I bought my first kayaks when I started working in Spartanburg Five, eleven years ago. The Perception Torrents have been great, fun boats, but there are several problems. First, these are wet boats. There are self-bailing holes in the bottom, so you are constantly sitting in water. Secondly, there isn’t any storage to speak of. Finally, these are not good flatwater boats. When you stop paddling, you start spinning.
Howstuffworks.com has a great description about the differences between boat hull designs, as well as a cool diagram.
Since I’ve been doing longer flatwater trips I decided I needed something that works well for those trips. I had paddled both the Pungo and Pamlico from Wilderness Systems, and liked those boats. I had also paddled a Perception Jocassee and a Perception Carolina. I was also interested in the Native Watercraft boats, which look like they have been fitted with a lawn chair.
Ultimately it came down to price. I really liked the Pungos but not the price. The salesman at Sunrift said that the hull design for the Pamlico was more stable and would make a better photography platform. While cheaper, there were other design elements I didn’t like, such as the lack of a sealed bulkhead and molded seats.
I looked around a bit more, and found that they had a 2005 model Old Town Dirigo for sale. It had just about everything I wanted – a comfortable seat, stability for photography, sealed bulkheads, and lots of room. I was able to get it at a fraction of its original cost.
So far I’ve only paddled it out on our little lake, but it handles great. I think I’m going to enjoy this one.
The only problem is that my little fleet of boats keeps growing!