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don't have both front and rear sealed bulkheads which is a safety feature (beyond the "dry" storage function of these compartments with hatches) -- keeps the boat floating and horizontal if swamped.
I suppose in shallow ponds that might not matter. If you paddle with companions in 14 footers, why not that? I think a 14 can be lifted onto the roof of a car -- I guess you don't want to go so heavy that it is difficult to transport.
What's ideal for me? I have a 14 and a 16.5; I guess neither one is ideal!
I could see this being a good 'second boat/loaner boat' for me when I have non-kayaking friends come along and paddle with me.
How's the paddling position on the Conduit? From the pics, it looks like the deck is raised considerably near the front of the cockpit, so that you might be able to paddle with a bit of a 'knees high and close together' position (i.e. somewhat of a 'surf-ski-like' position).
If true, that would be great. I think subjecting ppl to the 'frog-legged/yoga' splayed-out position is tough on newbies' backs (a la boats such as the Tsunami).
If not true, oh well. The Conduit's still the most inexpensive front & rear bulkhead boat out there. =]