Submitted: 07-27-2010 by westcoastal
I recently purchased a new kevlar Isle. I have been touring in my Nigel Foster Shadow for several years and I really like the boat, yet the fit was never quite right. I am 6'4", have very long legs, size 12 feet and weigh in well over 230 lbs. I am a fan of hard chine boats, and wanted something with a higher foredeck and even more volume for longer trips. At my size, all of my "stuff" takes up more room than a smaller paddler.
The Isle fits the bill perfectly. I was hooked after a 30 minute test paddle. This is the first boat I have owned where I don't have the foot braces all the way toward the bow, so there is room in front of them for a dry bag or two, the forward storage is very good and the rear storage is massive. Easy to bring everything I needed on a recent trip of the west coast of Vancouver Island, with room left over.
The boat has decent initial stability, and edges really well. I found paddling confused seas with 3'-4' chop no problem, it cuts through waves very well and locks onto the edge as well as my Shadow. The boat sits fairly high in the water when empty, so weather-cocking is noticeable, but once loaded it tracks really well, and I didn't use the skeg very often, except in following seas. Paddled one day in 4'-5' swells with opposing chop and there were no issues. The boat is responsive and predictable. Even though it is 24" wide, it is still quite fast, paddling at 3 knots loaded was almost effortless.