I too, spent a whole summer paddling different boats before deciding on which one to purchase. As a small padder (5'5, 120lbs), this boat was hands down my favorite. It handled great in the chop, and I found it much easier to turn and manover than all the other boats I paddled. I particularly like that it has a lower deck, as all the other boats felt higher and I found I would tire quickly in them (also the other boats felt quite boxy). I went on to purchase this boat and it has served me very well kayaking large open water, smaller lakes, overnight trips, some rivers and even a couple municipal drainage ditches. The only thing that I wish was better was that I had better strength to get it up on my car and through portages (but thats just me- the girly twiggy arms get me every time). I have also lent this boat out to friends for weekend kayaking trips where it has been paddled by a 10year old boy to a 50 year old female. Everyone still loves this boat.
I would highly recommend this boat- and even if sometime I saved enough cash to buy a kevlar boat or something of that type, this boat will without a doubt sill remain in my collection.I recently demoed about 8 or10 touring kayaks in moderate wind and seas. Although I had not considered Dagger as a worthy competitor to the high tech competition, it came up "best in show". Very predictable handling characteristics and good speed for its size. Best combination of primary and secondary stability of the lot.This model supersedes the Dagger "Baja", which according to Dagger is cut from the same mold, so both should have similar handling characteristics.
For the record, I am 6 ft and 153 lbs. and I felt very comfortable. I like a tight fit for control, and will probably install hip pads after my purchase.
Nine out of ten is tops for me. 10 for 10 suggests perfection. That kayak has not yet been built.