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Name: karen2

Most Recent Reviews

Mine is a 2017 model, which came with the beach-chair seat and the reversible MD180 Mirage drive. I bought it so I could vary my daily workout (paddling EVERY day resulted in a mild but very persistent case of golfer's elbow) and still enjoy being out on the water. The good: (1) Pedaling it feels so decadent. I don't bring beer, but it feels like I should! (2) That seat is exceedingly comfortable for pedaling. (3) The kayak has handled wind and waves quite well. I have never felt in danger of tipping over. Going diagonally downwind in big lake waves is an interesting experience (the bow describes a circle with each wave), but if you stay relaxed you'll soon realize it's not actually dangerous). I have not had it in the ocean so can't speak to that. (4) The clever twist-n-stow rudder system protects the rudder for transport. (5) The carry handles on the sides are very sturdy and well-placed right at the center of gravity. I use them to tie on my homemade PVC kayak cart. Now, the bad: (1) The high seat back interferes with the body/shoulder rotation you need for proper ergonomic paddling. This is not an issue for me at all, since I didn't buy it to paddle it! (2) The MD180 Mirage drive started squeaking loudly soon after I switched to Turbo fins. Nothing I tried fixed the problem, and the last thing I tried (tightening up the chain tension) pulled things alarmingly out of alignment. When I took the spine (bottom part) apart to peek inside, I discovered the bearings were plastic and they and their races (also plastic) were badly damaged. There was no grease in there, either, which might have been the initial problem. But also the design seemed suboptimal, with the chains acting on the spine in different locations from the fins instead of aligned with the fins as is the case with the nonreversible drives. So in late 2018 I traded it for a nonreversible Mirage drive, which seems engineered to last. So far, so good.

This is an add to my earlier review (3-28-11). I've had my 'bou…

This is an add to my earlier review (3-28-11).
I've had my 'bou out in wind and whitecaps a few times now, and wanted to share the following:
My first time out in big wind I had my skeg down and was wondering why I kept veering off in spite of paddling really hard on the lee side

Turns out it's a lot easier to paddle upwind in strong wind if the skeg is up. By the same token, going downwind is easier with the skeg down. You can go straight into the wind just fine with the skeg down, but once you start trying to go at an angle to the wind you'd better raise that skeg!

Additional information: My 'bou is fiberglass, and I bought it in 2000, when the factory was still in British Columbia. Mine seems very well-built but I can't address whether new ones are as well-built.

Bought this for $80 at REI and have used it a handful of times. It has held up well so far, and it really does weigh less than 3 pounds. Plus it fits in the forward hatch on my Caribou-S without being taken apart (I do have to work it in by rotating it around).

The downside is the hard wheels transmit every bump straight into my arm as I'm carrying the other end. This is especially fun on those concrete boat ramps that're made of concrete planks with gaps between the planks. It does plow in soft sand somewhat, but not as badly as I expected. Unless you have to go a long way in the sand or you have an especially heavy kayak, it should be good enough.

And the price was right, certainly by comparison to other products in this category.

I suppose I should really give it a 9 since it doesn't have as much storage space as many other models, but it is such a joy to paddle I figure I'm really subtracting a point from a score of 11!

I'm 5'4" with short arms, and this boat's narrowness is a boon to me - no leaning my whole body sideways for each paddle stroke just to keep my paddle shaft from hitting the gunwale.

All the nice stuff others have said here goes for me, too. It's fast (I think so, anyway), it tracks nicely (skeg gives a small improvement but without the skeg it's fine too), and it turns quite well enough, though not on a dime.

I feel more secure bracing against fixed foot pedals, so I actually like that there's no rudder.