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Name: BriYak

Most Recent Reviews

I now have 2 custom Aleutian T and J Paddles. The first paddle Tom carved for me, turned me into a solid fan of the Aleutian paddle. I used a big Euro blade for years and it served me well but I have been experiencing elbow and shoulder pains lately. I tried an Epic mid-wing and that solved my elbow pain but the wing felt like there was less boat control and versatility. Enter the Aleutian paddle, after my first few outings I really started to settle into the feel and speed of the Aleutian paddle.

Even though the Aleutian is much heavier than my wing paddle I find that I can maintain similar speeds during training and racing yet my body feels so much better the day after a hard paddle. The Aleut offers better control and a wider range to stroke which really helps in rough conditions.

Tom is all about customizing your paddle functionally as well as aesthetically. My first paddle arrived on time as expected and working with Tom through the purchasing process was easy and enjoyable. I quickly adopted it as my go to paddle, which unfortunately resulted in some dings using it while training and ascending a low level local creek. (My Bad ...not the fault of the paddle or the maker). So a quick message to Tom and he agreed to make me another custom Aleutian paddle with the blades reinforced with fiberglass (and a cool custom color scheme and leaf design). 3 Weeks later I received my 2nd paddle and it performs as well as the first paddle and looks even better!!! I have used it on several trips now and it has held up well to rocks and ice contact.

If you are looking for an inexpensive custom Aleutian paddle I highly recommend Tom and T and J paddles.

Purchased my Pirouette new back in 1990. This was my first WW boat and it was a great purchase, a an excellent boat for learning in, not to small to get you trashed in big water, good speed and excellent stability. Used hard for many years until I sold it to a local paddling club to use as a teaching boat.

I purchased my plastic Sealion new approx. 20 Years ago, it has been a great all around boat, fast, stable and reliable. After many years of abuse and low water paddling in local rivers it's still going strong. It fits a wide variety of paddlers from my kids to large adults.

The only 2 negatives I can say, is: yes it's a heavy boat, compared to many newer boats of similar size and performance. The other is the foam bulkheads are not very watertight and should not be trusted. This however can be fixed with some sealant. All and all a great boat when it was made and still a nice performer today.

Just purchased this boat as a general use boat for my family, We have used it on local lakes and rivers with great success, it is very popular with the kids, they kick my wife off when ever they have a chance. It seems to handle well even for a big SOT, it is very stable (naturally) and the seating flexibility is excellent, it can be paddled as a single, double or even triple if you can get the kids in sync :-)

If you are looking for a stable and flexible family boat, this one deserves a good look. We can't wait to try it in ocean surf!

I finished my SW17 early this spring (although I am still adding stuff to it), While building your own boat may seem intimidating at first, the kits take out much of the guess work and can be very addicting and rewarding. The ability to customize and personalize the boat is second to none. The kit went together easily and the online support forums are very beneficial and a great source of ideas for customizing your boat.

This is a big improvement over my plastic boat, it is lighter, stronger and stiffer (good for handling, bad for hitting things). It is more stable than I would have guessed and turns very easily with simple leans, so much so that I won't be adding the rudder I purchased for it. I added a happy bottom seat and a performance backband. The boat fits like a glove. It is very easy to get into and out of. Like many boats it is intended for a specific range of paddler, I am 5'10", 175 with size 12 shoes. Anyone over 6'2" may have to move the bulkhead forward to increase leg room.

The Shearwater tracks very well, and suffers from very little weathercocking and is easier to turn (compared to my plastic Sealion). It's a fast and predictable handling boat, a great all around sea kayak in the traditional greenland style. I have used mine on lakes and rivers, the bow slices thru most wave trains on the river as opposed to riding up and bouncing as my Sea Lion does. The hull shape gives it less buoyancy in the at the ends but I have yet to find a negative to this. I wish I had built one sooner.

  • Good all around performer, fast, stable and predictable. Very responsive to leans and strokes.
  • A good compromise between plastic (lighter and stiffer) and fiberglass/carbon boats (stonger, more durable, easier to repair).
  • It is hard to argue with the beauty of a nice wood boat, people stop to comment every time you take is somewhere.
  • Ability to customize and design your own unique looking boat
  • Easy to repair


  • If you want your wood boat to last it requires some maintenance. Keep it dry and out of the sun when not in use (UV is bad for plastic and carbon boats too). It should be given a new coat of varnish every year or so of steady use.
  • Not as indestructible as plastic
  • Small sized hatches limit the size of objects you can store (probably not the best expedition boat from a storage standpoint, although of course you can make them larger)
  • Cockpit is limited in size; may feel cramped to some larger paddlers.