Submitted: 01-21-2011 by willowleaf
I know people get tired of seeing everything from rubber banana slugs up rated a "10" but this little boat really has no drawbacks as far as I am concerned and I've owned 7 kayaks and paddled at least a dozen besides for extended trips. I'm 5' 5", 155# and an intermediate paddler on big rivers and lakes, small fast streams, the Great Lakes and northern marine coasts.
For the money the 15LV is the most versatile and fun kayak I have ever owned. Lighter than most its size at 46 lbs., it carries easily and is thoughtfully outfitted. They are made in the UK rather than China and I think it shows in the finish. Great seat with an adjustable back that converts to a backband type or taller cruising style, snug but easily entered keyhole cockpit (even with my longish legs I can enter butt first and scoot them in), sturdy foot braces, perfectly placed thigh hooks and roomy hatches. Rigged to take a rudder -- though I opted not to buy it with one it would be a cinch to add later. Pretty boat, too, in my case the snow-pea green fade.
Best of all, just a pleasure to paddle. It is fast and tracks well, but also turns nicely, Primary is a little wiggly at first (not for me but for friends used to rec boats who I've let try it) but not at all once you are moving and the secondary is excellent -- I can edge it til the coaming is underwater and it won't go over unless I really push and drop hard (like to practice rolls).
Despite being technically a touring kayak I have had a blast with it in shallow fast streams, even knuckle-dragging it across gravel bars and banging through chutes in class 1 rapids. With the thigh hooks and hull shape I can hip-steer it through a sinuous line with my paddle over my head. On flatwater I can keep up with good paddlers in longer boats. I've got fancier and costlier boats myself but since I picked this little beauty up on sale last summer I have been neglecting the rest of the fleet.
I highly recommend this as a second kayak for anyone looking to move up from a rec boat or a first kayak for anyone who wants something fun, versatile, sharp looking and reasonably priced. Comfortable for a newbie but has the talent to let you learn some skills.