I purchased a kayak recently, to replace the canoe. I did this on the premise that I will one day buy another canoe. But for now, a kayak would be a nice option. For one, I needed something that I could carry up and down the hill to the river easily (since I won't be storing it down there anymore). Secondly, I rarely take anyone out fishing on the river with me, so I don't really need the extra space.
After much thought and consideration, I purchased a native 9.5. Now if you read online about the native 9.5 you will get the impression, as I initially did, that this is a kids kayak. I was impressed by its open cockpit and size (9.5 feet and 40 pounds). After speaking with some gearheads in Madison and Minneapolis, they assured me that the 175 pound maximum weight limit was overly cautious and that although they were marketing the boat for kids and small adults, it had plenty of stability.
Already at Home on the Black!
So far so good. It has bit of a wobble to it when you first get in, but the secondary stability is good. I've fished out of it a couple of times now, with modest success. It is extremely quick and responsive compared to my old canoe. As I mentioned earlier, I had gotten used to the way the old boat used to glide around. This boat moves quick, which means that you pass over some fishing spots a bit too fast, but it also means that you can get back to them easily. I think I just need to get used to this feature.
Perhaps the worst design flaw on the boat, and probably the worst feature I've seen on any boat ever, is the lip on the side of the boat. The sides of the boat wrap around in a U shape, making it impossible to get all of the water out of the bottom of it. You have to unscrew a little port on the top of one of the sides and let the water drain out of it, which takes way too much time and effort. Perhaps I'm missing something here, but this seems ridiculous.
Another ridiculous feature is the seat. It is ridiculously awesome, rivaled only by my Herman Miller Aeron chair at work.
At 9.5 it is a small boat, but I have pleny of leg room (I'm 5'11). Dig the seat.