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I have mine set up with a rudder and thigh straps - that while giving better paddler control, also double as useful loading and unloading straps. I highly recommend both of these additions to the basic set up. The shape of the boat is perfect, and has been beautifully designed to maximize both and stability & speed potential.
The only thing that stops it getting a 10 in my books, is the seating arrangement. While I don't have the issues, some do with the seat back, I am puzzled as to why they would have designed the seat bucket area without a drain hole. It fills with water after one wave, and has no way of draining until you get to shore and tip it up.
Minor gripe in the scheme of things, but is a design fault nevertheless.
Still, this is a fantastic Yak, and one with which I am really happy.
The boat is designed very nicely for plastic with a sleek narrow shape in the front with lots of volume in the bow for getting over waves. If you do not have the plastic on the bottom of the backband in the slot behind where you sit, you will be uncomfortable, but once figured out and adjusted, its not bad.
From the front of the seat in the cockpit up to where my feet rested on the pegs, the cockpit floor sloped down, and I found it very comfortable to fit the natural contour of the legs as they bend forward. This boat, unlike some other sit on tops has zero hull slap, is very efficient and effortless to paddle.
I've owned a Cobra Tourer and a Prowler 15, and this yak seems a good deal more efficient with better speed. The initial stability is a little tippy compared to most sit on tops, but nowhere near the tippiness of the Cobra Expedition which I also had for a while.
I think in the speed department, the Napali would give the Tarpon 160 a run for the money, but will have to confirm this once I mount the depthfinder / GPS. I would agree with one reviewer on the net who stated that the Tarpon is more nimble - I can agree with this. I would say that the Perception paddles heavier than the WS.
This is my only gripe - the Napali is a heavy boat coming in at 75 lbs, the upper limit of what I can deal with, as far as loading and unloading. I've added thighstraps and some plastic tubing around the forward part of the decklines to assist in hefting a short distance.
In assessing the performance capabilities of this boat, I'd have to guess the weight must have been one of the major factors that did it in, because it is a pleasure to paddle.
The boat wants to weathercock, but not severely. I've not had to use the rudder on it. The boat carves beautifully when edged, really fun to play with around rocks or in tight quarters.
For a plastic SOT, it's faster than most. You can expect to keep up with the crowd pretty easily, and it's fun to be passing people. The aforementioned knee straps make great side carrying handles. I'll probably add a day hatch similar to the ones on the Na Pali's sistership double -- the Mandalay, which we also own.
I'm 6-4 and 230, and the boat just fits. I wanted a faster SOT, and this one compared favorably to the Necky Dolphin and Scupper Pro, and it was the only one that would comfortably hold my long legs.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
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