Submitted: 04-23-2012 by davbart
An update on my previous review after a couple of years and a lot of miles, including a recent 215 mile trip from Raleigh, NC to Beaufort, NC. The trip was primarily on the Neuse River and included Class 1+ Rapids and open water. I used both single and double blade paddles.
I am thoroughly impressed with this boat's characteristics and capabilities. It is fast and seaworthy and responds well to both single and double blades.
On my recent trip I was paddling with mostly kayakers and I arrived at each break spot and camp every evening long before they did. It is easy to maintain 4.5 MPH in this boat all day long with a single blade. With a double blade into headwinds of 15 MPH I could maintain about 4.8 MPH with a day long effort. I had to regularly wait for the kayakers on open water.
During the trip we had an open water crossing of about a mile in 20-25 MPH steady winds with gusts over 30, and 2 to 3 ft confused seas primarily perpendicular to the crossing. I made it successfully across with the double blade paddle, and never really felt like I was going to lose it. Yes, I had to throw a few braces, but so did the sea kayakers. Matter of fact, one of the experienced sea kayakers described the conditions as qualifying for rough water according to the BCU standards, and three paddlers didn't make the crossing.
The XL is truly a 10.