Read reviews for the Focus 145 by Wilderness Systems 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!
Not for the timid but a great boat once you and it become one. I am not a purist so I have the rudder and I have paddled boats with and without rudders and yes without makes you a better paddler and also works you much harder. If you want your shoulders to ache after 15 to 18 miles of river or bayou turns with wide sweeping strokes go without a rudder and you will be in nirvana. If you want to paddle and go straight and turn on a dime get the rudder. Also a big plus when you are shooting between rocks and downed trees with no place to sink a paddle in the water and straight ahead is something you would rather not deal with. The rudder changes your direction to miss or bounce off instead of crash into.
This is a sports car of the roto-boats and if you are not ready for it you will get wet. The more balance skills (Core strength) you possess the easier this boat is to stay upright. I have seen complaints about the boat not tracking but as mentioned I use a rudder, hence no issue. I bought this to keep up with 16+ boats and it will do it. Initial stability is not good but as mentioned a nimble sports car. Once you get acclimated to the boat and water the stability improves but you can't go the sleep or you'll get wet. I use the boat in Texas rivers and you never know what the depths will be due to rainfall or lack of and when the rivers get low you find all the stuff the floods left and my high $$ friend's boats get cracks and holes where I get scratches, some deep, and bounce offs. Have learned the art of plastic welding to fill deep scratches. The boat has good storage and a day hatch where it belongs in front. The phase 3 seating is great. Again, not a purist so I have the full back rest and not the band as I am a tall guy and the back rest kills me after a few hours on the water whereas the full back supports me and is adjustable to anyone. Probably does make it harder to enter the boat from a deep water flip but I don't find it problem as most of my splashed are in water I can stand up in or get to shore quickly. For the record age 66, 6'3" and 190 lbs. Had the yak 3 years and will say that when the water is cold in the winter, and for this Texan anything under 70 is cold I give this guy a rest and use my Tsunami or Riot as they are much more forgiving but also much slower and less nimble. Use a Hurricane Phoenix for Gulf Coast or lake fishing (with a rudder) so I can fall out on Hot summer days and cool off and easily to crawl back in a 14' SOT. The more you use it the better paddler you will become and also improve your balance and core strength. Not for everyone but what boat is?
This is indeed a fast ride, however in the light breeze the tracking was terrible. The kayak zig-zagged continually and when I was sitting still it actually drifted around in circles. The following day I was sore all over from fighting this boat for an hour. Although I appreciated the secondary stability and speed, the primary stability was too tippy for me as I actually tumbled into the water twice when trying to exit. I also ultimately decided the 50lb weight was too heavy for my small size.
I returned the kayak and purchased a used Current Designs Vision 130. Not nearly as swift, however it is only 40lbs and at my level I am happy to sacrifice speed for stability and loading ease.