Go for it! Sounds like a super deal!
Re: test paddliing before purchase. Comfort is very important to me. I feel as long as I comfortable sittiing in the boat, the rest is just a matter of adjusting to that particular boat. I have also discovered that different models from the same manufacturer do not feel the same when you sit in them.
I have not been able to locate an Ellsmere yet to try, but I'm going to continue to seek. Looks like Tom (my hubby) & I will be joining a good size group of paddlers after Christmas on the Wekiva, here in Florida. I'll be eyeing everyone's boats and asking questions.
Well, Merry Christmas! Hope Ms. Santa lets you get the Extreme.