Name: Japi

Most Recent Reviews

We had these installed on a 2013 Honda Fit, but after a few trips the rear cross bar shifted backwards, denting the side roof (but not becoming completely detached from the roof, thankfully). After the roof was dented it was impossible to get the towers to hold securely. The Fit's roof narrows the further back it gets, which I think prevents the towers from maintaining a good grip. We noticed another person with a Honda Fit who had the same backward shift issue, but to a smaller extent. We switched to a Thule system (after seeing it's performance on another paddler's Honda Fit) and have not had any problems.

We have paddled with other people with the Q Towers on different car models without a problem, so I think this is an issue specifically with the Honda Fit.

If you paddle in the winter these are essential to keep your hands warm. My wife and I have tried countless types of gloves and non come close to the warmth of these pogies. Drawbacks are that the wrist opening is snug (to lock in the warmth), which can make them tricky to put on when wet (and your hands will be wet), and getting your hands off your paddle does take slightly longer (since you have to get your hand out of the pogie, which stays attached to the paddle), but it's just a second to yank your hand out if needed in an emergency. If your idea of fun is paddling in below-freezing air temperatures, then these pogies, a dry suit, a warm hat, and warm booties will keep you happy all day.

I have been using the Kokatat GFER (front entry, with booties, and relief zipper) dry suit for about 5 years, and it has been completely reliable, even with the abuse of climbing over trees and other obstacles while in the suit. The only problem I ever have is the zipper can get stiff, but a little zipper wax clears that right up. Last year I sent the dry suit to Kokatat to be checked for leaks/wear, and they found that the gore-tex was starting to de-laminate so they replaced the suit free of charge, quickly. It's really nice when a company stands behind their product like that, especially when it costs more then many boats. When they say lifetime guarantee, they mean it.

I have the 2007 version of the Dirigo 120, which was back when they still used the poly link 3 construction method. This made for a heavier boat then currently available (54 pounds compared to the current 50), but it has stood up to many years of abuse.

This is not a fast boat, and it isn't the best at turning when going downstream. In non-moving water it is easier to turn. It does track fairly straight, but if you try to paddle much over 4 mph (which takes quite a bit of effort), it really is pushing a ton of water. You will want a big blade paddle if you will need to make quick turns going downriver.

It is very stable, and the huge cockpit makes entry/exit easy. I primarily use this on NJ pine barrens rivers and the easy entry/exit is useful for climbing over obstacles. The boat has a very flat bottom, but it is sufficiently stiff that it pops back into the correct shape after going over semi-submerged trees.

The back hatch is great, I can easily open/close it while sitting in the boat. I have never had a problem with the bulk head leaking, and the back hatch is reasonably dry. The primary cup holder is a weird size, it won't fit a nalgene bottle, but it is large for smaller bottles. A 1 liter steel bottle is what fits the best. The seat is comfortable, the back rest is as well. The deck rigging is basic, but sufficient.

Overall a nice boat for lazy rivers and strong enough to take the abuse of uncleared rivers, just don't expect to win any races or be able to maneuver like the cross-over boats.

I have a version of the Stingray 12 from around 2007. It's a fairly basic fishing/rec kayak. It's stable, has a huge cockpit, and a single bulk head. The rear hatch is fairly loose, but I haven't lost it yet. The plastic the boat is made from is soft, it deforms easily when going over stumps/submerged logs, and will get a dent if loaded directly on roof rack bars.

Handling is ok, and the boat is reasonable fast given it's width and length. It would benefit from more deck rigging, but if you just want a simple boat for lakes/easy rivers this boat is sufficient.

I have the Stitch and Glue version of the Night Heron, which I built using the kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. This was the first wood boat that I built, but it went reasonable well (except for the coaming being a nightmare to put together, but in the end it all worked out). Patience and not aiming for perfection were the keys to getting through the process. CLC answered my questions regarding the construction process quickly and I could keep moving whenever I ran into problems. In the end the boat floats and looks great, so I am happy. As with all kit boats you can vary the boat a bit as you are building, so this review might not apply to how you build the boat.

I built the boat with a normal fiberglass layup, 1 layer inside and out with only where the keel rubs on launch/landings getting a second strip of glass. Epoxy was a bit heavy in a few places, but in the end the boat weighs just 43 pounds even with bulk heads and full rigging. The stern deck is very low, which doesn't leave a large amount of storage space in the back. Anything you pack has to be fairly short. The bow hatch is better for bigger stuff. The cockpit is cramped, which is not surprising for a boat that is just 20" wide. I have size 10.5 shoes and I have to wear minimalist shoes (Teva Nilch) to get my feet to the pegs.

It's a light, stiff, narrow boat which makes for a fast boat. Coming from previously paddling plastic boats the speed difference is amazing. Just a couple of strokes and you are flying. I didn't build the boat with a skeg, but I don't have trouble keeping the boat on track. My wife (who is much lighter then myself) finds the boat weather cocks more for her, and she would want a skeg if she paddled the boat regularly.

The boat is reasonably stable, but as would be expected with a boat this narrow you have to be loose and let the boat bounce with the waves or you will be in trouble. Turning is greatly aided by getting the boat on edge, the more comfortable you get with the boat the better it handles. It's a really fun boat to paddle, go fast, and play with.

This review is for the Tsunami 165 with Rudder, bought around 2009. This is not the fastest boat, or the most nimble, and certainly not the easiest to carry, but it is a good overall boat. It is a comfortable boat, with a relatively large cockpit and a comfortable seat, and a good amount of storage capacity. The day hatch is easy to reach and open and can easily hold everything you want within reach.

The boat tracks reasonably well, and the rudder can be used in windy conditions to further reduce the need for correcting strokes. The rudder also works well if you are trying to take pictures and want to keep the boat pointed at your target. Unfortunately the rudder is the type where the pedals move, this can be annoying when you are trying to move at speed and really use your legs in the stroke. In that case I tend to push with both legs to keep the rudder in place, the cable hasn't snapped from all the stress so it must be strong. The only trouble I had with the rudder is a broken retaining pin from hitting the rudder on some rocks. It was cheap and easy to fix with parts ordered online.

The biggest drawback of the Tsunami is the weight. It's a real chore to load this onto the car after a paddle, and a portage with the boat loaded is a workout even with two people. The carry handles do fit well in my hand, at least.

The boat is stable in rough water, thanks to it's width and shape. It's very forgiving for someone learning sea kayaking techniques, or if you are trying to take pictures in bouncy water. Don't expect fast turns/handling, though with some leaning you can get it to move quick enough.

Put simply: It's a comfortable, easy to paddle sea kayak. It won't be a boat that challenges you, it's a boat if you just want to get out on the water and get to your destination with a minimal amount of fuss.

I have been paddling with a bent shaft Kalliste for about 5 years now, with over a thousand miles on the paddle. It is light, pops out of the water thanks to the buoyancy, comfortable all day thanks to the bent shaft, and very solid. I use it both for open water and for river use, and even banging the blade against a river bottom all day doesn't leave a mark. It's been use for countless braces against rocks/shores/docks for entry/exits and it shows no signs of the abuse. A great low angle paddle worth every penny.

This review is the for "Hybrid" version of the Shearwater Sport, which means that the boat has a stitch and glue plywood hull, but a cedar strip deck. The different deck style should not have a large impact on performance. As a boat built from a kit there is a great deal of variation in how you can build the boat, from differences in fiberglass layup, hatch type and placement, seats, and deck rigging. In other words, your results will vary based on the choices you make during construction.

This was the second kit from CLC Boats that I built, I had previously built the Stitch+Glue Night Heron. The experience from the earlier build was useful but not essential. My goal in building this boat was to have a stable boat that was built like a tank. The stableness was inherent in the design, a 25" beam is going to make the boat forgiving no matter how you build it. I used a heavy fiberglass layup (fully glassed inside and out, with up to three layers on the bottom of the hull). The boat is very stiff, but also heavy. Of course, if you want a lightweight boat you don't have to use as much fiberglass, I just wanted a boat that can take a beating and keep on going.

Construction of the boat was straight forward, the directions were accurate and the folks at CLC are always responsive to questions. If building the strip version I do recommend reading Nick Schade's books on strip built sea kayak building, the information in those books does augment the manual well. The only significant change I made to the boat from the reference design was to move the stern hatch to be closer to the cockpit. Doing this, along with using delrin hatch toggles for holding it closed, allows me to open/close the hatch while seated in the cockpit essentially using it as a day hatch.

The Shearwater Sport is a short and wide version of the Shearwater sea kayak line, kinda straddling the line between a rec boat and a sea kayak. The cockpit is large and roomy, almost to the point of being bathtub-like. Expect to use some closed-cell foam to pad things out to shrink it down to a reasonable fit.

The cockpit opening is quite large, somewhere between a Seals 1.7 (very tight) and 2.5 (kinda loose) skirt size. The front deck is high, giving plenty of foot room, but the curved deck doesn't get in the way of my paddling stroke. The basic seat is adequate but could use some more padding. Thanks to the large cockpit there is plenty of room to move your legs around and stretch while on the water if the seat does make you stiff.

The boat is very stable, faster then a plastic kayak, and handles reasonably well. It tracks well, but in strong winds it does tend to weathercock. I have paddled it a few miles in 20mph beam winds and you do get a work out constantly correcting. The boat is forgiving in chop/small waves, and I often use it for photography. Even in light wind I can put the paddle down and pick up my camera and take pictures, not worrying about the need to brace, a little hip movement keeps me stable. The stability comes at a price, of course: it's not a fast boat, but it is faster then a similar plastic boat. Don't expect it to win a race against an 18' sea kayak, but it cruises along at 3.5 - 4.0 mph no problem. The boat isn't a fast turner when flat, leaning the boat over helps but it takes some effort to lean due to the width.

The boat (at least as I built it) is very tough. I have hit rocks, stumps, and other kayaks with just lots of scratches to show for it. T-rescues, rafting up, and other techniques that abuse your boat aren't any worries if you don't mind scratches. The boat won't break, and the most I have needed to do is touch up the varnish.

Overall, the boat is a nice cross over between a rec boat and a sea kayak. If you want to paddle big water in reasonable comfort and stability this boat works well, and looks really good doing it. If you want a fast, challenging boat that will stretch your skills you will want to look elsewhere.