I had the Wilderness Systems Aspire 100 it was a great kayak for all ages! It was very sturdy and reliable on rough water and also in calm waters. I loved that it was so light compared to other kayaks I have had. I highly recommend this kayak to anyone looking to purchase a kayak!
The Aspire is very stable. Initial stability is really all I'm talking about because there is no edging the Aspire. It is too wide for its 10 foot length to put over on edge. This doesn't matter much because it is really easy to turn using just sweep strokes. My 9 yr. old had no problem maneuvering around. It doesn't track as good as the Pungo but the drop down skeg improves the tracking a lot. The skeg uses a cord that catches in a wedge to lower and raise it. That was a bit awkward to work and I think it would fray over time.
For my girl the boat was a little wide. At 27.5" wide, she had some trouble hitting the paddle on the side of the boat. For an adult this may not be a problem. The Aspire was at its best in the Congaree National Park in South Carolina. It was easy to maneuver around the cypress trees in the swamp. We sold the Aspire and Pungo because we wanted kayaks that we learn more skills in and use for bigger trips.
If you want a small, comfortable kayak for short excursions, then this is a fine one.
It is perfect for a first time kayaker of smaller frame. Extremely stable. I've never had a problem getting in and out with the 44" cockpit. Probably fall out of it the next time out, now that I mentioned that. The Phrase 3 seat is comfortable for almost any length trip. It adjusts 3 ways to add to your comfort, right from the seat.
I really like the Sidelock footbrace system, especially soon after I got the boat and was trying to find the optimal settings for me. One of the BEST features is the unique drywell hatch. Two latches and it's open, in or out of the kayak. The skeg is easy to deploy and allows the boat to track straight and true. Loading is easy at 44lbs. I use a Thule Loader bar.
I gave the boat a '9' only because now I want a 12' or 13' kayak. I'm sure I'll buy another kayak this winter (good wife willing), but I will keep the Aspire100 and continue to paddle it or perhaps use it as a loaner for a person new to kayaking. This kayak will give you all the enjoyment this sport offers, no matter the weather.