I had the 2011 P&H Aries 155 15' 9", 22.5" wide, composite boat at the pool and on a 7.5 mile paddle on the Potomac River. I am 6'4" 215lbs with 11.5 duck feet. The fit and finish was good. The cockpit area had a 10 inch wide core material along the keel. Deck lines laced through mushroom fittings had perfect tension for an easy grab. I prefer the mushroom deck fittings for self-rigging bungee cord modifications. The smaller cockpit forced me to jam my knees under the thigh braces. It was similar to the lowest setting on the Delphin thigh braces. I removed the seat and replace it with hip braces and a modified Necky Extrasport foam seat. I can enter butt first easily. I now fit comfortably under the thigh braces with the ability to lock-in my thighs for rolling and edging. The twist-lock foot braces with large surface area offer an upright roomy comfortable position but are at the end of the track. They are positioned at the perfect height to give my toes room. Foot brace height is a major problem on most kayaks for me. After sitting in the showroom for almost 2 years the skeg did not extend while upside down. Adjusting the skeg tension was quite easy by pulling the bungee bead out and moving the knot closer in. The boat is now ready for the pool rolling session.
I noticed the lower seating position gave me stronger secondary while edging the boat. The Delphin felt like I was sitting on a pedestal. Rolling the boat was effortless with a good purchase on the thigh braces. The lower seat position required lifting my butt out of the seat to do a layback roll. I will try to move the seat and back band forward slightly. I was just missing my ugly balance braces which I can do in my SOF. My ability to edge and spin the boat was amazing. The hatches were bone dry after the pool session. Now the Aries 155 is ready for some sea trials.
The air temperature was in the low 40's F and the water temperature at 38 F on the Potomac. There was a 10mph wind blowing from the south creating 1.5 foot waves. The Aries 155 did not require the skeg to track in the mild conditions. The boat wanders easily when focusing on the GPS and not on the course. I noticed the boat released and slid across the water when edged hard. Catching and riding the small waves was very easy. I surfed through the next set of waves quite often. The Aries had a similar feel to the Looksha Elite with more maneuverability. I can move the stern around on a wave with a hip flick. The Aries 155 hard chines reminded me of the Eddyline Fathom's hard chines and ability to catch the waves. I was able to take the Aries 155 in big wind waves and had a blast. It was easy to catch and ease on down them. It is the easiest boat I have tried for maneuvering and surfing.
I found my relaxed touring pace is 4mph, touring pace 4.5mph, exercise pace 4.9mph, and maximum 6.5mph using an EPIC small hybrid wing paddle. This is about 0.6mph slower than my Necky Looksha Elite. I am very happy with the speed tests. It is a slower boat but fast enough for its size. Later when the conditions went flat I lowered the skeg to optimize tracking for a touring pace with rear quartering wind ripples.
I am very happy with the Aries 155 speed, surfing, edging, and fit. The Aries is a great all around play boat. I cannot wait to get the boat out in the surf. It seems like a great boat to get topped and window shaded in.
Some things I would like to see improvement for my size are move the foot braces away 1 inch; raise the thigh braces 1/2 inch; narrow the cockpit 1 inch and provide 1/2 inch more for each knee pocket; and recess the back cockpit rim 3/4 inch. Overall I am thrilled about the fit because it is a rare for me.