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Submitted: 11-26-2007 by deanodives

My search for the right kayak lasted 2 years and I went back and forth on mainly two issues. The old most favorite debate..."to skeg or to rudder" that is the question.

I did manage to narrow my choices down to two different boats. With the wonderful help of Alder Creek kayaks in Portland Oregon I got to paddle a Wilderness Systems FG Tempest 180 and a Northwest Pursuit XL in FG. I settled on the Pursuit. It was a tough call but 2.5 yrs later have no regrets.

The Pursuit is a dream to paddle regardless of the conditions. I started out kayaking in the regular Pursuit and struggled with balance and stability. I finally had to admit that at 6'2" and #250 I was a little big for that particular boat. So the decision was made to purchase the XL. The XL has a little more beam than the regular Pursuit, its about the same length and has about 3/4" more deck height. The added deck height is great for carrying additional gear for that longer weekend or that long awaited 7 day fishing/camping trip. The XL is 17'6" long and still turns well without the rudder down and will spin on a dime with the rudder down. One of the first things I did was reverse the rudder control cables. Everyone should try this. Think about it, leaning to the left and pushing the left pedal seems to be the natural way to turn the boat to the right. It took absolutely no getting used to and we all found it pretty natural and intuitive. For 2 years I lived in Vancouver, Washington and got to paddle in quite a few lakes in Oregon as well as Washington. Even paddling in waves 2'-3' high the boat handled well and was very predictable. Call Northwest kayaks in Seattle they will be more than happy to talk about their boats and make recommendations. They even were kind enough to give me a tour of the facility. Great boats, great company. I can't say enough about the service and advice. Regardless of the boat you choose try reversing the cables, Right to left and left to right, you'll love it.

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