First the reviews here are good and fair. Second the boats are made in Mexico (they do have some distributors in the US), which roughly translates to excellent quality at a fraction of the cost. Not to mention that I wouldn’t have to drive to Arizona to pick up a boat. And lastly Rafael is one of the fairest and easiest people I have ever dealt with.
Given the prices…roughly $1500 US per boat I decided to buy two. One Performa L (note the Performa L is a modified version of an older boat by the same name.) And one of his new designs the Kanik L. To give you some sort of idea I placed my order and was quoted a build/ ship date in three weeks, the boats arrived with out a scratch at my door three weeks to the day from that order! Rafael and Mayan Seas are really, really good to work with. But all that is worthless if the boats are not good, so here are the reviews:
Performa L. Pros: 16+ feet of fast fiberglass ocean kayak. Great hull design, crazy secondary stability, with a fun element of squirlieness on the primary stability. Very good tracking and as I am 6’2” 235lbs this is no small issue with me, the boat is very comfortable. Easy entry and exit, and while I am no master at rolling it has a design with easy rolling in mind. I have had this boat out in some extreme waves (5-6’ swells with high chop) and it handled it quite smoothly. It surfs very well. There are ample bow and stern hatches as well as a day hatch. A good tight seal on the hatch covers is necessary or you will get some leakage, but that is kind-of universal. Did I mention this boat is fast? I have used it for workouts…with my glory days of rowing Crew in college in mind. Hammering away on a stable platform that cuts threw the water…quite fun!
The biggest Pro is the Price. You will be hard pressed to find as good a boat for the price out there. Not to mention dealing with a company that stands by its products (I had some paddles that didn’t work out and was quickly refunded my money) and has tremendous and justified pride in its design and workmanship.
Kanik L. Like the Performa, the Kanik has the same exact deck but has a more stable platform for a beginner to learn on. Excellent thru and thru, though a lighter person will have a very hard time in this boat. By lighter I mean in the 100 lb. Range. It is a higher volume boat and requires a bit of weight to sit it down in the water or you will get blown about a bit. I have gone out in it and find it to be only a little slower than the Performa, but it cruises like an Olds 98. It’s a very forgiving boat and not the least bit tippy. I actually prefer this boat on a lazy day, or if I am going out with my camera to take shots of the exotic birds around here.
Cons for both boats: Very minor fit and finish details if any. Though given the price I am happy to have that good ole fashioned hand made character than pay a lot more for factory perfection. I would like to see more substantial seat stays…. but that may be in part due to my size.
Over all I think that covers everything. I am really happy to have found Mayan Seas; I think that they make very good boats, at very good prices. Not to mention that they are very accommodating, punctual and stand behind their product. What more could you ask for? I hope that this review helps if you are considering one of these boats. If they ever come out with a longer faster Performa L, I would sell off the Kanik (by then my friends will have learned enough to use the Performa that I have now) and place my order.