I bought this for my girlfriend awhile back ago. I've been kayaking for a few years, grew up in Colorado on a yak so after looking through other reviews and testing one out I knew it would be the perfect kayak for her. The tracking is excellent, the style is perfect and definitely speaks to her personality, Plus seems pretty durable. It's a great all around starter yak for recreation purposes/lower cost and is just fun to have. I was able to find one for $200 so know they're out there. She had never been on a kayak before and now she loves it and has fallen in love with it; only wish I had one for myself. If you're thinking about getting one go for it! (Other side additive it's great for Rick & Morty Puns)
Took the new Swifty out for the first time on the Chattahoochee river in NE Georgia. The river section we did ranged from still water to Class 3. I'm very pleased with the performance of the yak, though there are a couple of areas that could be better.
First, the good things. It was very easy to get to and into the water. The weight is good and the molded in handles are great. The stability seems to be good, though the Class 3 areas were a bit of a challenge (actually flipped on one). It seemed to track well across the full range of water types we experienced. After 4 hours in the water, the seat still felt pretty comfortable.
Now the downside. The seat back is not fixed by anything other than the adjustment strap. The bottom of the back fits into a slot. It popped out of the slot several times on the trip. It would be much better if it was on a pivoting shaft like I've seen on many others. There are no pads on the cockpit sides and the outside of my knees were a bit sore by the end of the day. Nothing a pool noodle and some adhesive won't fix. It could use a little foam in the bow to keep it up when it's capsized. Again, pool noodle to the rescue. The foam in the stern worked fine.
For me, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives in the Swifty. I expect to have many great hours in it.
Great budget kayak and supports big and tall people. I'm in the 275lb range and the kayak rides about 1-2 inches lower than my son who is 160lbs. The kayak is unstable getting into it, but with a little practice entry and exit is simple. It does paddle and track well as long as you have your weight centered, but you can go to one side by shifting your weight. It is a perfect kayak for casual floats down calm rivers and small lakes. I would be hesitant to take it out in any waves due to load in the kayak (Fat Man Problems). Durability of the kayak is great. Very little damage after scraping several rocks in the river (FMP). Paid $233 for the kayak at Dicks sporting goods after sale price and 10% credit card discount. Would recommend a 230mm paddle for anyone in the 5'10" and a 33-34 inch torso as it will match better with river paddling. I have a 240mm paddle and it is a very lazy low angle paddle that is hard sometimes in small spaces.
A pretty good boat for the price. Appears higher quality than other inexpensive kayaks sold by Dicks. Lots of features, comfortable seat, and tracks acceptable. Enough speed to putter around the lake or relaxing float down the river.
Easy sable kayak. Great for fishing and fun.
Got out at a great price. Easy to carry and transport by myself. Seat is decent. Cup holders tie downs etc are all very convenient. Short so not that fast but stable and easy. Color swirls are attractive and draw compliments. Really like it for the occasional recreational kayaker.
Great kayak. I use this kayak for recreation on the New River in Independence, VA. I paddle up river with no problem and float back down.. Great tracking. Very stable. Smooth ride. I have not turned this kayak over even once since purchasing. Lovely variety of colors and great pricing. Wish this had been my first kayak. Have bought another for my husband. Several friends have also purchased one after trying mine out. Love it!
I was a fan of my friends older swifty, but the DLX model sold by Dicks is NOT the same Kayak. It's not even shaped the same.
First the pro's: It's well built and durable, and had a big cockpit. It's manageable to move around and transport. It's an attractive boat and it's agile enough(being 9.5')
The Cons: Storage compartment is not water proof and the biggie: The seat is what is expected from a low end rec kayak. But my biggest complaint is that It is slow and tracks poorly. It's a struggle to keep up with others, even if they're in low end Pelican boats. Stop paddling and the boat will turn, so forget about drifting. Stop paddling and the boat will turn circles on you. You're spending your time correcting your direction as your friends pull ahead of you.
I have several boats ranging from White Water to low end Pelican Trailblazer and this, without a doubt, performs the worst. I put several experienced paddler friend in this boat and they all said the same thing.
Now, the ORIGINAL Swifty 9.5 was a nice boat I would five 4 stars. Tracks well for a 9.5 boat, a gem at the price. But this DLX Model?
Recreational kayaks are sometimes looked down on but if you are looking to try out kayaking, keep an extra boat around for visitors or as a dependable, rugged backup, take a good look at the Swifty DLX. The Swifty DLX has the traditional flat bottom of a recreational kayak for great initial stability. This stability lets first-timers get that, "yeah, I can do this," feeling. The large cockpit doesn't make them feel trapped in and will let you take a child or four legged companion along for a paddle.
The flat bottom does lack directional tracking but you should expect this and enjoy the maneuverability that it affords. The initial stability and big cockpit combined with a flat rear deck allow me to set crab traps in the Pacific Northwest and transport my catch back to shore in a five gallon bucket set between my knees. There are rod holders molded in that make the Swifty a decent fishing kayak but not a not a fish killer.
The Swifty DLX seat has an adjustable back that is supportive and comfortable enough for a day long paddle but not multi-day voyages unless you modify it or have a better seat on yourself. (I don't) There is also a water bottle divit at the front of the seat.
The cockpit has a dash of sorts that gives you a good place to set a small waterproof box or bag. The dash also features a molded in paddle holder with a stretch cord and hook so you can quickly store it while you attend to a fish or photo op.
Being a rotomolded boat the Swifty can take rock bumps, drops, and bangs. She works well in areas where the shoreline, well, is not all sandy beach. Here in the Pacific Northwest most of my launch sites include rocks, muscles and barnacles so the ability of the Swifty to put up with these is a blessing. While it is true that rotomolded boats are heavy this is mitigated by the Swifty's short 9.5' length.
The biggest short falls on the Swifty DLX are the lack of any bulkhead and the rough edge of the cockpit. The lack of a bulkhead can be addressed by adding one behind the seat or using float bags. I thought of adding a bulkhead but after using a float bag and being able to remove it and clean out the boat without a bulkhead in the way I was sold on leaving it out. The raspy edge to the cockpit required some file use and the addition of some cockpit trim edge and pad.
Having finished this review I see why most of my paddling time is spent in my Swifty DLX! I have a fiberglass Chatham 17 and she's a great boat but I don't put her through what I put my Swifty 9.5 DLX.
The Swifty 9.5 DLX is the perfect kayak for my situation. Totally blown away. It's the right weight for a man to carry solo. The design is suited for secure transport. The 9.5' length is perfect for storage/transport. Hull design cuts the water well so speed is better than some of the cheaper model 10', and you're saving 6" of length.
Surprisingly stable. Great tracking. The seat is fully adjustable and comfortable. I can actually arch my back and chill. The cockpit is very open, which is great for a taller guy like myself. The console and accessories slots are useful, especially the front bungee oar lock. Low to the water and narrow frame was a huge factor in paddling efficiently.
This kayak exceeded my expectations in all aspects. I'm not sure I could stand to own a lesser kayak after this one.
The boat is light and easy to car top on our suburban. The hatch is not that great a feature because you can just as easily reach the back through the seat but it does mean that we can add a bulk head for dry storage later. The front paddle holder and rear rod holders are a nicer feature though.
The little boat is really fast and tracks pretty well for its size but does have a little more roll to it than the standard Swifty. The stubbier front end also makes a lot of noise going through the water but not so much that it is noticeable from an adjacent boat.
The cockpit is much larger and more comfortable than the standard Swifty but the pegs will adjust back enough that my 9 year old daughter can reach them comfortably. The lower profile makes the DLX very wind resistant and the same 9 year old rowed over a mile in 15mph winds easily. The trade off here is that you do get wet in this more easily than any other set inside that i have used.
Overall I am very happy with the Swifty DLX, but given the option I think I like the standard Swifty better overall and it was $50 cheaper.
I agree with what a lot of other reviewers have said: this is a stable, easy to handle, all-around boat perfect for beginners. I've been pretty surprised with its maneuverability considering how stable and easy to paddle it is. I've enjoyed it for flatwater and river paddling but it's still untested in whitewater (which will change this summer and I'm confident it will do fine within its limitations).
Here's my issues with it, and these are also mentioned by a few other reviewers. Despite it's name, it is not swift; it does not slice through the water like a keen-edged blade. It's line tends to wander and it can drift a good deal when gliding. The footwell is annoyingly shallow – my size 11s either sit on the foot pegs at an angle or I have to scrunch my foot in there to sit flat on the pegs. Neither are comfortable for long stretches of paddling. Thigh pads - not necessary but would be a nice touch. And stretches of over 2 hours remind me (again) to pick up a little extra padding for the seat (which otherwise I think is fine).
My last complaint is more of a marketing/merchandising issue. It seems the Swifty 9.5 DLX is exclusive to Dick's Sporting Goods (it was the only Swifty 9.5 we could find locally, the Swifty line seems to have moved to a store-exclusive collection of slightly different models) and the local store was a nightmare to deal with. But I'd go through that retail hell again to get such a great boat at a really good price.
Solid, stable & easy to paddle yet maneuverable, the Swifty is great for beginners and works well in a variety of paddling conditions. The slower speed and wandering line don't detract much from its overall performance but are noticeable. A few ergonomic tweaks would be nice, some of which can be done by the owner.