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Dolphin Description

The Dolphin is a kayak brought to you by Necky Kayak. Read Dolphin reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

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Dolphin Reviews

Read reviews for the Dolphin by Necky Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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Grap this old classic if you…

Submitted by: paddler1760512 on 10/12/2021

Grap this old classic if you see one in nice shape for a decent price. ($300-450). You’ll be lucky if you find one with the large, removable watertight pod that keyed into the tank well.
The seat doesn’t lock you in like a Scupper or Prism yak because it’s 4” -5” above the keel. It’s still a fast fun SOT that can do most things well. The upswept Greenland style bow reduces the wetted waterline quite a bit, detracting from the tracking and speed verses other 14’s. But the huge bow rocker turns and surfs it like a much shorter kayak. I consider it lightweight at 55lbs. for a 14’ SOT. I have fished off it, but prefer it for fitness paddling, the Prism/Scupper Classic design is a better fishing platform. Like the above mentioned yaks, I would not recommend it for those much over 200lbs.


After reading everything I…

Submitted by: paddler539106 on 9/5/2019

After reading everything I could find on offshore-capable SOT kayaks ( and the NorthCal Kayak Anglers forum were especially helpful), I purchased a used Trident 13. The Trident 13 is an excellent platform for fishing and ruggedly built, but it's heavy and less than fast. However, during my searches in archived threads, offshore fishers and divers kept mentioning the Dolphin 14 as a sleek/fast yak that had sadly been discontinued. Luckily, after months of searching, a Dolphin 14 was listed for sale (with seat, rudder and Werner glass paddle) at $300.

This yak is 14' long, 29" wide and weighs 55lbs. The hull follows the Swedish-style of design in that it flares to 29" at the cockpit, but it sharply narrows (fore and aft) for a sleek and seaworthy design. The yak is about 30-40% faster than the Trident, turns with ease, and tracks like a touring yak. The yak does not have the primary stability of the Trident, but when the Dolphin is edged the secondary stability is comfortably solid. I haven't yet had the chance to venture offshore, but the yak easily shoulders thru/over chop, and quickly surfs over even moderate waves. Later this fall, near Cape Flattery, WA, I'll be testing this yak in the ocean surf, and the open ocean.

I have also rigged the Dolphin to be sailed using the JNR (crab-claw sail 1.5m) from Sailing downwind, with a mild 5-7 mph breeze, the yak accelerated to 2.5-3 mph. I happily look forward to sailing with stronger winds.

It's a pity that many new yaks are primarily designed for for primary stability. For pond and lake fishers that's suitable, but if you wish to try more challenging water, consider a Dolphin 14. She is sleek, agile, and a pleasure to paddle.


Great for flat water or surf…

Submitted by: Staida on 7/29/2019

Great for flat water or surf

I've had the opportunity to own several quite excellent sit-on-top kayaks including the Tarpon 12 and 14 models and the Freedom 15 Greenland model. The Necky Dolphin is, as well, an excellent kayak for many reasons but the most compelling is that it's at home on the surf as it is in flat water - perhaps more so. On flat water it can actually be deceptively comfortable when it is actually fairly tippy with a low chine secondary great for cutting through waves.

Hatches stay dry until the neoprene no longer fits and that will be the case when you find one as this is an older kayak. Most will have a rudder and you can expect to pay about 500.00 for one in good shape. The dolphin is nothing like as fast or true tracking as a Freedom but it is easy to turn and easier to capsize so no one over 200 lbs should make the attempt.

If this suits you, however, it could be the perfect boat so don't shy away from one if you find it at a good price


Great SOT Kayak, handles all…

Submitted by: Staida on 8/6/2018

Great SOT Kayak, handles all seas, meant to be a dive boat I believe with tank storage in rear but I find it to be a bit unstable for this use. Not easy to re-enter from the water. Hull speed is definitely faster than play-boats or fishing boats such as the Tarpon WS Series but it is not as great a touring boat as the truly fast SOT's like the WS Freedom or Royak. It's also fairly heavy and difficult to transport solo. All that said, it has plenty of storage and two waterproof hatches, it surfs well and handles waves well and I think a lot of paddlers would be very happy with it. If you find one used for a good price it's hard to pass up as a second boat for taking friends out.


I've tried Wilderness…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/9/2018

I've tried Wilderness systems, and a few others. Checked dozens of forums. This kayak seemed to be the Fastest sit on top out there, and w great secondary stability. Loved it. Had to sell due to lack of space and old age.


I have had this boat for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/8/2018

I have had this boat for years as a dive platform for freedive spearfishing. I believe the stern storage is shaped for a scuba tank, though I do not use one. The Dolphin is my favorite kayak and has survived harsh treatment and conditions for years. I bought it used and have made many upgrades since it has survived well.

The boat is very seaworthy, stable and maneuverable. The boat handles the chop well and has carried me through rough seas and large swells. It has only been dumped once in many years launching into rough surf in RI. The boat rides well with heavy loads of cargo, though I am only about 155 pounds. It has carried many pounds of fish and shellfish and paddled home well. She isn't the fastest design, but has some speed unladen if you push hard.


I have had my Necky kayak for…

Submitted by: paddler235205 on 7/27/2013
I have had my Necky kayak for about 14 years now. I have taken it to the rivers, lakes, and Chesapeake Bay. I really like this kayak because of the storage space it has. The lids are large enough to stuff oversized dry bags in, and there is a center opening that makes it convenient to reach suntan lotion, phone, or whatever small items you want to store there.

The rear of the boat has been formed to fit a scuba tank and gear. I don't dive, but use the area for storage of coolers. I can reach back and grab a drink easily from the area. There are drainage holes throughout the boat so you don't have to worry about pumping out water. I have taken corks and plugged the holes if I didn't want the water coming up through. There is a rudder on the rear to help with steering. I use this feature almost all the time.

The Dolphin has been a great boat, and I have had no issues with it at all.


I'm 6' tall and 235lbs and…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/5/2010
I'm 6' tall and 235lbs and even for me this was a good kayak. Paddled well in rough waters and the turned up bow sends you over the waves instead of through them. I have fished off this kayak and it is excellent for that especially with the rudder, allowing you to drift without the wind or current turning you around. In a speed comparison, this kayak is the same as my Perception Prism in rough water but a tad slower in smooth water.
    Downfalls of this kayak:
  1. Those carry handles!!(finger smashers) Grrrr....
  2. Primary stability is OK, a little tippy in the first minute but you get used to it. The seat sits high which helps keep you a little drier but contributes to the tippiness.
  3. What's up with those mini hatch covers?? There is plenty of room on the deck to put normal sized hatches, so why didn't Necky do it? Poor choice for camping unless you're an oompa loompa and your camping gear and coolers are very small!
  4. Foot pedals cannot move far enough forward for tall people. I'm 6' but have short legs (30" inseam) and when using the rudder the pedals cannot go further forward.
Overall I believe this is a good kayak for a smaller person. These kayaks are light, well built and hold their value. I have recently sold mine and purchased another Perception Prism kayak which I, and my fishing buddies agree is a better overall kayak for speed, stability, camping and fishing.

Here are my YouTube videos of this kayak:


I've used my Dolphin quite a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/6/2009
I've used my Dolphin quite a bit this season including a six mile excursion along the coast of Virginia and many inner-coastal trips. This vessel is so stealth I've crept up within feet of sea turtles, owls and even followed a few feet behind a large, meandering copperhead undetected.

I'm 5'4" and can pick up this vessel. My feet get wet entering and a little water remains in the foot wells, but generally my rear stays dry. For me this is a very comfortable kayak. Getting out through mild ocean swell is a breeze. Coming in is blast!


I just wanted to rave about…

Submitted by: GilH on 8/6/2008
I just wanted to rave about this boat. I have three Necky products. After recently purchasing the Chatham, I placed the Dolphin in the semi retired list and have not used it since May. Just last week end I got back on it and the entire 'honey moon" was relived.

This boat is amazing. I actually paddled both of my SOT Neckys and will also share later about the Spike. Both great boats. But still, I wanted to let all know that this boat still is very popular and if anybody finds one used, you better snatch it!

Great boat for playing, fishing and touring. Yes, touring! This boat is very, very comfortable regardless of what type of seat you have. Great boat. It does feel a bit tipsy and perhaps short of scoring a perfect 10 because of that, but this tipsy feature also allows the boat to be be superior than many boats in the surf, waves and agility. This boat will stay in my fleet forever.


Maybe this boat is a bit on…

Submitted by: paddler232254 on 8/13/2007
Maybe this boat is a bit on the heavy side, but it is well-made and not cheap to buy retail, but otherwise an excellent all-around boat for anyone, especially novice to mid-level paddler... a great boat to learn on, and NOT outgrow. DO NOT BUY THIS BOAT IF YOU ARE 6 FEET 3" AND WEIGH 240 POUNDS!!! Also, when you buy a pair of shoes, you may want to make sure they are your size. Please note the ONLY two posts that "trash" this great boat... one is from someone much too large for this boat, and they were very anxious to get posted on the internet AFTER they purchased a boat too small for them... strange that they had no similar inclination to use the same internet connection to research this boat BEFORE they bought it by checking the manufacturer's own website, which would have steered them to a different boat.

The other "trasher" (and note, one chose to create a veil of anonymity, and the other [assuming it really was a different individual] only "tested" the boat. Both of these reviews must be viewed against the long-term use by those of us OWNERS who have paddled these boats in all conditions for months and years. I have nothing to sell, and no axes to grind, and these boats are out of production now. Fact is I have owned two of these for 5 years now, and used and abused these boats in all conditions, from glass-flat water, to podium finishes in kayak races, to exploring the Florida Keys from Stiltsville to Bahia Honda, to surfing hurricane conditions in the Gulf, to weaving in between drifting alligators in the Everglades.

I am not anonymous, email me anytime for more info on these great boats. My in-laws own cousins, the 12' Spike, and love the similar design. Also interesting that the two "trashers" both gave this boat a lowest "1" rating. . . . there are no "2", "3", "4", "5", "6", "7" ratings... all 8, 9, or 10's. I have grave doubts as to authenticity of the "trashers" veracity... perhaps a "sour grapes" competitor trying to beat up the Dolphin. If you find one of these for sale, research and consider it closely. If you don't buy it, email me, because I want a few more of these.


The Necky Dolphin is the…

Submitted by: paddler231541 on 5/1/2006
The Necky Dolphin is the ideal kayak for warm water paddling in a wide range of conditions. I have launched my Dolphin through 5 foot breaking waves on the Atlantic Coast, and in windy conditions with whitecaps on the Intracoastal waterway and the Dolphin handled it well. It is great to fish or scuba dive from. Simply put, this is the SUV of kayaks. If you want pure speed, you need a long fiberglass or kevlar Sit-inside. If you want a go-anywhere kayak that is easy to reenter if you take a swim, this is it. I own 4 kayaks, two of them are Dolphins. Although one of my Dolphins has a rudder, I never need to drop it. I always pick my Dolphins whenever I take a newbie friend out for an initial paddle. I have introduced dozens of people to kayaking with the Dolphin and the only complaints about "tippiness" come from people who also have trouble with office chairs.

My only complaint is the one mentioned elsewhere-the integrated hand grips are a pain. However, the simple solution is to hook a pair of padded thigh braces into the deck hardware and sling them over your shoulder, or balance the kayak on your head.

Overall, a great all around kayak with a few compromises. If you want versatility in a kayak, this is it. One last note. I'm 6'1 and 175 lbs. If you're over 6'3" and over 225 forget this kayak. It will feel like a tank.


After reading all of the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/11/2006
After reading all of the reviews I felt like I had to chip in my 2 cents. I used the dolphin in Guantanamo Bay Cuba when I was stationed down there with the military in 2001. I made numerous trips averaging 11 miles with it. I found the dolphin to out perform all of the other kayaks available for renting. (and many since)I ran it through a guantlet of trials. I went into caves with the surf breaking into them, ran flat water up the river and played in the surging swells but the most impressive trial came by chance, a friend, paddling a sit inside kayak, and I were out where the bay meets the ocean having a blast cutting through jagged rock formations protruding through the breaking swells when, due to time constraints, we had to turn back. On our trip back in we paddled along cliffs for aways then ventured further away from the le of the land and out into fairly strong cross winds. Neither of us had rudders, yet the dophin tracked fine. My friend's kayak was all over the place and he was nearly exhausted as we rounded the point, completely leaving the lee of the land as we headed back for the rental ofice. We found ourselves heading straight into 30-35 knot winds with two to three foot white caps relentlessly pounding us. My friend bailed out and pulled up on land but I wanted to see what I, and this kayak could do. I admit is was a work out but I was impressed. I felt totally safe and in control as I forged ahead. This is where you realy appreciate the secondary stability. If you don't understand the difference between primary and secondary stability you may not be ready for the Dolphin. You probably do not understand the basic stroke or leans and the kayak may seem tippy to you, but once you understand and feel comfortable with secondary stability you'll know what everyone is talking about when they rate the Dolphin as a very stable and very well tracking kayak. As mentioned by others, the people who rated the boat low are either 220 plus or probably are not at home in a kayak yet. This is a remarkable handling boat. For many, the primary stability (barge stability) maybe what you need. I feel so confident in the dolphin that I am planning a 60 mile open ocean venture in the near future.

I just got a brand new…

Submitted by: paddler231294 on 8/10/2005
I just got a brand new Dolphin in lime color. Took it for a 2 hour paddle. I really got to wonder about people that gave it a 1 rating. I'm 6'1”, 175 lbs. The cockpit *just* fits my leg length. I don't have any issues with it, but if my legs were an inch longer or cockpit an inch shorter, it would be a problem.

Now, seems like most people said the boat rocks or it's tippy. From my experience-it's NEITHER. It’s about as stable as almost any kayak I’ve ever paddled.

Speed-it's not as fast as a real touring kayak by any means, but it IS fast enough to go places if you're not in a hurry. Seems to handle waves good-compared to my OK Scrambler it breaks through a wave much smoother.

My only complaint about its performance/ergonomics is the seat-it seems to be molded for someone to sit very upright so back edge may press against your lower back. Not a major issue and I think some foam will easily fix that.

Quality seems a bit on the cheap side-plastic is definitely not Prijon quality, but it should be fine long as you don't abuse it.

Overall-if your idea a recreational boat is something affordable you can take just about anywhere (though not in a major hurry), and can easily handle on land-give the Dolphin a good look.


I am very sad to hear that…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/3/2005
I am very sad to hear that Necky has discontinued production of all SOTs. The dolphin is a fantastic boat for exploring, fishing and playing in rough water.

It has excellent secondary stability - I have never dumped while fighting fish or paddling confused seas. Having said that the boat has a rounded hull which means it will not feel as stable, initially, as some of the other SOTs out there. It leans predictably and as you lean the secondary stability kicks in - making it very hard to dump.

I find it quite fast and efficient to paddle. I can keep up with SINKs at normal cruising speed all day. I rarely ever use the rudder - it tracks well and responds to turns well. Even in strong winds I tend to simply use an occasional corrective stroke rather than bother with the rudder.

The downsides are small front hatch and fiddly neoprene inner hatch covers.

Note: if you are expecting a kayak to be as stable as a raft this is not the boat for you. It will seem a little "squirrelly" at first, however, if you give it a few hours you will become very comfortable with it as it is very predictable. Also keep in mind a super stable kayak on flat water is not a good kayak in rough water as it will respond to all the inputs of the moving water. By contrast the rounded hull of the dolphin ignores a lot of the effects of the waves - making it very relaxing to paddle when things get interesting. This doesn’t mean you need to be an experienced paddler to buy this boat, but you do need to be willing to spend a few hours getting to know how she handles.

I am 6ft and 155lbs. I have used this boat daily for a total of 5 months in Baja - on two separate trips. My dolphin has dealt with some very rough seas and too many rocky beaches to mention. Aside from a few scratches she is in perfect condition.

I have also used OK Scupper Pro and a Tarpon - neither come close to the performance of this boat. I am quite critical of my gear and I can think of only a few other items I own which perform as well as my dolphin. If you find a used one on sale I would definitely recommend you consider it.


I have the Dolphin (in the…

Submitted by: hal56 on 10/29/2004
I have the Dolphin (in the eye-catching yellow) and am extremely pleased with its performance so far. It is a great SOT for a variety of paddling experiences, from pounding out through the surf for coastal exploring or barrier island adventures, to long-distance touring across large lakes and bays. It handles windy, open water conditions quite well, a very spirited and fun feel to it as it takes on swells, wakes, chop and waves... all you need is decent paddling technique, including the occasional leaning brace.

Those who have rated this boat a 1 or 2 simply (a) don't have the basic paddling skills to appreciate it; or perhaps (b) are too large to fit it comfortably. It has decent primary stability and very good secondary -- i.e., may feel a bit tippy at first to the novice, but can handle leans and turns and braces with confidence as one "grows into" this boat. Mine has a rudder, but I think I will remove it, as I haven't really needed it, although it might come in handy on a long trip in high winds or strong tidal currents.

I am 5'9" and about 195 pounds, and it fits me great. Necky makes an awesome boat, and the Dolphin is a great one to have for day touring, etc. It's stable, yet relatively fast and maneuverable. I haven't tried surfing it yet at my favorite NC beaches, but I'm betting it will be an awesome ride! Happy Paddling...


I have owned a Dolphin for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/26/2004
I have owned a Dolphin for two years and use it fly fishing in small and big lakes and bays for big fish--Striped Bass, Salmon, and Halibut--and small fish--Trout and Black Bass. It is a fast, stable (secondary stability), good turning (reponds well to leaning which is why newbies and big folk call it 'tippy'), has ample room, handles chop and wind very well. The drawbacks I note are among the same ones others have: small forward hatch, small handles. I'll add the tight neoprene secondary covers--I find them a pain to get back on whiel on the water in chop. I am thinking of having some made that are more loose and I can tighten with an elastic draw cord and cordlock. I need that access to put rods and gear in for surf launching and then pull out after launch which is my next big step in fishing--the Big Blue.

I bought the Necky Dolphin…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/4/2004
I bought the Necky Dolphin for my wife, who has no kayaking experience. She's thrilled with it. Stability seems adequate, yet it moves along at a decent clip for a sit-on-top. She likes the security of the optional rudder. She's 5'8" and has adequate leg room. I think leg room would be an issue at about 6', so if you're approaching that, make sure you're comfortable in it. I'm not sure why 6'4" individuals (see previous negative reviews) wound up in this kayak in the first place.

At first I hesitated to right…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/27/2004
At first I hesitated to right my review on the Dolphin. But, I'll put my 2cents worth even if its wrong. I just got back a few hours ago looking to buy another kayak. I've been kayaking for over 14 years, and love it. I went to a kayak dealer in Long Island New York. I decided to paddle a sit on top which I thought would be my next kayak. I'll keep this short......I couldn't believe how bad the boat reacted when I got in it, and when I began paddling it. Its the worst kayak I've ever had the displeasure to paddle. It rocked very much. It was difficult to paddle in one direction. If I've missed something here, I surely don't know what it is that I might have done wrong in order to get this craft to behave.

Excellent sit on top! In the…

Submitted by: paddler230709 on 7/27/2004
Excellent sit on top! In the last 5 years since 1999 the first post here, 9 out of 10 posts have been positive. I find it strange that within last week 2 people give it a 1 rating. I went to bookstore when I bought this kayak and read correct sit-on-top techniques and NEVER had a problem with this kayak. I have sit-inside kayaks and it's a different technique. With the Dolphin I can turn by useing my body and that's why it has a 15 degree movement, so I can ride waves and turn fast. If you want a BARGE get a Tarpon. In the world of SPORTS fast boats and fast anything is sleeker ... this is a PRO kayak and not a Newbie kayak. A 6' 4" 250 lb guy needs a Barge IMHO (2 negative posts were posted by guys that are LINEBACKERS 6' 4" 250 lbs ). The rest of us that understand the Polynesion Design know it's for Big Waves and the Artist in you. Try before you buy and ask the PRO's in the kayak store for a kayak that would be right for your skill and interest... then take it out for a demo.

The thing I had trouble with is the handles so I took a point off. I would not let a newbie ride this without instruction and I let the newbie use one of my sit-insides. The PRO shop I bought it from said the Dolphin is one of the BEST Kayaks for OCEAN and lake use and they had alot of brands there. I tryed alot of them before I bought it and have been satisfyed with it. If I demo-ed a kayak I'm not sure I would write a review. If I bought it and used a month or so, then I would probably write a review. But that's me and everyone is FREE to say or write what they want.


Have to say that this kayak…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/21/2004
Have to say that this kayak is WAY over-rated. It is NOT as fast as it's touted to be. Those looking for "speed," you know, not that speed that will win you a race, but the "cruising speed," that speed which you attain with little effort -- the speed at which you could paddle all day long without getting tired -- should try a few of the kayaks made by Wilderness Systems, i.e. The Freedom [a GREAT boat if you're 200 lbs or so], the Tarpon T160 [if you're between 200 and 300 lbs], or even the T140 if you want a kayak for fishing. Have to agree with Swedge," in his review of the Necky Dolphin, who says that the cockpit is cramped, and that there is NO stability. The boat ROCKS 15 degrees from side to site with mere paddle strokes! I bought mine from a guy who suffered a back injury, and his Dr. told him that the rocking motion would DESTROY his back. I believe it. NEVER have I been so disappointed about an over-rated "piece." I'm 6'4, 240 lbs, and my knees were in my chest. Even my wife, who's 5'4" and 130 lbs. didn't like the Necky Dolphin at all. It was fitted with a rudder, and she STILL couldn't make it go where she wanted in a moderate wind. She couldn't WAIT to get off of it! And, please, PLEASE forget about SPEED -- what a JOKE! I would have thought that a smaller person would have liked the boat, as most kayaks do better with smaller folk, but, as I said, my wife couldn't STAND the thing, and what good is a kayak that won't track in the wind EVEN WITH A RUDDER? Don't mean to bag so terribly, but for for gawd's sake, paddle a few kayaks before leaping into a purchase. Would have given the Necky Dolphin a big ZERO, but it wasn't available in the drop-down menu.

The first year I was mixed…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/13/2004
The first year I was mixed about the dolphin because it was tippy for me. I was a little afraid of the water! Year 3 was the turning point for me with this baby! I learned how to get off and on and became friends with the water. Swimming or floating with my foot teathered with bungle cord attached to bow. I can lie down on this kayak with my head resting in the seat with PFD as pillow! When I need to I sit up and paddle very fast! I also can sit in cross legged style or with one foot over each side of the kayak. I say this because I didn't have this flexibility in my sit-inside kayak. I haven't gone in the ocean yet and so I can't comment on that. And i haven't scuba dived yet ...but this baby has a scuba tank holder. As others wrote ...this is a kayak you grow into. It's a nice looking kayak and looks well made. I have only used the rudder 2 or 3 times... When it was windy.

In response to the guy below…

Submitted by: paddler230603 on 6/7/2004
In response to the guy below who thinks that the WS Tarpon handles better than the Dolphin, I disagree. Yesterday I paddled with a friend in the river and ocean off of Stuart, Florida. Here is how they compare - tarpon 120 is slower but more stable, less tippy than Dolphin, Dolphin is faster by far. Dolphin is much easier to turn just by using paddle strokes, Tarpon needed to BE turned which means it tacks straight (Dolphin does, too) but turning required twice as much effort. The Tarpon 120 surfs better because it is shorter and mega-stable side-to-side. No doubt the Tarpon is fun and very stable for big riders, but the dolphin out-performs the Tarpon easily under most situations you would normally find yourself in during a paddle. Compare the Tarpon with a barge like the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two and you're more likely to favor the Tarpon. The Dolphin is great for joy riding in the local waters in addition to touring. My wife and I camped from our two Dolphins for eight nights and 75 miles in the Gulf of Mexico along the island if the Everglades National Park. Strongly recommend the rudder if you're in open water with wind.

A great boat ,fast, a beauty…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/6/2004
A great boat ,fast, a beauty slicing through the water with the polynesian style bow and keeps up with real touring kayaks, cuts right through waves,quiet hull and drains well when taking occasional spray.It feels like its got the "wiggles" when first using it,but that quickly passes and it's secondary stability is incredible. paddles even better with some weight in her, taking boatwakes sideways and recovering dry. I have the rudder system but only use it when the wind strong.The tank well area is definatly maximized and nice and deep. The back hatch is great,large and open. Now for the cons, forward hatch is too small for a cavernous bow,could be the same size as the back hatch,the side handles are finger cruchers if you have big digits like me . after a while the cockpit gets a little cramped since it"s narrow, which while giving you more "english" to control turns,you can really lean way over to help turn with no worries.I don't care for the carrying handles and lift the boat by the hull. No Drink Holder!,but the hatch between your feet easily hold several sixpacks put into one of those tube style cooler caddies but be careful not to open it up in rough seas. as far as exiting the yak it's a little tricky at first though with a bit of practice it gets easier. A boat a little touchy for beginners but with commitment and practice you'll keep it forever. sweet paddling, and warm water.

Great boat. Just got back…

Submitted by: paddler230226 on 7/1/2003
Great boat. Just got back from North Carolina beach and the Dolphin handled just about everything the ocean threw at her. Four plus foot swells and moderate surfing for a novice. It handles the big swells like it was made to be there. Rides up and over with little effort or slap. On calm ocean rolls, it's just as comfortable staying with the dolphins feeding. This is the first of two kayaks I own and within an hour of first use, you get a sense of it's performance. Don't have a rudder and sometimes it would be nice in big following seas but i'm learning to do without. It's my second season and couldn't be more pleased with this boat.

got my dolphin a few weeks…

Submitted by: paddler230219 on 6/30/2003
got my dolphin a few weeks ago and have been out with only once. bad weather delay. i have not been kayaking since i was a kid. i found the dolphin to be a little on the tippy side when i first got on the water. after a fews min. that was not problem. the kayak performed as most the the reviews i read have stated .speed is good. smooth throught the water. hatches i like alot. i dont have a rudder, but if i find i need one , i will add it. the carring handels are a pain in the ###. the boat came with the ocean kayak custom seat, so to me i would say that the boat is vary comfortable. i like the adjustable foot pegs.. over all seem like a well built boat. i am 5"7 155lb. hope this help

For those with some…

Submitted by: thekayaker on 11/9/2002
For those with some experience, this plastic sit-on-top is easy to climb aboard, scuba dive off of, even stand up in (though the foot dividers get in the way). It surfs well, carves okay and is just about impossible to roll (duh).

I'd dispute others claims of tippiness as far as kayaks go, a person can become comfortable in any kayak if they would spend some time in it.

This boat is the best scuba diving buddy I've ever had. I tow it on a long rope clipped to my BC. It really does not have a lot of drag - feels like I am towing a flag. The rear hatch is very accessible when unloading from a dive in the middle of a lake, in the water or astride the boat backwards. The tank bay comes with convenient tie down points for quick bungee clipping of gear.

When diving, I always have this baby above to help out catching the wind for a tow, to catch my treasures, or to allow me to cancel the whole dive and just paddle out. I hesitate to dive without it - my dive buddies are not as trustworthy as my Dolphin.

It paddles well for a sit on top. On a fully loaded 20 mile crossing, you can expect a sore back unless you outfit it with a deluxe back rest and thigh straps, which I highly recommend.

The seat could be hung lower in the boat (to lower the center of gravity a little more and provide deeper butt cupping). The footpegs and rudder system are excellent.

I do NOT like the handles on the side of the cockpit for solo carrying. They crush your fingers no matter how you carry the boat. I will be looking for an alternative handle. These knucklecrushers, the tiny front hatch and the lack of an appreciable rim for both neoprene hatch covers are the Dolphins only weaknesses. Oh, as with most sit-on-tops bring a plastic shopping bag for a butt protector - the seat drains will get you wet in waves or if you are heavier. Otherwise, one heck of a boat.


I'm on my third season with…

Submitted by: paddler229738 on 6/13/2002
I'm on my third season with the Necky Dolphin. I'm very happy with it. It performs well in all conditions and it is very stable...I've yet to fall off of it. The speed is pretty good...I can maintain 4mph for long distances if the wind isn't blowing too much. I use the Dolphins in the Long Island Sound where it can get windy and rough....the Dolphin handles these conditions with ease. I did get the rudder as an option but I hardly ever use it. My next boat will probably be a Futura Surf Ski...but it will not replace the Dolphin. I just like the idea of having differenct boats to mix it up a bit.

Without a doubt, the Dolphin…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/13/2002
Without a doubt, the Dolphin rates the highest "fun factor" of all the boats I've tried including the WS Freedom, Perception Prism, Heritage Nomad and Expedition. I'll even add the Looksha IV and CD Squall to that list. The Dolphin was the first boat I tried and found that it accelerated quickly, glided smoothly, turned easily and tracked well without a rudder despite strong currents. When I first got onto it, I thought it was a little tippy, but the tippiness disappeared after relaxing and getting my balance in just a few moments. I keep telling myself I "need" a larger boat, a cockpit boat, but when it comes down to it, nothing has been as much fun as the Dolphin.

I am 6'3" 240lbs, The Dolphin…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/1/2002
I am 6'3" 240lbs, The Dolphin was slow, hard to turn and very tippy, with 0 secondary stability. The cockpit is very cramped, and the drain holes don't! My wife's WS-"Ride" is just as fast, turns better, much dryer and much more stable. I traded in my Dolphin for a new Tarpon, which has been a quantum leap in performance, and comfort! over the dolphin!

I have had my Necky Dolphin…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/4/2002
I have had my Necky Dolphin for about a year now, and I love it. The dolphin shape nose really allows it to pound over waves. Too, the floatation of this sit-on-top is incredible. It is a great kayak.

I recently purchased a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/16/2000
I recently purchased a Dolphin after trying almost every kayak in this class. I wanted a sit-on-top to fish in the river and in the surf. Each kayak had unique features that I liked, but I believe that for me the Dolphin offered more of the desirable features. First of all I found the Dolphin to be noticably faster than the other kayaks I tested. While it is not as stable feeling as some of the other models the only time I have lost it is in pretty big surf. I have the rudder and really like it especially in close quarters and in open water on windy days. I think Necky uses superior hatches on their kayaks but I would have liked for the aft hatch to be more the size of the hatches found on some of the competition. The front hatch could also be larger. I knew these shortcomings going in and would definitely buy this kayak again.

I love the Necky Dolphin. I…

Submitted by: paddler228973 on 10/23/2000
I love the Necky Dolphin. I have had it for 3 years and have paddled it on overnights, as well as scuba dives in Florida, California, Baja, Oregon, and the San Juan Islands. It is very stable for me, never do I think of it as "tippy" even when full of gear. For me it is the perfect "multi-funtional" kayak, and I always keep up with my friends who use fiberglass kayaks. The only thing I do not like about this kayak is the rivets on the inside openings of the dry hulls. When squeezing gear in and out of them, I have had the rivets actually tear my dry bags. Also, I can't really understand why the rivets are there and why they must be so sharp and pointy. I have put duct tape around them, but they are still a problem - anyone have a better idea?

The Dolphin is a well-made…

Submitted by: paddler228550 on 5/15/2000
The Dolphin is a well-made boat with lots of well-located storage. The sharp bow is a pleasure through waves and help make it a rapid, very quiet paddle with minimal effort (no hull slap here). It is reasonably maneuverable and tracks easily. It is tippier than your typical log raft, but its speed, silence, and maneuverability on a slight lean are well worth it. The boat is also a stunner to look at and a very comfortable sit. I am very pleased, personally.

The Dolphin is very well made…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/16/1999
The Dolphin is very well made but it is tippy for a novice. No one lists what they weigh in most reviews and that is a huge variable when talking stability. I paddled a Dolphin with rudder for two years. Now I am on a Cobra Explorer, although I have not sold the Dolphin. I have not used it for over a year either.

I have had my Necky Dolphin…

Submitted by: paddler228384 on 12/7/1999
I have had my Necky Dolphin for about 4 years and I love it. I have used it in the ocean, lakes, rivers, Baja, etc. It is not as fast as my wife's scupper pro, but there is just something about it that feels right to me. I have the rudder, which I only use in very windy or larger wave conditions. This boat tracks well, is maneuverable, carries enough gear for a few days, and I just love the way it handles. The upswept bow rides over waves very well and I stay relatively dry for a sit on top. One other reviewer said it was tippy, but I haven't had that experience at all. I have found it to be stable in all conditions that I have encountered. The hatches are a better design than most sit on tops also. I would like to see Necky build a slightly longer, faster version. Then I would be in true sit on top heaven.

I found the Dolphin slightly…

Submitted by: paddler228030 on 4/14/1999
I found the Dolphin slightly unstable for its' extreme width. Necky apparently choose to give this wash decked boat a high seating platform that would give the paddler a dry place to sit rather than put the seat down low for more stability (but a wet seat.) I understand their reasons for doing it this way, it's just that I'd have preferred it the other way.

In all other respects, I thought the boat was excellent, particularly the quality of attatchements and finish. I'll stick with my Scupper until I can find a wash decked kayak that is faster, has room for camping gear and is at least as stable.


Of all the 17 makes and…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/22/1999
Of all the 17 makes and models in our rental/instructional stable the only boat I would rate a 10. Stable, fast, easily paddled, manuverable, comfortable, well designed.