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· Registered
11,115 Posts
solatree said:
How come there is no Swing in the Kayak reviews yet ? :?
Have a great reputation - time for a review. Comon Dodge, Leftie, wearebeingwatched 8)
Here you are then Andrew....see below mate.

The Perception Swing is now no longer in production so any potential new owners will have to buy one on the second hand market where although unchanged in production for about 15 years they seem to have a good following and still range from $600 to about $1200 depending on age, condition, and fit out....but note regardless of year it is the same hull with only variation on things like footrests.
100_0186 (Medium).jpg

Size and weight
Length 4.01m.......Beam 76cms.........Weight 24 kgs..........Capacity 170 kgs [but suspect you can jack up both weights]

Being a sit on top kayak it has 4 scuppers in the footwell, and two in the seat, it has adjustable footrests, and these also control the rudder if one is fitted, on the gunwales there are set of moulded in deck attachment points for use of thigh straps, and also attachments points for the seat.
The cockpit area also has a ridiculous 5" hatch and net bag [which was gone within a week of me buying my yak 4 years ago], and also a depression for holding a drink bottle [its great if you like drinking hot water, one outing and that was stopped]
The seat is wide enough for a fat arsed paddler, and the tall user should also find the length adequate although one WA AKFFer took out the footrest to be comfortable.
Because the seating position gives a low centre of gravity [and is an aid to the boats stability] at 90 kgs I have a few mms of water over the seat, and about 30mm at the feet scuppers....although kayaking is a wet sport I choose to plug the 6 scuppers and have a completely dry boat with no change in free board or stability.
The rear tank well has 4 scuppers which admit about 15mms of water with me and my clutter on board

In hull storage
A 10" rubber lidded hatch on the bow, and another on the rear deck [this was an extra in early boats] give access into the hull on the water, and with the bag out you have limited access through the small hatch in the cockpit....personally I only access the bow on shore, but can use the rear hatch easily sitting side. saddle

Ability to customize 9/10
In a nut shell they are a dream to modify with DIY projects if you are happy to use a drill and saw. my swing is possibly the most chopped up swing on the forum, having bolts through the bottom, screws through the side for paddle holder, and holes galore along the decks and a huge timber hatch to replace the 5" hatch.

Best aspects 8.5/10
For a boat to remain popular for 15 years speaks for itself, it is great in any conditions with good primary and secondary stability, sitting side saddle is no concern.
They are happy in the surf [although no match for SA skis], and good in estuary and streams and can be easily turned around in its own length.
They track nicely without a rudder if not fitted.

Worst aspects 6/10
Think modern kayaks have better access into the hull through the cockpit hatches, and although I used the small one for about 3 years find my largs hatch mod a major improvement to the boat and feel the swing would have had a far longer life if it had been professional upgrade by the manufacturer, but plainly the sale by Perception to Mission had other goals.

Here are the AKFF Swings to this point viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5628

Plainly I have a bias in reviewing the swing as it ticks all the boxes for my needs over 4 years of use in all conditions, but in considering my ratings comments I have had a trial runs on the following yaks [certainly some very briefly]....Scupper Pro*, Pacer, Quest, Outback, Revo, Catch 390, 2 x Stealth, Profish*, Tarpon 12* and Prowler Elite 4.5.

I would happily buy another Swing, and of the boats listed above those marked with an * were also enjoyed.


· Registered
3,243 Posts
I too was wondering where the swing review was, they're a great yak. I was really impressed by the speed and tracking when I gave Maddog's a paddle, though coming from a tempo i reckon I'd be impressed by a bathtub :lol: That said, every yak is a compromise and from my discussions with Dane, the lack of cockpit storage is an issue where he is envious of my yak. Your hatch looks like a very successful (though somewhat bowel-loosening) piece of work Dodge.

· Registered
3,532 Posts
Richo - it was only a mater of time!

As far as I have been able to work out, it's a US design (still in manufacture in the US) and was manufactured in Kiwi-land under license. The yanks pulled the pin on the licensing (decided to sell direct, plan blew up due to the GFC), but The Kiwi's have predictably moved on with a design of their own. There will still be some new ones around, and they should be treated like the last of a special breed.

The wet bum? The wet bum provides for a low centre of gravity and general stability. I bought myself some sharkskins and I just dont notice anymore. Some guys plug the scuppers and pad the seat - no reason not too on esturaries and sweetwater. I like getting out a bit, I'm very probably going to get wet anyway, and I wouldn't want to raise the seat for open water. As you get wet, just think of all that stability! Of course when you first get in, the yak bobbles a bit and water rushes up the scuppers. So if that's winter and your first paddle, it's going to be noticeable. Trust me, you wont even think about it in time!

Best point? You can find better surf launch yaks. You can find better mangrove yaks. You can find faster yaks. The Swing may never be the best yak for any specific application. BUT very possibly it is the best all-round yak available. There are pretty much no conditions that the Swing wont operate in and operate well. For the beginner it opens up as much flexibility as you could hope for. For the experienced yakker, you might want to keep the Swing for those days you are not fishing your usual haunts in your normal fishing speciality.

Worst point? Only really an issue to inshore yakkers who surf launch. For this application access into the hull for a fully rigged rod is ideal. Difficult to achieve in the Swing. Buy multi-piece rods so you can slide them in, or some guys have installed a rod holder on deck to sort it out. And if this is a weak point, I know one guy who is surf launching in the dark and trolling up to 10km off shore. Solo. So the Swings adaptability comes through again.

Street cred? As I mix with different groups of yakkers across two states, I am constantly surprised by the street cred that goes with a Swing. It is much loved and has contributed greatly to the world of yakking in Australia. A true yakking classic.

Speed? I dont have a lot of science to back my claim, but my GPS generally reads a 6kph constant cruise pace and by testing time on the water and measuring from Google Earth I get the same sort of pace. I think I can punch out a speed of over 8kph if I need to prove a point, but once I get over the 6kph mark, I'm tiring fast and it isnt worth it. So I'll cruise for hours at 6kph, that'll do me. Trolling for snapper or in the estuary, you'll need to slow down. A Lot. If your chasing pelagics, you can afford to back off a bit and still interest them. But Ijust hit the cruise pace and enjoy myself.

Hull material? It's a plastic fantastic, and takes a beating. Also as Richo says - check out the DIY pages, plenty to see on the swing.

General handling? Few Swings have a rudder installed. The idea is that the Swing is so manouverable that it just doesnt need it. In estuary, river, impoundment I'd agree with that. But because few have the rudder I'll comment on rudderless condition in the open water.

Generally the low windage means the wind cant push it around much. The length is enough to ensure stable tracking. But not too long so that changing direction, turns and even 360s are no problem. I think this is a great platform for a beginner as you have to learn how to steer by the paddle. It becomes second nature very quickly.

Stability is fine for mostly all angles you feel like testing by leaning way over in that direction - but it has the usual limitations in the stern quarter - leaning back and to the side. I'd call this a yak condition more than a Swing condition, but always worth thinking before you lean back to get into the rear hatch.

Impoundment conditions Generally this is irrelevant, but if there is a blow and you get the tiny chop, the swing punches through quite nicely. Very little slap which can happen in particular with some of the SA surf skies. Because on the Swing you are already used to paddling to manouvre, you dont loose the advantage of a rudder in these conditions and can really zig and zag to find casting gaps in among the trees where stinkers fear to tread. The plastic gives confidence when you want a break, or a pee, just drag it up the bank (avoid rocky surface if you can of course). The Swing handled Awoonga with precision and confidence. At that time I'd been yakking for about 6 weeks, loved every moment of the Swing on Awoonga. If the wind is creating a drift that is too fast, a DIY drogue is a good idea. It adds to the stuff mounted on your yak, but in the impoundment on the whole I'll use one.

Mangroves The length that suits the Swing in open water works against it here. I tend to reduce down to two rods (normally I take 3). The problem is that the Swing is so good at manouvreing on close in the middle of the mangroves, I keep getting the rods tangled in the trees. Somehow, the lack of green leaf means I never experienced this in impoundments, but it can be frustrating in the mangroves. Of course, most yakkers stay out and either work structure or the flats. Structure = novice magnet, particularly pontoons, pylons, oyster beds, rock faces. The Swing is rugged enough so that when the inevitable happens you'll just bounce off. Around the flats, I just love setting up drift patterns using just the wind and current. But that drogue is usefull, and this time you'll want it mounted on a trolley - so you can change the angle of the yak on the water for the best casting. Leave a stink bait floating on the side of the drogue while you cast the other. The Swing provides enough space to keep the different bits of stuff away from each oterh.

Paddling in bigger conditions: 15+knots on the nose and a swell from the front quarter (a surprisingly common condition in Aussie coastal waters coming home), I find that I'm fighting the swell in order to dictate my direction to the sea. I end up with a sweep stroke on one side to balance. The wind doesnt push the nose to the side (low windage in this yak thanks to the wet bum design), but it does slow down your speed. Combine slow speed with a short sharp swell (notable Moreton Bay conditions) makes for a fun ride home with a gentle but constant push against the direction you want to be going. I solved this by a) watching the weather and being prepared for what I was getting into b) watching the weather - from home, c) changing my trip to a point-to-point running with the swell and getting picked up somewhere else (an egsample for Brissie SE summer conditions - Wello Point launch, paddle around Green Island (ans the St Helena green zone) to the end of Fisherman's Island, from there I'm protected from the swell back to Whyte Islad boat ramp. Collection by SWMBO).It helps if you have reasonable balance when running with a tail swell, if it's breaking (white caps at about 12 knots) enjoy the mini surfs, and make sure you have out larger lures or they will skip when you're on the swell.

Even bigger conditions: A trip recently to Long Reef had 1.5m seas with 1.5m swell. Experienced boaties understand these conditions - two wave sets in different directions leading to so-called rogue waves and you bobbing up and down a good 2m. And it's easier to deal with than a short chop. Good fun actually and with something like 20 yakkers present no-one upset by the conditions. The swing was happy in this convention of glass fantastics and hobbies.

Competition Here's the problem. Because the Swing is so universal, pretty much every yak ever invented is going to be considered a competitor at some time. But in terms of plastic all rounders:
1/ Mission 390/430 Seems many prefer the Swing to the 390, 430 is new so keep an eye on responses
2/ Profish - I like it's centre hatch. It needs a rudder, and with it misses the non-rudder experiences of the Swing. Pretty similar otherwise, except I think that the Swing would have faster acceleration in surf (happy to challenged on that assertion). A great modern allrounder
3/ Ocean Kayak Prowler - I'm guessing, but I'd expect drier with more windage but otherwise similar.

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1 Posts
I love my Swing that I bought 2nd hand about 20 years ago.
it came with only the one large hatch up forward, so I added a matching one back aft where another was clearly meant to go, and I also added some bungee between the pins over that area to hold loose items down. On the topic of pins, I’ve noticed that mine are stainless steel whereas other later boats I’ve seen only have aluminium. My boat also came with a reflective stripe all the way around which is still holding in place.
it may be old, but it’s still one of the best hull designs ever; it’s fast, it’s stable, it tracks well and it turns well if you lean appropriately.
I’ve taken it away on overnight adventures, the hull packed with supplies and with a big dry bag in aft tray, and it’s been an excellent fishing craft. Most of all though, it has served as my fee-free gymnasium, giving many hundreds of hours of exercise in the outdoors.
Although I subsequently bought a large sea kayak, the Swing is still my favourite and most used watercraft.
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