your paddlesports destination

Zydeco 9.0

by Dagger

The Zydeco design has been completely overhauled for even more maneuverability and faster acceleration than ever before.

Now with even more premium features not found in average recreational kayaks, the Zydeco 9.0 offers a comfortable but dialed-in cockpit design that's roomy enough for relaxation without sacrificing the performance capabilities offered by smaller cockpits.

The CFS-R outfitting rounds out the experience with amazing comfort and multi-adjust options for better fit and function.As the more compact of the new Zydeco family, the 9.0 is lightweight for easier carrying and cartopping, while the shorter length offers increased control for twisty environments. And the super-sleek aesthetic looks great on both the roof and river.

View Product Details

Reviews

GREAT little yak...

Submitted by: on

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...)

Brilliant

Submitted by: on

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

Older model much different!

Submitted by: on

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).

Just received my molten lava Zydeco 9.0. Fun, fun, fun…

Submitted by: on

Just received my molten lava Zydeco 9.0. Fun, fun, fun! Have taken it out three times on a calm lake with my 2 King Charles Spaniels in their life vests. Toss it in my 07 Rav 4 and I'm off to have a wonderful time. I'm 58 years old and wanted something I could carry by myself and easily transport in my car. This fits the bill, ladies.

It's a great kayak for anyone from beginner to expert, very light…

Submitted by: on

It's a great kayak for anyone from beginner to expert, very light to load on a vehicle and great for portaging if you carry it in a comfortable way. However the seat rest is not as durable as anticipated. After five years the plastic began to crack and had to use expensive specialized glue to prevent it from snapping off.

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 live on the ocean in SE Alaska, and wanted a light…

Submitted by: on

I live on the ocean in SE Alaska, and wanted a light weight kayak that I could load/unload from my truck solo, and that I would be able to maneuver safely in the ocean on calm days. This Dagger Zydeco kayak does the job! I can carry the kayak alone and get it in and out of the water with ease. The cockpit is open and broad, comfortable, and very easy to enter and exit. The tracking isn’t as good as my fiberglass kayak, but I didn’t get this kayak for speed or tracking. I got it because I wanted to have the option to go out for an hour or so, without it taking a lot of time a lot of time prepping and/or having to look for someone to help me launch. (When I want to go fast and/or stay out for a few hours/overnight, I take my fiberglass kayak.)

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!

Went to visit my sister in Jamestown, R.I. and found this little…

Submitted by: on

Went to visit my sister in Jamestown, R.I. and found this little baby sitting outside her house. What a great little kayak! It's light as a feather (36 lbs) and so short (9.6 ft) you can get into the back of many hatchbacks so it is very convenient. I've owned a 20 ft sea kayak for 7 years so, I wasn't expecting too much from this little guy, but when I pushed off the beach I was quite surprised. It accelerates quite nicely. It's tracking is fair, but your stroke can compensate for this pretty easily. I was out in a bay with 1' to 3' chop and it was very, very stable. Because of it's short nose I had to be careful to keep it out of waves because they'd break over and fill the cockpit. But if you put a skirt on this little gem it'd rock in rougher weather. It's highly maneuverable, spins on a dime. Great, comfortable seat too with good adjustable foot pegs. I wish it had a retractable skeg to help it track better in open water, but that would bring up the price. At $450 new, you can't go wrong with this little boat for rivers, mangrove swamps and some mild white water.

After I retired this year I brought home a Zydeco 9.0. Having…

Submitted by: on

After I retired this year I brought home a Zydeco 9.0. Having never been in a kayak before, I went to paddling.net, watched a few instructional videos, and I was on my way. The Zydeco 9.0 is light and easy to put up on my roof rack and carry to water. It tracks nicely and the seat is comfortable. It’s everything I expected in a kayak.

Bought mine in 2014 love it! I bought a small skeg from…

Submitted by: on

Bought mine in 2014 love it! I bought a small skeg from Sea Eagle and glued it on just in front of the built-in skeg. It greatly improves tracking, and due to the hull shape, never gets hung up.The lightness of the boat and ease of loading is a huge factor.

I love this kayak so much!! It tracks well, it roomy and…

Submitted by: on

I love this kayak so much!! It tracks well, it roomy and soars along in calm water. No splashback to speak of even in rougher waters. It is the best so far!!

I recently sold my SUV so I had to start car-topping. My…

Submitted by: on

I recently sold my SUV so I had to start car-topping. My Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 was just too unwieldy, heavy, and risky for my back. Enter the Dagger Zydeco 9.0...A superb, ultra-light rec boat (note: I don't consider the term 'rec boat' a derogatory term!).

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)

At 65 years of age and after owning a series of kayaks…

Submitted by: on

At 65 years of age and after owning a series of kayaks (including SOTs, tandems, racing and touring boats), I have now settled on a delightful small recreational craft: the diminutive 9-foot Dagger Zydeco. This is my go-to boat for quick, impulsive trips to the many local lakes in my area. I love that it's so easy to load the little orange plastic kayak into my truck camper: it fits snugly at an angle in the 8-foot bed. Throw in my beloved Werner paddle, trusty PFD, and fly rod and in a short time I'm on the water.

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.

I've had this kayak now for about 9 years so the one…

Submitted by: on

I've had this kayak now for about 9 years so the one I am reviewing is the older model but the basic shape and style of the boat is the same. This was my first kayak. I had kayaked before through summer camps and a few tours and I got hooked fairly young. The zydeco is a wonderful entry level boat. It can do a lot of things although where it's home is cruising a lazy river or a small body of water.

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.

This is my first kayak and it has been wonderful. I would…

Submitted by: on

This is my first kayak and it has been wonderful. I would recommend this kayak to anyone who is looking for a good craft for a beginner. Certainly takes the guess work out of which kayak to buy.

This is my first kayak and I am very happy with the…

Submitted by: on

This is my first kayak and I am very happy with the purchase. Very easy for the first timer to get in and go. I would recommend this kayak to anyone considering what to buy first.

Purchased my Dagger Zydeco in winter of 2013. This baby is easy…

Submitted by: on

Purchased my Dagger Zydeco in winter of 2013. This baby is easy to handle for my size, female, 5'3" average build. Great on Rivers and lakes, rapids, camping trips. Recently 4 day 3 night voyage of 48 miles on the James River and recommend this Dagger Zydeco to anyone!!

Owned and used several 9-10 foot kayaks and I like Zydeco best…

Submitted by: on

Owned and used several 9-10 foot kayaks and I like Zydeco best for small, moving streams due to maneuverability and comfort. Little squirrelly when not paddling (but par with others this length)and somewhat sluggish in stagnant water due to relatively blunt front end. I've abused mine and it's held up wonderfully.

I too am very pleased with my Zydeco 9.0. A significant advantage…

Submitted by: on

I too am very pleased with my Zydeco 9.0. A significant advantage is that it fits inside my Subaru Outback with the back and passenger seats folded down. At only 30 lbs. I can manage to launch and stow the kayak on my own.

My husband and I had been wanting to buy a boat for…

Submitted by: on

My husband and I had been wanting to buy a boat for years, and finally decided to do it this summer. We could not have made a better decision than choosing the Zydeco 9.0. We'd been looking into folding kayak options and even modular kayaks because we live on the third floor of an apartment complex and don't have a garage to store a big kayak. However, the individual pieces of modular kayaks are actually quite large, so putting them in our hatchback meant no legroom whatsoever. Folding kayaks seemed more expensive for less sturdy boats. Then we found the Zydeco 9.0. These boats are short enough we can store them in our study and light enough we can carry then to the 3rd floor. Despite being a shorter boat, the Zydeco tracks incredibly well and is able to withstand both rivers (including some rock hopping) and lakes. It is a very well made, rugged boat that makes for great adventure. We've taken friends and family out on the boat- both short folks and tall ones- and all come away very impresses. A superb find.

I got this on the recommendation from a rep at the Paddlefest…

Submitted by: on

I got this on the recommendation from a rep at the Paddlefest show last year. I told him I loved my Prodigy 2 and it's tracking and stability. This kayak is good, but tracks a little sloppy. If you're paddling, it's great. Once you stop paddling, it's all over the place. That's my only "complaint". Otherwise, it's a light, nibble little kayak.

A FUN boat! I purchased this 9 foot Dagger Zydeco just for…

Submitted by: on

A FUN boat! I purchased this 9 foot Dagger Zydeco just for smaller rivers with some moving water in Springtime as my 12 footer was just a bit much to handle in strong current. It is exactly what I needed.

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!

love this kayak. bought it used in great shape a few years…

Submitted by: on

love this kayak. bought it used in great shape a few years ago as a second boat. very comfortable, stable, and easy to maneuver. great on lakes and rivers both. I've introduced a half dozen people to kayaking with this boat and all preferred it to my 13' sun. great for a starter boat

This is my second kayak and I oh so love it!…

Submitted by: on

This is my second kayak and I oh so love it! My first purchase was a sit on top Emotion Spitfire, heavy but fun. My yellow Zydeco was a closeout sale and it is so fun on the river, agile and swift on flatwater. I can lift and carry this kayak with ease, load it on top of the car and take off to anywhere!
I give my Zydeco a 10+

I've had my Z for a couple of years now and love…

Submitted by: on

I've had my Z for a couple of years now and love it. I have had three different "guest" kayaks and none of them measured up. I am now working on getting a second Z Dagger because I don't think my guests should have to have a sub-par yak and look longingly at mine!

This was the first boat spouse and I bought. It is too…

Submitted by: on

This was the first boat spouse and I bought. It is too small for me to paddle comfortably. Flat water only! For me it was way too top heavy in water with texture, but I am at the outside of its specs.

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.

Footsloggers in Boone, NC let rent their demo for the day, so…

Submitted by: on

Footsloggers in Boone, NC let rent their demo for the day, so we took it to nearby Price Lake. This is a small, agile, and fairly responsive kayak that worked as well for our nine year-old as it did for my wife and myself. Since the New River was running very high, and that is our usual destination we additionally were happy that this will portage easily. A good buy from a great store!

This kayak gets high marks for the Zone seat alone. You can…

Submitted by: on

This kayak gets high marks for the Zone seat alone. You can paddle for hours in this seat without fatigue or numbness. Love it.

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.

Purchased this kayak for my son. He is 13, about 5'9"…

Submitted by: on

Purchased this kayak for my son. He is 13, about 5'9" and around 150 pounds. No experience in paddling sports.
Nice and stable, tracks well, handled mild chop and boat wakes easily. He paddled like a champ for his first time ever. Wouldn't mind the footpegs being adjustable while he is in the boat. But that is not something that should have to be changed often.

I bought one of these for my wife so she could paddle…

Submitted by: on

I bought one of these for my wife so she could paddle with me, $360 (Bay Trails Outfitters, Mathews, VA) and we love it. It's stable enough without being a raft, and while it's not as fast as my Chesapeake 17, it's much easier to turn. It also tracks much better than I expected for a 9ft kayak. I love it, she loves it. Best of all though, it fits IN THE TRUNK of my Expedition!!! I'm 5'4" and hate loading my CH17 onto the roof, so this is a revelation.

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.

I recently took this boat to the Congaree Swamp, and it worked…

Submitted by: on

I recently took this boat to the Congaree Swamp, and it worked nearly perfectly. The only problems that I had were that the stern deck rigging was too close to me, and the end of the cord hit my elbow, leaving a few scratch marks. This was easy to fix when we returned by flipping the cord over. Also, when I leaned forward to reach my deck bag, the spray skirt would pop off. However, one of the best parts was that there were a few logs that were just over a foot over the water. when most people had to carry their canoes around, I slid all the way forward and could lay down with ease. This saved lots of time and energy, considering that there was almost no current on the six mile stretch that we paddled on, leaving me worn out. This was probably because I was using a 200cm Werner Desperado paddle.

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.

For class-1 to low-3 streams; hour long jaunts to 1-2 day floats…

Submitted by: on

For class-1 to low-3 streams; hour long jaunts to 1-2 day floats, I can't imagine a single boat that meets my needs any better than the Zydeco. I've used several others (Otter, Acadia, Sierra, Swifty) numerous times, but they all (except the Swifty) have major drawbacks. I found the Otter very uncomfortable, and all boats over 10 ft. much less maneuverable.

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.

Just bought two recently, I knew I loved it the moment I…

Submitted by: on

Just bought two recently, I knew I loved it the moment I saw it... handles great, tracks great, gets great momentum, lightweight, roomy, comfortable seat, looks cool, etc. No complaints. I recommend this kayak for anyone wanting to get out and have fun. I'm sure I'll have much more fun with this yak for many years to come.

We bought two Z's (one for me and one for my wife)…

Submitted by: on

We bought two Z's (one for me and one for my wife). Prior to buying, we had tried some white water and sea kayaking; enjoyed both. We decided to buy the Z's because it's a good way of experimenting further with all types of kayaking without spending a lot of money on "specialized" kayaks. We are thoroughly pleased; it has got to be the "most kayak for the money."

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.

My husband and I just purchased 2 new Zydecos today. We…

Submitted by: on

My husband and I just purchased 2 new Zydecos today. We have been doing up to Class II or II+ in an open tandem canoe, but we decided to make the plunge and try some kayaking. After about 15 minutes on flat water to get the feel, we headed for some whitewater. We made it through some II+ rapids with no trouble. We met several other kayakers who showed us the basics of surfing. We both tried several times, but unfortunately flipped several times! The boat turns on a dime and is very stable. Its light weight and short length make it easy to throw inside (yes, INSIDE) our minivan. The only negative we saw was that we took on water through the cockpit when we went through a standing wave--but we're going to try a spray skirt as soon as our bank account recovers from 2 kayaks, 2 paddles, and 2 paddle life vests! Overall a great boat.

I liked this boat so much that I sold my 16 foot…

Submitted by: on

I liked this boat so much that I sold my 16 foot touring kayak. Tracks better than I expected, probably because I am using a WW paddle which enters the water right beside the boat. I now don't dread carrying and loading because it's so light. I'm sure it's a little slower than my last boat but it doesn't feel slow because there are 30 less pounds of plastic to push. Just ordered a Seals skirt (size 2.5) so I can practice rolls and play in the surf.

I just picked up my Zydeco from REI 3 weeks ago and…

Submitted by: on

I just picked up my Zydeco from REI 3 weeks ago and have been having a blast with it. So easy to transport, I just throw it in the bed of my pickup truck, bungie it down and off I go. Been paddling the inlets and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay with no problem. Definitely not an open water boat, but that's not what I intended to use it for anyway. I would highly recommend it as a first time boat or for anyone with storage and transportation limitations (like me).

Great boat; goes most places I want to go. It is…

Submitted by: on

Great boat; goes most places I want to go. It is my first kayak, chosen after much research and deliberation. I echo the observations above: noisy, somewhat wet over the bow, and I might add slower than I expected. However, I highly recommend it as an all around fun boat.

I have to say I really love my little Dagger! I…

Submitted by: on

I have to say I really love my little Dagger! I had never kayaked before and after doing some research and reading reviews I decided to purchase the Zydeco. Some of the other small recreational models by other manufacturers that I looked at didn't have the extra features that the Zydeco has. For example, the adjustable foot pegs & the adjustable back rest with lumbar support, and front & rear rigging on the deck. Also, at 5'4" and 120 lbs. I needed a kayak that I could lift, carry and load by myself. At 38 lbs. and 9.5' long the Zydeco is perfect, not to mention how smoothly it handles in the water. I have wanted to learn how to kayak for a long time but was apprehensive about getting out on the water by myself. I never realized how easy it was going to be and just how much I was going to enjoy it. I feel such an exquisite sense of solitude and peace when I am out on the water. I think the Zydeco is a great little kayak at a very reasonable price and I am thrilled that I made the decision to buy it!

I am rating this for my buddy (Tom) that I kayak with…

Submitted by: on

I am rating this for my buddy (Tom) that I kayak with. He loves his Zydeco. Except for a couple things. 1) The location of the buckle that supports and lowers the back seat. He is constantly complaining that this buckle is right where he wants to rest his knees when he is relaxed in this kayak. He is thinking of moving this buckle back some to try and get it out of the way of his knee. 2) Is the foam supports in the front and rear. They eat things. By this, he means that if anything is laying in your kayak. It will end up in the ends wedged between the front tip and the foam. My buddy had to remove the foam just to get his sunglasses. It traps water bottles. Suntan lotion. Anything that is free to roam. And it doesn't want to give it back. He hates this feature and is constantly complaining about it. Almost every river trip ends with a water bottle getting stuck and Tom banging the kayak on its end trying to get the item free. 3) The front end is actually blunt. Look at it. Well if your on flat water and start to paddle hard to race a buddy or just want a good work out. The water will be splashing up over the bow into your face and lap. Don't know why they made the front end flat and didn't give it an edge that would cut the water and not plow it. 4) He wonders how long the seat will last since your folding the plastic to get anything behind the rear seat. It may last a life time. But we figure this has to shorten the seats life time which is part of the kayak and not replaceable. Besides those things, he loves how stable it is. He says it handles small rapids wonderfully. He loves all the room it has up front for his feet.

I have owned my Zyeco for about 18 months. I originally…

Submitted by: on

I have owned my Zyeco for about 18 months. I originally purchased it to use for flyfishing still waters and slow moving waters. It is the first kayak I have paddled. I have also used it for some fitness crosstraining activities and although it certainly isn't a fast boat, it can give you a pretty good work out.

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.

I wanted to update my message below. I did learn to roll…

Submitted by: on

I wanted to update my message below. I did learn to roll the Zydeco, though not as easily as a WW boat. Even with the braces that I installed, it is a bit loose for me but I can roll it fairly reliably now and am trying to get more used to paddling a WW boat but I think the Z is a great boat. Especially for big people who want a boat that is stable and easy to get into and out of. I have had the Zydeco on some class II+ or III WW and though not the best for that, it worked well for me. Now that I can roll it I think it will be even better.

Yesterday I fell in love with my Zydeco. I first bought a…

Submitted by: on

Yesterday I fell in love with my Zydeco. I first bought a blackwaterl0.5, but it was so tippy (though manouverable) that I went back to the dealer. Tried a blackwater ll.5 which was impossible to track in a high wind - so there was a Zydeco there. I tried it. WOW! Why? Freedom! Freedom to GO ANYWHERE - between rocks and stumps, into swamp and wetland nooks, up inlets, out in the middle of the lake. Freedom to turn around in a narrow channel with a current without the hassle of humoring a longer boat. The freedom of a little boat that says OK, sure, let's try it. The guys I paddle with all have longer (also nice) boats (that may be a guy thing?) but I can go anywhere, and sometimes they just sit out there and look longingly at where I am exploring. They do move faster on the water, but that isn't why I am on the water. So, being sappy, I fell in love with my Zydeco, christening it The Blue Dolphin: a smart, friendly, manouverable little boat that is a real water companion. If you want FUN go buy one!

I was looking for a compromise boat to use in paddle rivers…

Submitted by: on

I was looking for a compromise boat to use in paddle rivers. I looked at white water boats and paddled several. I just hate paddling them because they made me work so hard to keep the boat straight. I paddled several rec. boats at demo days and liked several and was convinced that I wanted a rec. boat rather than a white water boat. I bought the Zydeco new after buying a used WW boat and I love the Z. I am 215#, 6' tall and the Z fit me better than all the other rec. boats. Some of the others sliced through the water better, and were quieter ( I agree with some one else in here that the Z splashes quite a bit when cruising and Dagger could have shaped the bow differently and fixed this, I am sure).I bought some thigh braces for some other boat and outfitted my Z with them and some padding to take up some of the room around my knees. I think I will be able to roll this yak as easily as the Corsica WW boat that I used in my first roll class and was able to roll it. I love the boat and would like to buy another one used and get rid of the Corsica. I like paddling moving water rather than flat water and have not had this on the Potomac but have had it on several small streams in Maryland and it handles very well.

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.

I've had my Zydeco for almost 3 years now. Even with…

Submitted by: on

I've had my Zydeco for almost 3 years now. Even with four other kayaks in my arsenal I consider the zydeco to be the most versatile, the most user friendly, the easiest to transport and the best value. I have used my zydeco in everything from the Great Lakes to class III creeks to farm ponds with no complaints. The fact that it is fairly light weight and easy to cartop simply adds to the versatility. My only regret with this boat is that I bought my wife something different. Even the orange creamsicle color scheme is good. When I finally pass this boat onto my son it will be replaced with another Zydeco.

The Zydeco is my first kayak. I've paddled before but never in…

Submitted by: on

The Zydeco is my first kayak. I've paddled before but never in a boat as good as this. Did lots of research but decided on this cause it sounded the best. Only weighs 35 pounds, easy to paddle, stable, manueverable, and tracks good. Great boat!

The Zydeco is a great rec. kayak. At only 35#,I can easily…

Submitted by: on

The Zydeco is a great rec. kayak. At only 35#,I can easily cartop it & carry it from car to water.It's sharp looking with its multi-colors & WW appearance. Cockpit size & storage are both ample.This is my 3rd kayak so I did much research on other small boats,especiallySwifty,Otter,Naturalist,& Sundance. Zydeco is the best of the bunch! It's fast for it's9'2" length, is stable,well balanced, & maneuverable. Asmall skeg & 2 gutters make for good tracking. The 2002 model has an improved wide,comfortable integrated padded seat & an adjustable padded back. The details are outstanding: *security bar * drain plug * ergonomic carry toggles * beverage holder * molded in- graphics *keeper foot pegs * dual deck rigging * recessed deck fittings with interior bolts caps. * mesh storage bag. This is the perfect kayak for ponds, lakes &slow moving rivers. It is the perfect kayak for me.

This is a great little boat! I read reviews here before…

Submitted by: on

This is a great little boat! I read reviews here before purchasing mine about a year and a half ago. In that time I've used it mainly as a fishing platform, but also to paddle some of the rivers around here. I've been in many recreational kayaks, and this is by far the most comfortable. That is what makes it the best boat in its class.

Follow up: I did a weekend trip in this yak, and drilled…

Submitted by: on

Follow up: I did a weekend trip in this yak, and drilled and added additional shock cord tie downs. Add more weight to the bow, and it will track best, and reduce "noise" as said from earlier review. I ran same tidal trip with my Prijon. Z handled just as well, and almost as fast against tidal current. Not bad for a low end rec yak.

I frequently paddle the Jersey shore, and the barrens. I bought the…

Submitted by: on

I frequently paddle the Jersey shore, and the barrens. I bought the Z as a first time rec yak. I took it on class 2, and a smooth lake. Very stable! Although, I noticed that at coast, it veered to the right. Storing malfunction at REI? Caused hull to warp? Over all though, I found it a pleasurable craft, with tons of storage(dry bag only). Dagger? Could you make it slimmer with a hatch? please oh please?

Bought my Zydeco from REI, about two weeks ago. So far…

Submitted by: on

Bought my Zydeco from REI, about two weeks ago. So far, I've just been using it on my local reservoir, which is small but often windy. This is my first kayak; I've done some canoeing, usually in full-sized canoes, but I owned a 12' Old Town Pack canoe. This kayak tracks at least as well as that did, and doesn't seem to be as affected by wind (logically, since it doesn't have those high sides sticking up out of the water). On the other hand, since I don't have those high sides, I get a lot more wet due to wind-whipped waves, so I'm buying a skirt. In general, quality is great, stability is outstanding (hard to imagine it rolling even if you tried), and it's got nice extras like the footbraces, deck rigging, and the security bar. I'd love to have a bigger, fancier boat, but I can easily get this up and down the stairs and into and out of my 2nd floor apartment, not to mention onto and off of my car, all by myself. I think anyone looking for a little boat to get out on the water, have some fun, and get some exercise would be happy with this...plus, I think it is capable of more (and I plan to test my theory soon!).

Purchased a Zydeco after much research and am very happy with the…

Submitted by: on

Purchased a Zydeco after much research and am very happy with the boat, handles well, quite stable and despite being an entry level boat it's designed well enough to give more than just beginner kicks. No real complaints except seat is a bit flimsy-great buy for a rec kayak. Thanks again to all who submit comments, great reviews on this site.

I've had this boat for a year, & it's so much fun…

Submitted by: on

I've had this boat for a year, & it's so much fun. It goes everywhere -- in bays, sounds, rivers, lakes, & creeks. It's light, & I can get it on my rack by myself -- not a bad deal for a 51- year-old woman with a chronic back spasm! The Zydeco takes zip time to learn -- just get in & go. Entirely intuitive boat. Beamy & easy to get in & out of if you want to swim. No hatches but plenty of places to stow stuff. Handles Class 1 & 2 with ease, very stable. Great little vessel.

Great boat. Did alot of research and and am very pleased with…

Submitted by: on

Great boat. Did alot of research and and am very pleased with my choice. Great for fly fishing (can get just about anywhere). I've even braved the ocean in it. Would recommend to anyone.

I am 250 Lb. and this is my first kayak. I have…

Submitted by: on

I am 250 Lb. and this is my first kayak. I have fished with it and both my kids, 185 Lb combined wt. have used it as a double and had a great time The Zydaco fits well into the 8' pickup but I will get a larger kayak soon. I can not add any gear capacity is rated somwhere <230 Lb.

I loaded 50lbs. of gear in a Zydeco and completed a 3…

Submitted by: on

I loaded 50lbs. of gear in a Zydeco and completed a 3 day river trip thru some ClassII. Great boat.

I bought the Zydeco as my first kayak and have been very…

Submitted by: on

I bought the Zydeco as my first kayak and have been very happy with it in general. The only down side is that the bow design causes the water to separate from the hull and splash back down if you're paddling at any decent speed. It's noisy! A straight bow would have been better. I wouldn't have noticed, having nothing to compare it to until I bought a Walden Experience for my wife. It's cockpit doesn't fit me quite as well but it cuts through the water very silently. All around though, I'm very happy with the Zydeco.

I received the Zydeco for my birthday in June. It's a…

Submitted by: on

I received the Zydeco for my birthday in June. It's a great kayak for cruising around the lake, fishing, and easy rivers. I learned to roll in this boat, but it wasn't easy. It's not made to roll, so it feels like a barge trying to get it right side up. I bought a neoprene skirt because the nylon one that came with it was pretty bad. It's really a great kayak and the only thing I didn't like about it was its rolling problems, but it does handle better than most rec boats. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a lake kayak.

We have ten rental kayaks at Cane Creek State Park, (Arkansas). These…

Submitted by: on

We have ten rental kayaks at Cane Creek State Park, (Arkansas). These include a Wilderness System Bandit, a Perception Swifty, and a Dagger Zydeco. I believe the Zydeco is easily the best of the lot. It has a more comfortable seat, more of a ww kayak look, and its outfitting has stood up to the test of rental use by a bunch of beginners. It's fun to paddle, surprisingly fast for a short boat, and fits a wide range of people from kids to xl adults. Plus its really light and easy to carry and load. I plan to add one to my personal collection of boats.

I bought a Zydeco last spring to explore shallow tributaries of our…

Submitted by: on

I bought a Zydeco last spring to explore shallow tributaries of our four Pine Barrens rivers (Mullica, Batsto, Wading. and Oswego). Its 35 lb. weight and 9'2" length were a real advantage when I had to portage over sluice gates for cranberry bogs. blow-downs and debris. You can tuck it under one arm! It is surprisingly fast for a short kayak and tracks admirably. This is a very maneuverable boat, similar to Dagger whitewater types. I've rented Old Town Otters for use in the Barrens, but the Zydeco is roomier (due to the elevated hump). The Dagger spray skirt worked fine for me. I get more comments on the colors--I bought a red/green swirl deck with a teal underside--few kayak manufacturers put as much thought into the design as Dagger does. I am 6'2" and 210 lbs and I can slip into this little Zydeco with ease. With my weight I can traverse 3-4" shallows and not run aground. I give it a 9 only because the styrofoam floats aft and stern shedded for a few weeks when I first used it. In all other respects an awesome kayak!

This is a fantastic boat! I took it out in a couple…

Submitted by: on

This is a fantastic boat! I took it out in a couple of feet of water and started rocking it back and forth and couldn't tip it. I bought the Zydeco and a Dagger Bayou at the same time from REI. The Zydeco is a foot shorter but handles better and holds more gear. Plus it's so lightweight I can cartop it myself onto an SUV. The huge cockpit allows you to put a cooler in between your legs and the rear bungee can hold a dry bag. Plus there's still enough room to take the dog! My only complaint is that the seat doesn't adjust very well or fold down at all. The color choices are fun too. Dagger is the way to go!

"Small" is not a word often used to describe me (6'1", 230…

Submitted by: on

"Small" is not a word often used to describe me (6'1", 230 lbs. on a low-gravity day), but this boat fits me very well. The Zydeco has a nice deep cockpit, which allows those of us with thighs that resemble tree trunks to fit, very comfortably. Turns well, tracks well, and makes for a fun fishing platform. Gets a little tippy in the wind, but not so much that it's a problem -- more like a gentle rocker. Love this boat. Shopped and read reviews for months before deciding on it, and I have no regrets. I made the right purchase for me.

After having purchased a Swifty for myself, then a Wilderness Systems Rascal…

Submitted by: on

After having purchased a Swifty for myself, then a Wilderness Systems Rascal for my 13-year-old son, I bought a Dagger Zydeco for my 10-year-old son this summer. The Zydeco is by far the best boat of the lot. My smaller son can paddle it with ease. It is stable, maneuverable, and fairly fast for its length. When I go paddling solo, I usually borrow the Zydeco. Entry and exit are a bit easier in the Swifty, and the Rascal is a better looking boat, but the Zydeco is the best overall performer. If you're looking for a basic rec boat, you can't go wrong with this one.

We started kayaking last summer and I purchased a used Dagger Zydeco…

Submitted by: on

We started kayaking last summer and I purchased a used Dagger Zydeco late summer. The Zydeco has been a great boat for a beginner. It has handled class I and II well. It is narrower than the Swiftie or Otter, which makes paddling easier for shorter people. The reviews on paddling.net helped greatly in my selection.

I just purchased the Zydeco as my second kayak. My other…

Submitted by: on

I just purchased the Zydeco as my second kayak. My other kayak is the Dagger Bayou II which my wife and I have used two years and loved every minute. I purchased this kayak after a great deal of research and comparison paddling on dealer days with Wind and Water Kayaks in Tulsa, Ok. I have not had it on rivers yet but I love the ease of getting onto and off the water. It is very stable, and easy to make do as you want. It is not as good at straight line tracking as the Bayou II but I highly recommend it. It is the best of the lot for a small, light, recreational kayak.

Have a Loon 138 and wanted something smaller for exploring creeks and…

Submitted by: on

Have a Loon 138 and wanted something smaller for exploring creeks and channels through wetlands and swamps. Use it for wildlife and nature photography, fishing, and just getting a little exercise. Boat is stable, tracks well, turns easy with a sweep stroke, and moves along for its length, although there is not much glide, so its good for exercise if you paddle briskly. Only complaint is drop down design for cockpit rim with channel that collects any splash and makes nylon spray skirt difficult to keep put. All in all a fun, light, little boat. Also use it for getting others involved in paddling, a real confidence builder for a first timer. Previously owned a Keowee, Naturalist and tried Swifty, like the Zydeco best.

I am opening a rental business in Great Falls S.C. this coming…

Submitted by: on

I am opening a rental business in Great Falls S.C. this coming year. I plan on using the Zydeco in my first line. I am a very qualified paddler and am pleased with what Dagger has done with an inexpensive kayak. I can feel comfortable in this kayak as well as other high end Daggers. It is a great kayak, go ahead and buy one.

Just bought used zydeco already own one other rec.kayak this one blows…

Submitted by: on

Just bought used zydeco already own one other rec.kayak this one blows it away will it handle class 3 i've never been to 3 but will kayak handle it ? thought ihad small leak from back bottom tech. couldn't find it though.

I just bought a used Zydeco and was very pleased. I…

Submitted by: on

I just bought a used Zydeco and was very pleased. I had other rec kayaks but this tracked very well, is easy to maneuver and has plenty of room. Very good beginner, intermediate boat.

Being my first kayak, I may be a bit impartial to this…

Submitted by: on

Being my first kayak, I may be a bit impartial to this kayak. I recently took it out on the Youghiogheny river which has class 1 and 2 rapids, and this little boat handled very well. It made the sharp turns and tracked very well. If you are looking for a great, inexpensive little boat for a beginner to intermediate, this should eb your choice.

This is my first kayak, and it has proven to be…

Submitted by: on

This is my first kayak, and it has proven to be a great one to start out with. I test-paddled the Perception Swifty, Walden Naturalist, Old Town Otter, and finally the Zydeco. They're all pretty comparable, but the Zydeco was the most comfortable. It was as stable as the Swifty, but more narrow and faster. The Otter and Naturalist were good boats, but not as stable or comfortable as the others. As I introduce my friends to paddling, they're amazed with the stability, maneuverability, and overall ease of operation with the Zydeco. As a bigger guy, I was concerned about entry and exit of a kayak, but this one has plenty of room. It's light, big, maneuverable, tracks ok, and anybody could paddle it. It's everything you could ask for in a small rec. boat.

This boat handles well in class I & II. It also is…

Submitted by: on

This boat handles well in class I & II. It also is very stable and much more suitable for fishing than the Loon.

The Zydeco is a great boat to learn the basics in.…

Submitted by: on

The Zydeco is a great boat to learn the basics in. It is light weight and very manuverable. I used it in lakes and rivers. It is a fun little boat but I want to know move on to something faster and not as wide.