After trying out the locally available SOT plastic boats, I saw the Typhoon on the Internet and read some reviews. I couldnt find a local shop that sold Dimension kayaks so I went through an Old Town Canoe dealer to order one. Old Town bought Dimension Kayaks, located in Quebec, Canada.
Ive had this kayak out in the ocean at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, at Coyote Point in San Francisco Bay, at the north shore of Lake Tahoe, and in the ocean off Stillwater Cove north of Fort Ross. The Kayak is light at 39 pounds. It is 112" in length and 29-1/2" wide. Four of my friends and family have been out on this kayak and we all (including my 70 year old mother-in-law) love the ride. We range from 52" to 64" and we all fit comfortably.
The hull design is sharp with an upswept bow and that "Corvette split-window coupe" stern.
The bottom is slightly concave and the seat sits below the water line, almost on the bottom of the hull. That makes the boat really stable.
The kayak moves through the water with ease and it tracks well, perhaps because of the hull shape with a skeg-type tail at the stern. In fact, the tail has a screw-mounted wear bar that could probably accommodate a real skeg.
The seatback is high and slightly reclined which makes it very comfortable. Entering and exiting the kayak in deep water is very easy. Tracking while paddling into a wind was good but if you let it drift, the bow tends to turn into the wind. The highest part is the rider and the stern. A cross wind did not take me off coarse. Moving through the chop at an angle was not a problem. Turning and steering are easy.
Though the light hull might make you wonder about hull strength and durability, there is no give in the boat and it handles the water well. Going out through light surf is easy. The bow, shaped like a surfboard, rides up over the waves. Coming in through light surf (3-5) is lots of fun as the hull shape lets me manage the ride.
With no scupper drains, the cockpit fills up but its not a problem since Im playing in the surf to begin with. I can turn back on the wave at the end and even broach but not dump. I just turn out again to catch another wave. I have not experienced riding in bigger surf.
diving in this kayak is great. The with the storage pod in the car,
the rear well, with its permanently mounted straps, lets me tie down
a weight belt, my equipment, and the Abalone. The rear well is at a
good height while Im in the water and I can easily reach everything.
I can get into the kayak with my weight belt on and wear it while paddling.
It is stable while wearing the weight belt but it is more comfortable
with the belt strapped into the rear well. The Typhoon handles well
in the ocean swells and windy chop and is very stable.
Now for the not so great parts:
That removable compartment is not watertight. Since I was testing deep-water entry, I purposefully turned the boat over many times. It is super easy to right but that compartment leaks. If you want something to stay dry, seal it in the appropriate bags.
There are no scupper drains. Water will enter the cockpit and stay with you. This actually adds some stability, like ballast in the bilges. It is a wet ride if you are entering and exiting in the water. Since your bottom sits slightly below the water line, scupper drains wouldnt do much good.
The metal eyelets at the bow and stern are cheap and I will replace them. The drain plugs are just plastic push-in pieces rather that screw-in types.
There are no gear hooks along the topsides anywhere. Ill install some eyelets for dive gear and webbing. To take a tank or a goodie bag, Ill leave the removable storage compartment on the beach.
There is no internal storage. For rigging your kayak for diving, go to "Outfitting Your Dive Kayak" by Jim Spears of MauiKayakDiver.com on this site with links to more good info.
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