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Submitted: 06-30-2009 by Michael McCoy
The Nemo which I purchased used from a private party has turned out to be one of the most exciting boats of my 31 year paddling career. It made me feel like a kid again! Surfing a following 3' sea in 15-20 mph winds was the first yahoo. The second was discovering, as I cleaned and waxed the boat, that the lines are intricate, thoughtful and perfectly formed. The fit and finish is the best of any of the 5 boats I currently own with the exception of the Kayakpro Jet which I also enjoy immensely.
I have previously owned an Epic 18x Ultra which suffered from poor Chinese construction. I understand Epic has since switched factories. It seems everyone has some trouble at the start with Chinese manufacturing. I ultimately sold the Epic, not because of its several manufacturing flaws, but because it just felt too large for me (5'6" 145lbs).
I keep careful training records and find that the Nemo is the equal of the Epic in speed and efficiency. All of my workouts in the Nemo lie along the same curve of heart rate (effort) and speed (time over 5k) as the Epic. So I gave up no speed and got a boat that is for me 50% more stable in rough water.
The rudder system appears to be designed for low drag and light weight. As such it is a bit of a compromise. It is good enough to offer course correction in cross wind and current and I like that it really does not add appreciable drag.
One final note, while the seat in the Epic is a real weak point (Epic replaced mine 3 times in one year due to failure of the forward connecting point - I suggest you put 1/4" close cell foam under each side to slow this process) the seat in the Nemo is a real plus. It is fairly flat but curves up just perfectly at the sides and back to allow for comfortable paddling without a back band. For trips of over 3 hours I may add a small foam block behind the seat to serve as a "touch point" for my lower lumbar to keep my form up.
In the end kayaks are very personal objects, almost like the clothes we wear. It is really important to find the one that fits you. For me, it is the Nemo.
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