Submitted: 11-15-2009 by PhilS
I must be one of the first owners of a used Illusion. The seller immediately bought two new ones, with slightly different layouts.
I was looking for a high performance, maneuverable boat that tracked straight, could perform in wind and was not slow. A kick-ass surf and tidal rapids boat, but also good for touring and mellow day trips. I found it.
What it does best: this is a great rolling boat. In conditions, it will do exactly what you want it to do. Mine is the infusion fiberglass, at 43 lbs it is noticeably lighter than most 17 ft fiberglass boats. The large amount of rocker allows you to alter the handling by leaning forwards and backwards, which I am still learning. I have no idea how the Illusion can be so straight tracking and not slow with so much rocker. It accelerates well, though of course this design is not the fastest.
Other reviewers claim the Illusion is stable and suitable for a wide range of paddlers, but I disagree. I do not recommend this performance boat to lower skilled paddlers, they need more stability. This boat is for those like me who are trying to become expert, or those who already are. See the video of Warren at Skook, note the no-paddle, no-arms roll.
The big problem with owning an Illusion is how to deal with all the requests to trade boats. I don't mind loaning it during my lunch, but please understand why I prefer my boat to yours.