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This is an 'update' review. Season two, month eight.
As with all things that have to meet a certain standard with me, I challenge all of my kit to its fullest potential, this craft is no exception.
I have beaten this thing near to breaking, using untold gallons of hot water to work out the dents. Scarred the underside so badly, I swear its taking on water sometimes...alas, it's just the factory front hatch. Dragged over paved lots and rough rock shores. Still floats, still outruns or matches my podmates (12-15': Mix of sea and rec, she is the only SOT) at cadence. She's a long-hauler to be sure. Loaded within 25 lb of max rated, I use a slower, energy saving cadence for anything over a 10 mile day. The performance comes from the closing of the scuppers.
No really, try it when you demo one.
With all eight open, she sits like a typical SOT for fishing and enjoying the slower life. Primary stability is insane, to where the only way I could tip her was a standing or a grab-the-handle and hard lean roll. Close them and things change, rapidly. Secondary stability comes to the forefront, and she picks up speed. 3-6' wind or motorized swells and 20+ winds, gravy. Seriously, she thrives on playing when its nautical. or a nice Class I or II shows up.
The factory seat is crap. I used a few stadium pads and tie-wraps to mod it into something usable. Its good now for tripping, fishing, and touring. I use a low-back for PT, surf and anything involving a helmet. Thigh straps are a must. Without a rudder or skeg from the factory, all of the control comes from you, period. Lean to love them, they are your friend. An entry level pair have handled everything well enough.
More to follow as the season enters the colder months.
I feel it is the superior SOT for creeking, light touring and other non-fishing activities. Silent through waves in mildly nautical conditions, swift across the glass. Easily maintains cadence and speed with other thirteen and fourteen footers.
Unfortunately, stronger winds like to mess with her, but technique easily dismisses any issues.
The Triumph is the performance cousin to most SOT's out there.
In a headwind, and into surf, I find the boat is great. It really cuts the water. It's got great storage - a really big rear well and impressive storage hold in the front. Bringing it in through surf was at first tricky. As soon as it's hit by a breaker in the surf zone, it will swing, but all it needs is an edge into the face of the wave, and it will slide beautifully up onto the shingle. I find it weathercocks a lot with a following wind, more than the Malibu 2, but not much. Again, edging seems to sort this out.
Child seat - I've had my daughter out with me, and it's kind of useful for that, but it does disturb my paddle stroke somewhat. I find it actually better for her to sit in the rear well. This also seems to solve the weather-cocking problems. The main thing I like though is its manoveurability. I can turn it really quickly, which is very helpful in choppier seas.
All in all for me, a great kayak, though again, I've only got the Malibu 2 to compare it to.
Plenty of dry storage if you want to make an overnight or weekend trip. Seat height feels like a good compromise between the sporty low height of the Necky Vector and the more traditional heights of the WS Tarpon boats. Speed is slightly better than most other SOT's due to the hull shape. The molded in handles are GREAT and very well balanced. Makes the boat much easier to pick up and handle. Honestly one of the easiest SOT's to car top. Also keeps the boat from snagging on the roof rack when upside down like a traditional strap handle does. I know it seems like an odd thing to gush over but I LOVE the handles!
Bottom Line: I'd say this boat is about 60% touring and 40% fishing.