Submitted: 08-31-2000 by Michael Heikka
The Narpa is the SUV (sport utility vehicle) of the plastic sea kayak world. It is heavy, durable, holds a ton of cargo, and is built to take serious abuse. The Narpa has good primary and secondary stability, tolerable hull speed, and turns predictably without excess effort. You can put first time paddlers in Narpas and they'll have a good time. It doesn't have the twichy feeling the chined Looksha IV has, and will tolerate more paddler misbehavior than that boat.
The Narpa accommodates all but the largest paddlers (e.g. over 200 lbs or taller than 6'2"), and has reasonable footroom. The cockpit opening is fairly large and easy to get into tail first, and the seatback is very HARD, (but less of a problem for larger paddlers than the Looksha IV seat.) It has sufficient deck rigging to do what you want, and a sturdy rudder that works well. You can pack a ton of geat in the Narpa, and it has large hatches for easy cargo access.
You'll only "outgrow" a Narpa if you paddle a lot of other (faster) boats, and crave higher performance. But when the dust settles, you may end up back at the Narpa if you want a durable, reliable, well made kayak that you don't have to baby or worry about. You won't win any speed races with the Narpa, but you won't have to worry about hull cracks, significant oil-canning, broken parts, or brittle pieces. The Narpa will probably outlast the vehicle you use to get it to the water. And when you finally bore of it, you'll be able to sell it for far more than other boats. If money (and space) were no object, most paddlers would probably keep a Narpa laying around for infrequent paddling guests/friends to enjoy.