Submitted: 04-09-2007 by mblake
I've tried a lot of boats, and I found the Ikkuma to be hands down my favorite, it had a unique amazing mix of good initial stability, extreme maneuverability, and outstanding tracking with skeg down. It was as good or better than all the others I tried in each of these categories.
The Ikkuma is the most maneuverable boat I've paddled, even more maneuverable than the Pachena which is 3 feet shorter. In light winds and relatively flat water it tracks well with skeg up, with any rough conditions I've seen so far (including 3-4 ft swell, confused choppy water, and strong quartering winds), the skeg down gets the boat to track better than anything I've tried. The skeg is a Kevlar foil shape, not just a wedge, and it seems to have very little drag yet gives great tracking.
The boat has excellent acceleration and is quite fast, it's only 21-22 inches wide. However, it feels more stable than you would think, significantly more stable than any of the other narrow boats I tried.
Comfort: excellent. The seat fit me great, the backband is extremely supportive and highly adjustable. My inseam is 35” and I have size 12 shoes, this is about the max to fit. Seda was quite friendly and willing to customize and was happy to mount the foot rails a bit farther forward for me. I would not recommend the boat for anyone much taller than me, although I am relatively slender so you could be a bit wider and still fit comfortably.
Fit and finish: Excellent throughout. Overall fiberglass and paint is beautiful, hatches fit well, deck lines and fittings top notch. I ordered in Kevlar and ho day hatch, spec was 42 lbs. and that's what it came in at.
Reviewer background: 50 years old, 6'3” tall, 195 lbs., active in many sports, kayaking actively for 5 years. I was looking to go from novice-intermediate to more advanced, looking for a boat that increases my skills in adverse conditions and was reasonably tame for touring (few days camping).
Paddling conditions: San Francisco bay and occasional Sierra lakes, ocean swell to 4 feet, often choppy confused seas, large ship wakes, strong winds, although often flat and low winds in sloughs.
Prior to this boat I've paddled a lot in an Eddyline Merlin XT and my wife's Current Designs Pachena DX as well as a Pygmy Osprey (20 ft double). In the last year I investigated a zillion boats on the internet and I tried out a lot of boats from local shops, after trying a lot (CD Solstice, Seda Swift, and others) I focused on Greenland style boats that should handle rougher sea conditions including Current Designs Gulfstream, P&H Quest, Eddyline Fathom, and Necky (forgot the model). Closest boat to the Ikkuma was the CD Gulfstream, but the Ikkuma was a bit more agile, tracked better with the skeg, felt a bit more stable. And for me, the Ikkuma was much more comfortable, the Gulfstream (all of the CD boats I tried) seat pan pinched my hip bones painfully. I would have had to cut some if the fiberglass away.