Submitted: 03-10-2005 by Kevin
The paddlers that complain about this boat have missed the point of the Reggae. If you bought it as a touring boat somebody sold you the wrong boat. Where this boat excels is in the surf. It is relatively easy to launch in breakers with a simple mod - a 2 foot loop of 8mm climbing rope through the cord for the front grab handle. Also I replaced the cheap cord for the grab handles with Gemini climbing cord (a synthetic kernmantle cord with a combo of Kevlar and Spectra in its core). Gemini is quite a bit stronger and a bit stiffer so if you need to grab a handle in an emergency it doesn't flop around. The "launch loop" allows you to drag the kayak behind you as you enter the breaker zone. Haul off and slide the kayak past you and as it points into the waves, jump on it and start paddling to get past the break. You will need to lean forward to get the bow down into the wave so you can get past the break. Once you are past the break, lock into the thigh straps and start looking for swell. Launching into the surf, the hull design of the Reggae points you INTO the wave rather than broaching you like a touring hull does.
Once you have chosen a wave to ride, simply drop your blade into water as a stern rudder "on the "downhill" side to keep your trim on the face of the wave and enter the barrel. At some point when you are barreling, you'll pull your stern rudder and plant the opposite blade into the face of the wave as a brace. Simply pull down on this blade, which will pop you and the boat up over the crest and back into the swell.
It's too bad that Islander no longer makes this boat - they've obviously bowed to marketing pressure to compete with the other rec boats. This boat's home was in the surf, but it works well as a rec boat too. You just have to know your paddling strokes - very stable and lots of fun when you don't want to mess with closed cockpit and spray skirts. If you're not looking to surf, then look for another boat.