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Submitted: 08-06-2013 by Lucidus
This is a follow-up to my two previous reviews of my Q400X carbon/kevlar boat.
I have now owned the kayak almost 4 years.
My skill level has increased to Paddle Canada Level II and experience now includes some camping trips to the exposed west coast of Vancouver Island.
I continue to be satisfied with this boat, the only one I own, which is a good compromise for me between agile "play boats" and high volume camping boats. My kayak buddies almost all have two or more kayaks.
This short boat performs well in waves up to the 2 meters (crest to trough) that I have been in and in larger swells. As far as I can tell, it is as stable and controllable as any of the boats I have paddled with, which includes those up to 18 feet. I routinely load a few pounds of emergency gear in the forward hatch on day trips to keep the bow in the water going through waves, otherwise it tends to "bang" down.
I have removed the factory seat and now sit directly on the plastic base, which for me is quite comfortable, and have made a short foam "back" which is just high enough to keep me from sliding backwards. I find that I should paddle sitting up straight with no back support, so this works well for me.
The cockpit opening is short, several inches shorter than most of the newer designed boats and narrower at the forward tip, which means it is hard for me with long legs to get my legs in and out to do a "straddle" type of launch/exit. If QCC redesigns this boat, a better cockpit keyhole shape should be a priority. Also, a lower back deck behind the seat (but not over the back storage area) would make rolling much easier (as it is, it is impossible to lay back on the deck as rolls are now taught here), and a lower/flatter "hump" in the deck over the leg area would be better in my view. The hull design is great, but the deck could be improved.
Speed is good. In calm water I can usually stay with the 16.5 to 17 foot boats, but not the 17.5-18 foot ones. Interestingly, in bad chop the Q400X is as fast as any other boat I have paddled with, which is nice since when it is time to "get out of here", I often lead the pack.
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