Submitted: 05-30-2003 by Peter Turcan
My first impressions of this kayak were not good, though there are some great things about it. It is long and feels fast, probably comparable with a racing K1. The sloped forward deck allows for a very efficient stroke, the seat and rudder system come direct from racing K1s. However, here lies the problem. The cockpit is small enough to allow your knees to brace under the rim (and hence, I guess, enable you to roll - though I did not try). The rudder system is identical to racing K1s - with a footrest the full width of the kayak and a bar controlling the rudder. However I could not move the rudder more than an inch or two before my foot got in the way, and the only way to get it out of the way was pull my leg right back and stick my knee up out of the cockpit. The large open cockpits of racing K1s prevent this problem. Full left and right movement of the rudder seems essential in a boat that is so straight that leaning and sweep strokes are laborious to say the least. My feeling is that the rudder system needs to be replaced with that of a more traditional sea kayak, where you push on pedals and there is no need ever to get your foot out of the way. Of course this does not give the solid platform for your feet that racers prefer. This is such a problem that I very strongly suggest that you try this boat out before ordering one. I could not see rudder options on Nelo's website though maybe there are some.
Other features of the boat are that its hull is very similar to the rounded hulls of racing K1s, without the noticable cheeks of sea kayaks, which puts its stability between that of a K1 trainer and racing K1, certainly not as stable as a Looksha II, for example. So taking it out in the open sea is for the brave and skillful only. Finally it also seemed heavy for a graphite boat.