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Submitted: 02-13-2007 by WHP
Just to add to previous reviews...the Kahuna is a wonderful and versatile boat. When empty it surfs very well and turns on a wave face better than most sea kayaks, except possibly, a Mariner Coaster. As mentioned below, it makes a good play boat!
Weather cocking can be minimized by placing more weight in the stern so consider this when packing. I spent two weeks paddling the Quintana Roo coast in steady 20+ knot crosswinds and, once I properly arranged my gear, I had little issue with weathercocking. (Remember that moving a seat fore or aft can have a major influence on tracking/turning/weathercocking as you pack.)
I have had some difficulty getting the keel line of the skin to line up with the keel of the frame (on three different boats). It requires a bit of wrestling before final tensioning of the keel bar and inflation of the sponsons. Also, the old style, one piece glass coaming can be challenging but inserting the front and back before the sides seems to work the best from my experience.
The boat is quite comfortable with the inflatable "expedition seat" and holds a surprising amount of gear. I have packed it with gear for trips along the Mexican/Carribean coast, the Maine Island Trail, Florida Keys, many Florida rivers and once I got my system down I found I would have extra space available.
I have also spent some time in high winds and surf. Skin-on-frame has a totally different feel than glass. I usually paddle my Coaster in storm conditions and surf but occasionally use the Kahuna and it handles rough conditions well without the slapping and pounding. The hull flexes and absorbs much of the impact, dampening the power of the sea. It is a beautiful, poetic feeling and easy to get used to.
I also use it to fly fish...sit on the deck behind the cockpit (on a cushion or PFD), dangle legs over the side for boat control and cast into mangroves for snapper and snook, or shuffle across flats for reds. Too much fun! They are great for the apartment dweller with little space for a hardshell boat and it is wonderful to drive down the interstate with your boat INSIDE your car!
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