Submitted: 04-02-2002 by gproaction
After looking for an ocean rock garden boat for a while, I finally settled upon the Necky Looksha Sport. I was looking for something impact resistant (plastic), relatively inexpensive, maneuverable and not too slow, since I had to paddle to and from the rock gardens from various coastal launch points and also needed to move fast to get away from dangerous situations. After a number of inquiries and surf demos, the Looksha Sport appeared to meet these needs. I am 5'10", 185 lbs. I also have a Perception Kevlar Eclipse and a Wavesport Z whitewater/surf boat. My previous boat was a Necky Kyook, which was nice, but too short and wide for touring and too clumsy for rock gardening and surfing.
For safety, it has relatively watertight compartments, fair (but not great) deck rigging. The hatch covers and tie downs seem a little flimsy, but have never come loose. Toggles and bow line are fine. Deck bungies are a little lean. There is a compass pad. The rudder gear is fairly good for a lower priced boat. It only needs the rudder in stiff winds or nasty quartering chop. The flat bottom has a tendency to oil can. Maybe it could use a stiffener along the floor.
The original older model boat I demo'ed had loose rudder pedals and cables that flopped around. These were especially annoying on re-entries, because the pedals would ride all the way up, making it difficult to get your feet back in. The newer version boat I finally bought had bungie cords to keep the pedals down. After some minor adjustments, they worked great. The original demo boat had a very unsatisfactory seat back, which came loose every time I wet exited and had a high back that made rolls and re-entries more difficult than they had to be. The new model had a combination backband and seatback with a fabric covering extending down over the seat-- very nice! In my original demo, I was thrown out of the boat several times while surfing. I changed out the thigh braces for whitewater braces (wider) and installed hip pads. This solved the problem. The dealer (Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara) was most helpful).
The Looksha Sport, is 14'4" and has a flat bottom with beveled chines. Stability is fair. I would guess that is 60 something lbs., more with float bags, outfitting, lines, etc. It's a bit heavier than some other boats its size but is fairly husky, which is something you want in a boat to paddle rocks and surf. I have beaten the hell out of it, resulting only in a few scratches, so far.
The boat turns on a dime in either direction when edged. It took a little getting used to, since I paddled a more forgiving, round-chined boat before. The boat catches a wave quickly, sometimes too quickly. It responds fairly well to rudder strokes and draws, but the stern tends to get caught on waves, resulting in unplanned broaches sometimes. Tracking is fair, a tradeoff for the great turning characteristics. Maybe I'll improve with more practice. It rolls well, with aftermarket thigh braces and hip pads.
Speed is not great, but it is fair for a 14' plastic boat. My GPS indicated 4.5 knots with some effort and 3.5 knots at comfortable cruise speed in calm water with little wind.
My hips and feet hurt and fall asleep unless I flex them periodically. I will try installing thigh extensions and padding the thigh braces.
Overall, I would recommend this boat for playing and light coastal cruising.