Submitted: 10-18-2010 by Vince
In the hands of a 150-180lb paddler of moderate skills and experience, as fun & lively a day boat with near unlimited potential for Greenland skills learning as one is likely to find.
In the hands of an experienced paddler bent on close-in conditions paddling, it takes on the characteristics of a rally car, able to do anything the paddler asks of it, most often intuitively.
This is the 10yr. review of my Anas Acuta, which I had customized skeg-less with a forward moved front bulkhead (to accommodate a Henderson foot pump with my 6' ht.) for the express purpose of close-in conditions paddling. At 200lbs with a generous load of gear for day tripping, I sacrifice some speed in flatter conditions but easily make up for it when longer boats struggle in bigger conditions. Worth noting, at my weight the Anas will ram through surf instead of ride over it. 170~180lbs is about the breakpoint for what would be considered a "dry" ride.
Weathercocking in flat seas over 10kts, a skeg would make holding course easier, granted, but add waves to the mix and hybrid strokes & experience will easily keep it on course, due to its crisp chines and tremendous rocker. This extreme chine / rocker combination is as sensitive as any sea kayak as I have ever paddled to weight shifts; fore/aft as well as side/side, great for showcasing various strokes, draws, edging, etc.
Although the Anas will not surf as easily as the Pintail, the Anas will not only stay planted in confused and combining wave conditions, it will truly come alive and make clapotis fun to paddle in, even a half paddle length from rocks, sea walls, whatever – even at speed.
If pushed hard for speed or sprint, it is best paddled with a Greenland paddle as a wide Euro blade will tend to find the 1st inch or so of deck edge upon catch, due in part to the fish form design keeping much of the boat's 20" beam ahead of the knees. Though it would mess up the lines of the boat, it would be interesting to scallop the deck down to the waterline through the foot to knee region in order to accommodate power paddling with a euro blade.
To say the Anas is a joy to roll is an understatement. It inspires you to keep going further. Greenland trick rolls, hand rolling, Reenter & Roll, whatever. Just foam out the seatback, post your head on the rear deck, and you’ll be good to go. The rear deck is about as low as you’re going to find on a manufactured sea kayak and the ocean cockpit is guaranteed to provide instant rock solid stability for all skills as well as Reenter & Rolling. With size 11 1/2 feet, my solution to the low deck height has been to foam out the foot well and angle it forward from the foot arch.
Although the hatches have remained watertight through the past decade, why would anyone want to load down such a sport machine out at the ends with camp gear, etc. and strip it of its playability? That said, yes, it can be done with a minimalist weekend load – 1 1/2 man tent, warm Wx sleeping bag, food & beverage. The important thing is that the day hatch is larger than it needs to be and is easily accessible on-water.
Although easier to carry by the ends than by the toggles, the toggles and perimeter deck line will be welcomed by the swimmers if you do swim supports, and by fellow ‘rescuers’ during skills courses or practice.