Submitted: 09-11-2007 by Cam
I set out looking for what would be my 5th Kayak. I had a few certain criteria, as I was going to be spending a lot of money, it had to be exactly what I was looking for. Over 16.5' long, under 23" wide, fiberglass, under 57lbs, rudder, comfortable padded seat, low backband, lots of deck rigging, a yellow deck and white hull, good tracking, capable of week long trips, well made, rubber hatches. I looked at, and researched a lot of boats, and kept coming back to the X-Ray, which is currently only available at 3 stores in Canada. I suppose price had a lot to do with it, almost $1000 cheaper than any other boat that I considered to be comparable.
I test paddled it first and immediately knew it was much more advanced than anything that I had ever been it. The initial stability was medium to low, and actually a bit tippy, compared to what I was used to. The secondary stability was great. I felt almost locked up on edge. This was reassuring that it wouldn't just keep going all the way over. I quickly got used to the slightly tippy primary stability, and after a few hours, I didn't even think about it anymore.
The finish of the boat seemed top quality, and the deck rigging was more than ample. At first I didn't like the angled sides of the deck, but they soon grew on me, as this really sets the look of this boat apart from the rest. The speed was impressive. I could easily cruise at 6 mph, according to my GPS and could hit 7.5 mph in a sprint. I couldn't get the rudder to work properly, but I figured it just needed to be set up correctly, so I didn't worry about it. I finally talked myself into it, and made a deal.
Once home, I completely went over the boat and found a few points of minor concern. The rudder cables were a spectra type material, and stretched terribly, thus rendering them useless. I replaced them with a non stretch orange braided synthetic cable that I got at some outdoor show, and it worked perfectly. However, I shouldn't have to do this on a new boat? The seat back kept falling down too low, so I added a second ss bolt on each side which corrected the problem. I found a few slight imperfections in the gelcoat finish upon closer inspection, but nothing serious. The inside finish is medium to poor at the bulkhead seams and stern, but the rest looks good. I like the fact that it has a fiberglass seam inside and out, and a coating of some sort over the interior fiberglass. This costs extra with some manufacturers. I can tell that this will be a boat that I will have to grow into.
I feel that this would make an excellent 2nd or 3rd boat depending on skill level, but likely not a good first boat. I am sure that I will enjoy this boat for many years to come.