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Aspire 105

by Wilderness Systems

Great on flat or slow moving water, the versatile Aspire combines easy handling and maneuverability with great stability. Sized for medium to larger sized paddlers, an excellent choice for paddlers looking for stability and the opportunity to expand beyond flat water. Designed for the paddler who prefers agility over brawn, the Aspire is a performance-oriented recreational kayak that bridges that gap between efficiency and stability. 

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Reviews

I originally bought this Aspire 105 as a guest kayak. It had…

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I originally bought this Aspire 105 as a guest kayak. It had only been used twice and came with everything. My husband and I enjoy taking friends and family along on some of our kayaking adventures. I have a Tarpon 100 with the Airpro seat, my husband has a Perception Pescador 120, both sit-on-tops. We also had a couple of 8-foot beginner kayaks. We always gave the better kayaks to the guests so they would have a more enjoyable experience. After paddling our regular yaks, getting back into those starter boats was no fun at all. So I started scouring ads for good backups and found this Aspire on Craigslist. The price was too great to pass up and I loved the seat on my Tarpon, so I didn't hesitate. The problem came when I let my husband try the Aspire. He is 6'2" and 220 lbs. and had never paddled a sit-inside before. He loves the comfort, the balance, the skeg and the large cockpit. The high load capacity is a big plus and he LOVES that seat. Add to that the fact that his Pescador weighs a ton, and now he chooses the Aspire most every time the conditions are right for a sit-inside. In short, I never get to use the thing, so I need another...

I have a bad back. My wife and I enjoy being…

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I have a bad back. My wife and I enjoy being outdoors. She loves being out on the water, so we would go to different parks and rent canoes. I hated it!!!! My back would bother me and I had to do most of the paddling. I decided if she wanted to do this she would have to paddle herself. Well we now have a few kayaks... 17 to be honest. I started out in a Pelican Maverick 100x, not a bad kayak just couldn't get comply for the long trips. She started in a Future beach Fusion124, again not a bad kayak. Once we started getting on the water our children wanted to go along (We have 3). This caused a problem, now I was standing on the bank and one of my children was in my kayak. So we bought a Pelican Trailblazer. Now that we had 3 I found out real quick that we still didn't have enough kayaks because I was still standing on the bank as my daughters and wife enjoyed kayaking. So we bought a Sun Dolphin Excursion-10.

The wife said she would like to fish while kayaking. She no longer used the Future Beach Fusion 124. so we where all set to do some kayaking. I didn't mind paddling myself as much, I kind of enjoyed it, just couldn't stay in it to long because of my back. We decided that this is something we really enjoy so I needed a kayak that was more comfortable. We went and bought an Old Town Trip 10 not bad this might be what I need, an open cockpit a much better seat! Unfortunately I had my wife try it and she fell in love with it. So off to the sporting goods store we went for another Trip 10.

After spending some time in it I still had to take along a cushion to sit on. We were now spending all our free time we had out on the rivers. Meeting and talking to people and friends the recommendation of a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 kept coming up so I went and sat in one. The phase 3 seating is fantastic!!! So I bit the bullet and bought one. Loved it and again so did the wife. Now we had a problem again!! She was in the Pungo and I in the Oldtown with a cushion. We went and got another. We found out quickly that 12 foot kayak doesn't handle as well as a 10 foot kayak does!!!

We like running rivers nothing crazy but we like running moving water. So I looked up Wilderness Systems to see if they offered a kayak that would have the same seat as the Pungos and sure enough they have the best kayak that I have ever been in!!! YES THE ASPIRE 105!!!!! Have spent more than 9 hours at a time in it. Yes my back is bothering me but there is NO way I could have even thought about doing 4 or more hour out on the water. Of course the wife tried mine and she now has one!!

Have only been in another kayak one time since getting my Aspire 105 and that was because my friend asked if he could use it on a trip to see if he wanted to get one. I ran one of our Pungos. When I ask what kayak my wife wants to run she always says my Aspire!!! All of the others are for family and friends. (except the Pungos we save them for flat water) You will not go wrong with the Aspire 105 comfy, hauls the weight, is stable and it handles!!

There is no other place I would rather be than in my Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 with my wife, children and friends with me!!! Hope to see ya out on the water!!!!!

We went from two Pungo 120's to two Aspire 105's because we…

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We went from two Pungo 120's to two Aspire 105's because we can haul them in our truck bed instead of lifting them up unto the kayak racks. We are in our seventies and kayak often and with bad backs this works great. A little disappointed that the weight is the same as the 12 footers but love the flat bottom for getting in and out, turning, and stability plus the skeg for tracking. The seat is great, better than the previous version in the Pungo.

Overall we love them and they fit our needs better although we were very happy with the Pungo's as well. Wilderness builds great kayaks that hold up very well.

By far the best kayaks we have!! We now have a…

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By far the best kayaks we have!! We now have a lot. I can tell you the only thing i can say bad about them if you want to say it's bad is they are a bit heavy. But maybe that's because they are so well made. When I beat this one to death - which I will - I will get another!!!! Love this kayak

This is a great kayak if you are a bigger person…

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This is a great kayak if you are a bigger person. I am 6 foot 300 pounds and this kayak is very stable. The drop down skeg makes it track well in current and wind. I would recommend this yak to anyone.

My previous Kayak was a 10 ft. old Manatee stable kayak great…

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My previous Kayak was a 10 ft. old Manatee stable kayak great for fishing but tracking left a lot to be desired plus was only rated for flat water lakes. I wanted a kayak a bit more versatile. After reading the pros and cons and a few trips to my local outfitter it came down to the Dagger Axis 12 or the Wilderness aspire105. crossover kayaks. I ended up going with the aspire, mainly because of the seat and the 400lb load carrying capacity. I'm 69, 5'11 and a 195 pounds the dagger just felt a bit to cramped. First off this Aspire 105 carries a lot of gear and still rides great. My plan was to kayak the Allagash wilderness waterway in northern main the first two weeks of June 2016. Expected to travel at a much slower speed and being a bit obsessive, to say I was loaded to the max would be an understatement especially on the food end. Both stern and bow were packed and a folding kart for portages fit perfect behind the seat with room to spare. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating, heavy rain, thunder and lightning and waves on the lakes had some serious white caps not to mention chilly weather but the Aspire took it all in stride I just got wet and building a fire was virtually impossible. I did manage to make it from Round Pond below the Chamberlain Bridge to the Churchill Damn plan on returning in mid September to finish the trip a little less gear this time. As for the Aspire, one loose screw my, it tracks great even with the skeg up, extremely stable and turns well with a strong back stroke and a forward stroke on the opposite side. My only complaint is that they do not make it in a 12 footer. That way I could stuff more gear in it.

I purchased the Aspire 105 a few weeks ago and have had…

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I purchased the Aspire 105 a few weeks ago and have had it on the water every chance I get. I can't get enough of it! It is a great boat.

My family is new to kayaking and we chose three similar yet different boats: My wife has an Ascend D10, my daughter has a Vapor 10 and I chose the Aspire. Each 'yak has a different personality, but the Aspire clearly outperforms the other two in terms of paddling ease, directional stability and glide. Don't get me wrong, the other boats are nice, but the Aspire with its retractable skeg, water-tight storage compartment and infinitely-adjustable seat has more bells and whistles that justify its slightly higher price.

I would have given the Aspire 105 a perfect 10 if it had a factory-installed drain plug and the seat back did not have a penchant for occasionally getting caught under the rear coaming at some settings. All in all, though, these are just minor inconveniences.

Wilderness Systems has done a great job of providing a great value for the money with the Aspire 105.

The seat is super comfy! This kayak paddles well and is…

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The seat is super comfy! This kayak paddles well and is stable with or without using the skeg. There's plenty of room for extra gear too. It's a bit wider than I'm used to but it worked in my favor as I fastened nets to the inside to hold more stuff.

Ive owned this yak for several months. The honeymoon is…

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Ive owned this yak for several months. The honeymoon is now over and I can rate it better. Skeg is great, keeps me straight! Cockpit is quite large and that helps. Paddles fantastic. At just under 50 lbs I can man handle it into my truck. I have one issue. The seat back feels better when its down. I MUST keep the seat back in the forward position. If it goes backwards it will "click" under the cockpit lip and get stuck there. I have to exit the yak and pop it back out. I find this very annoying. Its my one real gripe. Adjustable seat is great on the upper legs. I will be buying a putt pad. I do get sore after a 3 hour paddle.

We are new to kayaking, and purchased an Aspire 105 last year…

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We are new to kayaking, and purchased an Aspire 105 last year. It is easy to paddle, lightweight and the skeg helps with tracking. We use it on a large lake which can get very windy and choppy. It is very stable and fun!

I upgraded to the Aspire 105 from an Old Town Vapor 10...it's…

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I upgraded to the Aspire 105 from an Old Town Vapor 10...it's really not fair to even compare these two, so I'll try not to. When shoulder carrying the Aspire, the balance seems a little off, and I'm only griping about that because it's a heavier boat than my previous one.

Overall, this is a really great boat...the seat may be worth the price of admission all by itself. Tracks straight with the skeg down, and I've had no issues thus far when I forget to pull it up and bounce it off of small rocks. I feel there is no such beast as an absolutely perfect boat, which is why it's getting a 9/10. The Aspire is certainly the sweetest little boat I've ever paddled!

I searched for a good kayak I thought would suit me best…

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I searched for a good kayak I thought would suit me best, a wilderness systems pamlico and found it to be discontinued, but found its replacement much much better, an aspire, I found an aspire 105 used on craigslist and was able to pick it up Saturday may 14 in a light rain, then Sunday was also rain and snow, Monday was a good day to take it out, it is only 10'6" and fits inside my SUV, no fighting to get it on the roof, no tie downs, at 48lbs is easily put in and out, has a skid plate and skeg, both great features, on the water it is more stable than I expected, also glides straight, turns easily and is very roomy, I am very happy with my purchase, I can not wait to get it out for an overnight trip. If you are looking for a great all around winning boat, get the aspire 105 or 100 from wilderness systems.

Bought this boat based on 2 selling points: 1) the drop down…

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Bought this boat based on 2 selling points: 1) the drop down skeg and 2) the P3 APro seat.

I find the boat tracks very good with the skeg up AND is highly maneuverable. Only notice slight improvement in tracking with the skeg down while paddling, but it does have better straight line glide.

The easy adjustments to the seat while paddling is a real plus. Haven't found the ideal setup yet but it is so easy to adjust!

Love this kayak. Stable, not slow and moves effortly through most water…

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Love this kayak. Stable, not slow and moves effortly through most water. Good glide and tracks pretty well with skeg out. Often feels like a longer boat. With skeg in it turns easily. Pro 3 seat is the highlight of these boats. Great kayak!

Great step up from a cheaper kayak. I always feel very secure…

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Great step up from a cheaper kayak. I always feel very secure and stable in calm rivers and gentle streams. Though a little heavy overall it is a great boat for short trips and maybe a overnight.

58 year old noob was looking at fishing kayaks for two years…

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58 year old noob was looking at fishing kayaks for two years. Cant make my mind up. Live on the gulf, Pensacola. Plan to fish back bays, estuary, and rivers. I prefer the feel of a sit in vs sit on. Finally threw in the towel and purchased the Aspire 105. At 48 lbs and 10.5 feet its a bit bulky for me to haul around. I do toss it into my Ranger pick up and strap it down with 2 straps. I dont need a tail bed extender or anything else. Anything heavier would have been taxing.

The seat is pretty comfy, but still, its not a lounge chair. I'm 5ft 10 and weigh 230. Yes I know, old and out of shape. The kayak paddles much better than the 10 ft sit ins I've been renting. I'm very pleased. The nose does wag as I paddle with the skeg down or up. The skeg is great and does do its job. It does keep me straight on a long paddle across the bay. When its up, I tend to wandervon a long paddle. I'm sure its me.

This is my first kayak. Ive been out 4 times in wind, chop, and calm. It did very very well in these conditions. Nice paddling boat. I saw some great videos online. I plan to rig it out as a minimalist fishing kayak.
I'm very happy with this purchase and have no regrets.

I love my 2015 Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 kayak. I am a…

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I love my 2015 Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 kayak. I am a big guy and I needed a boat that would carry my weight and be comfortable. Also having had some back problems (who hasn't?) I wanted a boat with a comfortable and easily adjustable seat. My Aspire 105 exceeded my expectations. It is stable, light to carry but well built.

I've taken my new Aspire 105 in various conditions and locales so…

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I've taken my new Aspire 105 in various conditions and locales so far: lake, river, windy, rough, calm, choppy. This boat is much faster than it looks! With the skeg dropped you have great tracking and stability. This boat is a perfect hybrid for exploring. The high-capacity also makes it ideal for kayak camping. Very roomy cockpit. I can even take my dog with me! I highly recommend this kayak. Compared to kayaks I've used in the past this model has higher quality and versatility.

Can't go wrong. Skeg makes all the different in tracking.…

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Can't go wrong. Skeg makes all the different in tracking. Dry hatch is roomy enough and bulkhead is far enough back to leave storage behind the seat also. Seat is awesome, fits this middle-age fat man great, lots of leg room, easy in and out.

Got this on sale (dusk) from LL.Bean. $750 delivered (took a week)…

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Got this on sale (dusk) from LL.Bean. $750 delivered (took a week). I just got back from its first fishing trip on a local lake here in NJ. Gotta say I really like this boat. I had been borrowing my brothers Loon 100 for a month, I like the Loon, it tracks well, is a little tippy initially until you get used to it. I then saved a bought a Trip 10 from Dicks. I took it out 3 times. Those things just do NOT track. They have plenty of room but when you want to glide up to a spot... as soon as you stop paddling, it hooks. Hated it. I took it back and they told me because its used I had to exchange. I grabbed the Perception Rhythm 11.5 I think. It was better but the cockpit was small and believe it or not it was exactly the same as my brothers Perception Montour MINUS the skeg. It really needs the skeg. Long story short I took it back unscratched and w/ paperwork still attached. Told them I never used it because I WANTED my money back.

I read aloooooot of reviews on the Aspire 105, pretty much everything because I wasn't sure SOT vs Sit In. I saved a little more $500 vs $ 750 and now am glad I did. The seat is great. It's adjustable up/down front/back and also lifts under your thigh. It's the best I have had the opportunity to try yet. It's almost limitless how to adjust this sucker. I also like the stability. I have not tried to stand but I believe it may be possible. As for the skeg, fantastic, its pretty ok with the thing up but once you drop it you can glide straight as an arrow. LOVE IT. All boats under 12ft should have one in my opinion. Its also on a rope so you can vary the depth of which you are deploying. The only thing is I wish it was aluminum like my brothers Montour. With the skeg up, you can spin this thing better than anything I have had so far. It may have to do with the relatively flat bottom.

The cockpit is large I'm 6ft and its perfect. you don't feel claustrophobic and you can still put your feet up on the dash. I ran this with my GPS installed. It rolls 3.6 MPH without a sweat. I was able to hit 4.3 mph but at that speed its actually pushing water instead of gliding and its hard to maintain. The rear hatch is solid and holds alot. You can also reach back and find items without fear of tipping.

Sorry this is long but i am definitely liking this boat and looking forward to catching many fish. also worth mentioning when you have to stash your paddle, it fits sweet under the front bungee cords and hangs off the side kinda in the GROOVE without needing any additional securing. The hull material is pretty sturdy. I did cut a 2 x 4 and wedged it under the bow between my feet. I wear a size 10 1/2 sneaker and it was a little low. Barefoot was ok but I have used this trick with other boats and gained up to 1" for my toes to be happy w/ shoes on. (hateitwhenIcantput feetvertical).

All in all, cant wait to get back on the water and I appreciated all the reviews from others in helping me make the choice. hopefully this will help others.

This kayak is SUPER! Love how easy it is to get…

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This kayak is SUPER! Love how easy it is to get through the Black River Canal and even on the Lake under the Blue Water Bridges. Roomy cockpit and great stability too! Love my kayak!!

I am not new to kayaking as I do river touring in…

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I am not new to kayaking as I do river touring in the UK, I wanted a crossover boat that tracks well, tick, comfy for long hours paddling, tick, well made, tick, lots of dry storage, tick! As well as being able to be quick under the paddle but easy to man over, tick looks good on the water, tick, handles small white water, tick, stable with ease of entry & exit if capsized, tick again!

Looked at every other crossover but went with the Aspire 105, brilliant choice, what more could I want......a drain plug! added one myself, no biggy!
Thanks WS great yak!

The Aspire is a great kayak. Very roomy cockpit. Seats are…

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The Aspire is a great kayak. Very roomy cockpit. Seats are super comfortable. I love that they adjust three ways. The back goes up and down and, forward and back. The front of the seat also goes up and down.

The stability is also great. If you lean into it the secondary catches you. There is a skeg that you can raise and lower with a little rope. When it's down the Aspire tracks super well. It even helps you stay on course when the winds blowing. It's spring loaded so if you hit rocks or something it bounces up and down with out damage. You don't even really feel it when it hits something.

The dry storage in the back is a handy feature with the hinged lid. It's easy to get into. I haven't had any water get into it yet. I still use a dry bag in it cause I don't trust any dry storage on any boat. This one seems to work though.

There's plenty of room to carry what you'll need on a day trip down the river. I've been using it to fish for bass lately and it works great.

Overall this is a great kayak for the money.

I did a lot of research before deciding on which kayak I…

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I did a lot of research before deciding on which kayak I wanted. I knew I wanted a crossover boat that could handle still water as well as minor rapids on a river. The Aspire 105 was an easy pick in the end. The goal is to take this boat on a 200 mile river trip, so it had to be versatile and be able to carry my gear for the trip.

The seat is amazing, I can sit for hours on end without having to get out of the boat to stretch. I can adjust it to the position I want fairly easy.

The boat is very stable. I have used it on choppy lake water and in class II rapids. I have never felt unstable in it. Even when one of my daughters did a surprise wet entry after being scared by a spider in her kayak.

The drop skeg is great, but it can get small pebbles or sand in it causing it to not drop. I had that issue once after launching in a river.

Another selling point for me was the hatch. I can open it, retrieve an item, and close it back all while on the water. This allowed me to grab items while in the middle of the lake instead of having to hit a beach to get a something.

The only real complain I have (and why it didn't get a 10) is that the seat has plastic rings on it in places. One of these popped when I stepped on the seat by accident getting our of the kayak. It was easy to fix, but I wish they had used metal in the first place.

I love this boat. I paddle it 3-4 times a week for a minimum of 3 hours each time I go out. What I really love about it in the end is that it is like owning a Jeep Wrangler. If I see that side stream that is nothing more than a creek, I know the Aspire 105 can handle it, and still paddle fine on a lake also.

For those who want a skirt. It takes a 7.5 size, and I went with Seal brand.

This is a good kayak for the price. I use it…

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This is a good kayak for the price. I use it on lakes. The skeg helps to keep the kayak straight. I love the gray color but I have been told it is difficult to see in the water. The seating system is great. I am very comfortable in the water.

My husband just surprised me with this great little toy for our…

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My husband just surprised me with this great little toy for our anniversary the other day. I have taken out my new kayak every day since and I must say I am in love (well with my husband too).

I am new to kayaking so the Aspire has been a great fit. At 10.5 feet, it is easy for me to maneouver but it still performs very well and i never feel left behind by my friends with "big people" kayaks. I have taken it out on lake Ontario, staying close to shore as it was quite windy, and I felt completely safe: this boat is as stable as you can get. The cockpit is large...I mean lLARGE, 24" x 52" so even the most uncoordinated (read "me") can easily get in and out without a problem.

The only little flaws I see are no drain holes and not being able to find a spray skirt that fits the monster cockpit. That combination of course means you need a good sponge with you. Otherwise, I would not change a thing to my lovely blue boat

Being no youngster by any stretch; my first consideration for my new…

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Being no youngster by any stretch; my first consideration for my new kayak was comfort and ease. This boat has a good sized cockpit opening for ease of entry and exit and this is one of the high points but not the most important.

The most important feature of the purchase was to be the seat. I am an avid cyclist and do not like having a sore butt if at all possible! (Imagine that!) The seat is highly adjustable and was in my opinion one of the best available as original equipment of the boat. I have used the boat 8 times since purchasing it about two months ago and the seat has performed to my satisfaction.

The foot-rests are adjustable from the seated position so as one wants to change as to the conditions this may be accomplished with reasonable ease! There is a drop-down skeg which is very helpful when used.

The hatch closure was another positive to me although a little disappointing in performance. The cover is hinged with two lever locks and I find this more user friendly than the “stretch” style. My disappointment is in the fact that this compartment is by no means dry! I always find water in the rear compartment at the end of my trip. This is not a huge problem, but is somewhat annoying.

Some manufactures supply a small dry container with a screw lid and I feel that would be a great added feature especially for electronic key fobs and cell phone protection. Since the boat did not come with one of these I decided to look for a good mounting spot to add one and found the boat does not have a good place to add it, although with a little change in dash board design this could be an easy option.

The boat does not come with any drains and I have added a small unit near the left rear of the cockpit. This works by rolling the boat up to the side and will allow water to flow out. A drain would be nice in the bow area as some manufactures have done.

The boat is a little heavy but I find it to be tolerable and appears to be well made.

Overall I am happy with the boat and would suggest the Aspire 105 to anybody that is looking for the similar features that I was looking for!

Purchased my first Wilderness Aspire 105 with skeg last year. Awesome!…

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Purchased my first Wilderness Aspire 105 with skeg last year. Awesome! It is very stable and with the skeg down, tracks very straight. When I am in shallow waters, it is so easy for me to reach to my right and pull up the skeg. The waterproof compartment in the back is perfect for all of my necessities (I even have a portable seat in there). Plenty of room in the front for my legs and behind the seat. It has adjustable foot rests also. Oh and the totally adjustable seat (the backrest and the seat adjusts up and down, and the back adjust front to back) is great! I love the kayak so much that I purchased a second one for company.

Great beginner kayak, loads of room in cockpit and front bow area…

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Great beginner kayak, loads of room in cockpit and front bow area, {floatation in front also} Nice medium size rear watertight {so far} storage area, use a few smaller dry bags to fit around skeg system. Dash board holds gear {water bottle, gloves, phone, small sponge} securely.

A little wide but very stable, I sometimes hit sides when paddling {I must pay attention}. Center ribs hold feet on rests very nicely. Being wide makes it slow done when resting, which can be done with feet on deck very easily. Seat is best I have every tried/seen, no wet sore rear, water drains right out. No side paddle holder. Rotomolded and very sturdy/thick. Very nice handles.

You want a Kayak for the Family this is the one, what…

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You want a Kayak for the Family this is the one, what an amazing boat. Bought this Kayak after a test paddle day, had the whole family there, my wife, 5'2" 110lbs, My Son 4'10" 98lbs, my daughter 3'2" 42lbs, and myself 6'2" 250lbs, and we can all fit in it. The fourth generation seat has all the bells and whistle in it you could want with out an air ride seat. Everything about this Kayak is moveable. Such a well rounded Kayak.

The only downside I have found so far is there is no bow bulk head to it. Other then that it does have the normal bungee-cords which you can always use with a dry bag. List price was $699.00,

Honestly, one of the best well-rounded Kayaks on the market.