Submitted: 07-25-2008 by Marshall
I have had the new P&H Scoprio for about 10 days and have had it out in enough conditions to report a bit on itís performance.
First off, I am biased towards P&H, Venture and Impex kayaks as I thoroughly enjoy paddling most all the models they make and consequentially is why I carry them in my Showroom and use them on in my Instructional Fleet.
I am 6í, 200lbs, size 11 shoe, 33Ē inseam and 34 waist. I paddle with a very high angle style and usually use a Mitchell Black Magic 215cm, Nigel Foster Hi-Pro 210cm or a Werner Cyprus 215cm paddle.
Max. Width 22Ē (behind the cockpit)
Max Deck Height 13.75Ē (at front of coaming)
Cockpit 31Ēx16.5Ē Inside Opening (I get 31.5Ē on the model in front of me)
Weight 55lbs (Feels right although I havenít put it on a scale)
Material 3 ply Corelite
Skeg spring released Foil P&H blade.
Outfitting and Ergonomics
The kayak comes with the classic P&H seat/backband. The backband is adjustable via strap secured with locking D-Rings. Thigh braces are modular and can be moved fore/aft under the coaming by loosening the set screws and sliding on their tracks about 3Ē total travel. Foot pegs are the standard P&H equipment on control rods that can be adjusted from the seated position. Upon sitting in the Scorpio my initial impression was that I found it very comfy. Thought I would need to pad out the sides a bit for rolling and that was borne out by my Day 1 observations. Higher deck than I am used to in my Impex Force 4 but scalloped front deck looks like it should allow for a close high angle stroke without impediment. Very easy entry and exit for my legs without striking the front coaming. Front Day Hatch is dry, easily reached and is sealed off from the cockpit area by a separate bulkhead that forms and follows the upper underside of the deck. The rivets attaching the deck box are recessed into the front deck keeping the surface clean. Deck box was thoughtfully placed and curved so as to not prove to be an impediment for my feet sliding in and out from their position of the foot pegs. Rear deck height is a bit tall at 10.5Ē (9Ē off the base of the seat)
Day 1 Paddle = Flat calm Hudson River. 2 mph flooding tidal current.
Getting into the kayak on flat water at the Hyde Park Landing the entry was simple with a straddle. The long cockpit opening made for a simple affair of swinging my legs over and in. Once in I noticed that the primary stability gave a very pleasant reassuring feel. With no forward speed heeling the kayak over to find the tipping points it came up on itís side more easily than itís cousin the Cetus but still had the feeling of increasing resistance nearing the breakover point at the end of secondary stability. For me this was at about a 65 degree heel to the boat. Moving out the kayak quickly accelerates and immediately made me wish I brought my GPS widget. This kayak feels fast! It seems to maintain a fast cruising speed near ĺ of it top end speed or at least as fast as I could push it. The deck scalloping seems to prevent whacking the sides of the boat with the paddle blade The kayak is narrower in front of the cockpit so it seemed to mesh well with my stroke. Iíll have to get more details next time out in flat conditions with the gps so as to get some more accurate numbers, but so far I like it.
Out in the mooring field now, letís see what it does around the buoys! Like itís Cetus cousin a slight sweep stroke to initiate a skidding turn while at speed, heeling the kayak to the outside of the turn ripped a turn measuring 16í in diameter. Ripped is the adjective I use for the sound of turbulence off the stern as it came whipping around wasnít a sound effect I was expecting. Well that was fun! Letís try to do that with an aggressive bow rudder and a cross bow rudder. Result = 13í turn diameter = FUN! I didnít try much with a carving turn so Iíll have to report on that later. Throughout these slalom like maneuvers what kept striking me was how well mannered the kayak was throughout and it seemed to be quite forgiving throughout all phases of the turn. Should prove to be interesting in rough water. Now to try with the skeg deployed. Mechanism is very smooth and adjustable by increments. The foil skeg had very little noticeable drag but made the kayak quite firm in itís tracking. Not hard enough that the skeg had to be withdrawn to turn but definitely felt itís presence. Forgot it was down and fell back into doing a skidding turn, wheeeeeee! Wait that was with the skeg down, what gives? Upon writing a note to P&H as to how that happened I received an email explaining that the foil skeg maintains a hard locked position by the forces of the water passing by on either side of the foil but when the kayak is heeled over and the stern is sliding to the side, there is flex in the system and the blade allows water to spill off more easily allowing the kayak to skid when heeled over even with the skeg deployed. Not the result I was expecting although I think I can visualize how it works.
Decided it was time to cool off and what curious to see if the higher back deck had any effect on a c to c roll or a sweep roll. Hanging upside down the outfitting allowed good firm contact as I moved into my set up. Trying a c to c roll first on my right side (Iím a righty) the kayak popped up with a crisp movement and didnít take any undue effort. I did shift over in the seat a bit so my guess at needing a bit of padding on the sides for better fit/power transfer was correct. Same side sweep roll same effect and the higher back deck didnít factor in either. I imagine that the Greenlandic crowd looking to do lay back rolls and other such underwater gymnastics might not be pleased but thatís not how this kayak was designed. Same style off-side rolls had the same performance but with the usual lesser coordination of my off-side made for a messy sweep roll.
Day 2 Paddle = 15-20mph sustained winds from the South on an ebbing tide resulting in 2-3í waves and whitecaps. South facing beach at Plum Point, New Windsor, NY at the Adirondack Mountain Club Paddlefest.
Less than ideal conditions for a class and demo settings but made for a lot of fun in pushing the Scorpio. Quick and efficient seal launch out through the breaking waves. Bow rode up and over 2í break with very little water over the front deck. I immediately noticed the very polite and reassuring primary stability even when turned abreast of the waves. I didnít have to work at staying upright. Maneuverability was excellent but also with plenty of speed to catch onto waves to surf. While on the wave face the Scorpio reacted well to low brace turns to go cut across the wave face. Wish the waves were bigger to get more room to try to do a 180 and switch into a backsurf but I had limited time. Weather cocking didnít seem to present itself but I was also playing within 50 yards of shore so I didnít have time to paddle for distance abeam of the wind and waves. Neither did I deploy the skeg as I was horsing around in the chop and not traveling. Landing back at the beach on the back face of a wave the Scopio was a snap to quickly hop out of due to the long cockpit opening, before the next wave washed up behind me. Throughout all the splashing and goofing around in the chop all 4 hatches stayed absolutely dry. Kajaksport hatches do work and stay put.
While I would like to put some distance on the kayak in mixed conditions, so far I find that the Scoprio fits into the top of the Sport Utility Kayak category allowing you to have speed, nimbleness, ruggedness and reliability in one very well thought out and put together package. This kayak should be on everyoneís Try Out list whoís thinking of a British Style sea kayak.