I thoroughly recommend the Santee 126.
I live in Sydney Australia, 69 years, 178cms and 78kgs (5 foot 10 inches and 172 lbs). I paddle in estuaries and tidal rivers. Not all the US and Canadian lightweight kayak brands are sold in Australia.
I have only been paddling for about two years. The Santee 126 is my second boat after starting with a Cobra Escape SOT and having started paddling in various loaner and hire kayaks. I have had the 126 for about two months, paddling most weeks.
The Santee 126 is a great boat, especially for an older person like me.
I needed a kayak I could get on and off my car’s roof racks by myself, so I was looking for something under 20kgs (40lbs). And I needed a stable boat; I wear hearing aids which cost a lot more than the boat, so I am not keen to take any unplanned swims. And I needed a boat with enough speed / glide so I could better keep up with my weekly paddle group of fellow retirees. And I needed a boat that was comfortable to sit in.
The Santee meets all those key criteria.
I had considered purchasing a Santee 126 Sport with the assurance of a larger cockpit if I did tip, but following the advice of the experienced paddle store manager, I have found the 126 cockpit to be very spacious and comfortable. The 126 also has the advantage over the Sport model of front (diagonal) deck lines, to which I have added an extra bungy line straight cross the boat and from which I carabiner attach a pouch for easy access to my water bottle and a mesh bag for any other small comfort items I might want to use. There is also plenty of room beyond my feet to place a 5 litre dry bag to easily get to my phone and snacks without beaching in order to access the rear hatch.
My Santee 126, manufactured mid-2020, came with a different seat to the Airstream featured in all the online videos. This different seat is however well aerated and comfortable. There is also no forward hatch, but I don't need one.
The Santee’s ABS thin plastic hull and deck are more flexible than I had expected, which is a little disconcerting when pushing myself out of the boat or even if pushing the bottom of the boat when in the water. The absence of carry handles mid-boat does make it a little tricky to lift and carry (don’t try it with a cockpit cover on the boat). And the near-flat 'vvv’ hull makes loading onto some roof rack fittings harder work, and does not lend itself to the boat being as speedy as others, but it does make for great stability. The tracking is reasonable but not great, I just focus a little more on direction. And finally, the absence of a useful water bottle holder is to be noted, but which I have rectified (above) and there is plenty of room behind the seat or in the cockpit.
I thoroughly recommend the Santee 126; when I get to about 75 years, I expect to replace the 126 with the lighter and shorter Santee 116!