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The Perception Swing is no longer made but if you can get one, go for it. It is the easiest kayak I have ever been in. The Swing is stable, easy to paddle, I use a back rest to make long distances more comfortable and I take it out as much as possible into the San Pablo Bay, it handles like a dream. I wish I had tried this kayak years ago.
We have taken them in the ocean in heavy surf, bayous, rivers, lakes, class 3 rapids, every possible body of water you can imagine, and they have been maneuverable and manageable in every situation, if you know how to paddle. You can even surf using your paddle as an outrigger. It can carry a large amount of gear, enough for camping, and has a good space for a cooler for day trips.
We have tried out a bunch of sit on tops before purchasing the Swing, and over the years since have rented and 'test driven' multiple models at festivals and demo events, but so far nothing measures up. Sure, you can play more in a shorter boat, or tour in a longer one, but the Swing is a great all around boat. Love it!
Hull shape is attractive and gives a nice smooth and silent entry in calm water. Being a little heavy, I use scupper bungs in the seat, the 2 aft foot wells and the two forward rear bin holes. (I have found sparkling wine corks fit well!). My wife uses none and enjoys a dry ride. I don't have a padded seat and still find it comfortable even though I have lower back problems. Over all, very very happy.
I'm 6'3, 220, and some boats just seem too small and cramped -- not so the Swing. My wife is only 5'5" 125, and she has no problem handling the boat -- although it's a little heavy for her to handle out of the water.
I would recommend buying a good backrest or full seat, and for cold water, some scupper plugs for under the seats and foot holes. Even with a wetsuit and booties, it can be a cold ride.
For an all around sit on top with great lateral stability, you can't beat this boat. (If you're looking at an Ocean Kayak Scrambler or Scrambler XT, try a Swing out as well. They don't stack like the OKs, but they also don't have that annoying wave-slap on the bow -- and they cut through waves better on surf launches. Sort of depends on your priorities. Both are stable boats.)
I wanted a sit-on that was relatively fast paddling, stable for fishing and value for money. The scupper was faster but not as stable and would have needed a rudder. I am not a big person but found it a bit of a cramped ride. The Swing on the other hand was well it fitted like a glove. I'm very happy with it. The Escapade was slow but would make an ideal fishing and diving platform if you want to travel short distances. It was the cheapest and heaviest of the three. I really like the little things on the Swing like the moulded handle. I think it's best to try a few out and make up your own mind.
I recently paddled in a 12.5 mile charity event on the Atlantic Ocean and with the exception of one Perception Prism that was paddled by a professional guide the leading sit-on-tops were two Swings, both paddled by men who were over 230lbs and not professional paddlers (we were in front by the better part of a mile after the first hour). We were heading into a ten-knot quartering wind and 1-2 sea chop. Tracking was not an issue and the boat stayed remarkably (again, a relative thing) dry.
My wife tried it out and fell in love immediately. The second one is on order and I am looking at an Eclipse composite for long distance trips (Everglades and FLorida Keys) as I do not want to be fully exposed to the sun for an entire day(s). The only changes I would add would be bigger hatches and more eyelets to attach deck rigging and accessories. Some kind of net would be nice for the tank well in case you dump the yak loaded with your scuba gear but it is something you can certainly add yourself.
All in all the best deal I was able to find among 6 shops and 8 manufacturers.
Hatch could be a little bigger, and I like the design if the Cobra Hatch better than the screw top of the smaller hatch, but other than that, they are great, and will make great fishing rigs.
Paddling in lake water is a breeze with a smooth, fast, straight, track. There is tons of room for storage and a really convenient hatch right between your legs. At 26 kgs the swing isn't too heavy for short portages. Do buy the back rest and if you are planning touring trips the rear storage pod. Happy paddling!
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