Rockpool North America
What they set out to build (taken from the Rockpool website): To produce…
To produce the first of a new generation of high performance, fast and comfortable touring sea kayaks. To create a refined mid volume sea kayak with positive directional stability when upright, high secondary stability allowing for maximum turning when on edge. To build a seaworthy hull combined which has maximal forward efficiency. To realize a new cockpit design which allows for a more comfortable, ergonomic and controlling sitting position than any other offered on the market. To employ new and refined construction techniques. To produce a sea kayak which, in capable hands, will out-perform other sea kayaks in rough sea conditions and surfing. To build a sea kayak that is at home playing in tidal races and overfalls. When integrating all the above features the design objective remains: the ALAW will be a beautiful, modern, high performance sea kayak.
What you get:
Exactly as it says on the tin! I am a UK based BCU L4 Instructor and over the years have paddled a variety of different sea kayaks. All have seemed a compromise of one form or another, I was therefore somewhat sceptical when I tried this new design, put off initially by the unusual raised cockpit bulge but when seated you realise that this provides amazing comfort, particularly when coupled with the padded hip pads and contoured sloping full plate foot rest ¬ this means that your legs and feet are in a more ergonomic and comfortable position. Next you’ll notice no screws or bolts holding the decklines in place, clean recessed fittings are used.
But the important thing is how does it paddle? Well I’m pleased to say that the designers have met their brief to the letter. The Alaw wants to move and responds to every paddle stroke. Its initial stability is good but sit it on its edge and it feels solid and carves a turn beautifully. No skeg is fitted but nor is one needed the boat has been balanced by a combination of volume distribution and shape to give neutral directional stability in windy conditions. It picks up waves and surfs effortlessly ¬ in all it really is the boat that you don’t have to compromise with.
When one considers that the designer Aled Williams designed the NDK Romany, it’s not so surprising that such a radically looking boat paddles so well.