Submitted: 02-14-2003 by TD
I purchased an Eskia a couple weeks ago. I went to buy a current designs or dagger, both of which are fine boats. But when I looked at the Looksha IV in the showroom, I was amazed at the attention to detail and quality of the fittings, riggings and design. I tried the Looksha and found it low in initial stability, good in secondary, but a bit narrow and too low a foredeck for my hefty 5' 11" 210lb body. I was shown the Eskia, and immediately it fit and felt better. It is outfitted very similarly to the Looksha IV, but has flush hatch covers which is a nice touch. I've gotten to paddle the Eskia once for about 4 hours the day I bought it. Protected bay situation, very mild swells in inlet. Against tide, moderate wind 10-15 knots. The boat tracks very well without the rudder, and with it, it is exceptionally easy to maintain a course if there is weathercocking or current requiring a ferry angle. With a bit of speed you will turn on a dime with the rudder. The foot peg/rudder adjustments are very nice on this boat, no hard to reach metal buttons to depress, just a handy buckle/bungee system lets you put the foot pegs exactly where you need them. I find the seat a little uncomfortable after a couple hours. The backband adjustment mechanism is very nice, easy to operate seated. I wish the band had a bit more padding and was slightly higher. The seat features a neat inflatable bladder underneath a top molded pad. There's a "blood pressure cuff" style rubber bulb to inflate and a screw cap valve to deflate the seat cushion, both of which work extremely well. The problem is that the air bladder tends to lift you evenly all around, slowly jacking you up in the seat, which lessens stability. It'd be better if it only raised the thigh portion of the seat bottom to make a deeper bucket. Perhaps there should be two air bladders independently adjustable. And whatever happened to the memory gel stuff bike seats have?
Boat was equipped with good perimeter line, a safety plus. Deck rigging layout is nice and you can change the bungee arrangement if you like. Good recessed fittings for clean lines and unscraped knuckles. Front and rear bulkheads are foam, but seem sturdy enough. They should be placed closer to the foot pegs and directly behind the seat. Behind the seat storage is awkward and wet and the space would be better served in the dry hatch. The diamond chined hull is great with stability all around. Did not roll the boat yet. Carry toggles are great! Thigh braces are good quality.
There are some exposed screw ends under the deck, but not in places they might be a real problem in. Carves turns without rudder fairly well, feels solid on edge. Nice draining depressions around cockpit coaming. Boat seemed a bit more influenced by windage than some, but not terrible by any means.
A very high quality plastic kayak. Not the most elegant, not the fastest, not the lightest in polyethelene, but very well appointed, safe, very seaworthy, competent in the calm conditions I experienced, and I am assured it handles rough water equally as well. I don't doubt it.