This was my first kayak purchase and it's worked out very well for me. I was looking for something that would track reasonably well but mostly be maneuverable for the small-medium rivers I prefer. This does that. It's definitely not as fast and straight as something longer and narrower, and I wore myself out trying to keep up with my buddy in his 16.5 sea kayak on bigger water. But it has enough speed for me and tracks pretty well at speed, although it really wants to pull to one side when I let it slow to a stop. It's very roomy and comfortable to sit in and has plenty of space for my long legs and size 12 feet, which ruled out some other boats I'd liked to have had. I also like the dry storage in the bow which is fairly rare in a 12 footer. There's lots of storage space for as much gear as I'll ever carry, and the lever locks are the way to go with hatch covers. I got the console with it, which is great for the small dry hatch (perfect for keys and quick access to my phone) but the cup holders are pretty much worthless for me. A drink in that area gets in the way of my paddling. I'd like to rig a bottle holder underneath it somehow and think CD would have done better to do something like that. Overall, a very good boat at a reasonable price that does what I need it to.
The boat is well thought out with sealed bulk heads front and rear which is a great feature not just from a safety standpoint but also actual dry storage for all of your gear. The hatches seal well with no leaks noted and the fit and finish is great.
Paddling the Solara is fun and easy for the entire family. It is stable, tracks well and has good glide which was a little surprising. Turning is good but not too loose, and easy to control. The cockpit is on the larger side but not the largest out there and is not too open or confining in any respect. The optional half deck cover is a great option for keeping water out and provides a work surface for when you may be fishing or whatever. The storage is more than enough and a person could pack enough gear for a good weekend or possible for 4 maybe even five days if going ultralite backpacking gear.
Overall a great recreational kayak which could be used for some good flat water day trips or multiday trips at a good price point and exceptional quality. Highly recommended.