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Kiwassa 12.6

by Swift Canoe & Kayak

The Kiwassa 12.6 is a crossover shape between our Recreational kayaks and our Sport Touring kayaks. It has a mid-sized cockpit, generous rocker and smooth chines. The Kiwassa is a kayak that tracks and cruises, yet maneuvers easily when leaned. Ideal for women or smaller framed paddlers, the Kiwassa 12.6 is forgiving by nature, but nimble and spritely when asked to be.

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Reviews

We've had 2 Kiwassas for years. We chose them for many reasons…

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We've had 2 Kiwassas for years. We chose them for many reasons but first they are Canadian and the size. We have to transport them on our boat. They are sturdy little fellows. We've changed up the rigging ourselves and sometime the hatches leak but we've done something about that too. We get a lot of compliments on the colours: raspberry and orange. If we need to upgrade something Swift tries to accommodate us.

I've owned the Kawaissa 12.6 for three years now and the only…

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I've owned the Kawaissa 12.6 for three years now and the only thing I dislike is the seat. The kayak performs well in calm to moderate waters, but I wouldn't recommend choppy water or larger waves as it tends to be a little unstable for inexperienced paddlers.

I also agree, the seat is horrible. I can manage for a couple of hours, but any longer than that and my back is finished. I've been looking around and hope to replace the seat/backrest with something more supportive and comfortable. Swift offers a seat upgrade with a longer back, but I'm not convinced this will fix the issue. Other than the seat and back rest, the Kiwassa has been a good boat.

The Kiwassa is made of thermoformed sheet plastic. Swift's thermoformed plastic…

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The Kiwassa is made of thermoformed sheet plastic. Swift's thermoformed plastic is good, better than Hurricane and on par with Eddyline and Delta. It doesn't deform under pressure as Hurricane does, and it has a nice shiny finish. The Kiwassa 12.6 weighs 44 lbs, a great weight for putting on a car alone. It's a good boat for ponds and small lakes. It paddles nicely and tracks well.

The cockpit will accommodate moderately large paddlers. I did find the 14" depth a bit excessive. The hatches are very large for a 12.5' kayak. You could theoretically camp for several days with the Kiwassa, but I wouldn't recommend that on big water.

There are several nice finishing touches on the Kiwassa: the recessed hatch covers, comfortable carrying handles, recessed deck fittings, and security bar. The foot braces adjust easily. The best use of the Kiwassa is day trips in calm to moderate conditions. It does lean turns well. I found that it did not perform well in waves — it didn't feel stable and was easily blown and shoved about. The hull shape is described as "shallow arch," which I found didn’t perform as well as a shallow V as the bottom is flatter. As a short kayak, the Kiwassa serves its designated purpose as a sport/recreational body in calmer water.

The Swift thermoformed kayaks are somewhat lacking esthetically in the hull design. They are sort of shapeless compared to the Eddylines. The Kiwassa seat is surprisingly poor for a boat in this price range. It resembles an SOT seat and provides no back support.

If you’re looking for a short, light thermoformed kayak, I think the Delta 12'10" is a better boat than the Kiwassa 12.6, for about the same price. It has an excellent seat and is quite a zippy, easy paddler. All the Deltas are high-volume hulls with excellent stability.