Submitted: 10-06-2003 by RW
This review is on the Looksha IV in fiberglass. Much has been said about this boat, but I wanted to add a few observations. I recently purchased a demo that was made back in ’00. The fact that it was in such good condition and working order after 3 years of hard service in the Monterey Bay area says allot for the quality of these kayaks. I found it to be impressively responsive to turning and paddling input. The cockpit is a bit on the tight side for entry or moving about during long paddles, but the close quarters does offer immediate contact for knee-lift edging, and the low fore-deck minimizes wind cocking. This boat had the older style hard plastic seat. The seatback has a tendency to get in the way during re-entry after a wet exit. It’s easy to catch the top of it as you slide in, and then accidentally fold it down and end up sitting on it. I’ve seen several other boats that have the seatback secured to the back of the combing to avoid this problem. The Looksha could benefit from this (and it has indeed been fixed with the newer style seats). My only serious problem with this boat was in the area of stability. The hard chine hull makes for rather abrupt transitions from primary to secondary stability. I agree with some of the previous reviewers who’ve said the initial stability should be rated as moderate, rather than strong. The secondary is quite good, but the transition to it happens in a rather rapid roll. I found this to be quite annoying in certain conditions, such as paddling on Lake Tahoe with lots of boat wakes or wind chop. These sets of sharp waves caused the Looksha to tip back and forth like a marker buoy, and made it difficult to keep a smooth paddling pattern. Having said that, the boat edge- turns like a dream. So there’s an obvious trade-off in that area. I’m 6’1”, 185 lbs. and 50 years old. If I were younger and looking for a snappy boat that responds quickly and lets me edge it deeply with minimal effort, the Looksha IV would be the boat for me. But I found myself wanting something a bit less twitchy, but still a nicely responsive boat. I tried the Looksha IV HV to see if a couple more inches in width would calm the side-to-side action a bit (22” beam vs. 24”). I was amazed by the difference 2” made. For me, the HV model was a “tank” compared to the regular model. The twitchiness was gone, but so was most of the responsiveness to turning input. It was an alternative that went too far for me. After testing several other boats, I ended up trading the Looksha in for a Wilderness Systems Tempest 17. I’ll write a review on that one after I’ve spent more time with it.