L: 12'3"; W: 30.5"; 55 LBS.; Rotomolded Polyethylene. $849, EVOKEPADDLESPORTS.COM
Evoke is a new branch from an old established tree, Sun Dolphin, which produces entry-level kayaks sold in big box stores. The Evoke line is a different animal altogether, designed specifically for outdoor specialty shops.
The look of the VUE 120 is spartan, with a design that is simple and utilitarian. It's lines recall one of the all-time classic sit- on-top kayaks, and I'm not the only one who noticed the similarity. When a kayak fishing friend saw it, he said, without prompting, "Oh, that looks just like a Tarpon 120." It's true that all kayaks are basically things that oat and have pointy ends, so looking like another model isn't the same as being that boat. After all, a Kia Amanti looks a lot like a Jaguar S-Class. The proof is in the test drive.
The VUE 120 features three water-resistant hatches that are easy to open and close. I found the hatch covers to be a little insubstantial, looking similar to the hatches on the Wilderness Systems Ride, but not as beefy. Still, our water testing yielded just a few drops inside the hatches. (It's worth noting that nothing is completely waterproof, and whatever you carry in a kayak should be in dry bags.) I liked the hatches' ease of use, especially the 9-inch hatch between your knees which gives you easy access to larger items.
The VUE also featured two small waterproof pockets attached to the side of the cockpit below the paddler's knees. Frankly, they're cheap-looking and unnecessary, and I wouldn't trust my cell phone in them. My recommendation is that if you're not going to do it right, just leave it out.
The seat is perfectly adequate and simple, and that keeps the weight down. I found it to be a little lacking for me, but I'm a big guy. And the smaller paddlers who reviewed the VUE found it to be sufficient. If you're tall or over 200 pounds, you might prefer a little more padding and back support.
The VUE paddles nicely. Like most sit-on-tops, we're not go- ing to break any speed records, but it feels efficient under power. Stability is excellent, as expected. One of our testers remarked that the VUE paddled better than she thought it would, and was more stable than she thought it would be. This, from an avowed sea kayaker.
At $849, the VUE 120 is fairly inexpensive for what you get. It's a good choice for a first timer who might branch out into sh- ing, as the VUE has tracks for adding fishing accessories should you choose to do so.
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