Submitted: 10-03-2012 by jharwood
At 6'3", size 15 shoe, and 290 pounds, the Borealis XL was one of the few boats in which I thought I'd feel stable -- my first boat. Almost no building experience, and limited chunks of time, caused it to be 18 months from purchase to completion (maybe more). But it turned out great despite occasional frustration, and almost unbearable anticipation.
Fifteen months since final completion, I've lost 30 pounds, and feel stronger than in many years -- mostly due to paddling 3 times a week, 5 to 15 miles each. I even enter races, and surprise people how fast it is -- can keep 5 to 5.5 mph for 8 miles.
I put a Smart track rudder on and I don't like it, so seldom use it. Most of my time is in flat coastal rivers -- I have lots to learn about handling cross-chop and lumpy conditions.
Now that I am slimmer, I think I need a narrower boat -- the Borealis is very loose on me. I've tried narrower boats and actually felt more stable because the chop didn't have as much leverage upon me.
I love my Borealis XL even if some day I replace it -- it's moving me from a beginner to an intermediate paddler, and I am having a blast