The Perception Corona - A, short, nimble touring boat
Dec 18, 2000 (Updated Jan 20, 2001)
Review by jwlester
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Cons:Can be tippy for beginners, slowish for experts
The Bottom Line: The performance of this boat is superb for a touring boat. It might be a bit much for a rank beginner, but for others it might be a good choice.
I'm a whitewater kayaker. Usually, you'll find me (a:bravely, b:idiotically, c:skillfully d:all of the above) shooting the shoals of the exciting class IV and V rivers of Northern California. I won't be reviewing too many touring boats, because plain and simple - I haven't paddled too many. Compared with my WW reviews, you should take my touring boat reviews with a small grain of salt because I don't have as much experience with them. There are times, though, when I take a kayak onto the flats. Many people wouldn't call a howling gale on the Pacific Ocean with 5 and 6 foot waves "flatwater", but thats just what people call it. When kayaking in the ocean, I either go kayak surfing in the surf zone with a whitewater playboat, or will go touring in a touring sea kayak. These are different from whitewater kayaks and "recreational" kayaks in that they are usually longer and slimmer. They are built for speed and tracking ability over distance. Anyone who's tried to paddle a whitewater kayak fast or straight will know that this is difficult. A long, narrow sea kayak with a skeg or rudder, however, will track very well and be relatively fast.
Recommend this product?
Like whitewater boats, however, there are differences between touring boats in terms of performance. There are manufacturers who put out composite touring kayaks that take an advanced paddler to handle. Similarly, many of the bigger names like Dagger, Necky and Perception, put out a variety of boats suitable for kayakers with more modest skills.
The Perception Corona is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It is a kayak that has a slightly higher performance hull than some beginner touring boats - but not so tough that a beginner absolutely can't handle it. Beginners will feel unstable at first, but once they're used to this boat it will be better than some of the more stable models available. The Corona has all of the amenities of a large touring kayak packed into a compact and fairly small boat (at only 14' 8") suitable for short tours and day trips. This boat only weighs 52 pounds, which for a plastic sea kayak is very light. This is very nice if you have to portage it for any distance.
The seat and backrest were very nice, and the whole cckpit (misspelling intentional, the faulty epinions Net-Nanny won't let me use the word for where you sit) area was very adjustable. As a whitewater kayaker I am used to a snug fit, and I felt fairly secure in the cckpit of the Corona. The fore and aft bulkheads were pretty good and the access hatches didn't leak (good for a fairly new boat - I'd be worried if it leaked!!!). The space inside was roomy enough for the short trip I was on, but might have been cramped for a weeklong trip. It does have grab loops and straps for gear.
Given my whitewater background, I found the performance of this boat to be superb for a touring boat. It turned very quickly compared to some of the other sea kayaks I've tried. It didn't have the primary hull stability that some entry level kayaks come with, but it was simple to put up on edge. For playing around in areas with alot of rocks that might be a tight squeeze in a longer boat, the Corona makes a superb choice - especially with the rudder up. When in the open sea, I found that the rudder functioned pretty well and I did like the total control I had over the boat in the straights. Compared to some of the longer touring boats, I found this boat to be a bit slow in comparison, but thats the price you pay for the manouverability.
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