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I also use the sandpiper for surfing. I was very surprised to see how durable and how well the sandpiper handles on the larger swells. The reason I gave the sandpiper a 9 out of 10 is because of there is no compartment for tools and there are no self bailers.
I was a bit handicapped in the top speed area. Loaded to the max, the Sandpiper was still quick and nimble at cruising speeds. The only evidence of a heavy load was the production of a bow wake as it "plowed" at high speed. This slowed me down and let the other kayaks outpace me. However, I could catch them when they encountered obstacles and shallow water due to the Sandpiper's agility and shallow draft. Not to mention the carrying handle.
This little boat gets a 10+ for fun. The seating position is the most comfortable of any kayak I have ever seen. You sit slightly reclined back with the high back seat supporting your own back. It is a bit like a recumbent exercise bike's sitting position. This position increases both comfort and stability by lowering your center of gravity. If you have back pain, you must try a Sandpiper. Or if you are like me and like to cruise and relax, the Sandpiper is hard to beat.
At 6'4" I was not cramped at all on my 10 mile trip. You can stretch your legs straight, lay them on the deck and still paddle fine. Not that I needed to though. The regular sitting position is fine. There are some trade-offs for having so much comfort. The sitting position is too low to allow self-bailing holes. There are none. Also, near capacity as I was I noticed that water lapped over the side a little if I turned 90 degrees quickly as in a "trick" move.
In summary, the Sandpiper is a great recreational yak for slow to moderate waters. At a retail price of $299 from a major manufacturer like Old Town Canoe, it's quite a bargin.
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