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Submitted: 06-04-2013 by RR
I bought the XP507 during a sale and could only try on for size sitting in it on the floor in the shop. Mine is the composite version with the blackish hull with a clear gel coat, in my case with yellow deck. I opted for yellow as it is the highest contrast colour to water. My initial concern was my weight as I'm towards the 100kg and 6 foot 2. The boat's paddler weight range suggestion is only up to about 95kg. I didn't want to go too long in a boat, but also do only day trips, and seeing many reviews that others tourers do need to be loaded down to perform, made me think this one would be just right, and in practice this has been confirmed. For my seize the cockpit is quite snug, but OK. There is plenty of room for longer legs, but knees have to stay quite low as the deck does not have a hump. The only way to stretch for a break is to take the feet of the pedals and slide of the seat forward and lie backward.
To me the kayak sits well in the water with just the little gear I need for a day with emergency stuff plus photographic gear. For over-nighters requiring camping gear I would be pushing it, even so I have some 40kg beyond my person to reach the absolute design load limit of 145kg.
It sits quite low in the water and with its flat decks has a small profile towards side wind, but weather cocking can still not be avoided, despite the rudder. I have paddled it in choppy seas of about 0.5m, 7m crest to crest with 20 knots wind. In the up run, taking the waves head on, for me the bow was nicely balanced between wave piercing and splashing and it would hold course quite well, just requiring strength overall, not much skill. You would want to put a lot of weight into the front hatch so. Heading down wind was the opposite, not so much strength required, but the effort was to hold course. I expected the rudder to be more effective. Comparing this to the rudder on my sit on top this one seems to have too much flex.
In flat and still water you can "jog" at a speed of about 7 to 8.5km/hr. The kayak feels comfortably nimble in respect to initial stability, second stability is quite pronounced and provides some assuring feel of safety. I have not rolled it, so cannot comment how easy it is compared to others, however the deck is quite flat.
Overall the kayak looks quite good and seems to be nicely finished, but on closer review needed some detail work. After 2 hours of paddling in chop, the day hatch just behind the cockpit had about 2 liters of water in it. Filling the hatch with water saw leaks around the top deck and hull where the stabilizer tube is. Also the fishing rod carrier deck seal was somehow not OK. I applied some marine two pack polyester resin around the tubes from the inside and reseated the fishing rod holder with Sikaflex. The front carry handle had no washers, while the rear one did. I added some washers to the front to lower the risk of the fasteners pulling through the deck. The rudder had a lot of play and I tightened all bolts to just remove slop.
The hatch covers are only rubber, which is of concern to some people. Presently they fit very tight, the front one subjected to wave wash has not leaked. The rear one is more protected anyway, rear hatch is also dry apart from a very small chance of a dribble from the rudder wire tubes entering into the hull in this hatch. While in storage I leave the hatch covers off in the hope of prolonging their service life.
Overall I feel this is quite a good design, one appreciates the finer details like the camfered edge on the forward deck to lessen paddle strike. Although this is not the fastest boat (with me in it :) I'm quite pleased with it.
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