So just to clarify a few things different from the picture: This will be the new model, which has two black rubber thigh pads on the lip of the kayak to protect your legs. It also says "Sun Dolphin" on the side, not waterquest. But they are both identical and both made by KL industries. Which brings me to my next point. The KL Industries "Deluxe" kayak is $100 more, and is THE EXACT SAME KAYAK, besides being blue and not green. So grab this one and save some dough if you don't mind the color. Also, the paddle pictured with this kayak is not the one you get. You get the one that is pictured with the Deluxe blue kayak, which is actually a terrible paddle. I was a bit disappointed it didn't come with the pictured one, because this one is a bit awkward. But hey, it's a free paddle, can't complain!
Characteristics: Very stable without being slow. It tracks very well given its size, and is quite comfortable and maneuverable. Very easy to paddle and maintain momentum. People with short arms or short height will need a longer paddle, or you'll be hitting your hands on the lip of the cockpit. It's not the fastest, but it will do a decent clip. You'll get tired trying to keep it up for too long though, but it's a very nice cruising yak. Sits relatively high above the water, but I'm a relatively light frame. Very light kayak; able to be carried by one person to the shore and back over the shoulder.
Features: Gee I wish it had a padded seat! But again, for the price, you can't complain. Buy a $10 stadium seat cushion and you'll be golden. Rear back rest is adjustable to nearly any comfortable position. Foot pedals can adjust to anyone's height and are comfortable. They feel a tad flimsy, but if you're not abusing them, I wouldn't imagine there would be any problem. Rear hatch is relatively watertight and decently deep, there's about enough room for a six pack of cokes in there. If you want more storage, it is very easy to cut the bottom out of the compartment to open up the entire rear for storage. The rear does not have a sealed bulkhead, so you will lose the isolation from the inside of the boat in case you get any water inside the kayak. Again not a big deal, put the stuff in a $10 watertight totebag and you're golden. Would be nice to have front storage, but the water bottle holder is fine by me. Plenty of room inside the kayak cabin and for storage near the front. The side paddle holder is handy and relatively tight, although I would not trust it to hold a spare paddle if paddling the kayak around. The carry handles are a bit cheap as they are just cording with a plastic grip. Tighten the knots or they may come undone. There is a drain plug in the back as well which is a very tight fit to get in and out, but I suppose that is a good and bad thing. Free paddle is awful, but will get you by until you can find one you like. At least they give you a paddle!
Overall: I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because if bought at full price (~$290) I would be a bit upset about the paddle being so terrible, and not being the one pictured. Also, the lack of a seat pad is a little cheap, but again for the price it's still the best buy out there. Got on sale for $200 and worth every penny! Can't think of a better kayak for the price, and I did a lot of research before purchasing. Hope this helps someone who pays attention to all the details like me! :)
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