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Why the bad review?
Well, while it's a nice little kayak for short runs, and even has a decent speed for a recreational, but THE PRICE. At half price I'd say, ok; but for a rolls-Royce priced recreational I expect perfection.
Here are my issues with it. Basically there are design & manufacturing faults.
I've bought it a year ago, and realised after a while that the rear hatch was falling apart. On the water. Great. The only problem with it was a slightly-too-short bolt - which was obvious even just looking at it in pieces. I do not know why they'd use that at all! I got a replacement from their support, but it's baffling how it got past basic QC & testing.
After a while I've realised the seat isn't what you'd call comfortable; my arse goes asleep after about an hour and a half. Very bad.
Another issue with the seat (again, a design fault that wasn't tested out properly) is that if you're paddling, rotating your body, the wrinkles in the material near the rear edge of the seat rub your bottom. And I mean rub you raw. I had bleeding wounds as a result after a 3-hour run. I'm not oversized, 170cm/70kg.
I've contacted the support about this, too, but their offer was only to send a pad for a price ($100 landed in Aus ffs!) and I'd have to screw it on top somehow. That "solve it yourself" offer for a faulty design is not acceptable for me.
These, coupled with the extremely high price and you're better off buying something else.
A month ago (2018 aug) I've bought this beautiful new S18s excel.
I'm a beginner, 47, 70kgs started paddling a year ago using a recreational kayak.
Just like the previous reviewer, I've tested the SR and found it a bit too advanced - went swimming in slight waves. I'm just learning the technique and I'm not a very strong paddler, my speeds are 8-9km/h only on a ~5km run (my usual daily, flat water),
I'm topping out around 10km/h currently.
However, with this kayak I can keep 7-8km/h averages over 10km distance without problems. On short runs (~2km) I can average 9km/h.
I've found the design & the manufacture both to be flawless, comfortable, a joy to live with and very stable (even though when I first sit in, it felt a bit wobbly - the primary stability isn't what I'm used to in the recreational).
The footrests are rock solid and easy to adjust, the bucket is a perfect shape for my bottom, the handles are positioned perfectly for carrying.
Those storage compartments are well thought-out, the rear one is really huge. I reckon that's a big advantage over the SR in fact. And since I couldn't use the SR's superior speed at this point anyway, it's definitely the better choice for me.