I just got a 2011 Sandpiper after paddling 6 or 7 similar boats. What I love:
The carbonlite 2000 material is top of the line and does not flex at all that I can tell.
The boat is only 38lbs. I can lift it easily and carry it by myself (40-something female).
The cockpit is long and wide.
The boat is smooth in the water and tracks well with decent speed for such a wide boat.
This boat is stable!
I live in Oregon and the boat was made by a family-run company right up in WA. I like buying local when all things are equal.
Dual bulkheads on these later model Sandpipers - if you flip it (I can't see how you would unless you took it into the sea) you can get it back up easy enough.
What I don't like:
no storage on deck - no bungees or anything (but the cockpit is huge).
A little more money than similar boats... That's really it.
I give this boat a 9.5 really. It is pretty close to perfect. I wish they made it in a 14ft length and had deck storage but no boat has everything I guess.Into our third season with our Sandpipers. Both my wife and I are delighted with these well-designed, nimble kayaks. We were initially attracted by the light weight(38#), large cockpit, excellent lines and spiffy finish. We paddle regularly with a group using mostly high end touring kayaks, and we have no trouble keeping up with the pack--and we can outmaneuver them any time we poke into narrow estuaries and rivers.
I'd suggest the Sandpiper to anyone looking for a highly stable, easily paddled and carried boat. Although we do alot of loon watching, photography, and poking around shores and islands, we've been in two foot chops on large lakes. In those circumstances, an Eddyline skirt (about $70) is a very good idea. One shortcoming which can be remedied: Our boats came with no bulkheads or watertight compartments. When capsized in a self-rescue drill, they became submarines and couldn't be pumped dry enough to permit re-entry after capsizing. Fortunately, we found adding four bags in a split configuration (available from NRS) completely remedied this problem. The bags are unobtrusive and add no weight.