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Name: Marshall

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This is a follow up to the fiberglass Lendal Cadence Review. More pictures…

This is a follow up to the fiberglass Lendal Cadence Review.
More pictures of this paddle can be found on hudsonriverpaddler.org

A Lighter Cadence
The new Lendal Carbon Cadence has arrived.
Nearly identical in shape to the fiberglass version, (HR Paddler - Lendal Cadence 11/12) the Carbon Cadence is Light!, both in swing weight (23oz. for 215cm paddle, $355 straight shaft, $415 modified crank shaft) and in strain resistance on the stroke. This makes the paddle several ounces lighter than similar sized foam core all carbon paddles and by the later statement I mean that at 600 sq. cm. it provides enough purchase on the stroke to make long distance paddles feel effortless.

Ok, perhaps a little background on that last claim. My name is Marshall Seddon. I'm the owner and lead kayak instructor for The River Connection, Inc. in Hyde Park, NY (www.the-river-connection.com). For the past few years I've also been a competitive distance kayak racer and been doing better than ok (frequently in the top 4 finishers) in numerous races ranging from 14 - 64 miles. For that I know I'm not looking for a paddle that has a lot of bite or purchase on the water as fatigue will catch up with me from the extra resistance. I want a paddle that'll allow me to maintain my marathon pace all day. I've been very pleased with the Lendal Storm to date but I may have just found it's replacement for the longer distance races, in the way of the Lendal Carbon Cadence.

From a non-racer perspective, I can appreciate how this paddle would perfectly suit the lighter powered paddler and will recommend it to kayakers that have a habitual high angle style but not necessarily a lot of muscle mass or shoulder strength.

The construction of the blades is very clean and very strong. I'm not going to be afraid of putting dings in the face material of this carbon paddle as I've sometimes seen with other mfg. foam core paddles. With barely any discernible flex in across any direction through the blade, the power transfer is clean and crisp making for a spring like snap of the blade exiting the water and a scalpel like entry on the catch.

The all carbon fiber shaft is the standard Lendal ergonomic shape with the internal expansion ferrule PaddLok system. This shaft shape makes for very positive indexing of the blade position on the water and the ferrule system very strong and forgiving of grit and debris.

Over Christmas 2013 I had the opportunity to put some 9 miles on the Sea Breeze on a broad river with current that became an impounded lake. (Blewette Falls Lake, NC) between this and a calm lake setting at a trade show and while not normally a low angle paddler I found it appealing from a number of aspects.

The Shaft is the same as used on the Cadence and Ocean Breeze so I've already gotten spoiled by the very ergo-indexed grip areas on the carbon shaft. As I had mentioned on the Cadence [product review], there is a pleasant amount of spring on the shaft similar to a wood shaft like in the Mitchell Black Magic or Saltwood Grasshopper.

The Blades are quite different from the high dihedral bevel tipped low angle paddles of Werner or the rounded tips of Aquabound. The somewhat Willow Pointed blade has a definite scalpel slice feel through the water when moving it for sculling, side slips or positioning it in rudder strokes. While the blades can be held in a higher angle position they are definitely engineered to feel more proper at a low angle stroke height. No flutter in any angle or amount of pull on the blade. As the pictures show, there is a very subtle dihedral along the center spine which with the balanced blade keeps the water on the face rather than bleeding it off the sides of the blade. This makes for a goodly amount of power per stroke giving a crisp purchase on the water rather than a mushy feel to the power phase of the stroke.

Specs:
230cm weight 27.5oz.
Blade Power Face 16"x6.25"
Total Blade Dimension 20.5"x6.25"
Fiberglass 2-piece Price $295.00

A little background on my style of paddling; I'm Marshall Seddon, the full time Owner/Instructor of The River Connection, avid kayak racer that does better than OK in the race results, habitual high angle paddler that can also use a Greenland Stick, ACA certified instructor, whitewater, sea kayak and adaptive paddling backgrounds, 6' 190lbs, each of the paddles are 215cm long 2 piece configurations.

Specs:
$450 Straight Shaft 2 Piece Storm Paddle w/std. carbon spigots
24oz. Weight for 215cm Straight Shaft
$510 Modified Crank Shaft 2 Piece Storm Paddle w/std. carbon spigots
24oz. Weight for 215 Modified Crank Shaft
16"x7-9/16" Blade face (measured from tip to shoulder of paddle)
20"x7-9/16" Blade face (measured from tip to end of hozzle)

Mfg. Description:
The STORM is a high performance dihedral foil back paddle designed for every type of paddler; super light (640 grams),controllable in all conditions, predictable through the entire paddle stroke inspiring the paddler in whatever conditions they face.

The design team at Lendal was challenged to design and produce a high performance paddle that would be the perfect paddle for the beginner to the expert. After a year of iterations the STORM is the marriage of the XRANGE foil paddle Kinetik shape as the Kinetik shape has been a favorite for years, with a new dihedral face. It's ease of power delivery and control makes this paddle a 'must have' for anyone serious about performance in all manners of conditions.

Initial Observations:
I've only had the chance to play with the Storm at a trade show but noticed immediately the crispness of the blade's entry/exit to the water rivaled the feel of my Mitchell Black Magic and the weight was extremely close to a Werner Cyprus. The most noticeable difference was the attention to sculpting real meaningful indexing into the paddle shaft. This not only sat absolutely naturally in my hands but for rolling, sculling, prying, etc. the blade orientation was automatic as the direction could be felt in the shaft shape rather than feeling for the blade resistance. I'm looking forward to putting some miles on this paddle!

A Few Miles on Each Paddle:
Coming from having just been paddling with a FG Lendal Cadence my first reaction upon picking up the Lendal Storm Straight Shaft was noticing the lightness of the paddles. I know on paper it is only 2oz. but it is immediately noticeable in the hands.

First couple paddle strokes continued to differentiate the paddle from the Cadence and others. This paddle has BITE! Superior catch for a mid sized high angle paddle blade. Feels like the amount of purchase that you would get with a bigger blade like a Werner Ikelos. Really nice balance which I'll pester the designers for more details as to how they achieved that but I'm going to guess that it's from more of it's drop point sort of profile like a whitewater playboat paddle design.

The feel of the blades moving in and through the water is very, very nice. Quiet, minimal to no entrained air with the blade insertion. Just enough buoyancy to lift the blade on the exit. No blade flutter in low or high position regardless of the amount of power supplies. Super solid when sculling for support or propulsion in abeams, both sculling and prying draw strokes.

The length of 215cm felt spot on which I'll attribute to the fuller design leading to the throat of the blade compared to the Lendal Cadence.

There are no drip rings on the paddle. I'm right handed so with a 45 degree feather to the blades drippage would land on my foredeck near my feet. While it doesn't phase me typically paddling a P&H Cetus MV with sprayskirt other paddlers that are used to drip rings might want to add a set.

The Straight Shaft has a very solid feel with no discernible flex. The purchase of the blades is a very strong confident feel without so much resistance as to be fatiguing. There are no drip rings on the paddle. I'm right handed so with a 45 degree feather to the blades drippage would land on my foredeck near my feet. While it doesn't phase me typically paddling a P&H Cetus MV with sprayskirt other paddlers that are used to drip rings might want to add a set.

The Lendal Modified Crank Shaft (bent shaft) has the same blades as on the straight shaft. I'm not an overly enthusiastic fan of bent shaft paddles but I'm REALLY liking Lendal's Modified Crank Shaft. My hands seem to fall right in the sweet spot of the grip area. This makes for a similarly solid feel as on the straight shaft but with more of a sense that it just melds to my body's design. Really, really sweet! Hows that for subjective? I found myself paddling the 4 miles back to the Landing with this paddle and not wanting to switch back to the straight shafts.

A little background on my style of paddling; I'm Marshall Seddon, the full time Owner/Instructor of The River Connection, avid kayak racer that does better than OK in the race results, habitual high angle paddler that can also use a Greenland Stick, ACA certified instructor, whitewater, sea kayak and adaptive paddling backgrounds, 6' 190lbs, each of the paddles are 215cm long 2 piece configurations.

Specs:
$295 Straight Shaft 2 Piece Fiberglass Cadence Paddle w/std. carbon spigots
Weight FG: 26.1 oz (740 g)
Weight Carbon: 24.6 oz (697 g)
15 5/8" x 6 3/4" Blade face (measured from tip to shoulder of paddle)
19 3/4" x 6 3/4"" Blade face (measured from tip to end of hozzle)
Blade Surface Area: 625 cm2

Mfg. Description:
Our new Cadence Paddle has arrived. A carbon/glass shaft and rugged fiberglass blades results in a pleasing swing weight with great return on every stroke. Designed to suit all paddlers from novice to advanced; it is built to allow the novice paddler to move up to an intermediate skill level seamlessly.

Initial Observations:
Subtle but refined dihedral to the center of the blade with a bit less width than a Werner Shuna and an ounce lighter, with the noticeable difference in shaft shape. This sits absolutely naturally in my hands so I'm expecting like with it's cousin the Storm, rolling, sculling, prying, etc. the blade orientation will be automatic as the direction can be felt in the shaft shape rather than feeling for the blade resistance. I'm looking forward to putting some miles on this paddle!

A Few Miles on the Cadence:
11/16/13 Hudson River, Hyde Park, NY
Conditions: Positively flat calm with no wind. Good to minimize the environmental variables so as to get an accurate feel on the paddle. Distance covered, about two miles of mixed intensity paddling.

On the initial couple of strokes one of the first things I noticed was the very natural feeling ergonomically indexed grip areas. I'll have to measure my grip width but just for reference my grip area is in my body's strongest push up position, a hand width wider than the points of my shoulders (I take a 42 jacket). My hands fell on the inner edge of the grip area with plenty of grip area outboard of my hands. Anyone that takes a size 46+ jacket will have space to spare.

There are no drip rings on the paddle. I'm right handed so with a 45 degree feather to the blades drippage would land on my foredeck near my feet. While it doesn't phase me typically paddling a P&H Cetus MV with sprayskirt other paddlers that are used to drip rings might want to add a set.

As I mentioned that the grip areas are ergonomically shaped, it allows for extremely good kinesthetic feedback for determining the blade angle without having to think about it. I look forward to this shaft shape in the hands of beginners who have a habit of twirling or losing orientation of the paddle blades on more rounded shafts. Like the indexing on Saltwood paddles this will likely eliminate that tendency for the blades to wander if someone is strangling the paddle.

The Shaft/Blade combination has an unexpected springy feel much like a wood shaft like on a Mitchell Black Magic or Saltwood Hustle. This helps attribute to a phrase that kept coming up in my on-water notes on this paddle, Very Smooth.

Continuing with the Very Smooth theme, the blades exhibited no flutter in any high or mid height angle no matter how hard I would pull on the blade or rotate in a stroke. The bite of the blades, again Very Smooth. I felt that I had plenty of power to the blade but could paddle all day without fatigue.

On sculling for support, sculling draws and prying, solid pressure build up on the blade that provided a very supportive feel. The 215cm length felt a little long. I could probably use a 210cm as effectively but this might be a bit of an illusion due to the longer throat of the blade before it flares out into it's powerface.

A little on the reviewer first: I am biased towards P&H, Venture and…

A little on the reviewer first:
I am biased towards P&H, Venture and Valley kayaks which is why I use them in my instructional fleet and carry them in my Showroom.

My paddling background; full time, the sport and the equipment is my year round job and vice-versa I am ACA L4 Coastal Kayak and L4 White Water Instructor, Adapative Paddling Certified at The River Connection, Inc. (9 West Market St., Hyde Park, NY 12538; www.the-river-connection.com).

My Specs: I am 6', 189lbs, size 11 shoe, 33" inseam and 32 waist. I paddle with a very high angle style and usually use a Mitchell Black Magic 215cm, a Saltwood Reggie 215cm or Werner Cyprus 215cm paddle and sometimes a 36" single blade Mitchell Touring Special as my back up. My usual ride is a Cetus MV (17'7"x21.5") or an Aries 155 if I'm playing in the surf or pool.

    Islay - Mfg. Information
  • Length 14'
  • Max. Width 23.75" (behind the cockpit)
  • Max Deck Height 13"
  • Volume 99gal.
  • Cockpit 31.5"x16.5" Inside Opening (30" from seat back to interior coaming edge, 19" seat width)
  • Weight 58lbs (including deck box) Rotomolded Polyethylene

    Features:

  • Skeg bungee spring released P&H foil blade
  • Deck Box, Security Bar
  • Flip top cockpit interior adjustable seat back
  • Twist Lock Foot Rails
  • Full Perimeter lines, deck bungees and end toggles.
  • Paddler Weight Range = 121lbs - 286lbs.
  • Colors : Electric Blue, Sunbeam (yellow mango), Lava (tangerine orange), Emerald
  • Price: $1300 The River Connection eBay! Storefront
Performance Overview:
This is a busy kayak category, the 14' Day Touring Kayak, with all the big box store WS Tsunamis, Perception Carolinas/Essence, etc. that are primarily designed to be a stable polite/automatic tracking ride with bulkheads.

The Islay breaks from the common sedate mold with a design that inspires confidence in it's stability range but also is a hoot to play with! With a long waterline running clear back to the end of the stern and with a sharp rake to the bow makes the glide on this 14' is appreciable and appreciated on a longer day's paddle. On an even keel tracking is very polite but does not feel as if it is cemented to the track you are on. With just a slight shift in body weight to heel the kayak into a skidding turn it comes around very sharply allowing you to turn on your pursuers and score while at Dodge-Sponge (yes, serious stuff this kayaking). Some of it's mobility can bee seen, especially in the aft portion of the hull, derived from the P&H Delphin and Aries. The Swedeform and greater volume amidships not only gives a very confident range of secondary stability but allows for the stems to break free when heeled up. In windier conditions there is the P&H Foil Skeg that spring deploys with the release of a up haul cord on deck left and aft of the cockpit.

The interior outfitting uses the Twist Lock Footbraces that can be adjusted from the seat. Fore/Aft adjustable thigh braces can be fine tuned (on land) to the paddlers leg length.
A security bar (lock point) is riveted in so as to keep your gear yours when cartopping.
The deck box is removable and makes for a very convenient day hatch for quite a few small items
The Flip Top back rest can be either in low mode which will not inhibit the use of a sprayskirt or if you are just hanging out on the water fishing or reading then it can be set to full Barca-Lounger mode. The backbend tension is adjusted by way of a forward ratchet seen on the left thigh brace.

At $1300 USD the Islay provides for a day touring kayak that doesn't feel as if you are parting the waters to make way and allows for a greater range of skills to develop, with confidence, rather than falling into the Beginners Boat - Multiple Upgrade Purchase scenario. For many that don't want or need the speed performance that a 17'+ hull would provide this could be an extremely fun and effective answer for the day to weekend overnighter kayaker.

Saltwood paddles is a novel take on carbon/wood laminate hybrid paddles to grant the paddler the warmth and lively feel of wood with the light swing weight of carbon blades. The result is a very attractive paddle that weighs in at about the same as the Premium Fiberglass paddles by Werner with a toughness that allows for use in rock gardens or Class III whitewater but with a swing weight and blade feel that is on par with the Performance Foam Core Werner line. I will make frequent comparisons with Werner as that manufacturer is more commonly known than the closest cousin to the Saltwood paddles which would be the long time elegant design of The Black Magic by Mitchell Paddles.

Construction:
Shaft: Sustainably grown Spruce is used in computer milled hollow shafts. Yes, this paddle is a tubular one section shaft design that reduces weight without reducing the strength. Significant indexing is milled into the powerface side of the shaft in right/left positions of whichever degree of offset you wish (in 15 degree increments). The two halves of the shaft are then laminated together and covered is an ultra-thin scrim of fiberglass again adding strength but also surface durability.

Blades: The blades are significantly stiff with noticeable additional carbon cloth at the tips to eliminate blade flex and add enough strength for whitewater use. The powerfaces of the blades are a smooth curve in a high angle design. The blades do not have a spine as on more typical fiberglass design. Rather they have a buoyant core in the center of the blade filled with sustainably grown laminated Balsa wood oriented cord wise to the blade rather then span or length wise. This adds a nice lift on the blade when exiting the water but as the buoyant core does not extend to the edges of the blade the buoyancy does not fight the paddler on the catch when inserting the blade into the water as I've found on the Werner Ikelos.

Performance and Feel: This is a tremendously subjective category so individual opinions will vary.

A quick backtrack note; Indexing - coming from having always used a feathered paddle (be it my Black Magic or any number of Werner Paddles) this has been the first euro blade paddle that I've been able to use unfeathered without the habitual slice on my left side when my muscle memory wants to cant the paddle for entry on the left. I'm going to attribute this to the significant areas of indexing at the grip zones on the paddle shaft. While initially large feeling compared to other more common paddle shafts in the world, the shape quickly feels comfortable for a wide range of hand sizes and provides such easy feedback of blade position that adapting to unfeathered from my usual 60 degree right happened almost unconsciously.

Specific Paddles
Reggie - A bit more powerful bite on the water in the catch than a Werner Shuna or Cyprus but not so much as to be fatiguing over distance. Transitions from active to static to planing strokes are as effortless as with a blade that has depth of cross section like a wood blade or a foam core model like the Werner Cyprus. The shaft has a wonderfully live feel as it has just a touch of flex and power release on the catch and as you take tension off just before the exit. The indexing makes precise blade placement for strokes or rolling second nature.

Habit - Whitewater and Surf Kayakers, here's your paddle blade! This blade shape and size makes for a rock solid platform to launch your propulsion strokes, turns or cartwheels from. More bite than the Werner Corryvrecken and similar stiffness as the Ikelos but with the durability more of the Powerhouse. The Balsa wood core design still makes finesse a snap for side slips while ferrying and moving the leading edge to catch current, etc. Considering the bite of this blade the bit of flex in the shaft is welcome on the joints as it definitely helps for a day long playboating trip or surf session.

Bent Shaft - Most of my earlier observations have been using a straight shaft. I have used the bent shaft on a Reggie model and the general feel is that the indexed grip shape naturally nests into your hands. The upper and lower surfaces are hollowed a bit more than on the straight shaft as it does say on the Werner Performance Core straight and bent carbon shafts. Bent shafts do add a few more ounces which is to be expected and while I usually do not use a bent shaft this allowed me to feel more of what the blade was doing rather than holding a paddle shaft. So in this case not to notice the paddle shaft I would consider to be a good thing.

Length = 14' 9"; Width = 23.5"; Weight = 50 lbs. Introduction: Throughout…

Length = 14' 9"; Width = 23.5"; Weight = 50 lbs.

Introduction: Throughout 2010 I have been having fun playing with the North Shore composite range of kayaks and just recently took the opportunity to try a North Shore Aspect on for size and for feel on the water. Unlike other reviews I have written with GPS measured speeds and stats this was just an opportunity to play hooky for the day away from The River Connection Showroom and get acquainted with this new model.
Later in March 2011, I will write a followup to this Introduction with more specifics on speeds, turn radii, stability point tilt angles, etc.

Construction: single layer polyethylene roto molded plastic, twin wall poly bulkheads (x2), hull stiffening composite keelson (runs bulkhead to bulkhead)

Features: Full perimeter deck lines, fore/aft deck bungees, fore/aft rescue toggles, VCP 10" Round Front Hatch, VCP Club Oval Hatch Aft, cable push VCP Skeg, cockpit rim mounted thigh braces, Werner Footbraces, independent floating full back band, fore/aft twin wall poly bulkheads, composite keelson.

Fit: Sitting into the kayak on the floor entry in was ample enough for my 33" inseam legs to not make contact with the front coaming. Side to side fit with the OE seat pads was comfortable enough for my 33" waist where I did not feel that I would need additional padding to ensure good contact with the sides of the seat. Unbuckling the seat shims would give me an additional .75" of room side to side. I'm not sure what that would equate to in waist size. The Werner foot pegs are simple enough and a well known rail system which felt right in this kayak. The thigh braces are a molded plastic form on either side of the cockpit rim. A small slot allows for some adjustment (perhaps 1" fore/aft) of the position of the brace. There appears to be enough plastic to allow for elongation of the slot for greater range of adjustability. For my size I would have brought the thigh braces back closer for comfort where as my 5'2" wife hopped in and contact was perfect. Everyone is built different. The North Shore Standard Seat is installed on this with a taller back band on a velcro adjustment strap that is easiest to modify from out of the cockpit. This is simple and effective. One noticeable construction difference is the use of a carbon/fiberglass keelson running form the front bulkhead to the aft bulkhead. I'm familiar with this from a Necky Kevlar Thasis from years ago which was a glassed in wood dowel. Definitely reduces flex in the length of the kayak.

On Water Feel: Wonderful! Ok more detail; For a compact sea kayak this did not feel like a balloon around me like some popular 14' day tourers which is why I'm applying the term Compact Sea Kayak. The stability range felt much more like the longer fiberglass North Shore Atlantic. Predictably forgiving high up on edge. From the amount of rocker in the bow/stern profile heeling the kayak over resulted in effortless skidding turns to the point of where a bow rudder seemed unnecessary to get a sharper turn. My wife commented that on a skidding turn the kayak would turn 180 degrees within its length. On an even heel tracking was straight ahead and at quite good speed and glide for a relatively short kayak.

Terms to describe the on-water character of this kayak would be well mannered, playful, comfortable, rugged and above all Fun!
Pricing: $1350 skeg version standard. Stern fittings for rudder installed but no rudder option is available at this time.

If you are looking into the typical Day Touring length kayak you need to put the North Shore Aspect on your Must Paddle list before buying and consider stepping up what to expect in performance from a 14'9" kayak.

First off, I am biased towards P&H, Venture and Impex kayaks which is why I use them in my instructional fleet and carry them in my Showroom. A further factor here is I found myself in the standard size Cetus more and more for teaching, guiding and just for the heck of it paddling. To celebrate my business' fifth year anniversary in Hyde Park, NY and for working typically 70+ hours per week I ordered a Cetus MV when it barely existed as a prototype last September (2009). It has finally come in and I've had it on the water for about four days now and can report a bit on it's performance thus far.

My Specs: I am 6', 182lbs, size 11 shoe, 33" inseam and 32 waist. I paddle with a very high angle style and usually use a Mitchell Black Magic 215cm or a Werner Cyprus 215cm paddle and sometimes a 36" single blade Mitchell Touring Special as my back up.

Mfg. Information
Length 17'9" (Accuracy Checked); Max. Width 21.5" (behind the cockpit); Max Deck Height 13"; Volume 87.7gal.; Cockpit 31.5"x16" Inside Opening (Accuracy Checked); Weight 55lbs Fiberglass (Accuracy Checked); Weight 47.5lbs Carbon Kevlar Ultralight w/Carbon Kevlar Deck (Accuracy Checked); Skeg bungee spring released P&H foil blade; Price: $3600 Fiberglass / $5220 Full Carbon Kevlar Hull/Deck w/Keel Strip
Model Tested = Carbon Kevlar Hull/Deck with Keel Strip.

Day 1 Paddle
My first experience with this kayak was not the typical day on the water. The kayak got put right to work in assisting Karen Knight (who paddles a Cetus LV) teaching in a number of kayaking scenarios. (Quantitative test paddling would have to wait for a few days.) My first reaction sitting in the cockpit of this Cetus MV was that it felt like a tailored fit. What I mean by that is that my toes have room but the deck doesn't feel overly high, there is solid contact with the thigh braces but without having to raise my knees to create the contact, my rear feels automatically centered in the kayak. This superb fit kept asserting itself throughout the time on the water teaching where a quite moment would allow me to reflect something to the effect of "Oh Yeah! This fits NICE!" Other words like crisp, quick, sporty, efficient, reactive and smooth were also adjectives that kept bubbling up.

Some other touches that I noticed are that the seat band is now attached instead of being free floating in the slot at the back of the seat pan, the skeg bungee has been reduced in it's power to work with gravity which makes the up-haul much easier and a small length of thin cord has been attached to dangle from the lower edge of the skeg blade as a manual tug line in case the skeg housing gets jammed with debris.

During the class with Karen Knight the conditions on the Hudson River Were quite calm with a flooding current of about 2mph. During rescue scenarios I did get the chance to scull/balance brace and roll. All of these maneuvers seemed easy and effortless to execute but any judgments on roll-ability of a kayak is something I'm not going to weigh in on. Speed and manuverability on this first day was as I've come to expect from the standard size Cetus but with a bit less volume around me it seemed to take less effort in heeling the kayak into skidding turns as it was easier to hold at a higher angle with less effort.

Day 2 Paddle
Conditions = 6pm till 8:30pm, 12"-18" chop, 3mph ebbing tidal current, 14mph sustained winds from NW gusting to 25mph, diminished to 4" chop with 7mph sustained winds from NW. On the water working again but this time with a couple that wanted to do a short kayak tour of the area. Starting off a placid calm evening paddle this wasn't and prepared the participants as best as possible prior to heading out. For me this meant a lot of maneuvering in wind and chop around the two other kayaks to keep everyone in the desired heading and provide coaching, encouragement and advice as we went. This made for a rather effective test bed for a number of attributes of the Cetus MV. I seemed to be able to accelerate and flit from person to person with wind, waves and current coming from a variety of directions. I kept feeling for weather cocking as the conditions would certainly lend themselves to it but none occurred in any direction I faced or traveled. Waves coming from abeam didn't seem to be large enough to disturb me beyond the kayak's primary stability range.

Considering this performance now, I wanted there to be bigger waves and swells to see if the Cetus MV would be as confidence inspiring as it was in this size wave and wind conditions.

Day 3 Paddle
Flat calm conditions allowed me to do a little testing using an inclinometer on the iPhone App.-Thoedolite and an Oregon 400c GPS unit to determine speed and distance on the Hudson River abeam of any current.

  • Measured Mile Performance = 5.7mph avg. speed
  • Maximum Sprint Speed = 7.5mph
  • Right Side Max. Heel Angle = 72 degrees before tipping
  • Left Side Max Heel Angle = 68 degrees before tipping (I'm definitely right handed)
  • Stationary Heeled Skidding w/ Forward Sweep, Turn Diameter = 14' either direction
Coming in after sprinting around in the mooring field I did manage to catch on a couple of small swells left over from a boat wake. The Cetus MV quickly picked up on these and scooted right along with only half hearted forward strokes from me to keep on the face of them. Hmmmm, when's the next steady north wind and flooding tide here that I can play hookey to go surfing? Could be fun!

Synopsis:
Needless to say I'm thoroughly pleased with the way the Cetus MV has come together in fit and performance. As with the others of the Cetus lineup it is an expedition kayak that with just a touch of technique can be used as a maneuverable day/play boat now with a sizing range to fit the 5 foot 100lb in the LV size, to 6'5" 250lb paddler in the regular Cetus and then there's me quite happily paddling with my new MV in the middle.

Originally my wife and I were introduced to the North Shore Kayaks by Ben Lawry. We were impressed at the performance and finish of the kayaks. Enough so that we brought the line into our Instructional Fleet and Showroom at The River Connection in Hyde Park, NY, following our philosophy of we only carry what we enjoy paddling. So like my review of the P&H Scorpio, I have a bias towards these kayaks as I thoroughly enjoy using them.

My Specs:
I am 6', 188lbs, size 11 shoe, 33" inseam and 34 waist. I paddle with a very high angle style and usually use a Mitchell Black Magic 215cm or a Werner Cyprus 215cm paddle.

North Shore Polar Kayak Specs:
Length 16'9"
Width 21.5"
Volume: 92.5 gallons
Weight: 53lbs w/3 VCP hatches on.

Water Conditions: Hudson River freshwater at Hyde Park, NY. Enough ice has thawed out today to allow me to actually move around without dodging floes. 3 miles to the north the river is still socked in with ice. Barely any wind. Flooding tide at approximately 2mph current speed.

Performance: (using Garmin Oregon 400C gps unit) {YMMV}
Fast Maintainable Cruising Speed = 5.2-5.4 mph traveling abeam of the current
Sprinting Speed = 6.3mph traveling abeam of the current
Weather Cocking – no wind present
Skeg Performance – makes the kayak track dead on at full deployment. Minimal influence on speed.

Stability:
The Polar's primary stability is predictable but sprightly. More like a sports car feel. Quick to respond but not unforgiving. What becomes evident is the dynamite secondary stability. Bringing the kayak up on edge it still had range of secondary stability beyond what my flexibility would allow. At 60 degrees of heel the kayak was still quite happy parking on it's side but I simply couldn't lift any higher. I used a convenient ice floe for a two fingertips balance so as to exaggerate the heel. When I finally tilted past approximately 75 degrees of heel I could feel the kayak start to turn turtle. This is one of the few kayaks I've been in that I can actually do a balance brace in.

Maneuverability:
I've been having way to much fun with this kayak at pool sessions for it's nimbleness. Playing slalom amongst other boaters in the pool has been lots of fun with this kayak. (It's frozen around here at this time of year. Gotta take your fun as you can get it.) The rocker over the length of this kayak is responsible for this with 4.5" of rise in the bow and 3.5" of rise in the stern keel line before the rake to the ends of the kayak. For that amount of curvature in the length of the hull I'm surprised at the quick clip that the Polar maintains underway. On flat conditions a skidding turn (heeling the boat to the outside of the turn) with 45 degrees of tilt and full sweep strokes resulted in a 22' diameter turn. Going in reverse with the same amount of heel and reverse sweep strokes was a 14' diameter turn. My best forward turn with 60 degrees of heel coupled with a bow rudder completing into a bow draw at the end of momentum resulted in a 14'-15' diameter turn.

Construction and Outfitting:
As I mentioned in my Introduction the North Shore line is very nicely finished and appointed. Fiberglass with gel coat is the only available layup with a palate choice of Red, Tangerine, Yellow or White Deck with Black seam and White Hull or Royal Blue Deck with Yellow Seam and White Hull. The North Shore label is amid ships either side of the freeboard hull and highlighted by a "Color Flash" which is a splash of color the same as the deck color.

Starting at the bow, the deck rises from the seam line in a angled flare to a low flatish deck which has a height of 11.5" from the bottom of the hull. The appearance looks much lower from the cockpit though. There is plenty of space for large sized feet and long legs due to the corners formed by the hard chines and foot rails that are placed well forward. Rescue toggles are tethered so as not to dangle but have bushings around the cord to make the toggle stand above the deck for easy grip while in the water. The toggles can unclip from a convenient stainless ring that held by the end recessed deck fittings (rdfs) which I find handy for bow/stern tie downs while cartopping. Low profile rdfs are used through out the hull with stainless Phillips head machine screws that set into glassed in lock nuts so there are no additional penetrations through the hull. A 70P compass recess is standard on all models.

A VCP 8" dayhatch and large 11"x18" oval hatch covers make storage easy in the main bow and stern compartments. All hatches are tethered on to the perimeter lines. The cockpit opening measures 29.5"x15.75" inside of coaming,with a 26.5" measurement from the rear of the seating surface to the front coaming, which is just enough for my 33" inseam legs to clear without contacting my shins against the coaming edge. Thighbraces are part of the coaming and provide good coverage allowing for contact and control. The edges of the thighbraces are not curved dramatically so I did not find them impinging on my legs (23" thigh circumference). The front deck clearance is 11.5" and the rear is 8" from the seat pan to the top of the rear coaming. (9" from the hull to the top of the rear coaming) The lip of the coaming is 3/4" off the recess on deck so it takes a bungee randed skirt just fine but caution should be used if a rubber randed skirt is used. The coaming lip is 1" deep.

The seat is moderately contoured with a seat pan covering of nylon/thermoformed cushion and a 15" width for the hips with the same cushioned hip pads in place. These are on quick release straps so they can be adjusted or removed quite easily. The backband measures 5.5"x14" with a covering of the same style cushioning which rises just above the back coaming but pivots easily enough so as not to get in the way of entries into the kayak. While I usually don't use a back-band I found that I liked this one as it kept me forward in the seat and my tailbone off the rise at the back of the seat. Adjustment for the back-band is by a broad Velcro strap that is best adjusted before getting on the water.

The pricing on the four solo kayaks by North Shore is $3200 which in comparison to other prices of similar class kayaks is several hundred dollars less.

I can see this kayak is going to be a nimble favorite of mine for 2010 and am looking forward to getting amongst some waves to try it out in the surf.

Originally my wife and I were introduced to the North Shore Kayaks by Ben Lawry. We were impressed at the performance and finish of the kayaks. Enough so that we brought the line into our Instructional Fleet and Showroom at The River Connection in Hyde Park, NY, following our philosophy of we only carry what we enjoy paddling. So like my review of the P&H Scorpio, I have a bias towards these kayaks as I thoroughly enjoy using them.

My Specs:
I am 6', 188lbs, size 11 shoe, 33" inseam and 34 waist. I paddle with a very high angle style and usually use a Mitchell Black Magic 215cm or a Werner Cyprus 215cm paddle.

North Shore Atlantic Specs:
Length 16'11"
Width 22"
Volume: 95 gallons
Weight: 54lbs w/3 VCP hatches on.

Water Conditions: Hudson River freshwater at Hyde Park, NY. Enough ice has thawed out today to allow me to actually move around without dodging floes. 3 miles to the north the river is still socked in with ice. Slight breeze from the north at 4-6mph. Flooding tide at approximately 2mph current speed.

Performance: (using Garmin Oregon 400C gps unit) {YMMV}
Fast Maintainable Cruising Speed = 5.4-5.9 mph traveling abeam of the current
Sprinting Speed = 6.4-6.7mph traveling abeam of the current
Weather Cocking – negligible influence at these wind conditions
Skeg Performance – makes the kayak track extremely hard and dead on at full deployment. Minimal influence on speed.

Stability:
Overall the Atlantic has a very civilized primary stability and extremely smooth transition up on edge to secondary stability. The kayak was very comfortable to keep at a 45 degree heel and a maximum of 60 degrees before passing secondary stability. Recover with a low or high brace felt effortless when bringing it back from capsizing.

Maneuverability:
The Atlantic will perform a skidding turn (heeling to the outside of the turn) underway with very little initiation from either a sweep stroke or a stern draw. Moving forward the tightest turn with 45 degrees of heel with just a forward sweep stroke was a 25' diameter and on the reverse a skidding turn of 17' diameter with a reverse sweep and 45 degree heel. The tightest turn I was able to execute was 16' diameter moving forward with a 60 degree heel holding the paddle in a bow rudder and completing with a bow draw at the end of momentum.

Construction and Outfitting:
As I mentioned in my Introduction the North Shore line is very nicely finished and appointed. Fiberglass with gel coat is the only available layup with a palate choice of Red, Tangerine, Yellow or White Deck with Black seam and White Hull or Royal Blue Deck with Yellow Seam and White Hull. The North Shore label is amid ships either side of the freeboard hull and highlighted by a "Color Flash" which is a splash of color the same as the deck color.

Starting at the bow, the seam flares out wider around the tip of the boat making for a protective sort of cap at either end of the kayak. Rescue toggles are tethered so as not to dangle but have bushings around the cord to make the toggle stand above the deck for easy grip while in the water. The toggles can unclip from a convenient stainless ring that held by the end recessed deck fittings (rdfs) which I find handy for bow/stern tie downs while cartopping. Low profile rdfs are used through out the hull with stainless Phillips head machine screws that set into glassed in lock nuts so there are no additional penetrations through the hull. A 70P compass recess is standard on all models. A 10" VCP hatch is forward of the front bulkhead which has a drilled pinhole for pressure equalization. Aft of the cockpit is an 8" dayhatch and a larger 11"x18" oval VCP hatch. All hatches are tethered on to the perimeter lines. The cockpit opening measures 30”x15.75” inside of coaming,with a 27" measurement from the rear of the seating surface to the front coaming, which is plenty for my 33" inseam legs to clear without contacting my shins against the coaming edge. Thighbraces are part of the coaming and provide good coverage allowing for contact and control. The edges of the thighbraces are not curved dramatically so I did not find them impinging on my legs (23" thigh circumference). The front deck clearance is 12" and the rear is 9" from the seat pan to the top of the rear coaming. (9.5" from the hull to the top of the rear coaming) The lip of the coaming is 3/4" off the recess on deck so it takes a bungee randed skirt just fine but caution should be used if a rubber randed skirt is used. The coaming lip is 1" deep. The seat is moderately contoured with a seat pan covering of nylon/thermoformed cushion and a 15.5" width for the hips with the same cushioned hip pads in place. These are on quick release straps so they can be adjusted or removed quite easily. The backband measures 5.5"x14" with a covering of the same style cushioning that does not rise above the coaming edge so as not to get in the way of entries into the kayak. While I usually don't use a back-band I found that I liked this one as it kept me forward in the seat and my tailbone off the rise at the back of the seat. Adjustment for the back-band is by a broad Velcro strap that is best adjusted before getting on the water.

The pricing on the four solo kayaks by North Shore is $3200 which in comparison to other prices of similar class kayaks is several hundred dollars less.

I am looking forward to more warmer days to put the North Shore Atlantic through more miles as I have thoroughly enjoyed it to date