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Submitted: 08-22-2011 by simon
Since giving up on longer sea kayaks I've been after a shorter tourer that performs like a sea kayak. I've had Dagger Charlestons and both sizes of Alchemy and a North Shore Aspect, now I've just got myself an Expression 14. This is a UK model and is easily the best of the pre-mentioned bunch by a long way.
The build quality is superb, much much better than the rather ugly and thrown together Northshore; the comfort is superb, the Alchemys were good but a little low on the foredeck. The outfitting in the Perception is similar but has a bit more room. I went for the essence type backband rather than the awful armchair that comes as standard - Perception is happy to make the switch just ask when you order. The seat has a leg lifter and the thigh braces are adjustable. The skeg is a rope type affair with spring loaded mechanism; I thought I would prefer a wire skeg but this system is simpler and if you ground with the skeg down the blade just springs back up into the skeg box.
On the water the kayak is responsive and fun, fast, easy to turn but easy to keep straight as well. I've surfed some small waves and this kayak is fun, the last few outings have been in quite choppy confused conditions, the kayak is super steady and stable without feeling like a barge, the bow rides over most of the chop keeping you dry. In wind the kayak doesn't seem to have any real tendency to weathercock. I've only found the skeg useful in quartering seas where the kayak has a tendency to broach, but most kayaks do in these conditions.
I like the simple 2 hatch design; I can get my ekla trolley in the stern hatch without having to take it apart.
I feel i have finally found my ideal kayak with this one and look forward to many years of enjoyment.
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