Submitted: 02-06-2012 by water_walker
From a distance, the lines of the Jaeger look fairly traditional. Stepping closer, you see what sets it apart. The bow and stern ends are sharp but not upswept, and although sleek, carry a fair amount of volume. A moderate v follows the entire keel line, reducing the volume in the lower half of the boat. Aside from that, the Jaeger is all convex curves, with nary a concavity (or accompanying bulginess) to be found. This gives it clean, muscular look, but more importantly contributes to its predictability and positive handling in rough water.
The Jaeger features a gently arched deck and is overall a medium volume symmetrical kayak that widens slightly above the waterline. For this 5'11" 165 lb. paddler, the cockpit represents a happy synergy of looseness and snugness. The length and shape of the cockpit opening allow for paddling "knees up" racing style. The shape of the deck also provides for solid control when the knees are out wide.
As with many v hull boats, the Jaeger has well-defined edges when leaned -- and the edge is just where you want it. The Jaeger turns easily enough on a lean that it can be used for guiding; when on the level, even without the skeg, it tracks very straight
The Jaeger gets speed from its length, narrow waterline width, and rail-like tracking. It gets its maneuverability from its moderate rocker and medium chine, which make it highly responsive when placed on edge.
The Walrus Jaeger features recessed deck fittings, ample deck bungies (including fore and aft space paddle setup), and perimeter lines. It also includes an adjustable skeg, compass mount, recessed cockpit rim, 3 hatch openings (front round, day hatch, rear oval), snap on Sea-lect Design hatch covers with added finger-loops, and a smooth and durable finish both inside and out.
When paddling the boat in flat water with a wing paddle, the Jaeger felt fast and efficient. It tracked and handled well. I liked that the Jaeger held such a good line, even when being powered by a wing. Also noted that the deck shape in front of the cockpit facilitates good paddle placement at the top of the stroke. Also again appreciated the cockpit shape that allowed me to paddle in a knees up style. The seat is designed to allow for full rotation.
When paddling the Jaeger in waves and chop, I noted that it felt exceptionally smooth and reassuring. Very neutral in the wind. Caught small waves easily when trying to surf.
When I conducted GPS trials of the Jaeger, in flatwater, using a wing paddle, I found the Jaeger easy to bring up to 4.5 knots. 5.2 knots (6 mph) was a fast cruising pace. The resistance curve steepened at speeds above 5.2 knots.
Information on the four different layups, which range from <40 - 46 lbs, is available on the Walrus Kayaks website. Walrus is taking a "no compromise" approach in their layups, utilizing the best materials and latest technologies to build a kayak that is both durable and lightweight.
Overall, I find the Jaeger to be a beautiful, quality-built kayak that offers an excellent blend of flatwater speed and rough water handling.
*Note: I have recently become a dealer of Walrus Kayaks. Importantly, we chose to carry Walrus Kayaks because we like them, and not the other way around.