Well... What is there to say. This is my first kayak I've had. And I really enjoyed it. The seat is very comfortable. And it is very sturdy. I took it down to my Creek and road it up and down the Chesapeake bay. And man was it wavy. But it held on. So yea I highly suggest this for starters, and people who are more advance.
We gladly paid $250 for the boat (it had only been used once) and that's a good 50% off full retail. For our $250, we found the Sky to be an excellent boat--not at all tippy and easy to drive through the swells in our home waters of Birch Bay, WA. So far, we've taken her off Point Whitehorn on a blustry day and around Blaine and Birch Bay and I can only describe the experiences as "joyful!" First day out, we glided by an eagle perched on a piling and saw two more close-up on our next day's paddle--these are experiences that only a kayak can give.
The hull is, to my eye, built along the lines of a WWII Japanese naval destroyer at the bow with generous sheer and flair. It tends to plow because of the short length to beam ratio, but the flair and sheer assure water gets thrown to the side rather than in the lap. The boat also takes a while to get up to speed, but when you're cruising along, she maintains her momentum easily and handles open water swells quite well.
With her short overall length of 9', the Sky fits easily into the bed of my Toyota pickup and rides alongside my wife's 9' kayak. Short boats have inherent handicaps, but on the plus side are easily handled, carried and stowed. There's a lot to be said for being able to bungge cord the boats into the pickup without having to go out and buy special, and expensive, racks needed for longer boats.
The neat, sharp chines of the short hull allow good tracking when taking swells off the bow at an angle and when leaning into turns. The ship-like aft keel with the transom stern adds a touch of class. I can't stop thinking how much that stern looks like something you'd see in a larger ship, it's very pleasing to the eye and is a sound design feature. It's almost like the boat was designed by a naval architect with a desire to put ship-like features into the hull and he definitely succeded.
The Sky does tend to weathervane in the wind and on one windy trek, I had to keep paddling on the right side to keep the bow on track, otherwise she'd swing to starboard trying to circle around on herself. That can make for sore shoulders after a while as you don't "share the load" with both arms working in unison from side-to-side under certain conditions (in this case, a strong sustained breeze off the starboard quarter). maybe I'll add a rudder, maybe not...it would be a good excuse to buy another Necky for days when a rudder might come in handy. That's how impressed I am with the Necky brand. They are built tough and have thoughtful design features built in. It's also nice to know that the factory is just down the I-5 from me, in Ferndale, WA--great convenience should I ever need factory advice or decide to add a skeg or rudder sometime.
On the plus side, the cockpit is roomy. I have room for bottled water, thermos, snacks and even my deer-bodied chihuahua (she's a fifteen pounder.) The dog loves riding with me in the Necky Sky and wears her own West Marine life vest, which adds bulk, but she still has plenty of room in the generously sized cockpit. The forward bow space gives her a snug "cabin" to hunker into when the winds get too chilly for her.
All in all I'd rate the Necky Sky a "9" and would buy another if the need for two ever arose. It's definitely a best-buy and even if I had paid the full retail of $499, I would consider this to be a bargain for such a good product.
I was looking for a kayak that would give me a good choice of different types of water to float in . Basically a well rounded kayak for flat water open water and moderate rough water. The sky was the only kayak I found in 5 different stores that truly fit my needs. It is very maneuverable in tight spots . Tracks pretty well and is narrow enough that it doesn't get in the way while paddling in open water. Ive got a bad back from a few different injuries , and found that there seat design is very supportive and the adjustable back rest is a welcome feature . Overall a very good first timers boat. I'm 5'8" and 200# Built on a solid frame with a 34" waist . The boat fits me very well and no complaint to be found in room in the boat . Over all I'm very pleased with my new found love...
Only minor complaint is it tends to plow thru the water a bit and could benefit from a skeg in windy conditions . Luckily they thought of the choice of the owner in making it possible to add one...
For my first trip out I went to the Deer River state forest in Franklin county NY Upstate.. I spent almost 8 hours in my kayak with only 1 30 minute break and stretch. I covered almost 30 miles round trip according to my top o's.
Spent a little while in a nice calm pool to accustom myself to the new feel on the water then headed upstream . It paddled upstream very easy even in a mild current , I was rather surprised in comparison to my canoe it was a dream to do. The weight made it very easy to portage out in the few places that I needed to.
As for the down river trip a had an absolute blast. The secondary stability was very welcomed when I came down thru what I portaged around on the way up . The thermal plastic Hull held up very well against the hidden rocks I didn't see and the rocks my lack of skill wouldn't allow me to avoid.
Overall from my experience with this boat I would recommend it to anyone for a first time kayak.
Reviewer: Male 6', 175 lbs. Novice experience.
Likes: Very comfortable cockpit, room for feet/legs in many different positions. Clever mechanism to adjust backrest position while seated. Speed, tracking, maneuverability, and construction materials.
Dislikes: Rear foam bulkhead limits storage
I recently purchased a Sky and have been out paddling in it 4 times for a cumulative distance of about 30 miles. When I started looking at kayaks, I had no paddling experience other than renting a SOT that I found very uncomfortable. I decided I would purchase a kayak if it met my basic requirements for comfort, fun to paddle on flatwater and coastal areas (Sea of Cortez), and, be easy to transport in the back of my Nissan pickup without a rack. I looked at several kayaks including a Swifty, Loon 100 & 111, Zydeco, and Sky. From my initial look, I concluded the Swifty would be a tight fit for me especially with foot space, and the Loons were a little larger and heavier than I wanted. The Zydeco was comfortable but I wasn't crazy about the backrest as it is just part of the seat and must be flexed forward to access behind the seat storage. For me, the Sky was the most comfortable and had lots of foot space because there is no keelson or tracking channels intruding. Prior to purchase, I test paddled a Sky and found it to be a little tippy in the beginning. As the day progressed, I became more and more comfortable with its stability and was impressed with its speed and tracking. By the end of the day I knew I was going to purchase the Sky.
Since purchasing, I've paddled in a variety of conditions and have concluded the Sky is the most sporty of the kayaks I looked at. It exceeds my expectations for comfort, fit, speed, tracking, and handling. The last time out, I took my GPS receiver (held in place by the front deck rigging) to map where I paddled and was surprised to see just how well it performed: I paddled 7 miles on flatwater (with chop) in winds of 5-15 mph. My sustained cruising speed into the wind was 2.6 mph and 3.5 mph downwind.
In summary, the Sky is one of the most sporty and versatile recreational kayaks available. It can be used for paddling flatwater, whitewater, and coastal areas. Surprisingly, the Sky received a 3.25 rating (out of 4) as a value whitewater kayak by the Gear Guide on OLN TV. It has good speed, tracks well, and can be lean turned for great maneuverability. Considering my requirements for a recreational kayak, I give the Sky a rating of 10.
We just returned from Florida where we kayaked on flatwater rivers, Class 0 minus I would guess. This is for sure recreational kayaking. The Sky was very satisfactory for this general purpose. Its greatest feature is that I can put it inside my Ford van tucked in behind the drivers seat. VERY handy buzzing down I95 at 70MPH without worries. Also its short length is a big asset in tight corners, like mangrove swamps and narrow rivers.
There were two deficiencies that appeared on this trip. First is that the big cockpit can take in a LOT of water very quickly. I will be buying a skirt. Second is that covering any distance in the Sky made me long for my longer kayaks.
Still for this puttering around purpose I am still very content with the Sky. However unless the sub ten feet length is a limiting criteria for you I would recommend a longer (12 to 14 foot), narrower (22 to 24 inch) boat for these uses.
Back to the Sky, fun boat, a little faster and better glide than the Zydeco, and able to handle my 220# nephew, though I would advise him to get a slightly bigger boat if he wanted to carry any gear, and it would be his only boat. Lacks deck rigging and a drain plug (which I will add myself for around $10) but for a $350 boat a real bargain (I bought a like new rental unit for $230, put more scratches on it myself in the first 2 paddles, a bargain I couldn't pass up). 9 out of 10? There are no 10s.
What is very good about this small boat is its combination of comfort, reasonable tracking, easy low speed paddling, reasonable low speed gliding, stability and weight carrying capacity. I am 200 pounds. My neighbor is 250. We are both impressed with the Sky. My wife, who is about 100 pounds and 5'2" finds it too big internally. I find my weight too much for all the other ten footers, causing them to ride too low and therefore push too much water. The Sky for me is much better. Big guys or gals should consider it especially considering its $350 price
If I could rate it AS A TEN FOOT KAYAK I would give it a 9/10.