets me maneuver in technical faster water just fine.
Necky has a new model out in this length now, and I have not had a chance to see one first hand to look at the design changes. For my money, in short, stable SOTs, this is the boat.This is my 3rd commentary on the Necky Cruiser II. I finally got the boat outfitted and out on some big water. My fishing buddy and I went to Fairfield State Park just north of Buffalo TX. If you want a great lake to do a paddle on check out this lake, it is a beauty.
Back to the boat. The wind was high and white caps were close to a foot. The boat is stable as a pool table. I am amazed at how stable the boat is in rough water. It is a snap to turn sideways in the boat and fish off the side. The hull design is pretty comfortable as well and easy on the back of your legs as they hang over the side.
My fishing partner helped me rig out the boat. He admitted on this trip that he did not think two could fish out of the boat. He ate his words and said the boat handled well and fished well. We fly fished from the stern and bow of the boat. We successfully stayed out of each others way all day long. It was especially good to get the kind words out of my buddy Dan. Dan caught and released a 23" black bass. He caught on a Dalberg Diver over weed beds close to shore.
I have purchased a 30 lb thrust trolling motor for the boat. That is my next project. With two men paddling you can cover a lot of water and not be bush whacked when you get to where you want to go. The boat is still a work in progress. I really wish the boat were 3 feet longer. It would be a real jewel with the added 3 feet.