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The Stability is excellent and the boat cuts through the water with ease. I am 6'2" 195 pounds size 12-13 shoe. The cockpit is comfortable and somewhat roomy. Large hatches would make a over nighter no problem. Deck rigging on the bow of the boat is good. I also added Stern rigging as well. I went to the NRS website and ordered 8 feet of bungee cord and ran the rigging myself. This has really allowed me to store additional gear with ease.
Longest I have been in the boat without exit was 4 hours. One thing I would invest in is heel Padz. Sitting in the boat for long periods of time really hurt my heels until I installed heel Padz. Wet exits are no problems and I have not yet mastered the roll so I can't say much on that. Self rescues or climbing back in the boat was a little tricky just because the fact that my behind is big. 36 inch waist...Give me a break,I'm working on it:) Keep center of gravity low and big behinds should be ok.
I would have to agree with the previous post from meb, the plastic is strong, but not as strong as some other Kayaks made by P&H. As I understand it, Venture Kayaks are made by P&H, However P&H kayaks I think are made of better thicker material then their spin off brand Venture Kayaks.
In June, 7 months after I purchased the boat I came back from a trip on a local lake. As I was rinsing the boat off with the hose, I saw a crack around the screw that holds the thigh pad in place. I contacted the Venture Kayaks since the boat was still under warranty. They asked me to take a few pictures of the crack, a short description of what happened and include this information in a email. Venture Kayaks / P&H Replaced the ENTIRE kayak. I have myself a brand new Kayak! Now that's customer service! Each new Easky 15 comes with a one year warranty and Venture Kayaks / P&H hold true to there warranty.
All around a great boat. I think the asking price with a skeg is around 1200 dollars. I purchased mine without a skeg for 850 dollars new. All around this is a great boat and I have no regrets spending my 850 dollars on this boat. I love it even with the cracked thigh pad issue. I would suggest this boat to anyone who is on a budget and looking to explore local lakes, rivers or coast lines. I love my Easky and look forward to moving into a Capella one day.
In summary, this kayak should be at the top of anyone's list for durability, performance, an excellent value. I have had it in some large ocean swells, class II rivers, lakes, and I believe it is one of the best all around kayaks... good job Easky.
My only gripe is that the seating system is a little cheesey. I am going to custom carve my own and brace the seat pan properly. The seatpan tends to sway left or right when maneuvering the boat on edge. All in all this is a great boat for the money and anyone looking to get a boat for cruising and light touring should give it a go.
The main thing to remember about this kayak is the material. It is very, very thin plastic. I can make the front deck completely cavitate with only minimal pressure from my palm. A few years of sun and the whole boat will collapse!
It is a great boat for absolute beginners, those who only want to go out on calm lakes and protected waters. It does have a low back deck so paddle float rescues are a little easier than some higher volume boats.
It is a little cheaper to purchase. I believe the skeg is very flimsy and pooly designed, but it does deploy easily. Keeping it up is more of a challenge. If you want to save a few bucks and you're not going to go into challenging water, the Easky 15 is adequate.
Selling Points: I was sold on the design because it was a rather rigid plastic boat with a skeg. I find rudders cumbersome and confusing (paddle on the left while pressing the right foot?) with the rudder foot pedals lacking leverage points which seem essential in a boat that requires maintaining your balance. This was the only sea kayak in my price range that had a skeg.
P&H's design pedigree and the solid build of the boat were also attractions. The British P&H uses a three layer roto-molded polythene, resulting in a lighter, yet rigid boat versus regular molded plastic. You can't push this one in with your thumb like most plastic boats. This is supposedly the same process used by Old Town, according to the salesperson. However, P&H applies this process to serious touring boats.
On the Water: On the water, the boat was wonderful. With a push from my lovely wife I made my maiden voyage with ease. As I am still learning to paddle, the skeg was down most of the time, unless I wanted to make a quick turn, which was rather easy due to the smaller size (almost two fee less than the RM Capella). The skeg greatly improved tracking and stability. What's more, the built-in skeg can be partially deployed as conditions warrant.
The design proved efficient, knifing through waves and going where I pointed (when the skeg was down). With the skeg up, my poor paddling skills were more transparent as the wind and waves on the Pamlico Sound sent me in the wrong direction. However, the skeg was always there to tame Mother Nature. It tracks as well as I expected for a boat this length (15'), and far better than the recreational tubs I paddled before.
In my second trip out, the waves were kicking up about a foot or so with white caps. I was able to paddle through them going out and then use the boat's quick turning to ride them back in for some tiring fun! The boat responds well to aggressive paddling, carving turns and leaning back. I'm too new to execute these techniques well, but like a good sports car, I can tell the boat has way more to give than I am ready to explore. My wife really enjoyed the boat, although she launched during the worst chop of the day. She definitely appreciated the skeg's help, which forces you to turn with your paddle.
Comfort and Stability: The boat is very stable and still able to carve turns when I was feeling more daring. The seat bottom is comfortable, and the backband proved better than expected. I was able to lean back or forward to relieve pressure as I paddled. I may get a slightly larger backband, but I found the band easier to use and more conducive to actually wearing the boat, rather than the recreational idea of sitting in a boat.
The thigh bolsters were the best of any of the handful of boats we've tested. However, I found they cut into my circulation after about an hour. Stretching inside the boat helped. And, although the cockpit appears plenty large, I could never find a comfortable foot position for long. I'll play with the pedals and maybe switch to a water sock instead of a shoe to see if that frees up more toe room for fidgeting. I'm 6', 175 lbs and wear a size 10.
Another negative is the fact the sharp cockpit edges cut into your hands when one person carries the boat or when you fail to carefully slide your legs in. The actual hole seems as small as the Capella, although the Easky is one inch wider overall. Additional padding or sanding down the edge will probably help.
No bulkhead leaks were found after about an hour of paddling, although I suspect there's a leak around the screws holding the foot pedals which I will investigate further.
Equipment: I do find my 220cm Aquabound AMT Expedition carbon paddle a little short for this boat. I'm 6' and the boat is 23" wide, but I think a 230 may have offered a little more leverage. I find myself pulling the paddle rather than levering it. The short paddle seems to demand aggressive paddling, which is fun for a bit, but tiring. I'll have to work on my paddle strokes, I'm sure.
Pro Canoe only offered the Aquabound Seaclude (or Seaquel, can't remember which) for $90 or a fiberglass Werner Camano for $235, with no paddles in between. The entry-level Aquabound felt like a log and the Werner felt like a q-tip. Seeing my joy holding the featherweight Werner, my wife said "you can get it" in the resigned tone of a woman over budget. With 10 years of marriage experience, I knew to keep looking for a less expensive paddle.
Eastern Mountain Sports offered good deals on paddling gear, so I was able to outfit the boat with paddle, float, map bag, pump, phone bag, skirt and other goodies for about 25% less than list price. My wife got our MTI Comp II PFD on clearance for $30 at Pro Canoe. Although it's an XL, it fits both of us snugly.
Conclusion: The P&H Easky captures what is good about a small British sports car: little, stylish, just fast enough, maneuverable, and quirky but with useful features that make it fun all around. We needed a serious sea kayak that could help get us out of trouble if the wind and waves kicked up, but would be manageable and rugged for exploring around the Pamilco River near the NC Outer Banks, all while being affordable. With its unique rigid and durable triple-layer polythene hull, skeg and reasonable price, the P&H Easky was the right boat for us.
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