Submitted: 09-02-2004 by capsized_Thomas
I have owned my FC big Kahuna for over a year now. I paddle 2-3 times a week in SF bay and the coast along nor cal. I am 6'3" 175# paddler, have been paddling for 10 years or so. I am not nice to this boat. I pack it wet (all the time), I drag it loaded along beaches, I take it in rock gardens and have slammed it into the side of a large barnacle encrusted rock while riding a wave broached. I paddle in tide rips, osean sweel as well as flat water, in winds to 25 knots. The boat has handled all my abuse, and seems no worse for the wear (with the exception of a long scrape on the deck of the boat, results of an X rescue when I paddled without a seasock, and the coaming came loose [I made an error building the boat])
I really like my boat. Once I was able to get my roll reliable in it (which was a function of simple slowing down my sweep roll), deep sculling and high braces were not difficult. It weathercocks somewhat (as all good boats should) but a bit of edging/leaning I find my self rarley using the rudder. I am usually in the front of the pack when paddling with hardshells and find it very fast in following seas.
What I don't like: when using the rudder, there is no mechanism to keep the peddles forward - I have to make sure my feet find them when reentering after a wet exit. The loose fit makes a roll and re-enter extremely difficult (but a cowboy scramble is easy...). The sponsons need to be topped up after 15 minutes or so of paddling on the cold water (same with other folders I have used). I find the seasock (all sea socks) a bit uncomfortable.
Should you decide to get this boat, I would strongly suggest getting the hipfit kit to help with boat contact. The upgraded seasock if you plan to roll (less water in the boat), and the hatches if you plan to do any camping out of it. Also plan on having groups of people watching you assemble the boat, asking inane questions ;)