First, this is a very impressive kayak. The back band provides the BEST back support on any kayak I've ever tested. I had lots of room inside the cockpit, maybe too much for me, but still maintained precise boat control with minimal effort. A larger paddler, over 6'1 and 250lbs, or taller paddler would love this kayak. It provides ample leg and feet room. The cockpit is wide enough for a large person to get in and out of easily. This kayak has all the specs of a Greenland kayak, plus plenty of room for gear included a nice sized day hatch. Perimeter lines are well placed all around. Bungie cords are well placed and the kayak's overall design is very attractive. The material of the glass boat I tried out was very solid and the very well used demo model I was trying out was still in good shape.
While I didn't take it in rough water, I can tell that it had excellent secondary stability and can handle rough water real well. The flared bow and stern might cause some weathercocking, but this is not unusual for any kayak with a flared bow and stern. The kayak had a skeg; I tested the controls (which worked very well). The skeg kept the kayak right on course even with wind gusts on the water.
The entire design had one big plus. For a seventeen plus kayak it is HIGHLY MANEUVERABLE and RESPONSIVE. A slight edge will correct course and an edge combined with a good sweep stroke will turn the kayak easily. I was able to do a 180- degree turn with only two strokes (one good forward sweep and one good reverse sweep). Point is, the Serenity, as large as it is, moved through the water and acted like a smaller play boat! Any effect wind might have on the kayak is counteracted by efficient edging and good paddling skills. Great job to the designers!
The kayak leans and edges really well. I was able to brace myself and put nearly half the cockpit in the water. I almost had the kayak up of its side in the water. You can really have fun with this kayak. Not to mention the design allows you to lean way back. This is a helpful feature for the taller paddler trying to make a roll. The foot braces are easy to set and have a solid feel that really helps increase boat control.
I practiced some bracing against the shore, some practice rolls (grabbing my friend's bow and capsizing, and using the bow to pull up) and I practiced two extended paddle rolls. The thigh braces would require a little extra closed cell foam for me, but I still found this kayak extremely receptive to the hip flick for efficient rolling.
There was a concern with the older Formula models regarding leaking hatches. Impex has resolved the issue. I rolled the kayak several times and practiced some bracing skills. The point is I had the hatches under water several times and when I checked later there was no leakage at all. It appears Impex has resolved these issues.
The Serenity was very light for a 17+ kayak. It ranges from 45 to 55 lbs depending upon what material you get it in (glass, Kevlar, Carbon Kevlar). They also offer the kayak in a "sport" model, which is slightly shorter with a lower profile. Impex also offers some very attractive color schemes.
Overall, this kayak is a good buy for the larger paddler. I wouldn't recommend it for a shorter, lighter paddler. Impex does have several models that would be better for the smaller paddler. But if you're a big guy or gal looking for "that" performance kayak, I recommend checking this kayak out. Also, if you are looking to an expedition kayak to pack a lot of gear in, you'll love the capacity and handling of this kayak.
I'm giving the Impex Serenity a 9 out of 10, once again, only because of my intermediate skills and experience rather than because of the kayak. Should I get this kayak in harsh winds and rough water I will provide an additional review. Nevertheless, this kayak is on my "short list" to buy.