Owned the Synergy 12 for 1 season now. This is a sit on top Kayak that you sit more down inside. So it perfect for someone who wants the feel of more inside seating while the freedom and ease of entry such as a sit on top.
As an over sized paddler (65 tall and about 300lbs.) I picked this boat as it fit me great. It was large enough for plenty of legroom and gear, plus it supports my weight. While many sit on tops would have fit me to, the Synergy 12 sat further down in the boat giving me the feel of a real Kayak. Also I wanted to avoid the scupper holes as other sit on tops always gave me a wet ride keeping some water in the boat. With the dry ride my hope was I could extend the paddling season, and that has been true thanks to the Synergy 12.
The Synergy 12 tries blends the ease of a SOT with the feel of a cockpit rec. boat. Overall it does a pretty good job. While being a jack of all trades type boat, it is still fun to paddle.
The maneuverability is good for a 12 boat especially with as heavy as this one is. (Again fun to ride, not so fun getting it on top the van!) It can easily go where you want it. It is not the best tracking boat but does pretty well. Although it is no racing boat, you can get this boat moving and up to speed with ease. This may be one area the weight helps, because once it is cursing along it is quite easy to keep it going!
Stability is good too. While other sit on tops do provide better stability the Synergy 12 has a feel more like many cockpit kayaks I have paddled previously.
Also this is a tough boat to categorize. I would call it a Sit on top Kayak even though Mad River Canoe claims they only build canoes. (FYI: The manufactures statement of origin slip from Mad River lists it as a Kayak.) This boat is similar to the Perception Search 13 which is made by a sister company. The advantage the Synergy 12 has it is Drier, you set down in the boat more, and is capable of carrying more weight. Before you buy the Perception (which seems like a decent boat too.) make sure you check out the Mad River Synergy12.
Although this is not a performance boat, I recommend it to any novice paddler in need of a 1st boat to start out or anyone seeking a very well rounded fun boat for simple day recreation or fishing. Also any one seeking a sit on top kayak should seriously consider this one as I feel it is the best SOT currently on the market.