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Name: redfeather1

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The Wisper is described by Feathercraft as a cross between its popular but somewhat bargy Kahuna and its narrow and nimble Khatsalano Greenland-style boat. It features a graceful upswept bow and much narrower beam than the Kahuna and edges well with only the slightest shift of one's hip and thigh against the braces. Like all sit-in Feathercrafts, Wisper is a skin-on-frame boat, with an aircraft aluminum interior frame that fits inside a skin comprised of proprietary urethane hull material which is RF welded to the waterproof Sealskin deck material.

My Wisper XP includes bow and stern hatches, the famous FC rudder, and double-coated sea sock and hatch material, and comes in at just about 40# dry weight. As a 5'6" female, the weight is a big consideration; I can manage the kayak very well on land, but of course it is in the water where it really shines.

On long paddles in Alaska's Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords, I was able to readily keep up with friends in sporty hard-shell boats, something that has been difficult in the much slower Kahuna. The fabric hull absorbs a good deal of energy from waves and keeps the boat very quiet even in confused waters. I am loving the way the Wisper performs.

The hull material is tough, and really takes a beating on our rocky Alaskan shorelines. It helps that Feathercraft adds a reinforcement strip over the keel and chines.

It takes about 30 minutes to assemble the kayak, after some practice. The supplied backpack includes room for a PFD and a four-part paddle; much more and you'd be really pushing up against the 50-lb airline weight limit. That said, I usually keep my Feathercraft assembled and car-top it to the put-in.

Each kayak is made to order in Feathercraft's shop on Granville Island in Vancouver. It took about 2 1/2 weeks from the time I ordered the kayak until it arrived at my front door. They take great pride in their workmanship, and offer unparalleled customer service.

A couple of small drawbacks - Wisper does not have any hand loops for carrying, so you must carry the boat by cradling it against your hip. Since it is narrower than the Kahuna this is not so difficult, but grab loops would be helpful. Second, Feathercraft has gone to a new "gas pedal" style rudder pedal system, where your feet remain stationary and control the pedals by flexing your foot forward from the ankle. Personally, I preferred the older track-mounted pedal system and plan to swap out the pedals from my Kahuna into the Wisper.

Overall, Wisper is a comfortable, nimble boat that is perfect for a smaller paddler who enjoys a luxurious, organic ride.

I've had my Kalliste paddle, with the bent shaft for about five years now and couldn't be happier with it. My principal paddling location is glacial fjords in Alaska.

The Kalliste's light weight and the ability to continually adjust my hand position means less fatigue and more enjoyment. One of the nicest features is the indexed, adjustable ferrule, which is extremely easy to adjust on the fly with very little hand strength required compared to my older Werner Little Dipper with the thumb-button spring set-up. The carbon blade has proven to be very durable; despite some rather extreme use poling through pack ice and shoving off offshore rock faces, it shows very little sign of wear and absolutely no de-lamination.

Probably the best piece of paddling equipment (other than my Feathercraft boat) that I have invested in. The price is a bit steep, but you won't regret the price when you're paddling along with good energy and little hand fatigue for hours on end.

I'm glad to see that others have experienced both the joys and trials I'd had with the Hullavator. However, after this weekend's excursion I'm taking it off my rack and back to REI. I could deal with the trouble in locking the arms in the down position, and other quirks, but it's gotten to the point that one of the units' hydraulic assist is not longer working well and the boat does not lift properly - I have to enlist the aid of another person, which defeats the entire purpose of the Hullavator - to safely load and unload my kayak solo.

I have an early Kahuna - bought in 2000 when they were first introduced. I paddle in demanding, cold water conditions in Alaska and have found my Kahuna to always be up the task, and a joy to paddle.

I have the full set-up - both fore and aft hatches and the FC rudder. The rudder provides an extra measure of stability and control in challenging conditions, but most of the time I paddle with it flipped up onto the deck. The boat has been very durable and shows little wear despite how much use it has gotten, mostly in salt water, being dragged on sharp rocky beaches. I couldn't say the same for either my previous two boats - one fiberglass and one rotomolded.

For smaller paddlers (I am 5'6" 150 lb woman) it is easy to cartop, and a dream fit. The sea sock takes a little getting used to, but I find that I really like it. Best of all... I can take it with me on an airplane - both scheduled airline and bush plane and get to amazing destinations. Having my own boat and not having to deal with a rental is worth every penny I paid for the Kahuna. If you are looking to buy a used Kahuna, you should.

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