Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kayak Noise - Looksha Elite

Alex Matthews thoughts on the Looksha Elite........

Hello Spike fans! - This is Alex Matthews checking in from Vancouver Island as guest blogger.

I’ve been lucky enough to be paddling one of the new Looksha Elites over the last month or so (1 of only 2 of this new design on the entire west coast so far, I believe), and I’m really enjoying the boat. I typically get the chance to paddle a great many different kayaks, and this one is a real stand-out for me.

Firstly: the Elite is quite fast – it’s a Swede form so the bow entry is long and smooth which makes catching even small waves easy.

Despite its speed, the Elite is pretty stable and easy to paddle, so it’s definitely not an “experts only” sort of boat (whatever that is?). But the rocker profile is pronounced, so while the Elite’s tracking is very light, it benefits an active paddler who will gladly trade tracking for great maneuverability. Translation = you need to be happy with dropping the rudder when conditions dictate. Pull the rudder up and you can carve super tight turns.

All of that rocker, speed, and very nice cross-sectional shape, translate to terrific edging response and maneuverability.

Build quality on my demo boat is really excellent (in stark contrast to some of the very poor composite kayaks that I have seen come out of Necky’s East Coast US facility). If all the boats coming from Cobra (the Thai company now building Necky’s composites) are this good, then Necky should be really stoked.

I tip the scales at a rippling 150lbs, and the Elite is a touch on the big side for me – which is fair enough and probably right on target for paddlers in the more average 180-200lbs range. Having said that, the huge cargo capacity is pretty seductive and the fit is good, generating solid contact with the thighs. As a matter of course, I’m already gently campaigning for a Low Volume version but would likely still want the current size for long trips.

The Elite is a real hoot to paddle, and a little different from so many of the other boats out there. Its speed, efficiency, and its ability to carry a huge payload, have made it my new “go to” boat for multi-day trips. But heck, I’ve been paddling it everywhere (including and especially play sessions) and having a blast. It’s a winner – Spike’s going to have a very hard time getting this particular boat back from me!

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