Section 2 - My Kayak

Scrambler XT (discontinued)

My choice at the time was the "Scrambler XT" made by Ocean Kayak. This model has been discontinued and it's counterpart is the Scrambler XT Angler. A similar model is the Scrambler XL. I chose yellow from the choices offered due to its high visibility on the ocean. This is a very important factor. White, along with green, blue and some other dark colors, are not visible on a windy choppy ocean in the event you needed rescuing. 
My XT split at the base of the center hatch area and I had to install the optional center hatch just to have access to the interior of the kayak in order to reinforce the area with a section of 2" X 4" after welding the crack. The weld will not hold if the material continues to flex. The center area of the kayak is where you have to sit to gear up and down for scuba diving.
The front hatch is optional on both the Scrambler XL and XT.
The XL center hatch is factory installed and is a separate compartment from the rest of the kayak. The lid is the thread on hard plastic type and does not have an O-ring on it. The center hatch on the XT was optional and can be hazardous. See Topic 17 for more on the hazards.
All of Ocean Kayak's current models have replaced the front and rear straps with a bungee cord. There is a post like device at the middle connections to allow for unhooking the bungee so as to more easily access the areas under it. The bungee cord is also completely removable as it has clips at all four ends. In either case I believe the bungee system to be very difficult to use when it comes to securing a scuba tank with a BCD and regulator attached. 
(Updated 12-06-06) Below is my first experience and review of the new Scrambler XL (now discontinued):
The XL is slightly shorter and wider than the XT. The seating area is much higher than the XT. I did not find the XL to be unstable in view of this.
 
The bow of the XL is better designed than the XT making it easier to paddle.
 
The stern is similar to that of the XT. The tank well is larger in the XL than the XT. The tank well opening is wider on the XL making it easier to insert a scuba tank while you are still in the water provided you remove the factory handle setup.
 
There are carry handles on each side of the XL. Unfortunately they are not placed at the center of gravity and the kayak tips to one end when you pick it up.
The top rail of the XL is flat and the XT is rounded. The XT had two indentations on each side which could be used for placement on a rounded rack.  The flat rail on the XL allows for easier placement on a rack as it requires no specific distance between the two racks. The racks should have a non-skid material on them to both protect either the XT or the XL. and prevent the XL  from sliding forward or backward on the rack. The material shown in the XT photo is an old bicycle inner tube that is wrapped around the rack, stretched, then a knot tied in it.
 
The XL factory installed center hatch is a thread on hard plastic type. There is no O-ring to seal it. The hatch compartment is molded separately from the rest of the hull. Flooding it is not a concern. It is not possible to access the interior of this hull area to reinforce it should it crack. My concern with this type hatch is it cracking, and/or the surrounding area, from having to sit on, or partially on it, to gear up and down for scuba diving.
 
The XL accessory eyelets are screwed on. This method makes it much easier to attach rings and lanyards as shown. They were riveted on to the XT. The nut portion of the bolt is an acorn type molded into the XL kayak and will not allow water to enter the hull should a bolt be removed and left off.
The bow and stern handles are attached  to threaded on eyelets (red arrows-factory cords replaced in the photos). The front handle is set too far back to allow for an anchor line to be attached without rubbing the kayak. The rear handle is attached at two eyelets with a bungee line between them (red arrows-factory cord replaced in the photos) and is also too close to the kayak for tying off a second kayak. I would not trust either handle for anchoring/tying off purposes or for pulling the kayak onto shore with dive gear in it. The weight of the gear may eventually pull the molded in nuts out of the kayak. In fairness to Ocean Kayak they did not design these handles for such purposes. I removed both handle cords and replaced them with longer ones as well as rivet two of the older style eyelets to the bow and stern for additional support (green arrows).
 
The interior of the front hatch on the XL is slightly smaller than the XT. The hatch is optional and uses the soft pliable rubber-like Gaspachi brand hatch cover (not shown) identical to the one on the XT. This type of hatch seals fairly well and has never given me any problems over the many years of use on my XT's. I prefer the tie-down straps of the XT over the bungee cords (not shown) on the XL. It is easy to remove the bow and stern bungee cords on the XL and install the straps because the eyelets/posts are threaded on.
 
There are four scupper holes in the XL, two in the foot area and two in the tank well. The XT had four in the seat/foot areas. There is less water in the XL than the XT while paddling.

In summation I will give the XL design an overall "A" over the XT. My chief concern is, and has been, the quality of Ocean Kayak products since the company was taken over by Johnson Outdoors. Only time will tell how well it holds up.