Submitted: 06-21-2001 by Gregg Brickner
Looksha IV HV, fiberglass - My wife and I recently took the fundamental sea kayak course at Northwest Outdoors Center (NWOC) in Seattle, which was extremely good. Our 'graduation' paddle was in the Deception Pass area, and I was in a Necky Tesla NM. I liked the Tesla a lot, however NWOC is big on teaching you how to turn the boat with edging and carving (never used a rudder), and the Tesla just didn't respond to turns as well as I imagined a boat could. Well, my wife and I demo'd all kinds of kayaks at REI and NWOC, still never using that rudder! We zeroed in on the Necky Looksha IV S for her (5'3", 115 lb), and the Looksha IV HV for me (230 lb, 6'1"). The Looksha boats seem to turn amazingly well when edged (without that rudder!) We rented these boats from NWOC and took them to San Juan Island for a weekend. We paddled from Friday Harbor to Jones Island against the current in very little wind (three hours). That afternoon, we paddled around the island (couple of miles) before dinner. We paddled back to San Juan Island the next day, this time with the current, starting in calm waters, but crossing San Juan Channel in about 10 kts wind, opposing the current, and a few white caps forming. We paddled down to Turn Island (two and a half hours from Jones Island), had lunch, and regretfully returned to the kayak launch at Friday Harbor, in a few places exposed to the growing 15 kts wind.
Frankly, I was amazed at how comfortable I was in the Looksha IV HV. We are relative novices (although we are very familiar with these waters from our sailboat). But the Looksha definitely felt more stable the rougher the water, and the crowning event was being at the point the wakes from the (very nearby) Mosquito Fleet Ferry and the Victoria Clipper crossed - 2 to 3 foot confused, breaking waves. And the Looksha loved it! This same boat, in Lake Union, definitely feels "tippy", but get it in some chop, and those hard chines (I guess) seem to kick you back upright. Unlike some other boats Iíve tried, there was never any time the boat did something I didnít understand and couldnít control. It was completely predictable at all times. The tracking was amazing, we took a GPS along, and you can actually see the homing effect from pointing directly at a destination while the current sweeps you to the side. Turning, once again, is amazing with a knee lift in the direction you want to turn (or butt-drop in the other direction, as Iím beginning to think of it). Still never used that rudder all weekend! I had the newer seat, with the adjustable back rest, and it was fine. My quads fit perfectly under the thigh braces. I used neoprene diving booties, and kept my heels to the centerline most of the time. If I have any complaint, it would be lack of height for size 12 feet which seems to preclude me using soled shoes of any sort. I also noticed the boat tending to want to turn parallel to beam seas we encountered in the Wasp Islands, to the point of being very difficult to correct without a rudder (at my skill level). However using the rudder would presumably take care of that? On the whole we really loved our Lookshas.
Will I put my money where my mouth is? Yup, my wife and I have placed deposits on two Kevlar Lookshsa IV boats (an S and an HV) which we should have in two weeks.