Submitted: 03-04-2009 by alanbe
Liquid Logic has a hit on their hands with this boat.
I've had my share of boats over the years, trust me! I've had 18+ foot fiberglass sea kayaks, hybrid kayaks, sit-on-tops, rec and intermediate light touring sit-in poly kayaks, etc. Been doing this for years and I'm not some newbie in a honeymoon phase just b/c it's a new boat. However, I have ZERO whitewater experience. Hope to change that with this boat!
The XP9 is stable, comfortable, easily controlled, and playful. The skeg is a must and it works flawlessly! Skeg up and this boat becomes HIGHLY maneuverable. One forward or reverse sweep turn with a paddle and this boat will spin like a top, in place, a full 360*. Unheard of!
Skeg down and she tracks better than any 9-10ft kayak I've been in. However, the skeg in the down position does not really take away from the responsiveness. Yes, it's much quicker to respond to sweep turns with the skeg up, but it's still possible with the skeg down. The skeg definitely helps when going straight. Without it down, the boat will tend to turn quite easily and slight shifts in weight or a lean will exaggerate the movement of the boat. High paddle strokes help.
The skeg on my boat makes a bit of noise while deployed b/c it knocks against either side of the recessed area while paddling. It's a bit annoying, but can easily be fixed by adding a bit of sticky minicel foam to prevent the plastic skeg from bouncing against the boat in that recessed skeg cut-out area.
The "Bad-Ass" seating is heavenly. My rear never got tired while out playing today. It's very comfortable and easy to remove for cleaning. The adjustments work like a charm, too. It's quite simple to adjust on-the-fly. Love the footpegs and thigh braces. Really turns this kayak into a jet fighter, meaning I can settle into the Bad-Ass cockpit of the XP9 and feel like I'm part of the boat instead of just being a passenger. Love that feeling.
Since Native Watercraft is a subsidiary of Legacy Paddlesports, the only other seating that's comparable to the Bad-Ass in the XP9 is the First Class Seating as found in the Ultimate, Magic, and Marvel kayaks. The Bad-Ass seating in the XP9 is FAR better than the DVC seating of the Manta Ray. (I've had both the Manta Ray and Ultimate, so I'm able to give a first-hand review.)
The build quality of the XP9 is top notch and better than most I've seen...even next to pricey glass boat manufacturers. What else would you expect from LL/Legacy Paddlesports? Not a blemish anywhere. Not even a tiny scratch! Not a drop of water through the skeg cable mount. Not a shaving in the boat from post-production fitting. Color me impressed and kudos to EVERYONE at LL for their attention to detail. I'm sure these boats pass through a lot of different hands during the process from start to finish. You'd never be able to tell.
This new crossover kayak from LL is going to really open a lot of doors for folks. I'll be able to hit my local lakes, streams, rivers, creeks, ponds, and even take it beyond-the-breakers without fear. Heck, I'd like to venture into some whitewater with this thing pretty soon.
This boat won't have any problems taking me down my local creek for an overnighter, taking me out for a lazy day on the pond, or taking me to my favorite spot for a little bass fishing. I won't take any long multi-day sea exploration trips, but this boat will do what I want it to do and leave a smile on my face.