Picked up a used RIP 12 this week, first ride out (pond) doesn't seem quite as stable as my Eagle Run but it's a great buy. Seat is nice and comfy, don't care for the rudder underneath and honestly can't tell a difference with it up or down. Picked it up for $200 and am very pleased for the price. Solid construction, at least 4 years old. Eagle Run would have a slight edge on this bad boy. Will try a river trip with it this weekend. If you find a used one, worth checking out.
I just returned from a vacation with my family kayaking in western West Virginia. I have only had my Rip 12 for about a month and a half but I am really impressed with it. When the weather is that spectacular, there are plenty of powerboats and Jet Skis sharing the water with us. Good sized swells from the boat wakes would come at me from one side, bounce off the sheer rock quarry walls and come back from the opposite direction. Never did I feel unstable or at risk of being swamped. I was able to make headway in reasonably strong winds. I like the fact that the thigh pads extend all the way under the coaming, so I can tuck my knees up inside there. The seat was extremely comfortable over several hours of paddling. I did a LOT of research before making my purchase and know I got the right product.
I am 5' 11" and weigh about 170 lbs. This model can handle those with a larger frame for sure. The kayak is just light enough for me to lift it onto the top of a SUV roof rack without too many problems, even after a long ride. I knew that I didn't want anything heavier, as I often kayak alone. This 2012 model does not have the drop skeg. While I don't have a lot of experience with other kayaks, I know this boat tracks well compared to a few that I have used. I don't think I missed out by not getting one of the newer model years. I think this kayak slips through the water with relative ease. It always feels stable.
The cockpit size lets me move my legs around, and even sit cross-legged inside if I desire. Perhaps one might say this means it is not fitted well for me, but I like the options. The rear hatch lid is easy to remove. No problems there. I keep a few things in a dry bag in it in the event I roll the kayak.
My only negative comment might be with the seat. While padded well enough, the Comfort Flex Seat doesn't have any lumbar support. Having said that, I do not find this to be as big a problem now that I'm becoming more experienced...I think my technique is improving. However, if Necky is positioned as Johnson Outdoor's "premium line" over Old Town and Ocean Kayak, then I would think that its models should all have the Active Comfort System seat, paddle holder, and a drain plug, especially for the MSRP.
If you are looking for one kayak to use on Class I/II rivers or on flatwater, I highly recommend the Rip 12.
I've owned several Pungo 120s - probably the best selling 12' rec kayak. The Rip 12 compares favorably to the Pungo 120 in every respect - impossible to tell them apart when paddling.
Cons: the Kayak I own has tracked off to the right since new. At first thought was something I was doing wrong but pretty sure is shape of hull; it is not extreme, but annoying...