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Submitted: 12-02-2005 by Terry Cox
I just got back from a kayaking trip to the Florida Keys. I paddled my new Java on five different day trips around Key Largo, both on the bayside and the oceanside. Wind speeds were generally in the 10-15 knot range, up to 15-20 knots on one day and down to 5-10 on another. This boat was amazing! I have been paddling a Necky Arluk II (a very fast kayak) for years, and the Java is considerably slower (though fast enough). But the Java is much more fun to paddle, more comfortable, and more stable. I had no problems paddling in any direction in the wind, and maneuvering through mangroves was easy.
Waves were not an issue; it was strange not having to modify my paddling stroke in conditions where my Arluk would have required some attention. I stayed at a hotel, and I decided to assemble and disassemble the kayak each day, keeping it in my rental vehicle between paddles. Assembly is fast, though next time I am going to try a larger barrel pump for inflating the sponsoons. There are several nooks and crannies in the skin that were hard to get dry for the trip home, but flying with this boat was really easy. I packed the kayak, 4-piece paddle, and life jacket in the duffle bag provided by Feathercraft and checked it as luggage. This is a great boat for warm-water kayaking. It can certainly hold enough gear for weekend touring, and could possibly be used for longer trips. I intend also to use it on cooler waters once I get a drysuit.
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