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