Before I begin my review on the product itself, let me do a little mini
review for the shipping. The Kayak was shipped out 2 days after
clicking the "confirm order" (or whatever it says) button, which is
acceptable. However, It took 9 days from the status of "shipped"
until it was delivered. The FAQ on the Austin Kayak website says it
'generally' takes 4-5 days for delivery, and a couple reviews have
said it also took 4-5 days to deliver. I was disappointed that it took
almost double the estimated delivery time, but I suppose that is just
how it goes sometimes. I also had to drive to my local Home Depot
to pick the Kayak up as the driver could not find my house for some
reason. The packaging however had no tears/dings, it seemed to
have been well taken care of during the shipment process.
Now, on to the kayak itself.
1. Pre testing - before actually getting it out in the water to test it
out, I went over the kayak physically. There were no scratches or
dings or anything, nothing was missing, was in great condition.
HOWEVER, the seat was as screwed up as it could be without being
defective (which I am not 100% sure of yet). I spent 1-2 hours
having to adjust, tighten/loosen and all around tweak every part of
the seat to get the teeth (the gears that click and hold in place) to
properly fit into the grooves on both sides of the seat. It did not, in
any way shape or form, come ready to be sat in and used. It was a
2 hour job of realigning, adjusting, not only the bolts but also the
wires that actually pull to lower the seat had to be re-tied by me. I
had to do the job of the people who are supposed to make sure
everything works before sending it off. A simple "let's try to
raise/lower the seat a couple times to make sure it works before
shipping it" would have saved me 2 hours of my free time at home
fixing it. After taking it out for about 4 total hours of using it, the
seat has not had any issues. The tweaks/adjustments I made seem
to be working well and it seems that the seat was completely out of
alignment/not adjusted at all, rather than it being
"broken/defective". I will update this review if the seat breaks soon
or starts screwing up again, but as of writing this review it is
working great after putting my hard earned time into making it work
properly and after hours of use, is holding up well. I do not expect
anymore issues, but I will update this review if there are any.
The first test - I took it out for about 25 minutes. It was not a
fishing test, I didn't even have a pole with me, I just wanted to test
the balance/seat/how well it controlled in the water. I have
absolutely no issue whatsoever in how this Kayak handles/its
balance/the seat (after working on it, as said above). It moves well
(for being as wide as it is) and on my lake (which isn't a big lake,
not small but not big by any means) it is fast enough to get me
where I want to go without any headache or feeling of it being too
slow. There are faster Kayaks on the market for sure, but you are
buying this for stability/the ability to stand up and fish, and the
comfortable seat, and all of that is fantastic.
The second (and main) test - I spent 4 hours in it today, going up
and down the local lake, fishing both sitting flush, sitting at the
highest setting, and flipping jigs into heavy cover while standing.
Every single position/cast felt right, appropriate, and after an hour
or two I could not tell I was even on a Kayak while standing up, I
could have been sitting in a nice flat bottom boat or some other
larger craft where standing is simple and easy. As I said in the first
test portion of the review, I had no issue with the speed/tracking on
my lake, you might have an issue if you have huge lake or in an
ocean, but on a medium sized lake it felt right as rain.
Features - The rail system works as advertised, it's useful and when
attatched with the Unibar Deluxe (which is just the unibar with 3
plates), It felt "full". What I mean by "full" is, if I were to go out
without the unibar attatchment now, I will feel as if something is
missing and that I am not getting the whole experience. Mounting
two rod holders and my GOPRO mount to it (rods on the sides,
GoPro in the middle), it felt perfectly balanced and right where I
would want them. The bar (while the seat is up or if I am standing)
does not get in the way of my casting, and I have more than
enough leg room when sitting/paddling. The straps on the boat, the
stand up strap, the padded floor, all the features you have probably
seen many times while checking this Kayak out, are all very
functional and very useful and intelligently designed/implemented.
Overall, the kayak itself is a fantastic piece of equipment for anyone
looking to go kayak fishing in a medium/small lake, who intends to
stand up a lot and make use of its features. However, the shipping
speed was slightly disappointing and having to work on the seat for
2 hours to get it to function properly was absolute nonsense. What I
want to give it is a 4.5/5, to take off .5 of the review for the
nonsense regarding the seat. However, there is no .5 system that I
can tell. I cannot just let the seat go, that is absolutely ridiculous, a
consumer should not under any circumstance have to do the job of
the comapny that sends it. I should not have had to put 2 hours of
maintenance into the kayak before even being able to put it in
water. So, it will be 4/5 stars as I cannot do 4.5.