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I rented the of these and paddled Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, CA with it. My goal for the day was to paddle windy conditions and start getting comfortable with leans and braces. This boat was a charm to paddle, challenged me to improve, and was worth the time.
The winds on the harbor were between 6 and 12 MPH. The low profile on this boat made weathercocking a non issue for me, even without the skeg down. The seat design is OK. The pan feels great, but the back rest was not as strong or stable as I expected. When I adjusted it to a comfortable position on shore, dropping my rear into the seat while floating was difficult, as the seat kept getting caught under me. The wear & tear on this rental was obvious in the seat buckle adjustment mechanism. The adjusting buckle was rusted and flaky. When I tried to adjust it a 2nd time it slipped out. But even with the back rest in a loose position I had no comfort issues when paddling straight into the winds all the way across the harbor.
Turning this boat on edge was OK, as well. I am still getting comfortable with leans and edging. This boat pushed me out of my confort zone, as my Prijon definitely feels beamier, less playful, and I have not leaned in it as much. Breaking the keel free to turn tight was still a bit of work, but doable for the novice.
Raising and lowering the skeg was simple with the release line. The skeg worked well for me in tracking straight when I paddled across the harbor straight into the wind, although I did not weathercock much as all without the skeg dropped.
Water did come over the deck a lot as I paddled into the wind/waves. This was not an issue in the P&H Delphin 15.5' prototype I paddled later that day.
Aesthetically, I liked the lines of the boat, while the color, hatches and lashings were all unremarkable to me.
Overall, 7 out of 10, using my other experiences in a Touryak, a Delphin, and a Necky Looksha 14.5.
Definitely a recommendable boat.
For the money the 15LV is the most versatile and fun kayak I have ever owned. Lighter than most its size at 46 lbs., it carries easily and is thoughtfully outfitted. They are made in the UK rather than China and I think it shows in the finish. Great seat with an adjustable back that converts to a backband type or taller cruising style, snug but easily entered keyhole cockpit (even with my longish legs I can enter butt first and scoot them in), sturdy foot braces, perfectly placed thigh hooks and roomy hatches. Rigged to take a rudder -- though I opted not to buy it with one it would be a cinch to add later. Pretty boat, too, in my case the snow-pea green fade.
Best of all, just a pleasure to paddle. It is fast and tracks well, but also turns nicely, Primary is a little wiggly at first (not for me but for friends used to rec boats who I've let try it) but not at all once you are moving and the secondary is excellent -- I can edge it til the coaming is underwater and it won't go over unless I really push and drop hard (like to practice rolls).
Despite being technically a touring kayak I have had a blast with it in shallow fast streams, even knuckle-dragging it across gravel bars and banging through chutes in class 1 rapids. With the thigh hooks and hull shape I can hip-steer it through a sinuous line with my paddle over my head. On flatwater I can keep up with good paddlers in longer boats. I've got fancier and costlier boats myself but since I picked this little beauty up on sale last summer I have been neglecting the rest of the fleet.
I highly recommend this as a second kayak for anyone looking to move up from a rec boat or a first kayak for anyone who wants something fun, versatile, sharp looking and reasonably priced. Comfortable for a newbie but has the talent to let you learn some skills.
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