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Name: Yadang

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Just got back from a trip along west coast of US, during which time I tested this kayak surfing at multiple spots in Oregon and California and also did a little river paddling. Regarding surfing, what i found is that the kayak was easy to surf dumping waves. Crumbling, weak waves it was harder to hold the line, but this could probably helped with better technique on my part. I never pearled (dig nose into the water and shoot backwards) the kayak. Overall, I think this kayak was a very good one to take on this kind of trip where I encountered variable conditions.

A further thought on surfing dumping waves on heavy kayaks. The Nordkapp RM kayak is heavy (good for me. I want a strong, durable kayak). Sometimes I got slammed downwards. I could see a situation where if the wave was big enough and the water shallow enough, the kayak could cause some bodily injury. So don't surf big, dumping waves with a big heavy kayak unless you know what you are doing.

I am 6'2 190 pounds and have been paddling year round for about 3 or 4 years and have had this kayak for about half year.

I find the Etain a little roomy for me, but I am not sure if that is necessarily a very bad thing yet. That's because it has a lot of storage capacity for tripping. One thing that stands out to me is how well it turns for such a large kayak. It doesn't have aggressive thigh braces and with the cockpit being roomy for me, you would think the braces wouldn't provide the support I need for aggressive maneuvers and rolling. But again it's surprisingly not a big problem either. When I am practicing rolls and going back and forth from side to side with and without paddle, I kind of wish I had more support, but its ok with the current thigh support setup.

My hatches don't leak. I think the little 4th hatch in front of cockpit is nice. The cockpit opening is huge. Well at least I know I can jump back in easily if ever in a pinch.

Overall a good kayak. "8" for me means good to very good. I am not sure I have enough knowledge to give it an accurate rating though.