Most Recent Reviews
I have owned both the FG IM and the CF IM, so this review will cover both Skagit paddles. Currently own the CF IM.
First off, the Skagit is a great design for rec kayakers. Its light weight, smooth stroke really help save energy. I find the blade to be absolutely flutter-free during the stroke which allows a looser grip. I use my paddles to push off shore, push stuff out of the way, and sometimes keep my boat still while I'm getting into it, so I stuck with nylon blades of the Skagit.
The Smart-View ferrule is great, lots of adjustment, locks up tight every time, but most importantly when its locked together, there is nothing protruding from the shaft surface, its as close to a one-piece paddle as you can get while still having the storage/transport convenience of a two-piece! The ovalized grip area is also nice, its a lot more comfortable than a fully round shaft.
There are a lot of paddles in this price range, but I feel Werner is at the top because of the 0 flutter and the best ferrule design in the business. Honestly for most rec kayakers, the FG is fine. The CF is a tiny bit stiffer in the blades, and a tiny bit lighter, but its not worth the (full price) extra cost. I got mine on sale, and personally decided it was worth it then. At full MSRP, the Skagit FG IM is a great paddle for the rec kayaker or going for partial day tours.
I really like the high back of this vest, with my rec kayak seat back, I can raise or lower the seat to my liking, as this vest does not interfere! The vest fits well, I wear a L size mens shirt, which fit a bit loose, and the M/L vest fits great snugged down! My arms are free to move and paddle, and the vest almost feels like its not even there. I really like the fact Onyx incorporates a whistle into the vest via a lanyard, small addition but EVERY PFD sold should have an attached whistle!
If you're on a budget, I would take a look at the Onyx MoveVent line up. I like mine, and would buy it again!
Stability was very good, and with the hard chine, it edges very nicely, making the boat maneuver more like a shorter boat. Paddling hard resulted in very little yaw, which helps with tracking and glide.
I think there is plenty of dry storage space, and yes a little water got in, I think most from hosing the kayak off when I got home. The seat is comfortable, and offers a lot of adjustment. I wish it had thigh braces, but I think I can work with the foot braces and back rest to get a good hold of the kayak.
Overall, for the money, I think this kayak earns a 9. Tracking in tailwind could be better, but I don't paddle much in wind, so not an issue really. Also, thigh braces would have earned it a 10, but would have also increased the cost. I recommend this to anyone looking to tour some small lakes or deep slower moving creeks/rivers. If you have a problem with tracking, a rudder kit can help take care of that!
While it's a great kayak, and VERY stable, tracking is just poor at best. I sold mine and picked up a Perception Conduit 13 (basically a Dagger Catalyst 13.0) and I should now have a kayak that tracks well. I updated for more reasons than JUST tracking, but that was a major reason.
If I wanted a short boat, I would look for something with a drop skeg, or rudder capable.
The Rhythm might, however, make a good boat for fast moving rivers... It IS very agile in tight spots.
My first impression of it was WOW It is almost as stable as the Grumman canoes we used in Boy Scouts. Tracking is actually pretty good, once we got a rhythm going, and learned to paddle as a tandem. Wind definitely is no friend to this big kayak, but it does have mounting hole and molds for a rudder kit, which I may add someday down the line. I ended up getting a splash deck for it from Oak Orchard Canoe (they are close to me, in Rochester, NY) because I got pretty wet since I generally take up the rear.
I give it a 9 and not a 10 for a few reasons:
Its heavy, 68lbs I think, not fun to get onto a roof, even though I have a Dodge Neon. Also, I would have liked if it was capable of being paddled solo, with moveable seats so it could be used for an awesome fishing kayak. I've since bought a solo kayak for that purpose, however...
Anyone looking to get a tandem kayak and doesn't want to spend a fortune, this is a great kayak, and they seem to be priced around $500-600 near me. Stable enough to handle the wake of powerboaters, and not roll or tip or anything. I cant wait until it warms up more to get this yak out on the water!
I can't give this a 10, as it could use better tracking, but overall I am impressed. Perception has won my support for future kayak purchases, as I own a Swifty II Tandem as well. I recommend this kayak to anyone looking for a light, easy to load on a car recreational kayak. I might add a Scotty Rod holder soon and use the kayak for fishing, too!