I wanted a boat that was light, nimble, quick, easy to turn yet capable of supporting my weekend camping habit. Previously I had several kayaks to pick from. I finally gave up my poly CD Scirrico and my Kevlar CD Solstice and purchased the Gulfstream. I'm still having expedition kayak capability withdrawl having given up the Solstice, but the joy I get out of the turning performance and ease of use of the Gulfsteam seems to make it all worthwhile.
THIS BOAT CAN DANCE. It performs more like an extension of your mind and body than something you put in the water and sit in. It may not be the individual best boat in each category, (i.e., fastest, lightest, quickest turning, stablest, etc.) but it's definitely the best when you combine all of the categories together. It's the fastestlighteststablesteasiest turning boat I've ever paddled.
Well I am happy to report that after taking a few pool rolling lessons in a WW boat this past winter I am now able to roll not only my WW boat but also my Solstice - VERY EASILY!!! Yes, the back of the combing on the Solstice is a bit high but it does not interfere with rolling at all. I'm 60 years old and overweight, if I can lay back and roll it EASILY, anyone can.
I don't know what planet the Sea Kayaker reviewers were from but their review was off the mark on this issue. Perhaps it is a relative thing, the Gulfstream/Sorroco would be easier to lay back on the deck. Agreed. But these boats aren't any easier to roll in my estimation (I did try the Sorroco). Unless my Kevlar version is much lighter and more buoyant than the boat they tested which might explain their review. In any event, if you haven't already guessed it I LOVE MY SOLSTICE even more today than when I purchased it.
PS - this is a super great boat if you are top heavy (big chest/broad shoulders/etc). Unbelievable stability on edge for high center of gravity people like me.
PS/PS If you are big -try the GT before opting for the GT High Volume or even the XT. I'm not sure why it is but the GT handles like a completely different boat, much more satisfying in my opinion.