The length and shape was chosen to eliminate the tendency on flatwater for the stern to pivot forward as well as improve carving in surf conditions.
This boat is now out of production but the fin can be easily removed if necessary by loosening the 1/4-20 bolts that mount the "fin box", and screwing them back in to the wellnuts, thereby plugging the holes.
If you're interested, e-mail me for photos.
I will be looking for a new boat soon but I will not get rid of my Reggae. I like it too much (and you always remember your first) besides that, 5 year olds won't stay 5 forever!
Once you have chosen a wave to ride, simply drop your blade into water as a stern rudder "on the "downhill" side to keep your trim on the face of the wave and enter the barrel. At some point when you are barreling, you'll pull your stern rudder and plant the opposite blade into the face of the wave as a brace. Simply pull down on this blade, which will pop you and the boat up over the crest and back into the swell.
It's too bad that Islander no longer makes this boat - they've obviously bowed to marketing pressure to compete with the other rec boats. This boat's home was in the surf, but it works well as a rec boat too. You just have to know your paddling strokes - very stable and lots of fun when you don't want to mess with closed cockpit and spray skirts. If you're not looking to surf, then look for another boat.
I'd agree with everything Andrew says except I've never been on Class III rapids so I wouldn't know. But I wanted a SOT kayak for using on rivers. For that purpose it's great! Very maneuverable, stable, fun, and I think it is a nice looking boat. I also like the way Islander makes their hatches. They're less likely to pop open like those rubber seal hatches sometimes do on other manufacturers' boats.
On flat water, it tracks just OK... and that's assuming you're not "pushing" it. Don't get me wrong - it's not a total dog, but it doesn't want to go fast on flat water. If you try too hard, it turns to the side. But it can be fun on flat water too as long as you're not expecting too much of it. I like my Reggae, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to use it on moving water.
Readers can dismiss most of the bad reviews above as pretty ignorant- these are people who bought a surf boat as a pond boat or touring kayak- it's not- it's a boat designed for rivers with at least some current, or the ocean.
The boat does not track well on flatwater, but a combination of practice and SLOWING your strokes down, above all else will fix that problem. Don't use correction strokes, just slow the boat down, and try a different sort of stroke every now and then- you'll figure out what works.
On the river this boat is a gem, long enough to ride out a big wave pretty easily, but with enough flotation and maneuverability to make it a lot of fun. It's particularly good as a sit-on-top at 'diving' down into a big hole, or over a drop- it pops back up right away, and stays stable too.
I definitely recommend it for anyone who has a river with a few rapids nearby. You'll want to put a seat in it likely (there's a great strapping one available), because, as with most sit-on-tops, the carved seat has little back support. With the seat in, it's the most comfortable boat I've ever owned. It's very easy to stretch your legs etc, without affecting the boats stability- especially in current.
I'm a VERY HAPPY BUYER, and hope that you will purchase the boat only if it's best for what you intend to do.
The Reggae is "the bomb" for class II whitewater - even for the less skilled paddlers. I took a beginner paddler with me down the San Marcos - and I couldn't get the boat away from him. He took it through BrokenBone and Cottonseed rapids without even blinking. We're doing the Guadalupe River this weekend (Class II/III) and I'm not letting anyone else in the Reggae.. I'm also taking it to the ocean to play on the waves next weekend(I'll use my Carolina for the long hauls thank you very much - hahaha).
The Reggae has a tendency to push when you try to pass a certain speed - so don't go that fast. The tracking is much better than I expected - I really love it. Of course - I can make my WaveSport Y track straight so this thing is easy. It's like riding a bike people - you can't do it until you get the feel for it - and then it's no big deal. :)
I bought the boat to have something between my WaveSport Y (whitewater) and my Perception Acadia (recreational) that could feel comfortable loaning to people new to the sport for class I/II water. My Acadia will do class II easily with me in it - but less experienced paddlers can't turn it through a current. The Reggae just goes calmly across it (don't even suggest putting a beginner in a Y).
I would have rated it a 10 except the pop rivets holding everything on should have been siliconed at the factory. I took it over an 8 foot dam (Rio Vista in San Marcos) with 330cfs in about a 6 foot slot. The boat totally submerged (I'd never gotten a sit on top to do that), but it came up controllably and my dog landed in my lap as I came back up. The only problem was that the pop rivets leak like a sieve when underwater - so I took on water. The pop rivets I could reach from inside I sealed by putting silicone on them - the rest I removed and put a glop of silicone in the hole before I replaced them. No big deal.
Islander has discontinued the Reggae - so if you're interested in one then you should get it before they're all gone. I think I'm going to get a second one - because it's such a blast I don't want to give it up... :)
FWIW: I tried the Sit on Top whitewater boats (Yahoo, Pegasus and Torrent). Talk about them if you want to talk slow and poor tracking. They don't have the comfort level or the weight capacity of the Reggae (I'm 6'3" and 240lbs)- and I'm better on the Reggae than I was on any of them. I'll be keeping my WaveSport Y - but only for when it's cold - or for above class III...
It's an ok boat, but do NOT use it on the ocean or a larger body of water. Like a previous reviewer said, the Reggae doesn't track or hold speed well. Being a recreational type of boat, I didn't expect it to do either. However, that's not why I'm less than enthused about this boat. The above flaws were expected; if those were the only flaws, I would have rated this boat higher. No, this boat has a flaw that I do not like-it breaks loose!
When you're paddling along, and the boat drifts off course, you make some correction strokes. On the Reggae, if you do too many correction strokes, the boat will all of a sudden break loose; it'll just take off in the direction in which you're correcting, and it will swap ends. If any of you have ever seen an open wheel race car break loose, you know what I'm talking about. In fact, the action is just like that of an F1, Champ, or Indy car losing the back end; the only difference is that this boat doesn't do as quickly. That is my main gripe with this boat.
Oh, BTW, I tried various seating adjustments too. I tried different trimming fore and aft; I tried different seatback angles. I tried everything I could think of to make this boat track halfway decent, but nothing worked. The best I could do was to LESSEN the tendency for this kayak to swap ends. When I was on flatter water, the boat was better behaved. On flat water, it tracked almost as well as a Loon 111. Even on flat water though, the boat still breaks loose; it just doesn't do it as often or as badly.
When I trimmed the boat aft, when I made it stern heavy, it seemed to be better. It still exhibited its tendency to break loose, but not as often. The tracking was somewhat improved also. The Reggae was designed to have some cargo in the aft storage area, since it is billed as a day tripping boat. Perhaps if one put some ballast in the aft cargo area, the stern would sit more in the water, and it might track better for you.
I would not recommend this boat. It's not because it doesn't hold speed or track as well as it could. Being the type and size of boat that it is, one expects a slower, less precise boat. However, when it doesn't track quite as well as a Loon 111 with a big guy (I'm 6'2", 245#, pushing the limits of the 111)), I'm not impressed. That is not its Achilles' heel though; that is not why I'm panning this boat. It is the tendency for the boat to swap ends; it's the tendency for the boat to all of a sudden break loose while you're making correction strokes to keep it on course. The Loon 111, the boat I have the most experience with, tracks better than the Reggae, AND, it doesn't swap ends!
If you're going to use this as a fun, goof around boat, and you can get one for a steal, think about getting one. But, if you can at all possibly do so, get something else. There are plenty of boats that will track and hold speed just as well if not better than the Reggae, and they will not swap ends. Thank you.