I wanted a smaller poly kayak, to use over the winter, and on the local creeks, as I won't take my Assateague in rocky creeks. I wanted an inexpensive "play boat" to do class 1 white water with the local kayak club, and for on small lakes.
I found this to be a downright FUN little kayak! I can see there was a lot of thought put into it's design. It has a Swede form hull, to help it be a little faster for it's width, and the width is enough to give it great initial stability (Compared to my Assateague). It has sort of a fin at the rear to help with straight tracking also. Plus it has a hard chined hull to help maneuverability. I can paddle it as straight as a line as I want, but lean the boat on it's side a bit and it will turn a tight little corner. Plus the seat is really comfortable!
On new year's day, I did a section of the local Creek with the white water group of our club, and it did real well. We did mild class 1 rapids, and I had a blast. I never felt like I didn't have control of the situatuion in this little boat.
If you are looking for an inexpensive little kayak, to have a lot of fun in, check out the Emotion Edge. I believe it will be fun to whoever paddles it.
The Super Nova Semi Dry suit is "almost" a dry suit. It is made of a breathable fabric, with sewn in socks, and a relief zipper. The socks are super for keeping your feet dry, and the relief zipper is great for RELIEF without needing to take the suit off.
The first time I wore it, I walked out into the water to see if it really was "dry". I found out why it is good to "burp" it, as the upper part ballooned out from the air inside. As I got into chest high water, I just pulled out on my neck seal, and let the air out. I was perfectly dry inside. I did feel how cold the water was, and was glad to have my Kokatat Polartec 100 liner under it for warmth. Note a semi-dry, or dry suit does not insulate you from the cold, it only keeps you dry.
The latex wrist gaskets kept out all water, and so did the zippers. They did what they were supposed to do. I didn't test the neoprene neck gasket this time. My paddling friend has one of these suits, and he told me he went swimming in his one day, and forgot to tighten the neck with the attached velcro strap. He said with it loose he only got a few drops in around the neck. Next time he tightened it, and got no water in at all. So I will take his word on this for now.
I was concerned as to how hot I would be inside. I had the memories of sweating terribly in the wet suit. I must say I was very comfortable as we paddled about 7 miles. The sun was warm, but the air was about 50 degrees. The water was even colder. I was amazed at how comfortable I was while paddling. I would have been sweating a lot if I had been in my wet suit.
If you paddle water that is not freezing cold, and you don't need a full dry suit, this Super Nova Semi-Dry suit beats a wet suit any day.
How much is your life and comfort worth? In my estimation, at least the cost of this suit!
I walked out into the water in my suit, and I could feel the cold water, but I didn't "feel cold". It did what I wanted it to do.
The air was about 50 degrees, and blowing about 10 mph, but the sun was very bright. The Polartec 100 liner wicked the moisture away from my skin, and I was very comfortable. I thought I would be sweating with the sun beating down on me, and wearing a life jacket. But I wasn't. I was far more comfortable that I thought I would be.
If you are looking for something to wear under your Semi-dry, or Dry suit, look closely at the Kokatat, Polartec 100 Dry Suit Liner. It does a great job.
I paddle mainly flat water areas like the Chesapeake bay, and local wide (1 mile plus) river, and large lakes. My longest paddle has been about 10 miles, and I don't like winds over 15 mph. My favorite time on the water is when the sun is peeking over the horizon, the water is calm, and the wildlife is just stirring. But I do enjoy some rough water once in a while, for some excitement.
I started with an Old Town Adventure XL-139 Kayak. A great "Rec" kayak, but wanted something lighter and longer. I next got a Lincoln, "Chebeaque". I was pushing the weight limit for the kayak, and the cockpit opening was too small. But otherwise a fun, good, composite kayak. I traded it because the cockpit opening was too small for me, and I hurt my "bad knee" getting into it one day. Next I tried a Boreal, "Nanook". Biggest mistake in my life. You can read my review here on P-Net if you want to learn more. Ok, enough about me to help you understand the review.
I had looked at "Impex" before, and tried their Serenity. It just felt too big, with too much rocker for me. I thought their quality was tops, and heard about their great service, but just didn't know about the Assateague until fall 2004. At that time I put a post on P-Net asking about the "best" composite kayak for the big guy. Most of the responses told me about the Impex Assateague. I was impressed with the replies.
When I heard that Impex was showing at Paddle Sports show in NJ, I e-mailed Danny to see if he would have an Assateague at the show. He replied "yes", so I was there Saturday morning, and I finally got to see one. Right away he got it down off of the rack, and let me sit in it. 10 minutes later my wife asked me when I was getting out, and I asked if I "really had to"! The cockpit fit me very well. Slightly loose, but that was better than tight. One thing I liked a lot about the cockpit opening is the width at the front of the opening. There is plenty of room between the thigh braces for my bad knee and I to get out very easily, the seat, foot pegs, and back band seemed to be designed for me. The model was actually designed from the start just for the bigger person. I fell in love with the Orange deck, Yellow trim Carbon/Kevlar model at the show.
I like buying from my local shops, and I really wanted to paddle it before I bought it, so I asked Danny how we could do this. He asked me if I wanted to meet him at the nearby river EARLY the next morning before the show. Since it was MARCH, and I lived 3-1/2 hours away, I declined the offer. I thought that was terrific for him to offer this, as I know how tiring Shows are. I asked him if he could get one to my local shop, so I could Demo it there, and buy it if I liked it. He said fine, and we parted ways with him working on a plan.
We e-mailed a couple times, and a plan developed. Soon after, he had these two kayaks at a show in the New England states. After the show, he drove about 100 miles out of his way going home, to drop them both off at my local shop. One was to be their Demo Kayak, and the other was the one for me to buy if I liked paddling it. I took a vacation day in early April, and went to the shop to Demo it. I took my Orange/Yellow kayak home with me that day. It only took me about ½ hour to realize this was the Kayak I had been looking for the last 4 years!
After paddling it since April (It is now mid October), I am more and more impressed with it. It is a "Keeper" for sure. My friend has a Brand X, model "700". He is smaller that I and his fits him well. I needed a kayak to keep up with him. The Assateague does a very good job. With minimal effort I can keep up a pace of 4 mph (GPS) all afternoon. With more effort I can keep up 5 mph for a little while, and have pushed it to 6.3 mph. I can't keep that up long. On flat water, we paddled to speed, and then coasted. Our glide was side by side. I was impressed with this, as the Assateague is wider, carrying me (more weight).
I have had it on the Chesapeake Bay, and on the local 1+ mile wide river, and waves and chop don't seem to bother it at all. Initial stability is fine, but not like a Rec Kayak. But Secondary stability is really solid. I like to lean to carve turns, and I have to work hard to get the boat on its side so water is near the cockpit combing. It is really solid. Waves and boat wakes have hit me from the side, and they just wash right under me. I like that a lot. In head-on or trailing rougher water, it does not tend to pitch violently up and down with the waves. It follows them in a controllable manner that gives me confidence in the boat.
The cockpit fits me very well. The seat base is comfortable for longer periods. After 4 hours I'm not a bit "sore". The back band is OK, but I plan on replacing it. I don't like a back band that sticks above the combing. With it in its standard position, the spray skirt hits the band and pushes it down behind my butt. I took off the band, and turned it upside down, with the top now level with the combing, and it is "ok". I plan on putting a softer padded cloth back-band in the kayak over the winter. The Immersion Research is hard plastic padded with foam. I think the padded cloth ones are a little more comfortable. I like the solidness of the foot pegs with this kayak having a Skeg. I hated the foot pegs moving around on my last Ruddered kayak. I like the skeg!
The kayak tracks "fairly" straight all on it's own. If I watch my strokes, and be sure to keep them even, I don't need to use the skeg at all to keep it straight as an arrow. But after a while I get tired of being careful, so I put the skeg down about ¾ to 1". That takes care of "me" well. On windy days I found the boat likes to point into the wind a little. This is better than away from the wind, but a little more down skeg takes care of the wind's effects very well. I much prefer a skeg kayak now! The kayak is very easy to turn for a 17'-10" kayak. With a good lean in the opposite direction you want to turn, it will carve a turn that still amazes me. I can turn it as tight as the Adventure XL I had. Easy to turn!
I really love the VCP hatches. I have never had any leakage in them. I put 303 on them, inside and out, and they slide on and off no problem. The Day Hatch behind the cockpit is nice too, but I have a hard time twisting around to get in it, on the water. I just use it for storage of things I don't want bouncing around in the larger compartments. It is nice for that. I do like the new carry handles. They are comfortable to have in the hand when carrying it.
The hull is made with a cloth that has Carbon fibers running one direction, and with Kevlar fibers woven into it going the crossed direction. It is an interesting cloth to see. The Hull is VERY stiff (not like my last one), and I like that. This cloth weave has the stiffness of Carbon, and the strength of Kevlar. I feel it is a good weave. The deck is reinforced Fiberglass, I guess they had to use finer weave glass cloth to go in and out of all of the deck recessed and shapes.
After 4 years of searching for the right kayak for me, I have found it. I am sure it will last me a long time. The fit and finish are really nice, and I am proud to be in it. I get a lot of nice comments on it.
"Negative" - No review would be complete without any negatives. I honestly can't say anything negative about the boat, and the way it handles. But after I bought it, Danny sent an e-mail to me asking how I liked it. I thought that was a nice touch! I had a few minor issues, mainly questions, so I replied telling him how much I liked it, and explained the questions. Danny replied saying my e-mail was "too much" for him, that I should call. I never got to call, so he e-mailed me back about calling. By then I got a little frustrated after I had explained my issues in the e-mail, and just didn't have the time to go over it again on the phone. I replied back saying thanks for the follow-up, lets just forget it. I guess I was disappointed that he was so good with e-mail before I bought it, but not good at all "after".
I went to the dealer for help with one issue. The deck perimeter rescue lines were so tight that you could "twang" them like a guitar string. There was no way to get your fingers behind them if you had to. I untied the bow line, with the intent of loosening it with a knot closer to the fitting, and it stopped a full inch before it got it back to the fitting. That is how tight it was from the factory. After waiting over a month for the dealer to get new lines for me from Impex, I went and bought new deck lines and restrung it myself. Minor issues, but something to note.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! If you are a larger person like me, or bigger, this Performance kayak was made for you!
I really like this paddle, and I believe it is different than other paddles I have tried. The price was high, but I feel you get what you pay for. The blades catch the water as if you had stuck them into wet cement. When I pull on the shaft to complete the stroke, the blade feels firm, with no flutter and the kayak just goes forward! :)
I had been using a good wood 2 piece paddle, and this Lendal is so light I hardly know I am lifting it. I like the 4 piece design, with their PADLOCK locking system, as it gives me the solid feel of a one piece paddle, but can be taken apart in seconds, and blades or shafts changed for whatever different purpose I might have. I can have carbon blades for touring, and cheaper plastic blades for the local creek.
I have a 22.5" wide composite touring kayak, and I am a big guy (2XL T-Shirt). I got the 215cm length, and it is working out perfect for me, as I am a high angle paddler. The regular Kinetik Touring Blade size seems great for me too. I get a good solid feel, but still can paddle the distance I like to go. I do think the smaller Kinetic Touring "S" blades would be good for a small person, or one without a lot of paddling strength. The regular blades would be great for anyone else
The only reason I am giving this paddle a "9", instead of a "10", is for one small, maybe unimportant, issue. The shafts and blades are stuffed with white foam, like a Styrofoam cup material. It is just pushed into the paddle ends and shaft ends. When you paddle, it lets a little water in. It still floats, so this is really a small issue, but for the money it cost, I would have liked to see something done a little better to keep out all water.
If you are looking for a high quality paddle, and can spend a couple extra dollars, check this one out. If mine disappeared, I would buy another without any hesitation! Happy Paddling!
The carbon composite lay-up was very light. I really liked that. I first got into it on land, to adjust the foot pedals, and heard the gelcoat "creaking" as I got in. Is the layup too weak for my weight? (don't know?) The cockpit opening seemed plenty wide enough at the back of it, but the front of the cockpit opening was really narrow for me. On top of that, the seat back band adjusters were right where my knees hit getting in and out. I have had two composite kayaks over the years, and I have never had to adjust the back band more than the initial time I set up the boat. I think this is just a gimick, and waste of money. When I got down in the cockpit, there was plenty of room for me, my thighs, and feet. When I got into the boat on the water, the layup "creaked" again. I wonder how long this kayak would last before something started cracking if I bought one? The seat itself fit me OK, so no complaints on it.
Out on the lake I noticed this boat has one wickedly low initial stability. I got used to it after about 15 minutes, but I think I would always be afraid to take my camera along in this boat.
Secondary stability was really solid. The Kayak has hard chines, and I could lean the boat to the one side, to where the chine on the other side of the boat almost came out of the water, and I never felt like I was going to spill. I was impressed with how solid it felt "on its side/edge".
Speed was pretty good. I settle into about a 4 mph pace (using my GPS) in my "Nanook", but with the same pace and effort, I was doing 4.5 to almost 5 mph with a little extra effort. The hull seemed to get up to speed easily, and covered a lot of water with ease.
I was happy with the way the boat tracked. I never did get to try the rudder, the lake was calm, and so I just paddled and leaned the boat when I wanted to turn. The hard chines grab the water when you lean, and it will carve a really nice turn just by leaning. I was enjoying just paddling, then I'd stop paddling, and lean to one side and then the other. It turned as well as if I was using a rudder on "my" boat. The Elaho HV also tracked very well in a straight line too. I paddled up to speed, and held the kayak level, stopped paddling, and it continued in the same straight line as I was going. I liked that a lot.
I am not sure if I like the hatch covers. First there is a Neoprene stretch cover to seal the hatch opening. I understand this is to keep the water out. On top of that is a hard cover to make the deck flush. Having the flush deck is a great idea, as this helps keep spray off of the face when waves break over the bow. But I think this double hatch cover set up would be a "pain" to deal with if you access the compartments a lot. You would have to decide that for yourself.
Fit and finish seemed nicely done. I believe Necky makes a quality boat. Will I buy one?? I don't know yet. I test paddled this twice that day, with testing a different boat between times. I did enjoy paddling it. I am considering this and two other boats the local shops sell (Impex "Asseteague" & CD Solstice GT "Titan"). I like buying local, as then there is close-by help if I need it. I believe this kayak is a "Performance kayak" that will handle the bigger paddler. I am just concerned over the initial stability, as I do like to take a camera along to photograph wildlife. If what I have written above interests you, by all means test paddle one. I think for the right person, this would be a fun boat.