Read reviews for the Zydeco 9.0 by Dagger as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I am an older, small statured woman and this kayak is very light and easy to load on my car top carrier. It is a joy to paddle, tracks pretty straight and is very maneuverable. I have been using this kayak on lakes and slow moving rivers. It is not "tippy" and the cockpit provides alot of room for my dry bags. I love this kayak for its all around usefulness.
I am a petite 63 year old female who started paddling again after lots of years off the water. I looked and looked for a boat I could car top on my RAV4 but that was stable and good for river paddling (I live in south Texas). I bought this boat in 2015 and love it.... she is good in narrow turns, has held up well over all kinds of "terrain" although she takes a little work to track in the wind due to her light weight and short length. Most of my friends have sit-on-tops but I prefer this having started my paddling life in a canoe...besides she is a pretty boat (I have the turquoise and blue combo). My only minor improvement would be a cupholder! (talk about suffering...)
Hi I'm 18 years old and 5'7. This kayak fits me well. I recently moved from south England to the depths of north east Alaska. I bought this kayak for its transportability and the fact that it can double to be just as good as a sea kayak, I have taken it out in a force 7 twice and it's great. It also made the drive in my pickup to Alaska very easy, I could fit my kayak, bike and snowboard in the front of my Nissan pickup.
I can trail a fishing net of the back and I have caught many fish and a few sharks with it. It it very fast, stable and cuts through the waves well.
It rolls well, because it is very light I can do hand rolls without difficulty in it. The tracking is fine whilst paddling but when I stop, it will swing a bit. This is annoying when fishing off the coast of alaska because you can lose your bearings slightly.
I would recommend this kayak to anyone, from beginners on a river to expert sea kayakers. It insulates me well, I have gone out in -20 degrees Celsius and been fine on many occasions. Don't be convinced that this is a perfect sea kayak, it's not as good as a sea kayak but they are 18 feet and £1000 so not an option. Love it
I have had the 9'5" Zydeco 9.0 for the past 7-8 years and absolutely love almost everything about it. It maneuvers brilliantly in winding, small, Ozark streams with occasional small rapids and plenty of tree limbs to dodge, but it is also stable enough to handle larger bodies of water and very low level-3 whitewater without a problem. The only minor negative is the front is pretty blunt and it tends to trudge through flat water a little.
I recently purchased the newer 9'1" Zydeco 9.0 and even though the front end problem has been remedied, it is a far from perfect boat. It is easier to turn because of the shorter length, but I find it much more challenging to maneuver when there are obstacles in the current. I also find the 9'5" model relatively more comfortable (even with the molded seat instead of the adjustable seat that the 9'1" model comes with).
I recommend for Dagger to manufacture a stronger and thicker seat rest similar to other manufacturers across the continent have done in recent years.
I took this kayak out in moderately rough seas (with a ‘lifeguard’ on shore), to test out what the kayak could handle. Other than some waves splashing over the bow, the kayak handled the turbulence well. Although I normally wouldn’t take it out in rough seas, it’s good to know that if the weather changed unexpectedly, I’d be OK. Plus I always stay close to shore when in this kayak.
I am really pleased with this kayak, and getting a lot of use out of it!
When I say light...I mean WOW light. This boat is a delight to carry at 36 pounds. The design allows you to simply rest the inner cockpit edge over one shoulder and tote it with unbelievable ease. It's also extremely easy to cartop (obviously).
I was worried that I would miss the "open air" feeling of the Tarpon 100 (sit on top), but with the extremely long and spacious cockpit, the Zydeco still feels 100% non-confined. Actually, the only parts of my body under the hull are my feet and about 7 inches of my calf. This was an important factor for me.
The seat is a very good one. It's on par with the seating system Wilderness Systems uses. Very comfortable and adjustable. I'll probably still add a gel pad for the seat though, since my lower back and tailbone area is sensitive to anything over 2 hours on the water. There is also a HUGE stowage area behind the seat, which is easily accessible while on the water. There's also two deck rigging zones (I put my PFD on the rear one)
The foot pegs are perfectly designed as well (with easy access long toggle bars so you can adjust "on the fly" rather than having to reach way down to the pegs themselves)
A big concern was how it would track. (It has a couple small runnels and a wee skeg). You’d expect the tracking to be squirrelly and it was – in spots. I found it was well within tolerances once I adjusted my stroke a bit. It does not track as well as the Tarpon, but I think the added speed and responsiveness make up for it. It will also tend to drift and spin more than a longer boat when at rest, but again – with some adjustments to your paddling style it's really pretty easy to compensate. On shallow flats however, it was a DREAM to paddle. Most of my paddling is in the flats (or relatively flat) waters and mangrove tunnels here in Florida – so I really ended up with a performance improvement over the tank-like Tarpon. It's crazy how quick & agile this boat is!
I LOVE the paddle holder design as well. It has a nice little tab which is super easy to grip, even with sopping wet hands. Little details just make this boat so nice!
Overall – the boat is outstanding. It's a good looking yak, with nice graphics details. It oozes quality. I paddle a lot, and I can be rough on my Yak. I expect it to be able to push through overgrowth and scrape an occasional clam bed without getting too torn up - this hull is solid! I got this one on closeout for 420.00, a great deal. Considering an El Cheapo Walmart Sun Dolphin will run around 230.00, there's no excuse not to just spend a little more and get a boat that’s built to last. I look at the "seats" in the cheap kayaks and just shake my head in disbelief...just say no. You will regret the purchase.
The Zydeco is just a great all-purpose kayak. 9/10 for me (value, quality, look and performance)
Besides the ease of loading and unloading the 36-pound kayak, it is effortless to get in and out of the cockpit. Like me, most people will eventually experience knee, back, or balance issues, but the Zydeco 9.0's roomy, 22" x 38" cockpit enables anyone to slide in and out comfortably and gracefully.
Once on the water, the Zydeco is a delight. The comfy seat and backrest is easy to adjust, as are the foot braces. There is plenty of padding in the cockpit for a secure, snug fit.
While not winning any races, the Zydeco is a fun, easy to paddle, stable platform for bird watching, photography, and/or my favorite sport – fly fishing. I highly recommend the Zydeco for anyone who wants an affordable, lightweight, comfortable and stable kayak.
It doesn't track the best meaning there will be a little bit of correcting while paddling but it isn't designed to do that as it's a 9ft almost flat bottomed boat. It does have enough of a keel that it isn't terrible though. I have pushed this little kayak to it's limits multiple times launching it off the beach and paddling in bodies of water larger than intended for this boat. Paddling in choppy water can be a bit...frightening at first. It can handle small wake easily but once waves start crashing that are as large as the bow it get's a little sketchy.
The bow of this boat is high enough above the cockpit that if a wave comes across the bow it will be alright. On top of that the boat is fairly stable. This boat does turn on a dime and can handle small rapids with ease. Smaller paddlers can handle this boat no problem. Great boat that offers a lot of versatility for someone that is just getting into the sport of kayaking. It is durable, will bump off rocks and scrape without any concern. I have abused this boat for almost a decade and it still looks new (minus a few scrapes on the bottom).
If I could go back and do it again I would still purchase this boat as my first kayak. The new ones look amazing with the upgraded interior and slight changes to hull.
It turns on a dime so I can miss those jagged edges and rocks that stick up just under the water level. It tracks like a nine-footer! Would love a drop down skeg but what's a few corrections among paddles?
It does push some water due to the rocker bottom but with a strong current it isn't so noticeable. In wind the stern catches but again, not real noticeable until over 5 mph winds.
All in all it's a great purchase, didn't break the bank (I got last years model with a small ding in it)and has just enough room in it for me to take pictures out of! This boat is just for a few hours or a day on the river exploring water-levels or new scenery, but I'd be willing to load it for any camping trip that was a day or two long. It even has a paddle holder though I wished it was on the right side just because I am right-handed.
There is no hatch but there is plenty of room behind the seat if I need to haul any dry clothing along. A great, light-weight, quick to get in the water, fun boat! Zydeco Music is 'fun music' so I can sure see where the name came from!
Wiggles and meanders while paddling, but easy enough to average the wiggles and head in the general desired direction.
Not a bad little boat, but not my boat.
This is a great kayak for paddling in lakes or slow moving rivers. Tracking isn't bad for a 9' boat but you will fight it a bit in a good current or wind. The light weight is also a big plus. I'm not the fittest fellow but can lift it on my SUV roof unassisted. I don't see any other kayak in this price class that matches it feature for feature. 8 months later I'd still make the same choice.
Downsides? The seat might not last as long as the hull, and the blunt bow makes a lot of spray when paddling fast. Other than that, a great buy.
Finally, the length was perfect to fit in our minivan, which was one of the main reasons I bought it over a Pamlico 100, which at $430 was not the best deal, particularly because it has a storage hatch but it is not dry storage. The best place for me to purchase it was at Kenco, because shipping was ~$100 less than any other store.
The main difference between the Zydeco and the Swifty is that the Swifty doesn't plow through calm water quite as much, but the Zydeco tends to handle low class-3 water just a little better. Paddling a little more in calm water is an inconvenience, whereas handling rougher water is more of a safety concern during unexpected thunderstorms.
A friend of mine with Jr. High boys w/friends borrows my Zydeco to supplement his rec boats. He says there's always an argument as to which boy gets the Zydeco. Although I could personally care less, the Jr. Highers definitely think the Zydeco is the "cooler" of the several boats.
We're still experimenting. So far, we've been on two lakes, feeder streams, one river, and one rapids. The Z has performed well in all scenarios and seems to be exactly what we were looking for: sort of a "jack of all trades, master of none." Example: It cruises/tracks well but has a definite comfort zone. When you push the speed, it results in the noise/water on bow that's mentioned in other reviews. We solved the problem of "lost articles behind the seat" (detailed in another review} by purchasing a set of NRS split storage floatation bags (#2084) to fill the deep space behind the seat. While not inexpensive, they can be used in other kayaks as well. With those in place, we still had room for a soft cooler directly behind the seat for easy access in one Z and a dry storage bag in the other.
Dagger gives the Z a low rating for overnight/weekend trips, but with the split storage bags and leftover space behind the seat, it would be possible to do an overnighter easily and possibly a 3-5 day for us (using the both Z's). Have been in feeder streams for the lakes in about 4-5 inches of water; cruising in, the Z was so quiet we could see the fish spooked as the bow glided past. We have spray skirts and opted for touring paddles because of the width of the Z. All work fine.
It seems the Z will do anything you might want a kayak to do as long as you stay within its limits. Add in the overall quality and low price, well, what more could you ask for in a purchase? Bonus: When we do branch out to other kayaks, the Z's will be perfect for "guests" because of their stability and large cockpit.
Recently I have had it out in some fairly rough conditions in Puget Sound and the way it handled in those conditions ( amazingly well ) is why I finally decided to rate it here. Even broadside to the waves, it was stable and instilled confidence that you wouldn't get into trouble.
This is a great little kayak that I would highly recommend to the beginning kayaker or for fishing in inland waters.
The WW people were telling me that I did not want to get a rec. boat, but I have had the Z about 2 months (with a neoprene skirt) and it is a great compromise boat. I wanted a short boat, basically a 1 person canoe with a spray skirt and this is about the perfect boat for me. WW boats scare me, as I am not able to keep them going where I want them to go and they are more difficult to exit than I like. I do not want to get sideways near a rock or ledge that I wanted to go at a different angle. I think this boat will be able to control. The Z is very easy to get in and out of. If I turn it over, getting out is still easy because it is so roomy. I do not have to slide it off like an RPM max or Corsica. I do hope to learn to roll it and stay in it most of the time, or not tip over. I look at this boat like an enduro motorcycle (trail bike that is street legal) It is not the best for WW or Cruising but is a good compromise.