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Reviews for Blackwater 12.5 Kayak by Dagger


Rated: 8.12/10 Based On: 17 Reviews

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07-30-2007
Submitted by: MrrillaSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I picked up an 06' Blackwater 12.5 which has good and bad points.

The Good: Ample sealed rear storage, good deck strapping, air adjustable seat, with the skeg up it maneuvers nice in fast moving water, with the skeg down it runs nice in calm water. The price was great.

The Bad: The boat won't track in open water with the skeg up. There is no drain plug. Mine doesn't have knee or thigh braces. A little on the heavy side.

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Win a Kayak or Canoe
10-13-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     My Dagger blackwater plowed through the water like a pig. It was very stable even in rough water, but it was also slower than any other 12 foot kayak I've paddled. I liked the quality of the boat materials and rigging, but don't get this boat if you need to keep up with a group. The only paddlers you'll keep up with are ones in very short boats. This boat would make an okay boat for a beginner to learn kayaking skills. It is very stable but you can roll it, which is rare for a rec boat. Still I'd recommend a necky manitou or a WS pungo instead for almost everything this boat doesn't do.
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10-10-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I'll write a review of the Kayak even though I chose a different boat. And because I chose a different boat I could not give it a ten . This is a quality boat for shure, and the outfitting is near perfect. But I found the stablity to be a little twichy. And although the tracking was good with the skeg deployed, I found the skeg hard to raise & lower. Maybe it needed an ajustment? Anyway this is classified as a receational boat so in my mind it should be uncomplicated, and have a large cockpit opening. The Blackwater's cockpit was a little small. If you want a smaller boat that crosses over into the relm of touring boats then I DO recommend the Blackwater 12.
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05-02-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 6 of 10

     I bought a new Blackwater 12.5 the summer of 2004 without testing it on the water. This spring (2005) I sold it and went for a Carolina 14.5. The boat was very stable and well made. Like another review here it plowed water and took some effort to keep it going. In cutting across the wind it tended to fall off the wind even with the skeg down. I found myself paddling almost entirely on the right side just to go straight. It would probably be okay as a river float boat.
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01-19-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     It was amazing, my brother paddled a 12.5 on a trip we took. It was 25 miles and the first 8 where into a wind of 20 miles an hour at a 45 degree angle. We were all in touring boats except him. He kept up very well. I was impressed.
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01-17-2005
Submitted by: JohnSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had the Blackwater 12.5 for over two years. In that time I've paddled numerous calm rivers and lakes. The fun starts when you get comfortable enough with the boat to take it into the surf. My first time out was rough, but coming from my stubby little intro boats, the 12.5 was far easier to control. By my second trip out I'd learned to roll it 2 out of 3 times. Expect to get plenty wet in rough water. After getting comfortable in the chop, I now routinely take it out in rough swells. The boat will handle reasonably well in anything less that 6 feet and I'm considering trying it in worse. Last March I took the boat out on Galveston Bay with 4'-5' swell, high wind and intermittent showers. I paddled out to Redfish Island (roughly two miles) and never even tipped over the bait bucket which was balanced on the rear hatch.

The boat will do whatever you want it too. It's built like a tractor and laughs at rocks and oyster beds. The 12.5 is not the best choice for multi-day trips on open ocean, but has served me quite well on four-day trips downriver. I would feel comfortable in this boat for longer trips on open water, but the group will most likely have to slow down for you. While the wind is not too hard to overcome, ocean currents can turn paddling into more of a chore than you're buddies with directional rudders have to deal with. I bought the boat because when I want to get on the water, I don't want to deal with a 17' plus monster, want to worry about a rock ending the life of a $2,000 boat, and I want to feel confident alone and a long way from home. The Blackwater has served me well. The sexier boats catch my eye regularly, but I've never felt at a loss out on the water.

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12-30-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned my 12.5 Blackwater for a couple of years now and consider it to be one of the best rec boats I have ever paddled. I have two composite touring boats as well, so have a good basis for comparison. The Blackwater has great primary stability and a relatively low profile, so it's not as prone to weathercocking as some of the larger boats. The downside to that is in high winds and choppy water you're going to get a little wet. It has a large and comfortable cockpit, which facilitates entry and exit. It tracks particularly well with the skeg deployed. It's not a fast boat, but it sure is stable. I've paddled it in some really nasty weather and found it to be rock solid. For what it is, it's great. There are times and places where the Kevlar boat is not the best choice, and the Blackwater fills the bill. And, my wife and grandkids absolutely love it.
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10-08-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     I've had my Blackwater for a few months now. I do love paddling it, but, it has its limits. First if you don't want to get wet, do not paddle chop more then 6" or it will come over the bow. Going straight on anything, other then glass smooth water, is next to impossible without the skeg. Light rivers are fantastic, large lakes leave quite a bit to be desired. I purchased it for light rivers, large lakes, and sheltered water in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. It will never see the Gulf or Great Lakes. I don't think I'd try it, even though Dagger says it can. Not very fast, tends to "plow" water with the bow. All in all a good starter. I'll probably keep it around for beating around in rivers when I get a bigger boat.
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03-23-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased a Blackwater 12.5 last summer. It was my first ever kayak and has given me a great introduction to the sport. I am a large paddler (6'5", 230+ lbs). The boat has ample room and tracks well on calm lakes and rivers. I have even taken it out on the Chesapeake Bay where it performed very well. I am looking to take it out on Lake Michigan this year and with some added floatation in the bow, I trust is will perform up to my expectations.
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12-11-2003
Submitted by: RMSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     While this boat is a step up from our Aquaterra Keowee, it does have some major drawbacks. First, the boat "weather vanes" to the wind. Second, since the boat is a high volume boat it does not handle the chop. Going into the wind is fine. But all other paths result in the boat sitting on top of the waves. Leaving the boat to pick its own direction. I cannot imagine what a day on one of the big lakes would be like. An ocean day trip would be even more frustrating.

I use the boat several times per week on a large reservoir. It is fine for relatively calm flat water. It also works well on calm rivers. The boat has adequate storage for day trips. It is also very stable (at a cost [see paragraph II]). The Blackwater is very forgiving. It does not take long to learn the characteristics of the boat which allows the paddler to be able to control the boat (in the right water) without the drop skeg in relatively short order.

Overall I give the boat a 6.5.

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08-18-2003
Submitted by: HarryPotterSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had my Blackwater 12.5 for several months now and have paddled it mostly on lakes and rivers, but also on somewhat choppy water on the Long Island Sound. I am more than happy with my purchase. I bought it as a second smaller boat so that friends could join me (my primary boat is a QCC 500.) The Blackwater 12.5 is really fun to paddle, very maneuverable and tracks pretty well. I have no trouble whatsoever making the boat go straight and amost never use the skeg. I use the boat several times per week for fitness paddling and it serves its function well. The seat is quite comfortable and I feel as though the boat was custom made for me (I am 6'1" and weigh 185 and have decent sized thighs--don't feel cramped in any way) The rear bulkhead has moderate space for some gear for a daytrip or for an overnight. The boat feels very stable--it is great for a beginner or intermediate paddler to practice edging, turns, etc. It is a fun boat to develop skills, have fun and is light enough to carry up steps and put on a car without difficulty. Would highly recommend boat since it serves multiple functions.
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02-17-2003
Submitted by: Bill E.Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had my Blackwater 12.5 for about 10 months now and absolutely love it. It is my third kayak and it suits my needs on lakes and rivers. It is well suited for overnight trips unless you pack everything including the sink. If you want to do that, get a houseboat. Although it is not the fastest kayak around, it is comfortable and tracks well, even without the skeg down. I really don't even use the skeg that much. Proper paddling skills make it track just as if the skeg was down. The only thing that I would change if I could would be to make it a little faster by carving out some of the bulk under the nose area. It does push some water, but not like the smaller versions of the blackwater.
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10-17-2002
Submitted by: CGLSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     After alot of research for an intermediate boat for flat-water,I finally settled on the Blackwater 12.5. I found one of two remaining boats discounted at an outfitter, and even had the opportunity to demo the boat first, which helped solidify my purchase. I find the boat very stable and excellent for short rec. trips, even in rough water. The tracking is my main beef with this boat, its really not that great unless the SKEG is fully deployed. If Im out for a light workout, I feel the SKEG keeps the boat true, and makes the time well spent..without the SKEG, its inefficient. Its a great starter boat, but Im already thinking of moving on to another boat suited for touring.
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10-09-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Bought a Blackwater 12.5 expedition for solo use on small to medium rivers in the upper midwest. Got tired of pushing my 16 foot canoe solo, and several people in my paddleing club had blackwaters and nothing but praise for them. I'm totally hooked on the yak for day trips and overnighters. Tracks well, even without the skeg. Manuvers nicely, very stable, all in all a blast to paddle. A good choice if you can only have one all around boat.
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09-12-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I wanted a kayak that would track well on lakes, but be manueverable enough for when I went on the river, small enough for me to carry by myself and fit in my truck, but with enough room to be comfortable for me and my gear. The Blackwater 12.5 is the perfect combination of all of those.
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08-09-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I recently purchased Blackwater 12.5 kayaks for use on small fast twisty rivers. We are very happy with them because they are so maneuverable. We have even used them on easy class 2 rapids and surfed some waves and they did great. They are very forgiving. The boats track well with the skeg down, but they are not very fast when compared to a sea kayak. I think if a person wanted a boat for small lakes they would be better off with a different boat.
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07-15-2002
Submitted by: RPatchellSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased a Blackwater 12.5 and have had it out several times. I like the kayak alot. It tracks well, especially with the skeg. The speed is good. The Dagger folks have made modifications to the 12.5 and 10.5 models in that the bows are sharper on these models and do not "push" water like the original 11.5 model. The cockpit is comfortable and big enough for me. I got the model with the bulkhead and so far it it totally dry. I would recommend it as a first boat for anyone.
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