Super comfortable, people are often jealous of the chair setup and I've had no problems with any aspect moving out of adjustment. As for stability, I routinely paddle into areas where boaters are making big wake so I can enjoy a WW simulation out on the lake. I NEVER lose balance and take on very little water in 3' waves. So much fun, best $300 I've spent. If you can find one of these guys GO FOR IT!
After in depth research I found that the "Jolt 101" (and 116) were made by a company called Dimension and were at some point adopted by OT Sport (Old Town). The most recent makeover was also its last. Old Town ditched the OT Sport title and made one last version of the Jolt in traditional 10.1' and 11.6' models- as they always used. This last model featured a small storage area in the front, knee pockets, and eliminated the drop-down skeg (skeg featured in OT Sport models). It was quite a different design than that by OT Sports.
I noticed that reviewers of this kayak have been writing about two different kayaks called by the same name. This review is the for "the early model" of the Jolt 101 by OT Sport. This model includes a drop-down skeg, rear sealed bulk w/ storage lid, and rear deck rigging w/ grooved deck to easily secure water bottles. This is not to be confused with the other Jolt that others are reviewing, which, as stated earlier are a front small dry storage, no skeg, and knee pockets. I reckon that the differences have been well lit by this point, so here's the review!
I've used this kayak only once, but have experience with several other kayaks; enough to put it through a test that checks a comforting amount of weaknesses and strengths.
This test run was on a slow-moving river (Wisconsin River) with 10-15mph wind. 6-20-12
Paddling for 2.5 hours in varied amounts of aggressiveness and the kayak was extremely comfortable the entire time. I'm 5'9"and was able to rest my legs very comfortably on top the cockpit, slide way up in the cockpit and lounge, and was even able to sit cross-legged. The sloped triangular shape of the bow made resting my legs an experience similar to that of testing out the expensive reclining chairs at furniture stores. The kayak remained stable in any seating position, though I wouldn't attempt paddling any distance in such positions.
Boat remained stable and dry in varied conditions. This area of review almost needs to be broken down into two subsections because it behaves very differently depending on the position of the skeg.
With the skeg in the up/not-in-use position, the boat was very easy to maneuver and was still tracking very well with lighter strokes. It was fun to battle waves like a warrior squirreling all over the place with frantic power strokes.
With the skeg down/in-use the boat tracked very well but was harder to keep in the right direction during crosswinds. In calmer waters it performed great, sometimes surprising me by the distance I had covered in so little time.
I knew what I was getting into with crossover kayaks. I wanted something that could handle the best of both worlds. I believe this kayak is the answer for that based on the experience I have with it (no WW yet). However, there are a few gripes I have. When the skeg isn't in use, it still sticks out of the stern a couple inches. While I don't know if this has much of an impact on performance, I do know my performance will have an impact on it. That's to say that I'm scared for its life when I load it on my car by myself and it takes a rear-nose dive right onto the skeg.. Can't help but wonder if it could use a small trim. Also, still with the skeg: The mounting screw that people review as "a knuckle skinner" was relocated by the previous owner so my attention is focused on the cleat system that holds the skeg line. It's a pain in the arse that I'm not able to shift the skeg up, securely, with just one hand. I have to put my paddle down, and focus a fair amount of weight and pressure to securing the line into the cleats so that it stays put. This risks stability and losing a paddle. I'm brainstorming a different system. There isn't much space in the storage area because the skeg housing almost awkwardly protrudes. Still enough room for my 5L drysack, nalgene, and a few other things. There is room between the seat and rear storage to put things and the cockpit is large to make up for the dry area. Haven't dealt with any leaks yet.
She's heavy, but sturdy, and can clearly take a beating. I had a lot of fun with this yak and can't wait to have more opportunities for varied conditions. I'll update this as soon as I gain more experience.
I am learning to love how your knees lock in under the cockpit for that extra stability of using your hips. I think I will appreciate this even more when I hit some moving water at the local high streams and rivers.
All in all a great boat with two hatches, padded seat, bungee tie downs, paddle holder, foot braces. I hope to do an overnighter with this boat.
I do have one complaint about the seat straps for adjusting the seat back. I put pressure on the seat back and broke the plastic adjustment buckle. I took the other side off and adjusted my seat where I wanted it and tied both straps so they would not move backwards. Easy fix. I like this boat a whole lot. It is easy to turn in rapids and goes well on calm water. I would suggest someone my size not hesitate to buy this boat. I love the rear dry area and front dry storage. I hope this review is helpful to someone.
While the boat is a bit on the heavy side, I'm often glad it's built like a tank, because I thrash it around quite a bit. I'm sure the drop-skeg setup adds a lot to the weight, but I really like that arrangement, and surprisingly it works. I, too, was scraping my left thumb on the forward mount of the skeg line, so I re-mounted it 3" inboard, on the other side of the little hump. No more scraping, and there's still enough room for a skirt. Just this spring, I bought a NRS rubber rand kilt neoprene sprayskirt for it. It fits perfectly, and while it's a bit tight, it really does the job in whitewater. The high seatback interferes somewhat, but it's livable. I now find myself much more confident in the whitewater, and just today I was having a blast surfing it in some class II hydraulics.
I have yet to attempt rolling it, and I'm not sure I'd want to without adding some bracing. I'm not quite sure what others are talking about, regarding cramped legroom. I'm 6' tall, and find it to be pretty roomy, almost too much, especially if I want to roll. It seems a bit odd to me that this boat is so tall, which is what will make attempting rolls a bit of a challenge. But otherwise, I love the design, and I think it functions quite well as a bit of a "do everything" boat. I can't imagine anything else in my location that can adapt to all the conditions I encounter. I've paddled it among the icebergs on Lake Erie, in the salt marshes of the Outer Banks, and on a good number of the rivers and creeks (up to class II) here in PA. If someone in the same situation as me only has enough money for one boat, this is the one.
I don't like the cramped foot area. In fact I now regard my Carolina kayak as a "Cadillac" because I took for granted how comfy it is. But, I still find myself taking the Jolt over the Carolina because it is fun. The boat is durable. I had this in a shallow creek--about a quarter of the time I had to tow it and it came out with minor scrapes. The Jolt is on the heavy side, but I'll take that over getting my boat damaged while I'm "playing." In rougher water, the top of the boat is shaped to keep water out--nice!
I added deck rigging to the front, but the rigging in the back is useful--esp. with shaped "bottle holder" in the deck. The foot braces are easy to adjust. The hatch is easy to use. The skeg's mechanics can get in your way--I've scratched/cut my left hand a few times in a sloppy or reactive stroke. I also have had minor issues getting the skeg up & down, but at a closer glance it isn't broke--it's just "feisty". The seat is durable and comfy.
Yes, this can go in WW, but like with any hybrid, you sacrifice some necessary features to accommodate more needs. Only get this if you are going to paddle mostly in creeks, lakes and also do a little paddling in rivers & easy WW (class 2).
They advertise that it's rollable, so I think it should be easy to fit with a skirt in the right position. The skeg popped out at an inopportune time, turned out the control cord unknotted. An easy fix, but the jam cleat does is not in a convenient place and does not function that well. Also, the forward fitting is placed to take some knuckle skin from time to time. I think the skeg is a waste on this boat, so it especially bothers me. The aft hold continues to take on water.
On the plus side, I like the way the boat handles, but it would be great with a little rocker. The bow flare seems to keep it from diving and helps it surf. It moves out pretty good for a boat its size. I still think it's a fun boat, and some of the flaws can be remedied with some backyard engineering and aftermarket gear, but for the premium price, I'd expect more competent design and execution.
First, I still love my Jolt. In fact I like it more everytime I hit the water with it. I keep finding little things that I like about this craft. Starting with the construction.This boat looks great.I get numerous comments on how cool this boat looks. The way it is designed and layed out is an attention getter. People will walk past other kayaks and come check mine out. The kayak feels like it is much studier than other kayaks on the market (I'm sure this is just an illusion, but people comment on it). The 3 layers that make up this kayak give it a different feel. Unlike the other kayaks that just feel like hard plastic. This kayak almost makes you think it is made out of fiberglass.
On flatwater I am now a beliver in a skeg. I did't think they made that big a difference till I had a chance to try one. And I really didn't think it would effect a boat of this size. I was wrong on both accounts. With the skeg down I am amazed at how well I track across a lake. Throw in the wind, and your really happy you have this little device. As mentioned in another review. I too, hit my hand on the black knob that holds the line to raise and lower the skeg. I was planning on moving it. But I have quit hitting it. So I am leaving it alone. With the skeg up, the Jolt does want to do a little waddle while paddling flat water, which you should expect from a kayak this short. With the skeg down. Don't expect to whip your craft around on a dime anymore. It makes turning a much longer process. Pull the skeg up and the Jolt almost spins in one spot. It cuts the water nicely and I find myself cruising along at a nice pace without much effort.
On the rivers the Jolt continues to impress me. It wants to go downstream. I find myself looking for bigger and bigger rapids to get into. This boat likes to play in the rapids and handles them well. I have surfed this boat with no effort. It seemed like it wanted to play in the rapids. It is quick to repond to a hip or foot action and when you add a paddle stroke it really moves around where you want it too. I still haven't tried rolling it. My buddies that roll their boats say it may be hard. But if you could get the knack of it, this kayak would rock in white water too.
The dry well, well isn't a dry well. I would call it a trunk. It keeps stuff dry as long as you stay upright. Tip and water gets in. It does provide a great place to keep stuff you don't want to lose if you decide to go for a swim. The bungees behind the seat have a nice hookup that makes straping stuff down to them a breeze. I just wish they were a bit bigger. But I guess that is what the trunk (not a drywell) is for.
The seat is adjustable in two ways. It will slide both forward and backwards on a bar that locks nicely into place at several locations as you move it. The seat is comfortable and I have spent many hours on the water and have very few complaints from my posterior. The seat back is adjustable and allows me to lean it back and just cruise or lean it forward to dig in and paddle. I do have to apply some oil to the skeg occasionally to give the spring loaded action a bit of help. But that isn't a big thing in my book and just falls under general maintinance.
My buddy who has the Jolt 11.5 said that if this boat had been out when he got his, he probably would have gone with it. I know I am very happy with the kayak.
The biggest complaint I have is how OT Sport handle the advertising for this kayak. The website does this kayak no justice. The picture they have listed sucks and the write up sounds like the guy who wrote it probably never had the kayak on the water. I have wrote and told them that. Before you buy another kayak. Try to find a place to demo htis boat. I personally belive you will be very happy with this boat. I can't imagine that you wouldn't be.
Feel free to e-mail me and ask any questions that you may have.
I have certainly not been disappointed. Admittedly, I have little to compare it to since my only other experience in a kayak was a few short stints in a 15 year old fiberglass boat (very uncomfortable and difficult to track on flat water). The Jolt 101 has met all the needs: it tracks well in flat water (with or without the drop skeg down); it maneuvers extremely well in whitewater; it is comfortable to sit in for long periods (it has room to move one's knees and has a comfortable seat); it is light enough for me to easily handle on my own; it is very stable; and it can be easily be paddled and controlled by my 11 and 10 year old daughters. As an added bonus, it has a convenient storage compartment which eliminates the need for a dry bag. In fact the only minor nit I have with the boat is that the forward attachment for the skeg cord has an annoying way of catching my left hand if I don't keep my hand off the boat when paddling. However, I think I can fix this with little duct tape to smooth the edge.
I have not tried to roll the boat and I have a feeling that this will not be a good boat for me to learn to do so. However, as consolation, the cockpit is large enough to allow for a quick exit if necessary. In short, although I have little to compare it to, the Jolt 101 is everything I wanted and needed in my first kayak.
This kayak is SUPER. It handles great. Is very responsive, tracks well and is nice and stable. All my friends that have tried my kayak agree. They just love this boat.
It is a small rec boat that handles like a white water boat on moving water. OT says it is rollable. But I haven't tried yet. It comes with a drop down skeg for running flat water. And it works great when you lower it. I was amazed at how much of a difference it could make on a kayak this short. I kept this kayak going in a nice straight line on the lakes while the skeg was down. On moving water it handles like a white water boat. It turns quickly and handles the rapids I have run in it with no effort.
This is the best all around boat that I have ever used. I would and have recomended this boat to everyone. It does it all and does it nicely. Here is what I have compared it to. Otter, Zydeco, Blackwater 11.5, Element, Loon 102, Dagger Delta, Kiwi. This boat rules. Buy one, you won't be sorry.