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Submitted: 07-26-2007 by Jbead
I have been paddling my Pisgah for 4 months now. Approximately 30 trips and 200 miles in and you can really see the compromise nature of this boat - good and bad. I am 6'0, 205 and the boat fits me well.
First the bad - some real quality issues: front bulkhead was not sealed fully, big enough gap to get my pinky through in two places. Appeared to be a miscut bulkhead as much as a lack of sealant. Hatch covers were super tight, applied 303 and they got super loose. They are difficult to get sealed securely and I have had them pop off when doing reentries. Plastic seems thinner than similar boats (Manitou, Carolina, etc) - my hull has deformed around the seat with one pronounced hump where the front left seat connection is. Scratches easily, but to be fair I have not babied it on the rocky rivers around here. In chop of 2' or more it oilcans much more than other rotomolded boats I've paddled. While probably harmless, it is disconcerting.
So all these negatives, what do I like about it:
Does everything tolerably. I can comfortably run it through Class I and II rapids, while not super fast it cruises comfortably (although with a noticeable bow wake), takes an edge well and tracks decently with edging - even in the wind. It is very responsive - with aggressive edging and weight transfer (i.e. leaning forward or back) it will turn tightly either into or away from the wind. The pronounced rocker at the stern makes it much more playful than this boat would otherwise be. I have successfully rolled it although it has been an effort to get there. Tons of volume. Surfs well - you can put it on top of a wavetrain and play pretty effectively for a 14' boat. I've had more trouble surfing wakes/waves; mostly related to accelerating quickly enough to get on top of them.
The boat is very comfortable and purchased used (read inexpensively) it has been a great step up for my rec boat. It has really allowed my skills to develop and by not going with the rudder it has forced me to pay attention to how the boat responds to my body and paddle.
Relatively low rating is related to the general quality of the boat particularly stiffness of plastic. Compared to other similar boats I've paddled, it seems better preparation for a "real" seakayak. I'm still contemplating using the Pisgah for a 10 day paddle next year on a combination of rocky rivers and big water. It will remain my boat of choice for river trips with long flatwater sections between ripples/Class I and II stuff.
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