Submitted: 05-20-2011 by JA
Attended a Paddling event in Port Gamble, WA to test out the last boat on my list - The Hurricane Tracer 165. I have paddled a number of different boats rentals in the SEA area: Necky Looksha 14 and 17, Chatham 16, Eliza Eskia; Eddyline Equinox, Journey, Fathom and Fathom LV.
I'm a beginner, so I wasn't trying execute rolls or anything and have a pretty good feel for what I want out of a kayak.
Now that I've qualified myself...
The Hurricane Tracer 165 is a good boat I think for the price. The Thermoformed ABS is my favorite material, and although there was some flex in the hull when pressing down on the back, it felt solid. The cockpit was snug. I'm not a fan of the seat as it would get uncomfortable fast, and the foot pegs are hard to adjust. I needed to get out of the boat to adjust them. This wouldn't be a problem though if you own this boat, because you probably won't be changing the foot pegs at all.
On the water, it does feel a little unstable. The wind had picked up for a time and I don't think the boat was too affected by that. It is definitely maneuverable, and just a little bit of skeg changed that. It wasn't sluggish, but its not a racer either.
Overall, as I said above this is a good boat for the price. Its very entry level. I think it provides a good platform to learn from. If I had been wearing immersion gear in the wind and current of my test paddle, I would've felt more confident about putting it through the paces a bit more.