I'm very happy with my Stellar S14'.
I'll keep this short, since I'm not a particularly skilled or experienced paddler. I've been renting recreational kayaks like the Tsunami 140 (Wilderness Systems) for five years, paddling on the same stretch of the Potomac river after work or on the weekends. I've enjoyed the experience, but wanted to paddle a much wider variety of local rivers and lakes. I did a bunch of research, and settled on the Stellar S14.
My closest retailer was Virginia Beach Paddlesports, and I was very impressed with the level of service and support. Stellar inadvertently shipped me an S14LV (low volume) version of the boat. They were, however, very understanding of the situation and let me keep the LV version until they could manufacture the correct boat. As a result, I have several months of experience with the LV, and relatively less with the S14. This review is for the S14, but references my experience with the LV.
The boat does have moderate/low initial stability compared to the Tsunami 140. This was particularly evident in the LV version. "Tippy" is the word I used to describe the LV. I almost swamped the first time I took it out, and had a few other nervous moments in the first several weeks of paddling. In all cases, though, the boat righted itself quickly. I learned to trust that provided I didn't actively make things worse, the boat would quickly pop back up. This effect was less pronounced in the S14, so I'm even more confident in this boat.
I wanted a lightweight boat, and got it with the S14. I'm easily able to car top it (Mini Cooper), which is crucial to routine use. At 36lbs, the S14 is easy to handle. The difference on the water is a bit trickier to quantify. Like I said, my experience mostly has been with the Tsunami 140. That relatively heavy boat sits in the water with authority, tracking well and unbothered by chop. The S14 in comparison seems to more *on* the water than *in* it. It seems to bob more, and only tracks well with the skeg partially deployed. Buuuuut, it's so light. Once you get some momentum, it does exactly what you want it to. Like another reviewer wrote, I may never use the rudder, although I'll probably play with it just so if I ever find myself in a dicey situation I'll know what to do.
I'm pleased with the S14 and have no regrets. Having my own, lightweight boat has been liberating. I must have paddled a dozen different spots this year, and look forward to plenty more years on the water. Oh yeah, it's a pretty boat that gets lots of admiring looks and compliments.