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So, why am I getting rid of it? I transport this kayak on my truck. Since it is 14' long I have to put it on top of the 4x4 cab, which is pretty high up. It also weighs 60#s. I can not manage 60#s when it is above my head. I would keep this boat if I could load and unload it by myself.
So far I've had it out in 3ft waves with 30 knots winds with no problems. It does very well in rough water and maintains its stability. It glides through calm water very easily although as was previously stated it does have a noticeable bow wake at higher speeds. But you're not going to paddle it that fast for very long so it's not a problem.
I'm a larger paddler at 240lbs but in this boat that leaves me a 135lbs cargo capacity for long trips I plan to take with it. The other comparable boat I was looking at would have left me with 70 lbs. The hatches were a bit of a pain at first but after working with them a bit the work nicely.
A word of advice, they go on much easier if you wet the edge first, if you don't your going to fight it on the entire way. The seat is nice and easily adjustable for height. It's a very comfortable seat for long days on the water and the back band backrest is also nice and soft. I can lie on the back deck rather well but the tall sides of the boat hinder a lay back roll a bit. All other rolls can be done rather easily.
The rudder controls yaw very effectively, and the boat tracks very well even with the rudder retracted. Due to my size I brace against the sides of the hull more than the thigh braces which means the buckles of the rudder lines rub against my legs. Also the rudder pedals float freely in their brackets, which means when you take your feet off them they have a tendency to move forward. When this happens I then had to take off the front of my skirt and push them back forward because due to my large feet and legs it's difficult to maneuver them inside the cockpit. I remedied this by cutting a military style bungee cord in half and attaching the hooks to a notch in the pedals and tying the free end to the forward most notches in the brackets. The pedals now stay forward and my rudder returns to the neutral position when there is no pressure.
All in all it's a good stable relatively fast boat that is a pleasure to paddle. The bulkheads of my boat were sealed sufficiently and do not leak. And the deck lines are more than sufficient for attaching deck bags, paddle floats, bilge pumps and the like. It's an all around good touring boat whether you're a beginner or experienced paddler.
First the bad - some real quality issues: front bulkhead was not sealed fully, big enough gap to get my pinky through in two places. Appeared to be a miscut bulkhead as much as a lack of sealant. Hatch covers were super tight, applied 303 and they got super loose. They are difficult to get sealed securely and I have had them pop off when doing reentries. Plastic seems thinner than similar boats (Manitou, Carolina, etc) - my hull has deformed around the seat with one pronounced hump where the front left seat connection is. Scratches easily, but to be fair I have not babied it on the rocky rivers around here. In chop of 2' or more it oilcans much more than other rotomolded boats I've paddled. While probably harmless, it is disconcerting.
So all these negatives, what do I like about it:
Does everything tolerably. I can comfortably run it through Class I and II rapids, while not super fast it cruises comfortably (although with a noticeable bow wake), takes an edge well and tracks decently with edging - even in the wind. It is very responsive - with aggressive edging and weight transfer (i.e. leaning forward or back) it will turn tightly either into or away from the wind. The pronounced rocker at the stern makes it much more playful than this boat would otherwise be. I have successfully rolled it although it has been an effort to get there. Tons of volume. Surfs well - you can put it on top of a wavetrain and play pretty effectively for a 14' boat. I've had more trouble surfing wakes/waves; mostly related to accelerating quickly enough to get on top of them.
The boat is very comfortable and purchased used (read inexpensively) it has been a great step up for my rec boat. It has really allowed my skills to develop and by not going with the rudder it has forced me to pay attention to how the boat responds to my body and paddle.
Relatively low rating is related to the general quality of the boat particularly stiffness of plastic. Compared to other similar boats I've paddled, it seems better preparation for a "real" seakayak. I'm still contemplating using the Pisgah for a 10 day paddle next year on a combination of rocky rivers and big water. It will remain my boat of choice for river trips with long flatwater sections between ripples/Class I and II stuff.
the pisgah tracks very well; very smooth and very quiet. this boat loves staying in motion, so if you stop pay close attention the shallow-v hull gets tippy. but i suspect that since i hadn't paddled in over a year and a half some of the tippiness was due to the operator as much as the boat itself.
there's a wealth of storage space and the hatch covers do a good job of keeping things dry; though once off, care should be taken to assure the covers seal tightly when put back.
my biggest complaint(s) concern the cockpit size. i am a rather large paddler, and at over six feet tall i find the the seat adjusters in the front of the cockpit less than convenient. my legs just fit underneath the mounting brackets and tend to rub uncomfortably. i may have to modify the little suckers down the line if i can't get use to them.
other than that i love the boat and wish winter wasn't so long here so that i can stop looking at the orange beauty longingly, and actually put out for some long adventures.
My boat had quality issues. The polywhatever plastic is soft, easily scratched and slippery when wet. But it's tough and is likely to last a long time. On my boat the bulkheads leaked, the hatch cover retainer broke.
The rudder pedals are minimalist. Simple design and probably easy to maintain but the rudder pedals bind up. Re-entry after a wet exit requires particular attention to the position of the pedals because they can slip aftward and be difficult or impossible to re-engage. Makes it hard to stay stable while pumping out and recovering.
The thigh pads came unstuck. The "tupperware" hatch covers don't always seat firmly and the rear cover tends to work loose when I'm struggling to re-board.
The seat is very comfortable. I've taken 3 hour trips with no discomfort. The handling is a treat. It tracks straight, goes (pretty) fast and turns 180 degrees in just a few strokes. I never had it really rough water but I wouldn't hesitate. I just had to stay busy and alert, kinda like riding a bike, when you stop it falls over.
After 6 months I'm trading my Pisgah in on a higher quality, steadier boat with hard hatch covers and fixed rudder pedals. More suitable to my real needs.
Now the positives: great tracking, lots of room, good speed. I have taken my kayak on a 55 mile weekend trip down the Missouri River without any problems. The boat is also really stable, which was a plus when I first started out. I definitely recommend this boat to anyone interested in an intermediate level kayak.
I love the seat, it is really comfortable. I can sit in it all day no problem. I also like the really tight hatch covers. I have found I need to put 303 on them to make them easier to operate but small price to pay for the extra water tight seal. I also like the location of the seat back adjustment. It is easy to get to while paddling because it is in front of you.
I have paddled about 30 miles in the kayak so far. I have found it easy to paddle and it tracks well. I have gone once about 15 miles on a wide river and the second time out in the coastal area. It was fairly windy and the boat had no problem holding it's coarse. I also had some minor waves that we're no problem. I am looking forward to a full week end trip coming up soon in the kayak so I can see how it handles loaded.
All in a great kayak. I think Liquid Logic hit the nail on the head with this one. Definitely one of the best light touring kayaks out there for beginner/intermediate paddlers.
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