Great inexpensive beginner kayak. I had canoed a lot, but had never tried a kayak. I wanted to try one, but instead, I just went out and bought the Kiwi Lobo for $299 plus $40 for the paddle at a local hardware store. That was 15 years ago. I wanted a sit inside with a large opening for getting in and out of (I feared getting trapped after flipping.
I found that the Lobo is very stable. The only time I dumped it was when I tried. Even in that case, it just slowly filled up with water once the side went under. Even up in NH, I use it 12 months of the year (I go clamming in the winter months). I found that I like kayaking much better than the canoe. Weighing only 35 pounds it is easy to sling it over your shoulders and carry it around. Also, since it is very short and stubby it fits well in my minivan (Dodge Grand Caravan).
The only two drawbacks that I have found is that the seat can get uncomfortable after a while and that it does not track well once you stop paddling. I have no trouble keeping it going straight, but friends who have tried it have been all over the place. I am thinking of replacing the seat, because I plan on using it for many years to come.Look at my review from 2003.
I have 5 kayaks now and still use my Lobo sometimes for fishing in the Intercoastal Waterway (salt water) and Florida lakes for Bass. My most used kayak is a Hobie Outback with the foot peddles, but I still like, and use, my little Kiwi Lobo. I can carry it down to the water on one shoulder with everything else I need in a bag on the other shoulder.
I now have a 'skirt' so I can take it out in the ocean for fun and games, but fishing with the 'skirt' is not so good, so I only use the Lobo for the flats or the Intercoastal for salt water fishing. I have bought and sold three kayaks since writing my review in 2003, but I am keeping my Lobo. 'nuff said.I started kayaking two years ago at a local small (flatwater) lake. The marina rents out these Kiwi Lobos, so it was my first kayak. At first I spent a lot of energy just mastering the basics of kayaking itself. Eventually I got pretty good at it, to the point where I could paddle for an hour and not feel like my arms were on fire. I'm a big woman (5'8", 210 pounds) and found the Kiwi easy to get in and out of. It handled nicely, fast enough for me, not too tippy, went where I wanted it to go, and I never fell out of it. I've gone out with a couple of friends who were kayaking for the first time in Kiwis, and they struggled to keep up with me. That made me think it was the paddler, not the kayak, that was slow! The small size and light weight of this kayak would be a plus. It should be easy to chuck into the back of your truck or stash in the garage.
The main drawback is the uncomfortable seat position and lack of support in the backrest. I could never go more than an hour in this boat because my back was sore by then. I do not have a back problem.
But truth to tell, I never knew what I was missing until I rented a kayak at a kayak store. My goodness, what a difference. I never took down the name of the kayak I used, but it was new, sleek, and fast! Made those old, banged-up Kiwi Lobos feel like bathtubs by comparison. I had a friend come along for her first kayak experience, and she really likd it too. Later, she rented the Lobo, and complained that she had to work very hard to keep up with me in the Lobo, whereas in the other kayak, she felt a lot faster and could keep up with me.
A Kiwi Lobo would probably be an all right choice for a beginner who won't stay out too long, or for kids. If you want to spend more than an hour in your kayak, get something else.