Submitted by: Squrlprts on 6/18/2009
The first thing anyone notices about the Warren Light Craft kayaks is their unique shape. My boat is painted Ferrari Red and I can't make up my mind if it looks like an SR-71 on the water or a Formula 1 racing car. It's lines are very aesthetic and it give the immediate impression that it's fast, very fast. This is backed up by the fact that it is indeed an incredibly fast boat. It's nice how that works out. I recently entered this boat into a 5k kayak race. The top ten boats were all over 18' long. Well, there was one exception, my LW16 and I beat half of those ten. If I was in better shape (I don't get to paddle nearly as often as I'd like) I'm sure it would not have even been a contest. Before I exhausted myself, I was told I had a "significant" lead over the other boats. This boat will go as fast as you're able to paddle. I have yet to find the point of diminishing return. This boat also was the crowd favorite on land before launching as well. There's really no other kayak like it out there.
As advertised, the LW16 has good initial stability and excellent secondary stability. I didn't know if this was factored in when it was being designed (I suspect it was as Ted and Zac come across to me as precision oriented builders) but the LW16 handles rough water so well that when I'm out in small craft advisory weather, my kayak buddy who's got a Nigel Dennis Explorer, is bracing like there's no tomorrow while going parallel in the swells while I cruise along with much less effort. I almost feel bad, almost.
Weight: Another thing people immediately notice about the LW16 is how light it is. This particular boat is carbon and at 16' 3" weighs 32 lbs, which is 19 lbs less than my Necky Manitou, and that boat is two feet shorter. I will often go paddling with someone and let them switch over and try my boat for the ride back. They can't believe how stable, responsive and quick to accelerate it is. This will usually mean I'm chasing them home to get my boat back. Perhaps I let them paddle out and I get my boat back for the return trip... I'm also no longer dreading the putting the boat back up on my truck after a paddle. No more shaking arms near the point of exhaustion.
Storage: With most of the boat crafted to be above water, Ted Warren was able to increase the storage area without increasing the boat drag. The only word to describe the amount of space is "cavernous". You simply have to stick your head into one of the compartments to believe it.
Maneuverability: The LW16 tracks quite well with it's skeg down and I find minimal course correction is required to keep the boat in a straight line when there's a strong current. With the skeg up, this boat becomes a highly maneuverable river kayak half it's length. It will literally turn on a dime. Coming from a boat that was lower and slower in the water, I thought this was going to be an issue and again I was proven wrong. This boat turns almost intuitively and rides swells both leading and following extremely well.
Warren Light Craft say that if you buy one of their boats you'll be buying it for life. I couldn't agree more.