Most Recent Reviews
Tried the Versa out this past weekend as well as a NRS Big Earl inflatable SUP. Compared to the inflatable, the Versa was much more stable - and much heavier. The Versa has greater versatility and I liked the sculpted sitting area. I was on a lake and really liked the Versa. I see it has a real option for paddling my dog and I. I like the options of being able to alternate between sitting and standing (and laying down for a nap!).
The inflatable SUP required greater balance and did have more flex. Had lower weight capacity and I can't see paddling the dog and a cooler out to my favorite island on it. I could see doing that on the Versa.
I have been a touring kayaker for several years and have done some races. Paddle mostly big rivers, swamps, lakes, bayous, estuaries and occasionally mild surf on trips to the coast. I could see using the Versa in almost all those conditions. Really like the idea of an inflatable that I could carry in the trunk for spur of the moment trips, but think I would probably use the Versa more often.
I'm short and wide, 5'5" and 200lbs. I've been kayaking for 8 years paddling using a wide variety of recreational and touring kayaks - always searching for the ever elusive perfect boat.
I liked the ease of getting in and out thanks to the larger cockpit. The boat accelerated easily. It was stable but was easy to edge slightly for steering. The rotomold has a narrower bow than the composite. The ten-minute paddle on the lake was enjoyable but I wasn't completely sold. Yesterday, a local outfitter allowed me to paddle a rotomold Kestral 140 in a 4 mile Arkansas River canoe and kayak race in the Little Rock area. (This kind of service is why I highly recommend purchasing from a local outfitter!) Paddling that distance with an attempt at speed showed me that, while the Kestral 140 has nice stability and easy in/out, the cockpit is too open for me. The cockpit's XL size and low-cut profile leaves nothing for knees to brace against. The narrow/flat bow also tended to plow. In white caps, I would have been taking on water. When I stopped paddling briefly to take a photo, the Kestal immediately lost momentum and began to veer off.
If you are wanting a large cockpit for fishing/photography on flat water and aren't concerned about speed or distance - the Kestral would be a fine boat - although I prefer my original kayak, an Old Town Loon 138 - now 8 years old, for that sort of outing. For long distances and competing in the fun divisions of canoe & kayak races, I chose a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 instead. It gives me just a little more room to wiggle in and out and for comfort over the long stretch than the Tsunami 140 my nephew 5'6", 165 lbs. is happily competing in now.