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Name: Sandmarks

Most Recent Reviews

Thanks to Aqua Adventures in San Diego, I've had an Axiom 9.0 to try out for a while in the surf. At 6', 240lbs, I was looking for something that could handle my size and the Axiom makes me feel small! It's supposed to handle up to 287 lbs and I'd rather not have the extra volume in a surf boat. That said, this boat is real comfy!

My knees love the high deck and the ample thigh braces and the ratcheting back band and seat make me feel well locked in. Surf around here has been mostly small, 1-3, but if it has a face, this boat has been able to get a ride.

Most of my surfing has been in sea kayaks, so this boat has been quite a change. The volume seems to keep it high up in the wave, but it's not always easy to break out of the white water. It has a flat planing hull convex channel transition to the sides that seems to allow for some carved turns. I've been in a few 4-5 foot waves without much shoulder and it handled those without burying the bow. I'm hoping to get it in some nicer sized waves with room to play to see what all it can do.

My big issue is it's a bear to roll, which I don't like in a surf boat. A bit of practice has me feeling better, but I wish I could fit in the 8.5 model. I'm over the listed weight limit for that boat, but I might take one out for a spin to see for myself.

I love the fit and quality of this boat and the more I surf it, the harder it'll be to give back, so I still don't know if it will have a permanent home in my garage.

I've been paddling a Zephyr 160 for about a year now and decided I liked it enough to give up my trusty Tempest 170. The Z is much more fun for playing in the rocks, which are my usual play spot. Though wider than the Tempest, the Z rolls better, perhaps because it allows for a better lay back roll. I think it surfs better than the Tempest as well, being less likely to broach.

The bad thing is I don't think the plastic is nearly as tough as the Tempest. My Tempest was pretty gnarly, but seemed to take rocks and barnacles in stride, but the Z seems to scratch a lot easier. Still it's fun to play with.

A few months ago, I bought a used Crossover. A couple friends had bought Greenboats and I was looking for something smaller, so I could play a bit more with them. I was doing my rock gardening in a Zephyr, but since I got the Crossover, it has been my main boat.

At 12.5 feet, it's short enough that it's very maneuverable, even though it doesn't have a whole lot of rocker. I like that it has good speed for when my friends are in their long boats. Although it does turn quickly, I haven't had any problems tracking in small winds, even though I never use the provided skeg.

I weigh 240lb, but the boat doesn't seem to mind, although it does have a tendency to bury its bow on a wave. The very plumb bow is a drag though, as it sends water shooting up on a wave and has a tendency to catch in the rocks. I've surfed the boat in 4' surf and found it rather maneuverable in the waves.

I don't know what Dagger really planned this boat to be used for and the plum bow make it a bit tough to use in the RGs where I usually use it, but I'm still having fun with it. For someone my size, it's a better fit than the Greenboat, but without the WW cred!

Rafael Miel of Mayan Seas donated this kayak to be auctioned by my kayak club and I was the lucky high bidder. It is my first real experience with this type of boat and I have found it to be a blast.
At 6' 250, I think I'm a bigger paddler than what this boat was designed for, but it hasn't stopped me from having fun. As a short boat with a totally flat bottom, it's not great for long paddles, but I took it out for a four mile spin in the ocean without too much discomfort. The boat absolutely turns on a dime, but I learned quickly how to keep it on a straight course. I took out the foot pegs and just use the front bulkhead for my feet. I could probably do with an inch or two of padding there to make things better, but it gives you an idea of available leg room. The fore and aft of the boat have bulkheads filled with foam, so the boat's unsinkable. I'm using the boat really just for surfing and for that it's been great. Last second 180s to catch a wave are no problem and I've had great rides. I think I would like to have a removable fin for the boat though to see if that helps performance in waves. My only other boat is a QCC 500, about as diametrically opposed to this boat as you can get and without any real time in other surf boats, I can't give that kind of comparison. All I can tell you is it's been a blast to play in the surf with this boat even though I probably test its limits in size. I'm not a great roller yet, but I've had good luck rolling this boat as well. I've had people who have seen video of my surfing say how impressed they were with the ability to get turned around to catch a wave. If you'd like to see some video of me surfing at San Onofre, you can see it here:

After 3 years of paddling my 500, I developed a problem with a seam. True to their word and after one trucking mishap they replace my old boat with a new one. Thought it would be a good time to re-evaluate it.

This was my first real kayak, so it was hard to know how to rate it back then. My paddles are usually a short harbor paddle and then out to the ocean. Now that I know a little bit better what I'm doing, I feel that this is a great kayak. I think it tracks really well even in the wind. When put on edge, I think it turns quite well and is easy to correct. I seldom use the rudder in the ocean, leaving it for the harbor when I just like to paddle lazily along. Of course when I got it, it felt very tippy for a beginner, but now I feel very comfortable. I can edge it over quite a bit and feel secure. I recently took an edging class where I had to paddle a much shorter Seaward kayak. I thought it would be much more maneuverable because of its length, but it was a dog compared to my 500. I still only give it an 8, only because I haven't paddled very many boats to compare it to, but has certainly filled my needs. Also, 3 years ago I really hated the Rapid Pulse seat. Now that I'm in better kayak shape, I really don't think it's too bad. I'm still going to go back to my ratcheting backband though.

Well I've only had my 500 for a little over a month, but I thought I'd put in an early review. I admit I'm a newbie and my last boat was a Loon 160T, 80lbs of plastic with a 29" beam and a 7 foot cocpit, so most of my paddling has been just getting used to a completely different boat. The boat is beautiful and I have no major complaints about its contruction. My boat has about a hard to notice 5 inch dimple or discoloration going down the side of the hull at the rear bulkhead that QCC said was just some of the adhesive bleeding through, so I took their word for it not being an issue. I am a big guy, 6' 265lbs so I realize I am not the average size paddler, but this is something I discussed with Phil before purchasing the boat. I was worried about the small size of their cockpits as far as entry and exit for someone my size. It was tough at first, but after building up several layer of skin from my shins on the front of the cockpit, I'm doing much better now. To me the biggest disappointment is the RapidPulse seat. It is totally inadequate for someone my size. I think the people at QCC should know this and have some other options for big paddlers. It is pretty hard to get a feeling for a boat in the 30 day trial period when your constantly in pain from the seat and you can't do a lot of modifying in case you want to send it back. I can't figure out how it is I can be so comfortable in the seat that came in my $500 rec boat, but have to be tortured in my state of the art $2000+ boat! In the water the boat seems fast, seeming to get up to speed in just a few strokes. The secondary stability seems good to me and I don't have much trouble turning even without using the rudder. After about an hour of wet exit practice and pathetic newbie rolling practice, the hatches had about a 1/4 cup of water in them. I do wonder if there is a better method of securing the hatches than the velcro straps provided. One thing I have not been too impressed with through my purchase has been the customer service that I read so many good things about in the reviews. Other than Phil who spent a good amount of time answering my question before the purchase, I think they failed to meet a lot of the promises they made on the website, which made the scary idea of purchasing an expensive kayak on the internet a little worse. Other than the seat which may be just great for someone of normal size, I think you probably can't buy a better boat especially for the price. I think this type of purchase is better for people with more experience in kayaks so your 30 days of paddling doesn't have to be spent trying to get used to a complete different way of paddling. I don't really want to give a number rating, as I really just wanted to give my view as a big guy stuck in a skinny boat for the few that may be in my situation.

We've had our Old Town Loon 160T for over a month and I couldn't be much happier. I've used it mostly solo and I'm impressed with the tracking, stability and speed. I'm a big guy, 6ft 260 and I fit comfortably single or tandem. I use in in Newport Beach harbor in CA and have taken it out of the harbor to frolic in the swells and it sure is stable. The seats are the most comfortable kayak seats I've ever sat in. We've fished from it as well and it's great because it has so much room for gear. We plan to give the dogs a ride. It's a big boat so it's not too easy to load by myself, but I load and carry it on top of my Ford Taurus. So far, I can't think of any negatives to say about it. Having a great time.