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Reviews for XP18 Kayak by Point 65 N


Rated: 5.44/10 Based On: 9 Reviews


XP18 Kayak by Point 65 N

Length: 18' 0" - Width: 21.20" - Starting at: $3099.00
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12-10-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The XP 18 is not the only kayak I paddle. I love it for it's dry fast and stable ride and also for the amount of kit it can carry. Yes it is a sea kayak you need to look after and not just throw about. It is definitely not a play boat. Gel coat will chip off easily but without star cracking.

It really shines on extended touring and covering distances. Quality of construction is nearly perfect with accessories and fittings of the highest quality. The rudder is simple effective and easy to fix/service. Body contact with the top deck is limited due to the high front long and wide cockpit that on the other hand permits paddling with both knees up as per K1 position. Edging the boat is easy but rolling requires more effort.

Top deck cataways permit aggressive high angle paddling.
Skeg is fairly easy to operate/ service/replace and support from the factory is swift and direct. Difficulty in placing spare paddles on deck with it's bungee chord configuration. If anyone has an idea on how to do it please share.

Generally I'm very happy with it and I love paddling it on selected trips.

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09-30-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I submitted my original review for the XP18 under the name "Uiscemac" (08-10-2010). I've had this boat now for a few years and I can add a few more details to my original review. First of all I would point out that the XP18 is my only boat and is therefore heavily used. In fact I am an all year round paddler. I'm out every week hail, wind, rain or snow. As someone once said to me there is no such thing as bad weather just bad kit. So my boat has clocked up hefty mileage, and it looks it. I've installed a keel strip to protect the bottom and I've had to make a few repairs here and there from bad impacts on beaches and rocks.
Recently I was rammed coming off a wave, so that needed a lot of fibreglass and gelcoat. But if you paddle fibreglass it comes with the territory.
    Here are my observations;
  • The bodywork on the boat is still holding up wonderfully including the gel coat. There are no I repeat no spider cracks on the gel coat anywhere.
  • The rudder system was never that great, saying that I always preferred using the Skeg. There has been no problems there, no Skeg rattle or persistent jamming.
  • I do a lot of off shore camping. The XP18 is unsurpassed here. I can carry a 4 man tent, camp seat, the kitchen sink if I want and all can be done in a fraction of the time it takes someone in a Greenland to pack.
  • The boat is remarkably stable even in a Force 7 with a 3 metre swell. It's very forgiving of mistakes, God Knows I've made plenty and have lived to tell the tale.
The downside of this boat is surf landings. In anything over 2 feet put your going to have problems. It will broach!
However like all problems there is a solution. I can land in heavy surf while maintaining my dignity by backing the boat in. The bow if the XP18 due to its volume is excellent at getting over big surf. By backing the boat in you take advantage of that. Looks strange but works.

I have had this boat almost 3 years now and I'm glad to say it has looked after me. I've no regrets buying it.

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05-29-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Point 65 degrees North, of Sweden, deserves and hereby gets an apology from me. Not only that, they get my applause.

The Canadian rep of this company has been responsive and instructive; advising me not to when I asked about modifying the XP18 I bought. Instead, he suggested modifying my technique. I tried it and it's fine. Under his advice I have also altered my paddling technique, which, I must add, has been formed for about 45 years. This includes using a very light touch on the pedals, whereas I used to push deeply against all body/boat contact points. I'm sure this lets more oxygen go to the driving muscles. Point 65 advised setting the pedals near-vertical, and that has indeed helped rudder mechanics.

I submitted an objection to their service regarding some foot pedals. I submitted that on the very day replacement parts arrived at my home. I was not home, but visiting elsewhere, for a week. They replaced the parts for which I had waited a long time. I believe the omission from a previous warranty issue was a true, and simple, oversight. They have rectified that to my satisfaction. They have stood behind the product in support of the customer. Best of my experience.

Furthermore, I sought long and hard to find replacement rudder line comparable to the factory issue. My reasoning was that there is too much friction between the line and the tubes into which they are inserted. It would "groan" and bind. After much searching I found a slightly smaller diameter product. The line feels like Teflon, and there is much less drag. The rudder problems I and so many others have experienced seem to have disappeared. I have been out three times today for about an hour each. The first time out, I simply used the old pedals. That way I knew whether the slippery line made a difference. The next two trips were with the replacement pedals which had arrived while I was away. I had to make some adjustments to line-lengths to arrange the pedals vertically, and make the slick cord stay in place by knotting.

The rudder now swings to the extremes and does not lock up, and is able to return to neutral (centre) on its own, without groaning. This is almost like getting a new kayak, it is so different. The design of the XP18 is such that it tracks very well and almost pivots like a slalom boat, when compared with most sea kayaks. The foil-shaped rudder augments this feature wonderfully. Comparatively, it snaps around quite nicely to toe command.
--------------------------------

To speak to the issues cited by critics of the performance of the Point 65 North XP18 performance, I present my perspective/ experience:

There are large panels of flat Fibreglas on the XP18. Rather than a fault, this is a common construction method. Such large areas may flex. Many superb paddlecraft are built this way. And flex is not a negative thing. If your body was stiff as glass, you would shatter as it does. Boats that flex deflect damage as martial arts forms do. Flexible, thin panels allow the boat to be lighter too. A thicker hull is simply heavier for its size.

Colour on a glass boat is not "paint". It is "gel coat", a hard resin bonded to the structure that is the boat. Boats can be made without it, but they could be blotchy and bland-looking and thereby less attractive. You can't apply skin beautification to it. Gel coat is thin. Just enough to give a beautiful appearance without adding extra weight. In itself, it adds no strength to the structure that is your kayak.

Dragging a kayak on a beach is going to scratch the gel coat. It scratches hard-painted canvas canoes and motor boats. Larger gravel and rocks will often do a deep gouge. It is accepted as "wear and tear". A plastic kayak is a different creature, with its colour throughout its structure. That makes it more disguising of scratch and gouge damage. It's harder to see.

My XP18 had a sparkling, flawless red finish. The black colour in front of the cockpit serves a purpose as well. Intentional or not, it reduces sun glare. In fact, a fine, fine sandpaper might be a good touch in just the top portion. Alternatively place gear there. The gear will not likely reflect glare.

The cockpit rim of the XP18 has almost a concavity to it. If you were to cut it through, you would find that in profile, the rim is like a trough, or a "U" inverted. In my previous many kayaks, the rims were classically "flat" or straight across. This allowed water from a beam wave to hit the "chimney" (where the rim attaches to the deck), arc upward, and slip between the rim and the spray skirt. The result was often a load of cold water coming into the cockpit and onto my clothing, shortening my paddle time by cooling me. The rim of the XP18 does an unbelievable job of eliminating this flaw. I use a high quality skirt with a shock cord trim. It tucks under and up, for a very snug fit. I just don't get wet this way. One critic of the XP18 rim said to put a piece of hose on the rim to make it easier to remove. I tried that, and it was hard to keep in place, and would come off often. I inquired to Point 65 and their advice was to simply push/pull toward the bow and then up. Works as good as the old pull-toward you method, but I now have a super-fitting skirt/cockpit with no water intrusion.

Some have complained that the XP18 hasn't a "back band" and no seat paddling. My best boats had no padding. When I bought a bunch for my adventure business, I found the padding attracted animals who like the smell of human contact. They chew it. The padded seat covers rip, exposing the internal foam which looks bright against the black finish. The padding holds water, keeping you cold in the fall and spring. Padding raises your centre of gravity. That's an important thing, once you get into intense paddling. Padded seats reduce or stop any rotation. There's friction. A bare seat does away with these issues. There's less maintenance issues. I even wax the Fibreglas seat.

Some models of the XP18 were supplied with back bands (back rest) and some were not. The back band is to provide comfort when you relax. It really isn't there for support during paddling. The back, from the hips up, should be allowed to pivot, bend forward or backward. This facilitates reach for strokes and rolling the boat upright. A tall backrest impedes all of this. The back band, likewise, should not be placed high. The stroke is better performed with a low back band or none. Like every other aspect of your kayak, try it all ways and settle on the better.

XP18s were supplied with either or both of the skeg and rudder. Some ask why both. Well, I don't know the designers intention, but my reasoning is that if one fails, as things do, you still have the other. Like a second boat motor or a spare paddle (you DO carry a spare, don't you). Each of these is useful to minimize the amount of energy expended to keep the boat on a "track", "tack" or course. In practice, I have used each. In fact, I have used both at the same time during a long crossing with a beam sea. Using both seemed to reduce downwind drift significantly. I still retained directional control by using the feet rather than the ever-busy arms. It's better to use either of these than to use corrective strokes. Olympic boats have skegs, ocean racers have skegs. It saves energy. It's good to be able to control the boat with paddle strokes if the steering system fails. So by all means learn to paddle well, but the XP18 has backup built in. Use the skeg or rudder. You'll be more efficient in the long run.

Deploying the skeg is easy, and parking it is just as easy. My XP18 has a slider on the left, while some XP18s have a rotary device on the right, which bumps the skeg up or down by small increments or by complete rotation.

The rudder deploys with utter ease. Squeeze the button on the "lock", slide it back, and the rudder is deployed. Squeeze again and the rudder parks. Unlike my previous experience with rudder parking, however, the rudder of the XP18 actually gets easier as it comes up. It doesn’t hit a "heavy spot" like so many do. This is a lightweight rudder of some form of plastic, with a shape, viewed from the side, that is like an airplane wing. It is rounded, rather than just flat with a chamfered edge. The leading edge is the thicker end. This affects the turn dramatically better than the old-style flat plate type of rudder.

The XP18 has hard chines; almost box-like edges where the deck and hull meet. There is a small, angled flat surface along this length, and it strengthens the boat visually and structurally. Where the hull and sides meet, the interface is simplified with an almost square profile. I can "hold an edge" quite well in the XP18 due to its excellent secondary stability.

The boat is heavily rockered, with a predominantly flat, planning-hull-like surface. These are what give the XP18 amazing stability for a 21" beam. It has a near-vertical cutwater that means for its 18' length, most of the hull is in the water. This gives a low drag coefficient. It's a fast sea kayak. It loves to surf. The bigger, the better.

Many comments have been made about the XP 18 wanting to turn upwind, or being difficult to run downwind for the same reason. However, set an XP18 on a windswept body of water. Lay off the paddles and let the wind move the boat. Each time I've done this, the boat simply "lays to" or sits sideways to the wind. It doesn’t turn away from or toward the wind. That means it's not fighting your strokes as much as other kayaks might. That too saves you energy. I've found that using the skeg can be useful on either upwind or downwind travel, because the XP18 isn't as strongly affected by winds as some other kayaks.

The deck of the XP18 has a wonderful angle to it near the cockpit. With a beam of 21", this allows easy access for the paddle to the water without "ticking" the deck. I don't have to listen to the noise of such contact, either. I use a high angle stroke, borne of my whitewater tradition. My paddle is short, less than 200 cm by a good bit. That gives me, with a wide blade, an easy stroke with a high cadence. It's low gear rated. The bigger blade helps my roll, but this boat rolls easily without a paddle.

I know that all boat designs have shortfall. Once we get a boat, it's like any other relationship, in that we are familiar enough with it that we can find and pronounce its faults. Each individual boat has some hand-done work, and this may vary the quality of each component or its manner of setting to the boat. But all in all, the XP18 has been the best boat of my nearly fifty years of kayak paddling. It's 18' long, so it has material heft. At 55 pounds (remember, each boat may vary), it's not a bad weight at all. I've had many boats of 13' or so that weigh 45 pounds. It's weight is pretty good, really. I love this kayak, and Point 65 has provided support. Can't say enough good about it.

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05-28-2013
Submitted by: uk victimSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     point 65 kayaks have a bad reputation for quality and the XP 18 is the worst. My rudder broke off as have many other rudders broken off other owners XP 18s.
avoid this cheap toytown pretend sea kayak.

MANUFACTURER'S RESPONSE
I am well aware of this customers problem as he has posted criticism on numerous blogs the last few days. We were not given an opportunity by the customer to rectify this as he went ahead and repaired the kayak himself as well as posting online left and right. Only after I posted on these forums myself, urging him to contact me did he e-mail me and ask for cash compensation for his repair which I immediately granted, no questions asked. This had nothing to do with the internet postings but just how we work. The warranty might have expired or the kayak flying of the roof of a car. If possible, we try to help.

As to the problem, all rudders can break in surf or if subjected to extreme forces. I can't be certain of the circumstances surrounding this customers problem. It is surprising that he did not contact me directly if there was a manufacturing issue.

Having said that we did have problems with how the rudder sleeves where laminated into the kayak on some 2009-2010 models. We have identified the problem and the culprit in quality control and with the help of the serial number we can determine if a boat has this issue. It really has nothing to do with the nationality or race of the boatbuilder.

If you are the owner of a 2010-2011 XP18 don't hesitate to e-mail me at
richard.ohman(@)point65.se
or call me on my cell +46-70-7563326.
We have on site Swedish management and quality control personnel at our factory at all times checking each composite kayak thoroughly during and after the manufacturing process. I am proud to say that our team has succeeded and our built quality is at the absolute top of the industry.

If you have any further questions don't hesitate to contact me personally.

Happy Paddling!
Richard Ohman, Founder and owner Point65

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05-17-2013
Submitted by: IanSend Email
Rating: 1 of 10

     I've always look after my kayaks so i was very surprised when my rudder broke off as well. It just fell off 1/2 km from shore and I also lost a big chunk of the rear deck. With the rear compartment flooded this kayak was dead in the water and I consider myself lucky to make it to shore 4 hours later. On inspection the rudder is just a horrible design. The jelcoat is extremely thin so even sand will take it off. It maybe a fast stable kayak but it is also a time bomb. Sent a email to Point 65 explaining the problem but I don't think they were interested. If you are considering purchasing the new improved xp18 don't do it
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01-21-2013
Submitted by: Wim-BSend Email
Rating: 1 of 10

     A follow up on my previous review.
The rudder broke off in a light, following sea taking part of the rear deck with it.
Deck seam has split near the cockpit, I have not hit anything, broached and machinewashed in some bigger waves is the worse that happened.
I now think this is a dangerous boat to be out in because of the build quality, no one likes a flooded rear bulkhead.

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11-09-2012
Submitted by: Wim-BSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I am 6'/1.8m high and weigh 90 kg/15 stone. Previous boats, NDK Greenlander and Explorer, North shore Atlantic ; I also have a Three piece Valley Etain 17.5...
I have owned the XP18 for 6 months now. and have paddled it from dead flat to 8 foot surf. Once I had to make a beeline for the beach in 40 knot (on land) wind and confused sea.
    The good:
  • Mine seems to have a very decent finish, good gelcoat, dry hatches etc.
  • Good primary stability, rock solid secondary.
  • Rolls good with a stormroll or reverse sweep.
  • Catches following seas nicely when you use the rudder.
  • Feels like a playboat when the rudder is up.

    The bad:

  • Looks aren't everything and neither is marketing spin, this boat is not what it is sold for: A fast expedition boat. For serious work it is way to rudder depending and without it it is hard to control in following seas. The skeg does not help here either.
  • The foot braces/rudder pedals are a joke.
  • The cockpit in general is one of the worst I ever been in, you have to throw everything out and build your own seat and footbraces in. I have installed extended tighbraces after being sucked out in surf, the original ones give no support.
  • It is a bad boat to surf in the big stuff, broaches as soon as a big one hits the tail. I could/can surf my other boats well enough. (Hence the previous reviewers trouble with surf landings?)
  • The skeg rattles in the skegbox.
  • Rear of the cockpit rim is to high for backdeck rolls.
I still kinda like it because of it's cool looks and the way it paddles in a following sea with the rudder down. I bought it dirt cheap so I don't worry. In Australia it retails for $3600 but you can often buy them in as new condition for around $1500 from people who believed the marketing spin and are bitterly disappointed.

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08-29-2012
Submitted by: PAJSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     DON'T BUY THIS KAYAK!!!!!
Now that I have safely returned my purchase and exchanged it for a demo Seaward Chilco (made in Canada) I can safely write a review.

To call this kayak crap is an under-statement.
I bought the kayak as it was on-sale for $1,000 less than the msrp. There are very few reviews and at best they are mildly positive. I watched and Aussi video and the guy said "This is the kayak other kayaks run from"... that's because they don't want to be associated with it. The company's website has all this propaganda about being of Swedish manufacture but that is a lie....it's from China!

    Pros:
  1. Very cool looking.
  2. Fast (up to 10km/hr)
  3. Huge storage
    Cons:
  1. Rudder is useless (did they even do some product testing???). Pedals are hard and vague. Resorted to using the skeg!
  2. No backband, seat pad or hip pads. thigh pads are not adjustable.
  3. Gellcoat...what gellcoat? Anything will scratch the finish. You can't even drag it up on a sandy beach without the paint coming off. The paint was coming off just trying to remove scratches with wax! There was also section inside the hull with nothing. I even say daylight at some seam locations.
  4. Even with the skeg deployed, this kayak cork screwed in 1-2ft waves. I'd be scared to go out in difficult conditions in this kayak...and I'm an experienced kayaker.
I was depressed that I might not be able to return or sell this thing as other people might already know how bad it was. At $3,000.00 Cdn (msrp) this is financial rape. I mistakenly thought that their poly boats were bad but their composite ones were better...they're not.

No matter what the price I cannot recommend this boat. I knew I had been fooled after two short outings.

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08-10-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Have had this boat for a few weeks now. So far I am more then happy with it.
I've had it out in various Atlantic conditions off the coast of Ireland, everything from calm to 2.5 m swells with F4/5 winds. It took a lot of time to get the cockpit just right, I would probably be at the upper limit of size that the boat would be able to accommodate, (6'2" 15 stone). The boat is particularly well made which was a pleasant surprise as a lot of boats that have come out of China have been shoddy in their workmanship. However whatever factory P65 are now using know their stuff.

The gel coat is immaculate; no blemishes. The fibreglass is vacuum bagged in manufacture and is also very well done. There are no sharp edges around the cockpit which is a sure sign of bad workmanship. The combing around the cockpit is however deep, so deep that it is next to impossible to remove spraydeck in a hurry. This can be easily solved however by putting a length of garden hosepipe around the front of the cockpit combing this prevents the deck from sitting too tightly and allows you to eject with one pull without resorting to using a crowbar. The deck and hatches are very good quality, have rolled boat and the bulkheads and hatch covers are airtight. The skeg box and lever are bomb proof and are well designed. The rudder can be a little stiff to operate. The lines can be greased using washing up liquid, this frees them up considerably.

The boat on the water is fast, tracking requires the use of either skeg or rudder particularly in a running sea. Boat is extremely agile. It does perform better in a heavy sea with a load on board. The bow sits high without a load. I have clocked it on GPS doing 9.5k flat out. It could probably go faster with a running sea. Surf landing is tricky as the boat tends to windcock with a wave on the stern.I haven't mastered how to land the boat properly in heavy surf so to maintain by dignity I have resorted to backing the boat in stern first onto the beach, less embarrassing.

All in all I would have no problem recommending this boat to anybody.

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