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Name: Unleaded

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Finest SOT you can buy.

I recently bought a Caribbean 14, after my wife paddled a year on her Caribbean 12. I loved her boat (the few times she would give it up long enough to let me paddle it), and as a larger guy (6'2"/200#), I wanted a SOT for the extra legroom, for fishing, and for ease of entry and exit while coming ashore multiple times on the shorter tours we do, and for cruising along beaches. After experiencing the C12 last year, the Caribbean really does feel like a boat with no compromises: The agility, efficiency and speed of a SIK, along with the convenience, comfort and stability of a SOT. Of course, there are ALWAYS compromises to hull design, but unless you're wringing your boat out to 95-100% of its performance on a regular basis, or you want a very-focused boat for extended touring, etc., you will likely not ever find this kayak making you wish for another, no matter what you're doing.

While the 12 was plenty comfortable for me, I knew the 14 would give me even more room to stretch out. The fit and finish on my boat is flawless. I went with the tried-and-true yellow deck with a white hull, while my wife's C12 is lime green (a beautiful and highly-noticeable color, if you haven't seen one in person). I've read conflicting reports of whether or not kayak color contributes to visibility in any meaningful way, but since we do paddle some larger lakes, and intend to paddle some inland waterways in the future, I wanted any edge I could get in remaining visible to larger boats.

I ordered the angler edition, which, besides the integral rod holders behind the seat, includes options available through Eddyline that can be quickly and easily added to any Caribbean: A rail-mounted rod holder and drink carrier, deck traction pads in the footwells, and a small pad in the area forward of the footwell, designed to hold tackle trays (sized to hold 2-3 stacked Plano 3600 series trays perfectly).

My kayak was not ordered with a rudder, and I don't regret the decision. Light and simple are two attributes of a boat that make kayaking enjoyable for me, and I didn't want the added weight or complexity of the rudder. I don't find weathercocking - even in strong winds - to be a major problem. The boat tracks extremely straight and true, and to me, paddles for all the world like a more-focused sit-inside touring craft. Primary and secondary stability are rock-solid and very well defined and crisp.

I intend to use my boat approximately 60-70% for recreational paddling with my wife, and 30-40% for fishing local lakes. For that reason, I wanted to be able to add or remove gear from the boat quickly and easily. I did not add an anchor trolley, and have been very pleased with the simplicity of carrying a couple of rods behind me in the integral holders, a few trays of tackle in the forward tray area, and a small tackle bag in the tank well. I use an 18" drift anchor when the wind and current are pushing me too quickly ashore, and so far have been very happy with that setup.

The Caribbean is not, by any definition, a stand-to-fish kayak. But the new Cloud 10 seat is amazingly comfortable, and is perfectly-positioned at a level just high enough so that you aren't hitting gunwales, etc. with pole handles and wrists, but still low enough that it feels like a true paddler's boat, rather than one of the dedicated fishing craft with the seat high up above the deck.

Speed is phenomenal for a SOT. I've never done a GPS speed test, and while the kayak can't possibly be quite as speedy as a narrow-beam boat, the 14 FEELS as fast as any touring boat out there, and the extra length and slightly-narrower beam gives it a hair more speed and glide than the Caribbean 12 - just enough to be noticeable. Steering feels light and precise - particularly if you're coming to this boat from other, heavier SOT kayaks. The 14' length means the boat rewards more aggressive, leaned turns, but it does so in a very linear and controlled fashion. Never have I felt like this boat was going to do anything other than what I intended...even while leaning over the side to net a fish, shift position, or crawling up to get something out of the forward hatch. I use a lightweight Werner Camano paddle, which, combined with the only-50-or-so-pounds of the C14 hull, gives an amazing overall impression of effortless, airy control.

If you're looking for a boat that can excel in multiple areas - flatwater paddle trips, easy river cruising, fishing the bays or waterways, or simply exploring your local lake, that is both confidence-inspiring to beginners, and plenty fast and agile for experienced paddlers, you won't find a lighter, more refined or more comfortable kayak anywhere. Eddyline kayaks aren't cheap, but paddle one, and you'll instantly know that they aren't expensive, either. They are truly worth every penny, if you value light weight, beautiful lines, and flawless paddling characteristics.