Monday, October 25, 2010
Team Ocean Kayak's Jeff Herman in cooperation with Necky Kayaks have donated a Necky Chatham 16 to Artist Boat. ArtistBoat.org is a unique nonprofit in Texas that has literally taken thousands of kids kayaking to learn about coastal margins and coastal eco systems. The Chatham will be raffled to help raise money for Artist Boat and is on display at the legendary Mod Coffee Shop in Galveston.
Friday, October 22, 2010
It's that time of year we are full on with lots of new projects. We are cutting boats out on the cnc machine, making prototypes and doing test paddles. This is a great stage of development as each project is up and running and starting to take shape. Some things are working and other not so much and we have to rethink. We always have more ideas than we can actually get done. So quiet often it is about sifting through and trying to pick the best.
Each person in R/D gets to head up projects and see them through to the finish. But everyone gets to throw there opinion into the mix on every project. So no one is doing designs in a vacuum.
One of the new projects is a LV Elite. I'm trying to keep all the great parts of the Elite just in a smaller package. So it will not have as much packing space but this compact version should be really lively and fun to paddle. It has a slightly smaller fit so should be good for med to small paddlers.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
This is where it all happens the shaping room. For most boats even if we cut them out on the CNC machine we still do the last bit by hand. With hand shaping you can smooth out the lines and refine the shape in a way that is difficult on the computer screen. We set up the room with adjustable lights to show up the lines of the boat. The room is painted a neutral color and sealed up to keep the dust in.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Alex Matthews & Friends – Nootka Island 2010
Alex Matthews here, signing in on the ‘Kayak Noise’ blog.
Last month I had the chance to take off up the coast of Vancouver Island for a 10 day trip to Nootka island and the Nuchatlitz area, launching from the small town of Zeballos. Nick Castro of Active Sea Kayaking (http://www.activeseakayaking.ca/) was the instigator, with his partner Sandra, and their good friend Jen rounding out the gang.
I was paddling Spike’s newest sea kayak design - the Looksha Elite. I’ve logged quite a few miles in the Elite now, and it’s a cool boat that combines positively HUGE storage capacity with a very efficient hull for good speed, and tremendous maneuverability. Because the stern of the Elite has so much rocker it spins on a dime and is very fun and sporty to paddle (great down wind), but it’s quite rudder dependant in some conditions. I really like it and it’s become my “go to” boat for multi-day trips. If I was still guiding I would definitely be working out of an Elite: it’s fast, comfy, is really easy to swing around (ideal for doing a head-count when keeping track of guests behind you), and positively swallows gear! It’s also stable enough when loaded that I think you could put a client in it without worrying about them flipping.
The only downside I encountered is that when FULLY loaded, the Elite ends up weighing a ton (duh)! I wanted to see just how much I could stuff into the boat and went a little crazy. I ended up with my usual gear, plus enough food for over 2 weeks, extra water, extra clothes, and a full complement of camera gear. The kayak swallowed it all with ease but was of course really heavy. So it’s like the old backpacking adage: “be careful with a really big pack, because you will have a tendency to fill all the space available. And then you’ll have to carry it!”
At a measly 150lbs, I’m definitely small for the Elite, but it does a really good job of not feeling like a big boat. And while I am campaigning for a lower volume version, I must admit that all that cargo capacity is pretty corrupting (I’m getting old and soft, and luxury certainly has its appeal). I’m not sure that I’d be willing to give it up.
All photos by Nick Castro or Alex Matthews