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Name: roamer

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I've paddled many different kayaks, but this time I was looking for something that could work in grade 2 and even grade 3 rivers but be faster than modern whitewater boats and still able to take out on the lake or bay for the day. Everything is a compromise, but I wanted a cockpit large enough for my 6'3" frame and stable enough for my high centre of gravity. Had to be plastic to bounce off rocks and have a rear bulkhead. I also wanted it to track reasonably well without the use of a rudder of skeg, both of which are a nuisance in whitewater. I tried a Necky chatham 16 and Looksha 14, Northwest sportee ( it's a copy of the famous Mariner Coaster but a bit shorter and in plastic) ,Prijon Yukon, Delsyk Nifty 430 and Nifty 385 as well as a couple older whitewater plastic boats ( one perception Dancer and one unknown brand. Here are the comparisons: The older 12 foot whitewater boats were plenty manoeuvrable and stable, and quite fast (relative to modern whitewater boats), but the cockpits were way to small for comfort, the decks too low for size 12 feet and a pain to empty out due to the lack of a rear bulkhead. Also lousy trackers, as you might expect. The Chatham also was too snug, had reasonable initial stability and good secondary stability and was faster than the old whitewater boats, but probably best for someone under 180 lbs. Tracking was not great but doable without the use of a skeg. It gets knocked around a bit with a following sea. It turns reasonable well for a 16 foot kayak, especially on edge, but it can’t really compete with the shorter boats. It doesn’t help that the soft hull doesn’t hold its rockered shape all that well. You can paddle grade 2, but you can’t hit all the play spots. The Yukon had a very nice fit in the cockpit and plenty of room under the deck, but the hull design required a bit of getting used to. There is no bow rocker to speak of, so the bow really digs into a current line and you have a hard time pulling across a current. The stern however is quite loose, and if you paddle to take advantage of that you can paddle grade 2 just fine, but grade 3 is a challenge. The Yukon is also a lousy tracker, as the bow tends to yaw, and any distance without a rudder would be frustrating. Initial and secondary stability are both good. Speed is acceptable for day trips on the lake. The Sportee is was manoeuvrable enough, better than the Chatham or Yukon, and quite stable, but the cockpit was too snug, and the low deck was cramped. Bow rocker was better than the Yukon, but not as good as the others. It has a loose stern which helps to turn, and it tracks reasonably well in most conditions, but needs some attention in a following sea. This boat is also best for a medium to small person. The Looksha and the Niftys are all fairly similar in design, as you might expect as they are all designed by the same person. Bow rocker is decent, the stern rocker is minimal and designed to assist tracking. They all track well without a rudder, they are all moderate on initial stability but high on secondary stability. The Looksha and the 430 are a bit faster than the 385. They will all handle grade 2 whitewater but the 385 is the most manoeuvrable and my favourite of the 3. Cockpits are all large enough. My biggest complaint is that the bows are all on the narrow side, and designed for speed more than maximum buoyancy. You can bury them in big water. That brings us to the Breeze. This one was a bit of a surprise as it is mostly marketed as a stable boat for fishing, photography and such, and it certainly was the most stable of the bunch, with the Yukon a close second. The cockpit was the largest of the bunch. Only the older whitewater boats had more bow rocker and the stern rocker was more than the Looksha and Nifty pair, so predictably it was one of the most manoeuvrable, comparable to the Nifty 385. Where it differed was in the fish form design and the very buoyant bow. This boat can handle some very big rough water without burying the bow. You get a bit of a slap when paddling into wind waves on the lake, but that bow feels nice when riding a large wave train or crossing currents in the rapids. The other surprise was how well it tracked without a rudder. I had it in 3 foot rollers pushing me along and had no trouble keeping it on track, whereas the Sportee and the Yukon where almost uncontrollable in the same conditions. So, final conclusion, considering stability, cockpit fit, manoeuvrability, reasonable speed, and tracking in all conditions, the Breeze was a clear winner for me, with the Nifty 385 second. A smaller paddler might like the Sportee as well.

I've paddled many different kayaks, but this time I was looking for something that could work in grade 2 and even grade 3 rivers but be faster than modern whitewater boats and still able to take out on the lake or bay for the day. Everything is a compromise, but I wanted a cockpit large enough for my 6'3" frame and stable enough for my high centre of gravity. Had to be plastic to bounce off rocks and have a rear bulkhead. I also wanted it to track reasonably well without the use of a rudder of skeg, both of which are a nuisance in whitewater. I tried a Necky chatham 16 and Looksha 14, Northwest sportee ( it's a copy of the famous Mariner Coaster but a bit shorter and in plastic) ,Prijon Yukon, Delsyk Nifty 430 and Nifty 385 as well as a couple older whitewater plastic boats ( one perception Dancer and one unknown brand. Here are the comparisons: The older 12 foot whitewater boats were plenty manoeuvrable and stable, and quite fast (relative to modern whitewater boats), but the cockpits were way to small for comfort, the decks too low for size 12 feet and a pain to empty out due to the lack of a rear bulkhead. Also lousy trackers, as you might expect. The Chatham also was too snug, had reasonable initial stability and good secondary stability and was faster than the old whitewater boats, but probably best for someone under 180 lbs. Tracking was not great but doable without the use of a skeg. It gets knocked around a bit with a following sea. It turns reasonable well for a 16 foot kayak, especially on edge, but it can’t really compete with the shorter boats. It doesn’t help that the soft hull doesn’t hold its rockered shape all that well. You can paddle grade 2, but you can’t hit all the play spots. The Yukon had a very nice fit in the cockpit and plenty of room under the deck, but the hull design required a bit of getting used to. There is no bow rocker to speak of, so the bow really digs into a current line and you have a hard time pullinf across a current. The stern however is quite loose, and if you paddle to take advantage of that you can paddle grade 2 just fine, but grade 3 is a challenge. The Yukon is also a lousy tracker, as the bow tends to yaw, and any distance without a rudder would be frustrating. Initial and secondary stability are both good. Speed is acceptable for day trips on the lake. The Sportee is was manoeuvrable enough, better than the Chatham or Yukon, and quite stable, but the cockpit was too snug, and the low deck was cramped. Bow rocker was better than the Yukon, but not as good as the others. It has a loose stern which helps to turn, and it tracks reasonably well in most conditions, but needs some attention in a following sea. This boat is also best for a medium to small person. The Looksha and the Niftys are all fairly similar in design, as you might expect as they are all designed by the same person. Bow rocker is decent, the stern rocker is minimal and designed to assist tracking. They all track well without a rudder, they are all moderate on initial stability but high on secondary stability. The Looksha and the 430 are a bit faster than the 385. They will all handle grade 2 whitewater but the 385 is the most manoeuvrable and my favourite of the 3. Cockpits are all large enough. My biggest complaint is that the bows are all on the narrow side, and designed for speed more than maximum buoyancy. You can bury them in big water. That brings us to the Breeze. This one was a bit of a surprise as it is mostly marketed as a stable boat for fishing, photography and such, and it certainly was the most stable of the bunch, with the Yukon a close second. The cockpit was the largest of the bunch. Only the older whitewater boats had more bow rocker and the stern rocker was more than the Looksha and Nifty pair, so predictably it was one of the most manoeuvrable, comparable to the Nifty 385. Where it differed was in the fish form design and the very buoyant bow. This boat can handle some very big rough water without burying the bow. You get a bit of a slap when paddling into wind waves on the lake, but that bow feels nice when riding a large wave train or crossing currents in the rapids. The other surprise was how well it tracked without a rudder. I had it in 3 foot rollers pushing me along and had no trouble keeping it on track, whereas the Yukon was almost uncontrollable in the same conditions.

I've paddled many different kayaks, but this time I was looking for something that could work in grade 2 and even grade 3 rivers but be faster than modern whitewater boats and still able to take out on the lake or bay for the day. Everything is a compromise, but I wanted a cockpit large enough for my 6'3" frame and stable enough for my high centre of gravity. Had to be plastic to bounce off rocks and have a rear bulkhead. I also wanted it to track reasonably well without the use of a rudder of skeg, both of which are a nuisance in whitewater. I tried a Necky chatham 16 and Looksha 14, Northwest sportee ( it's a copy of the famous Mariner Coaster but a bit shorter and in plastic) ,Prijon Yukon, Delsyk Nifty 430 and Nifty 385 as well as a couple older whitewater plastic boats ( one perception Dancer and one unknown brand. Here are the comparisons: The older 12 foot whitewater boats were plenty manoeuvrable and stable, and quite fast (relative to modern whitewater boats), but the cockpits were way to small for comfort, the decks too low for size 12 feet and a pain to empty out due to the lack of a rear bulkhead. Also lousy trackers, as you might expect. The Chatham also was too snug, had reasonable initial stability and good secondary stability and was faster than the old whitewater boats, but probably best for someone under 180 lbs. Tracking was not great but doable without the use of a skeg. It gets knocked around a bit with a following sea. It turns reasonable well for a 16 foot kayak, especially on edge, but it can’t really compete with the shorter boats. It doesn’t help that the soft hull doesn’t hold its rockered shape all that well. You can paddle grade 2, but you can’t hit all the play spots. The Yukon had a very nice fit in the cockpit and plenty of room under the deck, but the hull design required a bit of getting used to. There is no bow rocker to speak of, so the bow really digs into a current line and you have a hard time pullinf across a current. The stern however is quite loose, and if you paddle to take advantage of that you can paddle grade 2 just fine, but grade 3 is a challenge. The Yukon is also a lousy tracker, as the bow tends to yaw, and any distance without a rudder would be frustrating. Initial and secondary stability are both good. Speed is acceptable for day trips on the lake. The Sportee is was manoeuvrable enough, better than the Chatham or Yukon, and quite stable, but the cockpit was too snug, and the low deck was cramped. Bow rocker was better than the Yukon, but not as good as the others. It has a loose stern which helps to turn, and it tracks reasonably well in most conditions, but needs some attention in a following sea. This boat is also best for a medium to small person. The Looksha and the Niftys are all fairly similar in design, as you might expect as they are all designed by the same person. Bow rocker is decent, the stern rocker is minimal and designed to assist tracking. They all track well without a rudder, they are all moderate on initial stability but high on secondary stability. The Looksha and the 430 are a bit faster than the 385. They will all handle grade 2 whitewater but the 385 is the most manoeuvrable and my favourite of the 3. Cockpits are all large enough. My biggest complaint is that the bows are all on the narrow side, and designed for speed more than maximum buoyancy. You can bury them in big water. That brings us to the Breeze. This one was a bit of a surprise as it is mostly marketed as a stable boat for fishing, photography and such, and it certainly was the most stable of the bunch, with the Yukon a close second. The cockpit was the largest of the bunch. Only the older whitewater boats had more bow rocker and the stern rocker was more than the Looksha and Nifty pair, so predictably it was one of the most manoeuvrable, comparable to the Nifty 385. Where it differed was in the fish form design and the very buoyant bow. This boat can handle some very big rough water without burying the bow. You get a bit of a slap when paddling into wind waves on the lake, but that bow feels nice when riding a large wave train or crossing currents in the rapids. The other surprise was how well it tracked without a rudder. I had it in 3 foot rollers pushing me along and had no trouble keeping it on track, whereas the Sportee and the Yukon where almost uncontrollable in the same conditions. So, final conclusion, considering stability, cockpit fit, manoeuvrability, reasonable speed, and tracking in all conditions, the Breeze was a clear winner for me, with the Nifty 385 second. A smaller paddler might like the Sportee as well.