Submitted: 01-25-2005 by jbv
Wanted a Brit boat, and this is a Candian made Brit boat so the price was reasonable. Test paddled one and was impressed with the handling, especially its turning ability on edge. This boat is curvy and rockered: a prospector of sea kayaks, pretty sexy looking. Fit and finish is very good. The deck rigging is thick and just the right tension.
By the way I'm 6'5" and 200pounds with size 14 feet. I fit very well in this boat but have had to pad out the bulkhead to brace my feet which is just fine. I've also added hip wedges to the seat stays as the boat will accommodate a much bigger fella with a greater girth.
I like the depth of the cockpit and bracing against the coaming flanges is excellent. The seat is fine if a little short (they all are for me) and lacks some of the contouring to really cup your butt that I would prefer.
The backband is the immersion research and is excellent. Very comfortable and supportive yet allows me to move around at will.
The boat paddles and handles extremely well and is a fairly dry ride which I prefer to a really wet ride that non rockered boats usually provide. It is quite stable on center and has a linear stability curve right over on its side.
As I say it turns well and I like that feature best of all. I have played in really big waves at a local high volume rapids and it is great fun and allows me some directional control even though the water is moving so fast. It also tracks well enough to be easy to paddle straight. I have not been on a big water trip with it yet and therefore haven't used the skeg.
I will say that it is not a fast kayak. Some reviewers say that it is but maybe they are really strong paddlers. I've paddled this boat on a dead flat day with 2 others, 1 in a NDK explorer (not especially fast) and 1 in a stitch and glue that was 19 feet long and 21" wide. The explorer and I were side by side but neither could stay even close to the other guy if he even so much as picked up his cadence. I sprinted with all I had and all I do is make a big wake. This boat has lots of curves which are great for turning and rough water but, as I say you can see it disturbs the water a lot by its wake. Fast enough for me, but not notably fast in the big picture of sea kayaks.
I love this kayak, it's easy to pack dry, oval VCP hatches, the deck layout, the style and looks, the quality and most of all the paddling. If I would change anything, I would like it to be a bit narrower for speed and sportiness but then it would be a different boat. As it is it fits a lot of bigger people and really big guys as well, has great overall stability, swallows a lot of gear, and is fun and playful. A great guide/instructor boat: the prospector of kayaks (I'm a canoe head as well) I love it and welcome questions from p.netters.