Length: 9' 1" - Width: 27.75" - Starting at: $499.00See More Details about this Kayak
It turns on a dime so I can miss those jagged edges and rocks that stick up just under the water level. It tracks like a nine-footer! Would love a drop down skeg but what's a few corrections among paddles?
It does push some water due to the rocker bottom but with a strong current it isn't so noticeable. In wind the stern catches but again, not real noticeable until over 5 mph winds.
All in all it's a great purchase, didn't break the bank (I got last years model with a small ding in it)and has just enough room in it for me to take pictures out of! This boat is just for a few hours or a day on the river exploring water-levels or new scenery, but I'd be willing to load it for any camping trip that was a day or two long. It even has a paddle holder though I wished it was on the right side just because I am right-handed.
There is no hatch but there is plenty of room behind the seat if I need to haul any dry clothing along. A great, light-weight, quick to get in the water, fun boat! Zydeco Music is 'fun music' so I can sure see where the name came from!
Wiggles and meanders while paddling, but easy enough to average the wiggles and head in the general desired direction.
Not a bad little boat, but not my boat.
This is a great kayak for paddling in lakes or slow moving rivers. Tracking isn't bad for a 9' boat but you will fight it a bit in a good current or wind. The light weight is also a big plus. I'm not the fittest fellow but can lift it on my SUV roof unassisted. I don't see any other kayak in this price class that matches it feature for feature. 8 months later I'd still make the same choice.
Downsides? The seat might not last as long as the hull, and the blunt bow makes a lot of spray when paddling fast. Other than that, a great buy.
Finally, the length was perfect to fit in our minivan, which was one of the main reasons I bought it over a Pamlico 100, which at $430 was not the best deal, particularly because it has a storage hatch but it is not dry storage. The best place for me to purchase it was at Kenco, because shipping was ~$100 less than any other store.
The main difference between the Zydeco and the Swifty is that the Swifty doesn't plow through calm water quite as much, but the Zydeco tends to handle low class-3 water just a little better. Paddling a little more in calm water is an inconvenience, whereas handling rougher water is more of a safety concern during unexpected thunderstorms.
A friend of mine with Jr. High boys w/friends borrows my Zydeco to supplement his rec boats. He says there's always an argument as to which boy gets the Zydeco. Although I could personally care less, the Jr. Highers definitely think the Zydeco is the "cooler" of the several boats.
We're still experimenting. So far, we've been on two lakes, feeder streams, one river, and one rapids. The Z has performed well in all scenarios and seems to be exactly what we were looking for: sort of a "jack of all trades, master of none." Example: It cruises/tracks well but has a definite comfort zone. When you push the speed, it results in the noise/water on bow that's mentioned in other reviews. We solved the problem of "lost articles behind the seat" (detailed in another review} by purchasing a set of NRS split storage floatation bags (#2084) to fill the deep space behind the seat. While not inexpensive, they can be used in other kayaks as well. With those in place, we still had room for a soft cooler directly behind the seat for easy access in one Z and a dry storage bag in the other.
Dagger gives the Z a low rating for overnight/weekend trips, but with the split storage bags and leftover space behind the seat, it would be possible to do an overnighter easily and possibly a 3-5 day for us (using the both Z's). Have been in feeder streams for the lakes in about 4-5 inches of water; cruising in, the Z was so quiet we could see the fish spooked as the bow glided past. We have spray skirts and opted for touring paddles because of the width of the Z. All work fine.
It seems the Z will do anything you might want a kayak to do as long as you stay within its limits. Add in the overall quality and low price, well, what more could you ask for in a purchase? Bonus: When we do branch out to other kayaks, the Z's will be perfect for "guests" because of their stability and large cockpit.
Recently I have had it out in some fairly rough conditions in Puget Sound and the way it handled in those conditions ( amazingly well ) is why I finally decided to rate it here. Even broadside to the waves, it was stable and instilled confidence that you wouldn't get into trouble.
This is a great little kayak that I would highly recommend to the beginning kayaker or for fishing in inland waters.
The WW people were telling me that I did not want to get a rec. boat, but I have had the Z about 2 months (with a neoprene skirt) and it is a great compromise boat. I wanted a short boat, basically a 1 person canoe with a spray skirt and this is about the perfect boat for me. WW boats scare me, as I am not able to keep them going where I want them to go and they are more difficult to exit than I like. I do not want to get sideways near a rock or ledge that I wanted to go at a different angle. I think this boat will be able to control. The Z is very easy to get in and out of. If I turn it over, getting out is still easy because it is so roomy. I do not have to slide it off like an RPM max or Corsica. I do hope to learn to roll it and stay in it most of the time, or not tip over. I look at this boat like an enduro motorcycle (trail bike that is street legal) It is not the best for WW or Cruising but is a good compromise.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!