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Name: paddler781873

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Upon leaving HI and after nearly 30 years of open water, sit-on-top kayaking there, I discovered it was cost prohibitive to bring any of my several kayaks with me when making the nearly 5,000 miles during retirement/relocation to northern MI. Therefore, I needed to replace them: in HI I had several kayaks--for touring to small, offshore islands, others for near-shore recreation with friends and teaching newbies, and a couple strictly designed for ocean surfing. Although kayak surfing was my greatest love, there are seldom any surf-able waves in MI; I also enjoyed the adventure of exploring places off-shore--sometimes as far offshore as seven miles one way. Regrettably, I no longer have the storage space required to have an assortment of 'specialty' (or even a backup) kayaks. My dilemma then, was discovering a single kayak capable of doing the things I enjoyed most. It was essential I find a stable, lightweight, sit-on-top, and flexible purpose kayak--with a rudder. I am uninterested in floating downstream in a sedate creek or river, guiding a boat to my destination, nor in tooling around in a placid, wave-less lake. When I kayak, I want water in my face as I crest it, the challenge the surf and wind, and getting an edifying workout for a couple of hours. I needed a boat capable of doing more than a $4-500 plastic tub with rounded design and no distinguishing features--built in or added on--could provide. Kayakers who have been formally and expertly trained how to move their paddle into and from the water, how to egress their boat, to right/re-enter it when it gets flipped, and know to paddle using their shoulders rather than simply their forearms, demand more. After researching and demo-ing other makes of kayaks from polyethylene, to fiberglass, to polycarbonate, etc. I decided the best option for me was the Eddyline Caribbean. This was based on several factors, including the following: hull rocker and chine design, weight, strength of material, rudder availability, seating comfort/design, maneuverability, ease of transport, and price. Manufacturer's reputation and 'Made in USA,' were unforgotten sidebar notations. I chose the Eddyline as a result of its capacity to meet my fairly specific and demanding criteria. To boot, its finish is beautiful--much like a new car's! Its weight enables hanging from the mid-wall in the garage. While the Eddy is certainly not cheap, its stellar combination of quality, features, and grace in the water, make it top-of-the-line. It will likely be the last kayak I will ever need to buy! The only drawback I discovered to acquiring an Eddyline was the company does not support adding a rudder (assembly) to an existing Eddyline kayak born without one; you cannot buy one. Understand: I am not a '...merrily, merrily, merrily, gently down the stream...' kayaker; I need a rudder! A generic, after-market system would surely compromise the structural integrity of its Carbonlite material; so one cannot buy it--post manufacture-- as an accessory. After looking for months for a used, ruddered Caribbean, I realized if I wanted one, I'd have to have buy new and manufactured that way. I am elated with the performance of my Caribbean in Lake MI, and I couldn't be happier with my buying decision. The Harbor Springs 'Outfitter' dealer, Josh Baker, was extremely helpful in getting my order placed, and keeping me apprised of the kayak's manufacture/assembly; why, he even drove the 50-mile trip (on a Sunday) to make delivery! Functionally meanwhile, the kayak is easy to get in and leave the water; it is nimble and almost effortless tracking quietly and efficiently through the water. Out in the water, I'm often asked what kind or sports car I'm paddling. If I could only experience more sunny, warm days to be in the water! Ahhh, a wetsuit...