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My Eski, named "Flash" due to his speed, has been subjected to almost all conditions you can encounter from 20-30 knot winds to 2-3 foot standing waves in some of the bays. It always does what I ask and when loaded with gear it is incredibly stable and well suited for these expeditions.
The hard chine hull is intimidating for beginning paddlers however, once you understand the handling characteristics of this hull design you begin to appreciate it as it rewards you with amazing performance. The boat is highly reactive to leans for turning and has amazing secondary stability. It is definitely a boat to grow into for the novice paddler. I use mine without the rudder and have never regretted taking it off.
If you can find one of these rare boats buy it and never look back.
At first the Eski felt very unstable, I know a lot has to do with my skill level. I have had her out about a dozen times now and feeling much better about it. Initial stability, while still tippy, is good, secondary stability is something I am growing into. It tends to weathercock easily without the rudder down. With the rudder down responds quickly with toe inputs. Although the rudder is nice it tends to add a lot of drag. I have used the rudder in some rough stuff and felt it added to the stability overall. I feel that it is a kayak I can grow into and will be a long time before I grow out of it.
Planning my first camping trip the first week in Nov. Trying to get out several times a week to get the feel for it. Wondering how it will do when loaded up, if it will cause it to sit better in the water and feel more stable. I picked mine up second hand and at a good price, am happy with my choice. She is very light to load on the racks. Because I am still learning how to carve a turn I think that this kayak is not an easy turning craft, I will let you know in six months or so after I have really had some time in it. I really like the rudder system for the way the foot pegs work, a post with rudder style toe peddles, so even if the cables break I still have a brace point for me feet
I wished it had better deck rigging for the aft deck. It is a fast one, paddles and glides easily. I am relearning my paddle stroke, going to a low verses a high stroke, makes all the difference in the world. I did about 7 miles tonight and as long as I kept my rhythm this kayak was effortless to move along. All in all I am pleased with the Eski and feel I made the right choice for me, time will tell but I am happy and don't think it will let me down.
Drawbacks: Interior seams not taped. Needs more factory options for the deck rigging. Weathercocks (minor) in a fairly stiff wind.
Bottom line: Economical intermediate kayak that's fast and a blast. I'll never need a nother one as long as I keep her off the rocks.
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