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Name: EdZep

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I've had a Sneak skirt for 3 or 4 years. I have used it maybe 8 times, with my Tempest. Until learning to roll this past year (with neoprene skirts), I had not been much of a skirt user. Today, it was hot, and I decided to wear the Sneak, and give it a try with a roll. I put it on as I always had, with bungee as tied off at the factory. The skirt imploded immediately. I wound up taking about 9 inches out of the bungee (4 1/2 per side, on the knot). That allowed the skirt to hang on, on subsequent rolls.

It was not any harder to get the skirt on; the main difficulty in putting on a nylon skirt is always having to walk the bunched up nylon around the bungee and coaming. Maybe Seals expects users to tighten up the bungees. I should have been more rigorous with the fit, in any case. Of course, some water did pass the skirt, but, it's ok for minimal or unexpected rolling.

I like the main features of the Sneak: elastic suspenders, Velcro waist adjustment, outer zip pockets, and, most of all, the zipper that allows access to items under the skirt. The under-skirt-access zipper also allows the skirt to be donned easily -- hanging loose on the shoulders, by the suspenders -- then snapped, then zipped. The Velcro waist adjusters can be set once, then forgotten.

I was surprised today, to notice that, after such infrequent use, the backside coating on the nylon is crumbling away in several places. On one hand, I don't really expect a nylon skirt to be waterproof, anyway. But, would hope the coating would be more robust.

I'm on my 2nd Camano. I think it's one of the better values in paddles, and often recommend them to paddlers that want to upgrade from their $65 rec paddles. I first had an older Camano with white blades, blue shaft, and 2-position snap-button ferrule. After 6 or 7 years of regular seasonal use, it still looked very good, but, I sold it when I got a sportier Epic paddle. The Camanos currently list for $265, but, I needed a backup paddle, and picked up a Camano during an REI sale, which, with other incentives, brought my effective price down below $180.

I'm impressed with the new design of the Camano. It's lighter than my old one, and, it has a very nice ferrule, which even includes a feather indicator. I really like Werner shafts, which allow decent grip, yet rotate easily in your off-hand. I got mine with single-color translucent fiberglass blades. I see they are now available in a 2-tone swirl or wave, but, I have not yet seen one of them.

This is a followup to my review sumitted 17 days ago. My paddle has been repaired by Epic, at no charge, and is back in my hands... My Precious. They replaced the Length Lock ferrule with a revised version -- not just the female/lever side, but also the male side with the index marks that I had previously noted were too light. Epic's letter explained that the diameters of the revised ferrule were different from the original one, among other differences, including material. Having had experience with epoxies in building wooden boats and paddles, I was at first surprised that these components could be changed out so effectively. I guess they must heat the shaft and ferrule to weaken the adhesive bond. They also touched up the edges of my blades, and gave the whole thing a light fluff and buff. I am duly impressed, and grateful.

These are now called Sea-Lect foot braces. I've built several kayaks, and had high hopes for these braces. I know they are used in at least one lineup of commercial kayaks. But, I'm not a fan... not at all. They do have some good qualities, such as their strength, and nice adjustability. Two thing have given the negative impression. First, the mounting distance between holes is non-standard, which makes it very difficult to use the braces as replacement in most any boat! I'm headed out to the shop right now to re-re-verify... yep, they are 1/8 to 3/16 in shorter between holes, than WS-Harmony braces. I'm sure I've measured them against Keepers in the past, too. Mine are several years old and marked Sea-Dogs. I suppose it's possible that they've since been revised to the proper hole spacing. The other bad thing, to me, is the angle of the face of the foot pedals, as if looking from above. When sitting in a kayak, I think most people have their feet angled outward. But, the face of the pedals is actually angled inward. This makes them uncomfortable to use. I think the idea of the design is to offset the tapering angle of the kayak hull. I do not think it is well-conceived.

These are the foot braces that come in many Wilderness Systems and Dagger sea kayaks, and probably other Confluence boats, as well. These are my favorite foot braces, of brands to include Keepers, Werner and Sea-Dogs. They allow a bit of outward angle to the foot, as if viewed from above. The adjustability is good. These braces could be improved, however. Sometimes I wish the surface area of the pedals was larger -- my feet feeling a pressure point through thin bootie soles. Also, the little pressure lock intended to keep the braces from accidentally coming out of adjustment... tend to wear out or break. The solution to this has been to get 3-inch lengths of vinyl tubing of about 1/2 inch OD, and slip them into the mount nearest the cockpit, to jam the adjustment rod in the locked position. This works very well, and works even if the original locks are still functional. Unfortunately, it does make the braces less convenient to adjust. But, I don't tend to adjust foot braces, unless someone else uses my boat.

I've had this paddle for 4 years. As far as general performance propelling and maneuvering a boat, I'm very pleased with it. I find the reduced surface area to be perfect for my stroke -- powerful enough, but easy on my shoulders. The surface area is somewhat less than Werner's mid-sized, low-angle paddles, and, I seem to notice it more than I probably should. I paddle somewhere between low and high angle. The shaft is smaller than Werner's standard shaft, and feels perfect to me, even though my hands are large enough for Werner's shafts. The paddle feels light, particularly in use. It feels great in the water. All of these aspects are so good for me, that it's hard to imagine finding a Euro paddle that I would like more.

But, all is not perfect in Epic paddle land. The shaft has a beautiful, slick texture, but, it causes the shaft to stick in my hand, rather than rotate smoothly, as a Werner does. I've taken to wearing gloves to solve this, which I don't mind, since I also began wearing long-sleeved wicking shirts, for sun protection. The markings for the length and feather are very light, and uneven. I've seen other Epics with nice, bright white markings.

My paddle has silver blades that show the fabric weave. It's pretty, but has yellowed over time. The blades have some fairly ugly Epic decals on them. At least they've held up pretty well, because scars or peeling would make them even uglier. There are also ugly decals wrapped around the shafts, at the blade junctions. These have started to roll up a bit. I don't think Epic makes silver blades any more, and, it appears they've toned down or eliminated the decals.

Most importantly, the length lock ferrule no longer holds the feather angle firmly enough, and, I find that in rough water, the feather gets knocked out of whack, causing me to miss a stroke or a brace. I can not adjust the ferrule any tighter. I contacted Epic and received a return authorization, so, I'm sending off the paddle today. The paddle is beyond their 1-year warranty, but, I hope they will take care of their product.

I had a Do It Now when I became interested in whitewater paddling, and before I learned to roll. It's a great boat for class II with some class III downriver runs. It would probably surf with the right standing wave, and the right paddler, but, I never made that combo. The DIN paddles in a straight line better than some whitewater boats of similar length, yet still spins around easily with not much of a paddle stroke. I found getting back on board after a spill to be quick and easy, with handles apparently positioned for that purpose.

It has thigh straps, which are important to handling in whitewater. This also allowed some other paddlers to roll my boat, when they were trying it out of curiosity. The sitting position is very good, encouraging upright or slightly forward posture. There's no provision for a backband or seat, but, I never missed either item. In fact, the only potential comfort issue was that my outside ankle area touched the footbrace railing. I thought this would bother me, but, I rarely noticed it. The foot braces themselves are oversized, and very comfortable.

There's a large screw hatch that allows access to the inside hull, where you can stash extra water, sun screen, lunch, etc. Of course, you have to keep all this stuff from getting loose and out of reach. I tied a piece of rope around one of the scupper tubes under the seat, and clipped a drybag or mesh bag to the rope. The hatch on my boat was not water tight, due to imperfect installation. It never bothered me enough to re-install the hatch properly. I've seen the boat a few times since selling it. The hull is showing some mild oil-canning. It can't get too bad, due to the structure of the scupper tubes. But, I can see potential, depending on use/abuse, for wear to occur around the scupper holes possibly leading to leaks.

I recently had a Kuroshio paddle, in black. I thought the finish and shapes were quite nice. The blades are very stiff. Paddle is suitably light. I did not mind the round, Euro-size loom, at all. Like the previous reviewer, I was disappointed in the bit of looseness at the joint. I was prepared to improve the joint with epoxy and sanding, but, it would have been wasted effort, due to the one other problem I had with the paddle: the loom was too short. It appears that Gearlab included the shoulders in their measurement of loom length, and, I found the loom 5 cm shorter than I expected, which would already have been a bit shorter than I'd prefer. Mine was a 220 cm paddle. In reviewing the stated loom to paddle lengths, I do not think the looms grow in length in proper proportion to the paddles. The company makes a shoulderless GP, as well. I would still consider giving one of them a try.

This is a nice general-purpose kayak. Mine is framed with cedar stringers and 1/2 inch marine plywood. It has a 12 oz. nylon skin with 2-part polyurethane coating. With my laminated fir coaming, plus Keepers foot braces, commercial flotation bags, and plenty of rigging, it weighs 30 pounds. I built mine with an extra 6 inches of length, part of which went into extra, nicely curved bow taper. This 22 in. wide boat is quite stable, decently efficient, and will heel over on edge for manuevering.

I also added a 2 cm. of height to the front coaming, to add a little more foot room. At 5 ft. 9 in. with size 9 1/2 feet, I get by with snug shoes and the foot braces. Without foot braces, somewhat larger feet will fit.

A Yost boat is not hard to build, and there are a lot of experienced builders willing to discuss the details at kayakforum.com (as well as a searchable archive, where answers to common questions are ready and waiting). If you just stumbled into this review with no previous knowledge of Yost skin-on-frame kayaks, check out yostwerks.com.

This was my 3rd Yost boat. I'm not going to submit reviews on the others, but will add brief comments here:

The Sea Rider (multichined variant) -- 17 ft. x 19 1/2 in. -- is a very efficient Greenland-ish hull, fairly stable for its width. The cockpit is small, and there's not much extra foot room. Forget about installing foot braces unless you have short legs and small feet. You have to be willing to sit with straight legs; some people love it, but I could not take it.

The Sea Otter R -- 15 ft. x 20 in. Very tender, at least with a 135 lb. paddler. Similar in design to the Sea Tour 15 R. Skip the Sea Otter and go directly to the Sea Tour.

I recently had the opportunity to test drive a Delta 16. Well, actually, I bought one from REI during their 15% off boat sale. It was a web-only item. When I picked it up, I noticed striations all around the heat/chemical seal of the rear bulkhead. I thought there was some small chance that this was normal, and after the store manager reassured me about their return policy, I took it home. Eventually, I put several inches of water in the cockpit, and was able to see it leaking through to the rear compartment. Careful inspection revealed that some of those striations were actually open cracks. So, I had paddled the boat a few times before returning it. My test drive cost me $100 in travel expenses. Though I decided it was not ideal for my needs, I'm sure it would be great for some paddlers.

Obviously, a primary reason to buy a Delta is the thermoformed plastic: tough, slick, attractive, light weight, UV resistant, fairly rigid, and less expensive and less heavy than fiberglass. At 22 inches wide, this is one of Delta's narrower and ostensibly more efficient offerings.

I'm 5'9", 135 lb male, 52. I was only able to test paddle in calm water. Stability was fine. I found the maneuverability and edging to be quite good. Hull efficiency did not meet my expectations. While it would cruise along nicely at 4.6 MPH, 5 MPH took so much effort as to not be practical (in contrast, I get more than another 1/2 MPH from my 23 inch wide CLC Shearwater 16). I have to wonder if the concave sides and bottom facets add drag to the design. The full stems may be a factor here, too. I didn't get a chance to do anything meaningful with the skeg. It deployed easily. With just a jam cleat for the rope, incremental adjustment was not convenient.

The cockpit was not bad, if a bit larger than necessary. The sliding seat is a nice feature. I adjusted the position until my thighs fell nicely on the braces. I could have used some side padding. I do like having some room behind the seat for water and other things. The seat was not right for my bum, but, I have no padding, and factory seats generally don't work well. The seat pad had what appeared to be a drain area at the bottom -- but, there was no hole through the seat pan to allow water to escape! The seat back can be adjusted vertically while out of the boat, and the bungee'd hinge worked nicely. I found the single cord for seat back support and adjustment to be skimpy, and considered that the approx. 12-inch free end beyond the jam cleat might be an annoyance or safety hazard. And, shortening the cord would impair adjustability.

This is the only model where Delta has opted to include a front day hatch, and lock knobs on all the hatches. The front day hatch is a nice convenience. It is smoothly rounded on the underside of the deck, and does not at all interfere with your feet. The lock knobs work, but, they also leak. The knobs don't have their own seals, so, for example, the front day hatch would get a little water in it from paddle splashes. All of the hatch rims were nicely finished. Where my last thermoformed boat (a Perception) had the hatch edge pointed outward, Delta went to the trouble of turning the edges inward, to hide them and add rigidity. The main hatches are quite large. I was able to get the halves of a 230cm paddle into either hatch, as a test. The rear day hatch is a pod suspended under the deck. It seemed a little small. I didn't mind open space beside the pod, in the main rear compartment, but, the approx. 1 inch below it seemed wasted. Each hatch had bungees crossing over it, with hooks to quickly snap them in place. But, the combination of knob locks and bungees was a bit of a bother, and the bungees were so tight as to limit what other gear they could hold.