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Submitted: 08-22-2013 by jbessman
I'm a flatwater fitness paddler who simply likes to go fast. My first time in the Looksha 3 I hated it. It felt nearly as tippy as my surfski, wouldn't hold a straight line (with the rudder engaged), and the seat killed my lower back. I thought I made a bad purchase, and even posted it for sale. After much deliberation (I have lots of other boats begging for attention) I took it out a second time and that's when I fell in love. The balance was so much better; I could apply full power without any concern of tipping. I replaced the (warped) seat back with a backband – that problem solved.
Third time out in it was today. Destroyed my sea kayak PRs set in my Current Designs Extreme, though it would be difficult to compare the two kayaks as they have very different characteristics and are both in a class of their own.
Rudder dependent? Absolutely. Only way to race though. And this rudder along with a bit of lean will turn this 20' kayak on a dime at speed. If you're willing, this kayak would really benefit from one of the newer rudder setups with toe controls, the nylon adjustment straps are tough to adjust exactly right. Note that the footpeg holes are set at 20" so conversion kits would have to be customized.
Build quality is excellent. Not a rough spot on this inside or out, and Necky uses a quality gelcoat. This is the most comfortable kayak to portage – fits right on the shoulder and is perfectly balanced, very light for its size. It is a bit snug for me (6'1" with size 12 shoes and a very lean 200 lbs). I'm probably at the upper end of being able to fit in the cockpit, though it does fit me very comfortably. Finding one in pristine condition is difficult though, I looked for a while before I found one without major damage. Not a lot of them produced, and the light weight, length, and stereotypical user seems to make them more susceptible to be damaged.
For a beginner I would recommend the Current Designs Extreme over this. Much more stable, wider range of fit, excellent rough water performance, straight tracking.
For an experienced fitness paddler, hands down the Looksha 3 – faster (about 3%) and provides much sharper turns. Of course, both is always better!
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