Most Recent Reviews
I'm back after about a year with the recall replacement boat. Old Strait 140 XE was recalled for leakage into compartments. This unit is consistently dry as a bone. All other features same as described in my email@example.com post. Still love this boat. Regularly receive compliments on its looks and style.
Purchased this kayak for my wife two years ago, after a fair bit of study on my part and a couple demos on her part. She has hip problems, and needed a slightly wider cockpit. This works fine. The boat appears to be aimed at the entry level user, but it has lots of great features, tracks well, and has the most-comfortable seat I've found. No keel or rudder, though it appears you can add the rudder later. Still, performance is fine in small chop and moderate winds. My wife, who I thought would be more timid about it, actually loves it when a small boat goes by and sends us some waves. This is due to the very high stability of the unit. If she was in my Elie Strait 140 XE, which is a very good boat for its intended purpose, she would not be so excited. The Pungo comes with two good compartments and a "dashboard" which stores a water bottle and few other items. It has a small lockable compartment on top that is very difficult to open, regardless of weather, temperature, or any other factor, so it goes unused. This is a small problem, yet the biggest one we see. Weight is respectable -- I can put it on the car roof by myself. At age 62, that's a plus.
After three years of kayak ownership, I'm not experienced enough to compare to every paddle available. All I know is, this is the finest paddle I could ever ask for. It is stiff, lightweight, high-tech and classic in design -- all in one. I already had a perfectly fine carbon paddle -- then I saw this one and had to have it. Period. I love the look -- wood blades on a carbon shaft. I love the ferrule -- which allows easy locking from 215 to 230 cm, and 60-degree left or right. I love the stiffness -- nothing like a carbon shaft. I love the wood blades -- beautifully crafted, yet strongly protected with rockguard and fiberglass. I love to use the paddle -- every time I see it go into and come out of the water, I'm just super-pleased to be out on the water with such a fine piece of equipment. I could not ask for a paddle, and would be surprised if one exists.
So far, so good
Have owned my Strait 140XE since June 2015, and really love it. Had rented kayaks, here and there, for years, and finally decided to purchase. Researched a lot, demo'ed a couple. Fell in love at first sight, as it is everything I had in mind -- graceful lines, lots of storage (just enough space for a Delaware River camping trip last summer), rudder.
Just notified Elie my unit is affected by their recall, so we'll see how customer service works.
The boat maneuvers, accelerates and maintains speed well, but does tend to turn with the wind or strong chop. Rudder fixes that immediately.
I do own a spray skirt, but have not practiced flipping and rolling, so I'm a little leery about using it. As a result, when paddling in whitecaps I don't use the skirt and it becomes a little bit of a white-knuckle experience, as water does come in over the low coaming.
Some other reviewers have said the kayak is tippy, but that comes with a narrow boat, right? The narrow cockpit is fine by me, but my wife's bad hip joints prefer a wider entry point.
Two large hatches are locked with levers. They work well -- much easier than straps or rubber hatch covers -- but the hatches are quite some distance from the cockpit and pretty much inaccessible from within the craft. The small convenience pocket holds small items, but the fabric pouch can dislodge and drop into the aft compartment, so don't plan to use it for items that would suffer if wet.
So, now, the problem: The reason my unit was recalled was for potential leakage, so Elie at least has recognized this deficiency. Not sure what will happen with the new unit, but this one has had minor leakage -- a couple ounces of water per outing. The amount of leakage appears to vary with the unit. On an overnight camping trip, it took in less than a cup a day, front and rear combined. Others have complained of greater leakage. I always store everything in quality dry bags, so this is not the biggest problem in the world to me, but it can be irritating, and would be a real problem if you did not plan for it.
Some other reviewers have said the seat is comfy. I regularly paddle for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until my butt goes numb. The seat is certainly not comfy for me, but that is pretty personal. I plan to get a seat pad this season. My heels also tend to hurt after a while. I solved this with neoprene wet shoes, or a temporary foam pad on the floor.
On the whole, I truly love this boat. Every time I look at it, I want to drop whatever I'm doing and go for a paddle. When I'm out in the boat, I want to go camping. While we were camping, I did not want to quit.
Yes, the boat has some problems, but they all seem fixable. It does suffer from weather-cocking, but the rudder works fine. The manufacturer is addressing the leakage problem. I'll spend a little bit of money and get a seat pad, and I usually wear shoes or have the foam pad for my feet.