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Submitted: 01-12-2006 by kchan
When I first bought my Kahuna, I want to get folding kayak that I can paddle with a local paddle group. I bought my Kahuna October 2004 used. I paddle about 4-5 times last year but this year, I paddle about twice per week since April. Kahuna is a great general purpose folding kayak.
It takes me about 20-25 minutes to put my Kahuna together but I spent easily 40+ minutes in the beginning. It takes some practice and efforts. I learn that I can sit in the cockpit and push the bow and stern part of the frame to the position using my foot. I found the stern crossrib to be difficult because the skin is very tight and it is hard to snap into position. It took me few months just to get familiar with this process and be able to install it correctly every time. You need to follow exactly what the instruction say. Also, extending keel, chine and gunwale bars needs practice. You need to make sure two black blocks line up nicely so that you will be able to extend the bars the first time. You can also stand in between the cockpit, turn the kayak side with the bow in front of you when extending the gunwale bars. You may purchase a kneel pad or foam pad to protect your kneel. To disassemble the stern crossrib, I learn that putting my foot behind the stern crossrib, then pull up the cross rib. The rest are pretty easy.
Kahuna is fast and you can keep up with 16-17 feet sea kayak in most of the conditions (except top speed). It is also a very stable kayak and it is not easy to capsize. The only situation that a Kahuna perform less is surfing or paddling against 15+ mph against head wind. Under these situations, you really cannot keep up with 17 ft kayaks. Kahuna does fine with cross wind with a skeg. If someone paddles in mostly calm, even in 10-15 miles wind with some white caps, in other words, 98% of paddling, Kahuna can keep up with most sea kayaks. From my experience, I paddle on average 4-4.5mph (GPS verified) and top speed is never beyond 6mph (more like 5.6mph). I paddle very comfortable at 3.5-4.0mph.
I try to roll my Kahuna and it is not an easy boat to roll. You need to get the rolling rib and the bracing bars from Feathercraft. Without the bracing bar, I come out from my kayak several times once I capsize. One of my good friends rolls my Kahuna at our local pool session. He was able to roll it 6-7 times. It was quite a show. I also heard that someone name Dubside roll with his modified Kahuna and won a competition in Greenland. So it is possible to roll a Kahuna, and it is possible to roll extremely well on it but it is not for everyone.
The rolling stern rib is lower than the regular one by 1-2 inches. It does make your stern deck skin less tight. The Kahuna looks quite different when rolling rib is used. In fact, it is almost a different kayak. It does look like those Greenland Skin on Frame kayaks. You can also use the rolling rib on a windy day, so it has less wind effect on the kayak.
I would not consider myself as a careful paddler. I drag the boat on sand beaches and hit some rocks while paddling. It is true there are some marks on the skin but thatís about it. I think the skin will last very long. If you have any questions, you can either contact Feathercraft directly and you can also contact Folding Kayak Adventure (a Feathercraft dealer in US). They are all very knowledgeable and helpful.