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Submitted: 08-14-2013 by Ron

I purchased my Clear Water Designs Nunu from an individual on Craigslist. I wasn't familiar with the company, but researched them as much as I could by reading other reviews on Paddling.net and watching videos on YouTube, and thought that it looked like a couple of steps up from the common boats in its size range, the Old Town Otter and Perception Swifty.

The first time we took the Nunu out, the wind was blowing 15 or 20 mph, and there was a mild chop on the lake. I liked the way the Nunu made steady progress into the wind, and how the relatively high sides and small cockpit opening kept water from washing into the boat. When wind is across the boat, the Nunu wants to turn into the wind, probably because the paddlers exposed torso is a few inches behind the center of drag, something fairly common in kayaks, especially this size. This also happens when the wind is blowing from behind, but in either instance, an occasional corrective stroke puts everything right.

As the day wore on, the wind gradually died down and the water became almost completely smooth. Under these conditions the Nunu tracked, not perfectly, but quite acceptably and glided well between strokes. I practiced using a slow and restful stroke...1...2...3... rhythm, during which the nose would veer just a few degrees away from the side being paddled. As long as paddling continued, the Nunu would stay on course, headed directly for whatever landmark it was pointed toward on the other side of the lake. If one quits paddling altogether, the nose would eventually veer off course and the boat would sort of spin out and drift sideways, something else which occurs with some frequency, especially in shorter boats.

The Nunu feels as if it is moving pretty quickly when underway, faster and with significantly less effort than either of my Grumman aluminum canoes, but probably not as fast as my old 15 foot Folbot. Bubbles and flotsam on the water just skim past, and the landscape glides by at an entertaining rate. Paddling at a relaxed rate the Nunu is pretty quiet; spirited paddling can create a little bit of a wake and some water sounds.

The manufacturers suggested price is $549, significantly more than either an Otter or a Swifty...so why would anyone pay so much more for a Nunu? Part of the reason is that the Nunu includes features which are simply not present or even available in the less expensive boats... such as a sealed bulkhead with a dry storage compartment (sealed by a transparent screw-in hatch) in the stern, a seat with an inflatable lumbar support, and full deck rigging on both bow and stern.

From a construction standpoint, the build quality is very good, and the lines of the Nunu are very attractive. The bow and stern are fairly sharp, widening out to a gently rounded flat bottom. There are a pair of deep channels running under the cockpit which help improve tracking and stiffen the bottom, preventing "oil canning" while underway.

Additionally, the Nunu is available in a large number of stunning colors. Mine happens to be their "Seafoam", a vivid green, gradually fading to a bright yellow in places... it looks like a leaf near the end of summer when the green is turning to yellow, but not yet brown.
So, you pay more, but you get more...I paid $300 for my used Nunu, which included a nice paddle and a bilge pump, and I thought I got a good deal.

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