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Name: djo

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Many years ago I realized that your most important purchase if you want to be serious in kayaking is to get a high quality paddle. My go-to stick is a bent shaft Werner Cyprus for kayaking. But I also have an old beat-up Old Town Discovery 119 solo canoe that I would like to try with a double blade paddle and my kayak paddles are too short. I wanted a 240 cm paddle for the canoe but did not want to buy junk because I know I would not be happy with a clunky aluminum shaft paddle. So I used a gift card from my birthday and put it towards an Aqua Bound Stingray with the new Posi-Lok ferrule.

It is a good quality low angle paddle. It is light enough that its 240 cm length does not feel cumbersome. The Posi-Lok system seems very solid. There is no looseness in the ferrule and it snaps together soundly and then comes apart just as easily. The blade has been whacked against a couple of riverside (and river bottom) rock to no ill effect suggesting that it will stand up to normal abuse. The surface finish on the shaft seems fine and does not appear to lead to excess rubbing or blisters.

Within its price range, this seems like an excellent paddle. Within its price range I would give this paddle a 10 - compared to the best that are out there I will give an 8.

I have had my Rack and Roll trailer for three years now so I think I am reaching the point I can give a reasonable review. The trailer arrived in 4 or 5 boxes and took a couple of hours to assemble. The instructions were clear and the parts were all of high enough quality and close enough tolerance that it went together smoothly. A torque wrench was the only tool needed that was at all unusual.

Basic design and construction quality were excellent. The only modification I did was to install the tongue extender so that it would accommodate my QCC700. I got the unit with the shorter cross bars which still had plenty of room for two boats on Malone J-racks and a rack for my recumbent bike in between.

I am not a quality control engineer but in three years and many thousands of miles there have been zero issues. I drag it a couple of hundred miles weekly to get to good boating water. Several of my fellow kayakers have borrowed it for long trips to the Great Lakes so that four people and their boats can go together. Again – no issues. One person was sufficiently enamored the he bought one too.

It is very light and easy to roll. I drive into my double garage at the top of a hill and unhook the trailer to pull it into the other half of the garage. Several times I have been pinned into a location where I could not back it up so I just unhook it and roll it to a better spot. I pull it behind a Honda Civic with no appreciable loss of mileage and no obvious impact on drivability of this small car. I use it for 90% of my kayak transport needs and only use the roof rack for unusual situation (like when someone else it driving it across country).

The only down side I can see to this unit is that it is expensive but given the savings in physical therapy on using an old back by not loading boats on the roof and not having to replace a boat because a wind gust blew it off the roof before it could be tied down (I know I am not the only one here) it has been a reasonable investment.

I will be very brief. I have owned this life jacket for two years and have regretted it since the first time I paddled in it. Despite the efforts of me, the store, and my paddling friends I cannot get a comfortable fit with it. It is so built up with stiff floatation in the front that it restricts arm movement and body rotation. Last fall in an all-day late season paddle I was in agony when I got back to shore from it rubbing the front of my shoulder. I was shocked when I realized it had rubbed so hard that it damaged my dry suit in that spot. I will not buy another PFD without a chance to wear it for a day first – check with a local paddle shop or outfitter and it is pretty easy to arrange.

I noticed the other day when I was out with my regular group that three of the six of us had independently decided that the Werner Cyprus had become our go to paddle. It is light weight; something that is much appreciated on an eight hour paddle. The bent shaft eases stress on older wrists and allows you to relieve pressure on wear spots on your hands by moving them a bit on the shaft. We figured that we had about nine years of wear on the paddles all together and no one had any issues with the ferrules – something that cannot be said for all paddles.

The medium size blade keeps stress levels moderate during long trips but provides plenty of surface area for braces, turns, and rolls or bursts of extra power when they are needed. Is it a perfect paddle – well, we did notice that the little sticker that tells you the feather angle had washed off over the years. What would be the first thing we would do if we lost these paddles – replace them immediately.

Unless you are one of those folks that like to paddle with wooden sticks, I cannot see how you could go wrong with a Werner Cyprus.

I own two of these paddles. The first was a mid-Swift graphite paddle that was my only touring paddle for many years. I put a lot of hours on the paddle. It is light and appropriately rigid, with a light swing weight but still enough guts that it can be used for braces, rolls, and bridging to shore while I try to fit too much body into too small a combing. I have never detected any flutter.

The ferrules were never an issue and one could not ask for better performance from a straight shaft paddle. It finally migrated to my backup paddle when too many years of wrist-abuse made a bent shaft better for long days.

I liked the graphite paddle well enough that when it was time to upgrade my river paddle I want with a fiberglass mid-Swift. I like the extra strength and resilience of the glass composite blade when banging rocks and trees is involved. And the transparent blue color is very nice and glints in the sun. These are both excellent paddles and you cannot do wrong with either material.

Whenever I paddle with a very experienced friend he makes two comments about my Eddyline Fathom. First it is the prettiest kayak he has ever seen and second a Fathom saved his butt when he and his son (a professional kayaker) got caught in the wrong place and time in a bad tidal rip the San Juan Islands. I have been paddling a Fathom for four or five years now so it is about time to submit a review.

The Fathom is one of the best general purpose touring kayaks available. It may not be best at any one thing but provides a great compromise at doing everything very well. At 16'6" it is a big enough boat to handle most conditions yet is a bit lighter and easier to maneuver both on and off the water than you might expect. It has a modest rocker that provides a compromise between tracking and turning with an effective skeg should it be needed. Hard chined, it has good primary and very solid secondary stability and edges well.

The bow appears to be a bit narrower than some equivalent sea kayaks and 4 foot waves will often result in water breaking over the front hatch. This is not an issue but compared to the Valley boats that are favored my many of our group it does seem to cut a bit deeper into oncoming waves. That being said I have yet to find any water I feel threatened by when paddling this boat. It has a lot of storage and has served me well on 7 day trips even when I had had to carry all my water. I am not a racer but some of my racer friends have borrowed the Fathom and speak very well of its speed.

I am a real fan of the Eddyline Carbonlite 2000 thermoform plastic technology. At less than 50 lbs. the boat compares well with fiberglass. It has the clean lines of a composite boat but banging it on rocks, running over oyster beds, and landing on cement ramps does no more damage than to a rotomold. Yes you can crack TF boats. A couple years ago I lost a Fathom off the roof of my car at 70 mph in 10 degree weather when one of the towers of my Yakima rack failed. If you hit TF plastic hard enough under extreme cold it will break and I punched a big section out of the bow. That being said, I replaced it with another Fathom.

Is the boat perfect? Of course not, there is no such thing. The original Fathom has a very high front deck. At 6'3" and 190 lbs, I like that a lot. The high deck lets me get my size 11s with 35" inseams inside without bending my knees backwards. But even I bump the deck occasionally when I paddle if I clip a water bottle there. I sit fairly deep in the boat which for my size works fine, but I need some padding to optimize boat control. There is a low volume (LV) model that might be a bit better for folks that are less longitudinally endowed.

I personally have had problems with the new adjustable seat that Eddyline put into production in that it seemed impossible for my legs to not fall asleep in 15 minutes. I have never met anyone else with this problem. My boat has a custom seat from Redfish Kayak that is perfect for me (and probably cuts 5 pounds off the weight).

I have over the years owned a bunch of kayaks and am in the process these days of scuttling part of the armada. If I ever get back to a single sea kayak, it would be the Fathom.

Having paddled my Eddyline Equinox for a little over a year now, I through that it was time to report some my opinions. First a little about me. I am 6'3" about 220 lbs. and pushing hard on 60 years old. I have canoed for 5 decades and owned kayaks for about 15 years but have mainly used an old beat up Old Town Loon 138 as a platform for fly fishing for stripers from our place in Maine and to run over to Biddeford Pool for beer and lobster. I have put in a couple of hundred hours paddling the Equinox and for the first time have given some serious through to developing my techniques.

First impression: My objectives were to get a high quality boat that was light enough for me to wrestle atop my car solo that would allow me to do modestly challenging flat water in the windy Midwest. The Equinox meets these qualifications. It is a thermoform boat so it is very tough while having a weight that approaches a composite. As with every Eddyline boat I have seen the build quality is excellent. It is a 14 ft boat with sealed compartments fore and aft with a weight of 45 lbs making it easy to flip on top of my Camry. The boat is very rigid and highly resistant to the dings and bangs of launching and landing on rocky shorelines. The cockpit opening is large (18.5 x 35 in.) making entrance and egress easy but mandating a spray skirt to keep water out during even modest edging. The boat easily handles my size. The standard footbrace just fits my 34” inseam and my size 11 feet fit as long as I don’t try to wear Tevas.

Second impressions: Eddyline designed the Equinox as a transitional boat with the high primary and secondary stability of a recreational kayak but length and hatches of a touring boat. They have succeeded in these objectives. With its 25 in. width, shallow V bottom, and hard chine constructions the boat has very high initial stability. Even complete novices are very comfortable. The boat makes a good platform for fishing, photography, and even putting your knees up and eating lunch. It also provides solid secondary stability needed to learn to rely on edges and leans. The seat is comfortable for me for 3 or 4 hours. There is plenty of room to stash a few days of camping supplies in the hatches.

Third impressions: While most of my paddling has been solo, I have put in enough miles with others to know that the Equinox is very easy to keep straight even in strong quartering winds and 2-3 foot waves. The boat does not have a rudder or skeg and does not need one. I have also learned that while the boat edges great it does not turn terribly quickly. One paddler, who is an instructor, did not believe me until he tried it. Sweeps and leans have to be greatly exaggerated to have the desired effect. I have tried it once on a small muddy Midwestern river and the limited agility made it less than an ideal boat. While the boat is not a dog, you have to work harder than your fellow travelers to keep up with equally skilled paddlers in true sea kayaks.

Overall: This boat is exactly what it is supposed to be. It is an extremely well designed extremely well built introductory kayak for someone that wants a high performance recreational boat or a low performance touring boat. It tracks well and probably for most paddlers will be more boat than they ever need. It has also convinced me of the quality of Eddyline products and of their thermoform plastics. I suspect that some folks will feel they want a higher performance boat in a year or so. I tried an Eddyline Fathom for an hour the other day and covet it mightily for its increased speed and nimbleness.

I am a little surprised that my Old Town Discovery 119 is considered tippy. I got this little red canoe about 15 years ago because I wanted a solo canoe to fish out of that was light enough to cartop by myself. At the time this was the only solo canoe available locally.

Having spent thousands of hours fly fishing from the boat, I have never noticed that it is unstable and I have never taken water accidentally – as someone that is 6’3”, 230 lbs. and not very coordinated I could do it if anyone could. I did manage to boat a 50+ lb grass carp in it and I would not suggest anyone try that trick again.

Having said that the boat is sufficiently stable for my purposes I would have to agree that it does not track well and paddling in a variable wind takes a lot of attention and a well varied J-stroke. I am not sure that any canoe under 12’ long will track much better. Old Town has apparently discontinued this boat but I would still recommend it should a used one float by. It is a great little short distance knock around and fishing platform for one person. - David