Read reviews for the Enduro 12.5 by Perception 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!
Lots of reviews say the back band is a torture device, but I have spent up to 11 hours or so in this kayak in one day without any problems as long as everything is adjusted well. I think it could be better, but it never was a huge concern.
I found the kayak rolls well enough, I learned to roll in it. It turns on a dime, however it doesn't track very well. I've run class 3 whitewater in it, and though it is too large to really play in the rapids, it handled them well.
Bottom line is it's a fast and maneuverable boat that will handle virtually anything you could expect to put a recreational kayak through.
Overall, I'm pleased with the Enduro.
I really liked the boat for that river, as it was mostly flat, with only a few moments of exitement. The skeg thing made a difference for me, I found it helpful for tracking in a straight line, and with it up, it was more squirly, which allowed for faster turning. I found myself pulling up the skeg now and then when I knew I would be manuvering around some strainers/low branches through fast current.
I found it to roll easily. It is a bit of a tank compared to a white water kayak, which is what I am used to, but is pretty fast for a shorter flatwater boat.
The only down side is the backrest, which was killing me the first two days until I figured out how to lock the height adjustment down, and the pain went away. I can see why others didn't like it though, as it was never very comfortable.
The little storage area in the back is nice, but small. Had enough room between three of us for just the necessities and nothing more (except maybe a bottle of jack and a pack of cards). Wish they had designed it better to make full use of the behind the seat area.
1... the backband was garbage. It's that simple... throw it away, and buy another one (which I did, and this subsequently increased the overall price of the boat).
2... The skeg is pointless... I wish it worked, but it doesn't. Originally, when the wingnut that holds it in place was tightened down, the skeg sat at an angle because it was too wide for the groove that it is supposed to sit in. The bolt was too long as well (not to mention that the hole that the bolt runs through was off center). After shortening the bolt, and some filing on the skeg it got better, but still sits at an angle, rendering it not only useless, but hindering to your tracking ability. (I have since fabricated a new one from aluminum).
3... The boat did not come with adjustable thigh braces as advertised. which leads me to number
4... perception has weak customer service. There were no adjustable thigh braces, and the skeg was (I felt) defective, and I have tried countless times to contact perception, which has ALWAYS led to me getting frustrated talking to machines on the phone.
All that said, this is a good boat, and I'd recommend it for rivers especially. For lakes, open water, and ocean, I'd recommend something longer... but due to perceptions lack of customer service, I will not buy another one of their boats.
Not a 10? Yeah, I have to agree with the back brace sucking, and after 4 hours in the boat my legs were pretty numb, need a seat cushion.
As told by the instructor though, NEVER get rid of this boat. It will last me forever, and has its necessity in weekend river running for bigger rivers, where that cargo space will be a big plus, and can handle flatwater with ease.
I also checked out a Blackwater 11.5 the same day - it would have been $400 cheaper (it was on clearance - last years model), but the salesman told me - and he seemed pretty honest about most of the stuff, and it made sense, the cockpit on the Blackwater is bigger - making it harder to "wear". In other words harder to roll, and I wanted a boat I could roll. Also - I sat in both, and the Enduro is more like a sports car, the Blackwater feeling more like a pickup truck - BTW - I drive a pickup truck, so nothing wrong with them, but I wouldn't take it to a road course for a race. The Blackwater also has less rocker, and though shorter I was told would be less maneuverable - and since the Enduro has more of a pointed hull, even without the skeg down (which I agree, don't use it - learn how to paddle without it), it will track better than the Blackwater too. This boat does track very well.
I purchased a Wenger Whitewater length paddle with it also, and it works perfect for open or quick water.
This is a mass market boat, so be prepared to do some retrofitting and silicone sealing. The backband is a medieval torture device, so dump that before you hurt yourself. The footbraces are suspect. Add some hip pads and maybe some thigh support, and you're good to go.
I'd highly recommend this as a better alternative to a rec boat with a molded in skeg because you will learn to paddle straight and correctly (don't fall back on the crutch of the skeg) and it gives you the opportunity to grow with your skills.
The Exolar plastic is light and stiff, the skeg seems pointless for me, but might be a nice option for long stretches of flat water, very stable yet turns quickly and easily , cockpit is very comfortable for me 5'10" 170lbs, thighbraces are exactly where they should be, can paddle for hours with no stiffness, numbness, or cramping, backband is second-rate, will need to retrofit with hip pads and maybe a seat pad, TONS of storage, actually surfs the holes fairly well, the whitewater-sized cockpit (34x19) is PERFECT...easy in, easy out, I'm anxious to get back out in it next weekend...