Dropping by to give a short review on the Katana 9.7.
The kayak seems to be great in whitewater based on the amount of videos I’ve seen of it going through class I through class IV rapids. In the ocean/flatwater it’s great. With the skeg up, you have absolute maneuverability and can turn on a dime; good characteristics for whitewater. Skeg down and the kayak turns into an arrow. I used it in the ocean this weekend and with a semi good set of paddling skills + the skeg, you wont tell the difference from a full touring kayak except for the speed. The skeg makes a gigantic difference to maintain directional control in flat water if your paddling skills are not evenly distributed, or if there is a heavy current/wind. However, even though it’s about 3.5 knots slower than my touring kayak, it is still much faster compared to the average sit on top kayak out there. Going into three and four footer waves was a breeze. It wont go exactly through the wave like a touring kayak since it doesn’t have a V shaped hull to cut through the water, but it cuts through it enough allowing you to maintain most of your speed. if the wave is large enough for you to go over its crest, it lands smoothly into the trough on the other side, but if a quick wave follows your first, expect it to cut through and your face and cockpit to get soaked if you’re not wearing a skirt!
The outfitting is great, very adjustable and comfortable. skeg seems durable and with a bombproof design. Hatch stayed closed after hitting some nice waves and the storage compartment remained dry all the time (despite my cockpit getting flooded several times since I went skirtless this time!
Kayak’s not heavy. I’m a 5’11 dude 148 lbs and I can carry the kayak easily (1/3 of my weight) I load it on top of my car and it holds well.
Long story short, strongly recommended if you want a kayak that can do both. Will report back when I’ve tried it in whitewater.