05-01-2013Submitted by: DavidJ
Reviews for Looksha IV Kayak by Necky Kayaks
Based On: 57 Reviews
- Rating: 9 of 10 I own a fiberglass/Kevlar Looksha IV that I custom outfitted to increase it's performance on longer trips and crossings. It's an easy boat to fall in love with, which is probably why they've made them for so many years. I've found them by the dozen in Glacier Bay, AK because it's a favorite with outfitters and guides. I outfitted mine with Nimbus aluminum rudder axis pedals controlling a Feathercraft rudder with a pulley assisted (effortless!) rudder-deployment/retracting system. It's truly a great boat for everything from day paddles to multi-week camping. I've done 8-mile crossings without fatigue and at 5'7" 140lbs, I'm definitely not a big muscled guy.
Actually, I'm looking for a used plastic or glass Looksha for my 5'2" 115# sister. She tried mine and loved it as it's so adjustable.
What I love most about my Looksha is how easily it carves a turn in any seas, takes crosswinds, following seas and provides great initial and secondary stability. Tracks nicely and cuts through heavy kelp with ease because it has a knife-edge bow. I've paddled it fully-loaded in 5' seas and 30kt winds, yet love it as well for calm after-work jaunts in the Seattle Ship canal. It's easy to handle off the water too, with great carry balance.
Care about dry hatches? These beat any I've tried including the harder-to-seal rubber ones found on most boats. They are neoprene under fiberglass with great pressure straps. The front hatch cover doubles as my prep tray at camp because I added into the lid a piece of flexible cutting sheet.
10-29-2012Submitted by: rivannahipsnap
- Rating: 10 of 10 This boat is quite fast for a relatively heavy, plastic boat and the double hard chine makes it stable yet maneuverable when you put it on edge. With fore and aft bulkheads and hatches, its got plenty of room for gear and cargo, too.
Like I said, on flat water is is quite fast and the flip-down/flip-up rudder is more than adequate to deal with any wind or tendency to weathercock (of which I've experienced very little.)
What I found most surprising about the boat is how well it actually handles flowing water. I've raced it on Class II+ rivers and it is quite maneuverable for a 17' foot boat because it has a surprising amount of rocker for an ocean kayak. With the rudder up, it just seems to automatically find the best line to run through rapids. It is like it has a mind of its own and just knows where to take you downriver.
The deck rigging is great for holding that gear that you want to keep close at hand and it is nice to have a rudder that you can put down or lift up while paddling by simply pulling on a rope one direction or the other.
I own and have owned many kayaks but this is one I plan to hold onto because it is just so versatile. When the water gets choppy in a large bay or in the ocean this is the boat I feel safest in because of its stability yet it still feels sleek and fast.
06-22-2012Submitted by: MTMark
If you can find one in good shape buy it. You will not be disappointed.
- Rating: 9 of 10 My Looksha (plastic) is now 12 plus years old. Just realized I had not reviewed the boat. It is used mostly on larger lakes and occasionally a trip to BC. One trip on the lower Missouri below Ft. Benton.
The Looksha has been a great boat for me. It fits my 5'11", 190 frame well. It holds up well to abuse and once you learn its quirks a pleasure to paddle. The only paddling issue is a tendency to weathercock in a light quartering wind. This is easily corrected by the rudder or if the winds are constant by leaning. It handles very well when leaned. A peculiar and reassuring trait is that the rougher the weather the better the boat handles and the more stable it feels. It plows through the waves like a U-boat. Chop, waves... it seems to relish them. Decent speed for plastic (ask the angry moose) and the storage has been more than adequate for 4 night trips. Knocked off a point because fit and finish are better on some similar boats. Pick one up if you can find a used one.
06-01-2012Submitted by: bonz
- Rating: 8 of 10 I looked at the Looksha IV years ago when I purchased my first kayak (a Perception Catalina). I opted for the Catalina due to just getting into kayaking and a 17' sea kayak was a bit intimidating. Years later, an opportunity arose to paddle/purchase a used Looksha IV. I had been looking at advancing to a larger boat and larger water so why not try the boat. OH MY! Why did I wait?
It was a bit strange at first, getting used to the length, the rudder, and yes the handling. Mine has the hard seat and high back. It does react to wind but is well compensated by the rudder (once you figure out how to use a rudder). In rougher water, it handles like a dream. Response is almost effortless and it is a speed demon, getting you out of the trouble spots quickly.
This boat is ten years old, well used, but rock solid. I would suggest if you want to advance your skills and upgrade your ride, getting a well maintained used Looksha IV will save you money but will still provide many hours of happy paddling.
11-05-2011Submitted by: Ian McCulloch
- Rating: 9 of 10 Had this boat for a few months now and love how it paddles. I have rented many boats in the past and finally purchased the AC version (advanced composite). The lower initial stability and rock solid secondary stability just makes it so fun to go from edge to edge. It feels fast to me,and it still packs all my gear. I'm giving it a 9 because the fit and finish isn't as good as some other boats out there.
02-10-2011Submitted by: gohank
- Rating: 10 of 10 My 10 plus year old Looksha IV has been my favorite plastic to paddle. I bought it second hand from someone that didn't want a 17 ft boat for the narrow rivers of Florida. It was a dream for me. For the price it's unbeatable. It's speed and tracking is great - I learned without a rudder and never need one. Turning in narrow waters when stopped is a chore as with any long boat. I have paddled lots of other kayaks and always enjoy the Looksha. Unless you are willing to spend big bucks for a high tech hull, it's hard to beat this boat.
Usually when fishing I'll opt for a SOT, however if I need to make a long paddle to fish an area, I have no problem getting there quicker using my Looksha. I learned to kayak fish using it so I'm used to it. For the beginner be cautious as it's a bit tippy when fighting a fish. Plus it's hard to outfit for multiple fishing rods.
05-14-2010Submitted by: dridma
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have paddled at least a half dozen kayaks for long periods of time and the Looksha IV continues to be an exceptional boat with a solid design that has barely changed over decades - it is the BMW 3 series of kayaks - as pretty much all professional reviewers point out. The boat handles beautifully in rough and windy conditions. I have never had to use the rudder as the boat maneuvers extremely easily. With the double chines, even 90 degree turns are one stroke away. It is at home in rock gardens and even surf. It has a quick takeoff, maintains speed, and is comfortable for paddling for days/weeks.
01-19-2010Submitted by: KD
- Rating: 5 of 10 Owned the plastic version for about 2 years. At the time I thought this was a great boat. I noticed that it turned very easily and using the rudder seemed like a natural thing. After buying a fiberglass "Mega" Diamante Sovereign and only having it for a month or so, I realized that a good boat turns easily and tracks well without a rudder. Looking back, I realized that in even small chop and wind, I needed the rudder on the Looksha IV just to keep going straight. After 10 years now with the Mega, I know I would "NEVER" own a Looksha IV again. You just don't realize there are better boats out there until you try them......
06-22-2009Submitted by: michael knibbs
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have owned a glass version of this boat from new for nearly three years. I paddle San Francisco bay in wind up to 25 knots - there's no choice here. The boat is fast enough, very responsive and has enough chine and rocker to handle large swells. It hard chop it can get wet with some bow slap. Also can be squirrely in a following sea - especially with cross winds. Its well built and may be a perfect all rounder here in the bay.
09-18-2006Submitted by: Amery
- Rating: 7 of 10 This is actually the only solo kayak I've ever paddled - new at this. Rent it weekly from my local university. I love it on windless days, but find that it is very squirrely with a backwind and constandly wants to parallel to incoming waves. I find it almost impossible to correct. However, facing the wind it is much easier to maneuver and actually cuts right through the chop. The model I use doesn't have a rudder/skeg, but I bet it would help. It's comfy, stable enough for me if I relax my hips/pelvis and just go with it. A little tippy when not paddling. Whn I buy a yak it will not be the Looksha IV though.
08-21-2005Submitted by: bc
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have a plastic Looksha IV. The only problem I have with the boat is that is it weathercocks horribly--thank goodness for the rudder. In most conditions it tracks well and I really enjoy its agility. I'm 5'8" 170. I bought it for its agility and speed. Haven't used the hatches for anything.
I did customize the cockpit to fit the smaller paddler I once was (145 lbs). The seat was too wide and knee braces a bit pathetic. I used foam and polyester to fit the boat to myself. I must say, however, that the Looksha IV was/is designed for a larger paddler but I liked it's handling and speed better than any other boat I test paddled-- the whole lineup at Carl's Paddlin' and Rutabega in Madison, WI.
If Prijon made a boat that I liked the handling of I would have bought one because of the quality of their plastic. My next boat will likely be a wood glue-and-stitch kit.
07-06-2005Submitted by: talqinpaddler
- Rating: 10 of 10 This review is for a plastic Necky Looksha IV. I loved the boat from the moment I tested it the first time. However, my objective might be fairly different from those of others.
I'm 37 years old and about 5'11" and 200lbs. I did race kayaking for several years when I was a teenager and got back to the sport just recently. Now, I do kayaking on a big open lake for fun and for a good workout. I paddle about 4 times per week for 2 hours per session and cover almost exactly 10 miles per trip.
I don't do any tricks (lean, roll or whatever) but I enjoy to aim towards the middle of the lake and go mostly straight to reach particular goal points within my set time limit. So keeping the boat straight on track for all kind of weather conditions (wind from any side, up to 3 feet waves, minor current)is important to me - the Looksha IV is doing fairly well in that regard (without ever having to deploy the rudder). I have the air cushion seat but never bothered to ever pump it up.
As I mentioned before, I manage to cover 10 miles within 2 hours (plus/ minus only 4 minutes dependent on the weather condition. Therefore, I consider the Looksha IV fairly fast. I love the lines of the boat and believe the relatively low deck contributes to the fact that wind has such a low impact on its travel speed.
I also own a plastic Necky Chatham 17 with a drop skeg. Although 2 inch longer and 1 inch skinnier I need about 10% more time in the Chatham to cover the same distance. The only thing I wished I could adapt to my Looksha IV is the drop skeg since one can partially engage the skeg and improve tracking without adding to much drag. However, without rudder and skeg the Looksha IV tracks much better than the Chatham 17. Also the hard chines and keel shape of the Looksha IV create less of a bow wave than the Chatham 17.
07-04-2005Submitted by: LeeChamberlain
- Rating: 10 of 10 The Looksha IV is probably one of the best designs ever to hit the water. I often paddle the Chesapeake Bay the Potomac, Rappahannock, Mataponi and the James Rivers. The Necky is a proven boat. Stable, handles great in rough seas and carves good. I have owned my boat since 2001 she is a champ and probably the choice for my next kayak trek.
05-12-2004Submitted by: SM
- Rating: 6 of 10 I am large beginner paddler ( 6', 225 pounds ). I bought a 2003 plastic Looksha IV with the air cushion seat. Unknownly I purchased it without trying it out properly. I discovered my mistake on my first trip, when I tipped the boat in the bay near my home. I thought with more experience I would find the boat more stable and easier to handle, but it still seemed very tippy. Finally I pulled out the seat and measured the distance of the lowest point to the bottom the of boat and found that the seat is nearly 1.5" off the bottom. I then tried placing 1/2" of foam in the bottom and tried a paddle. On this last paddle I took the boat out to our shallow bay and paddle out into 1.5 foot waves. Paddling out the boat tracked and cut through the waves very well and my confidence was restored, I was considering putting in a different seat to lower the center of gravity. I then turned to go back and the boat became unstable to the point where I had to have the paddle in the water or bracing every second. The trip back with the waves was not good either. All my effort was spent correcting as the boat tried continuously to turn back into the waves. Overall I believe if you are an experienced large paddler you may have fun with this boat, but in general it is a boat for a smaller person. The boat was fast, but unstable to the point I could never relax. My wife tried the boat as well and also found it tippy. I tried an older model without the air cushion seat and it was considerably more stable. I eventually sold the boat and after trying many out ended up purchasing a Current Designs Storm which I find to be a better boat for someone my size. I did note however that the Looksha was a faster boat for me than the Storm, and that the finishing on the Looksha was done with more precision and care.
03-08-2004Submitted by: lahar
- Rating: 9 of 10 My Looksha IV polymer kayak is fantastic. I've been paddling about a year and I'm in love with it. It tracks well, with wind or current the rudder works great. Storage is a bit tight when on long trips, only enough room for 3 night trip and then I still had to leave some things behind. I bought my boat from Oregon River Sports in Eugene, Oregon used for about $875.00. For my first kayak I have no regrets.
10-07-2003Submitted by: Tony
- Rating: 6 of 10 Recently purchase a Looksha IV (2003) with inflatable seat. I have issue with a couple of things:- stability & rudder. As per RW response - stability is still an issue at 30 years old, very unstable with wake & moderate winds. One trade off is I am perfecting my roll. Some weekends am use my old kayak if the weather looks changable. The rudder lines for retracting/setting need to be resolved better.
10-06-2003Submitted by: RW
- Rating: 8 of 10 This review is on the Looksha IV in fiberglass. Much has been said about this boat, but I wanted to add a few observations. I recently purchased a demo that was made back in í00. The fact that it was in such good condition and working order after 3 years of hard service in the Monterey Bay area says allot for the quality of these kayaks. I found it to be impressively responsive to turning and paddling input. The cockpit is a bit on the tight side for entry or moving about during long paddles, but the close quarters does offer immediate contact for knee-lift edging, and the low fore-deck minimizes wind cocking. This boat had the older style hard plastic seat. The seatback has a tendency to get in the way during re-entry after a wet exit. Itís easy to catch the top of it as you slide in, and then accidentally fold it down and end up sitting on it. Iíve seen several other boats that have the seatback secured to the back of the combing to avoid this problem. The Looksha could benefit from this (and it has indeed been fixed with the newer style seats). My only serious problem with this boat was in the area of stability. The hard chine hull makes for rather abrupt transitions from primary to secondary stability. I agree with some of the previous reviewers whoíve said the initial stability should be rated as moderate, rather than strong. The secondary is quite good, but the transition to it happens in a rather rapid roll. I found this to be quite annoying in certain conditions, such as paddling on Lake Tahoe with lots of boat wakes or wind chop. These sets of sharp waves caused the Looksha to tip back and forth like a marker buoy, and made it difficult to keep a smooth paddling pattern. Having said that, the boat edge- turns like a dream. So thereís an obvious trade-off in that area. Iím 6í1Ē, 185 lbs. and 50 years old. If I were younger and looking for a snappy boat that responds quickly and lets me edge it deeply with minimal effort, the Looksha IV would be the boat for me. But I found myself wanting something a bit less twitchy, but still a nicely responsive boat. I tried the Looksha IV HV to see if a couple more inches in width would calm the side-to-side action a bit (22Ē beam vs. 24Ē). I was amazed by the difference 2Ē made. For me, the HV model was a ďtankĒ compared to the regular model. The twitchiness was gone, but so was most of the responsiveness to turning input. It was an alternative that went too far for me. After testing several other boats, I ended up trading the Looksha in for a Wilderness Systems Tempest 17. Iíll write a review on that one after Iíve spent more time with it.
04-01-2003Submitted by: Dave
- Rating: 9 of 10 Looksha IV is my first kayak. I am not new to paddling, just kayaks. I bought this boat to fish & trip from. The boat is stable especially loaded & fast, but then agin I am used to a Bell Wildfire. I weigh 160 & have no problem finding 50lbs. of crap to take with me so maby someday I'll go crusin empty & find some of that tippy initial stability I've hearing so much about. Point is, this boat fits me and my purpose very well.I paddled a lot of boats to decide on the poly Looksha IV & would advise everyone to do the same. I only give it a 9 out of 10 because I can't fall asleep in it the way I can in a canoe & the back band needs a little work for me. Oh ya mine is the 03 model with the pump up seat "real nice".
10-01-2002Submitted by: Bill
- Rating: 9 of 10 A year into ownership of the poly version, and getting more pleased with my decision each trip. So far, I've been out about 60 days in this boat (helps to live in Sydney, where the water temp never drops below 17 celsius). Lakes, boat wakes, ocean swells, tide races, wind up to about 20 knots, the boat does everything I ask and more. And it's still fast for plastic, even after a few oyster landings.
Really, this boat is the great allrounder - getting up to the speed of a good glass hull (and faster than some), so group paddling isn't an issue. It is comfortable to sit in all day (5'8", 70kgs), it plugs into wind as hard as you want to push, it copes with quartering and side chop as well as any boat, and it turns more quickly than most 17' tourers. I never manage to paddle far without the rudder down, but that seems to be the trade-off for the chines and manoeverability. It is very stable in chop - the chines just seem to set it up. Slews on a rear sea, requiring a bit of rudder work, but these days I don't find that unsettling - and it seems no worse than other boats.
It carries a good load of gear, and the hatches have never let in a drop so far - even on rolling clinics. No, it won't win races against 'glass, and no, it won't catch waves like a 'glass hull. But for allround, everyday workouts, loaded or not, it performs better than any plastic boat I paddle with. Judging by the range of reviewers here, it works for a wide spectrum of sizes and weights. At 29kg, I find it easy to manage - and it copes with small drops in my awkward carspace. It's so easy that I've stopped using my lighter playboats.
08-26-2002Submitted by: salooksha
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have been paddling a plastic Looksha IV with a drop-skeg for almost three years. I have used it in a variety of conditions--calm inland lakes, big waves on the Great Lakes, Lake Powell, etc. I have also used it on many camping trips. It has provided excellent performance and comfort in all cases. To be fair, some modification and customizing was necessary to get the comfort.
The performance is hard to beat (it turns and rolls as well or better than any boat Iíve tried) and no other plastic kayak is going to be any better at covering distance. As would be expected, a boat so easy to turn does exhibit some weathercocking, but the skeg takes care of that--when the skeg is down, the boat tracks extremely well. I intentionally didnít get the rudder because its only real purpose (maintaining course in windy conditions) is satisfied by the skeg, which is simpler and cheaper. In addition, the foot braces are more solid without a rudder. If you have only paddled ruddered boats, please do yourself a favor and try a boat without sliding foot braces. After you feel how secure the non-sliding braces are, it will be difficult to go back to the sloppy feel that a ruddered boat has. Its initial stability is good (but loose enough that it is very easy to lean) and its secondary stability is very goodówhen edging, there is an angle that the Looksha IV will settle into that feels very secure.
Storage space is very good, though not as voluminous as a true expedition boat. Itís simple--if youíre not very comfortable with a Looksha IV on trips less than a week long, then youíre not packing efficiently. The hatches do a good job, too. Rarely does more than a tiny amount of water get in--and this is after the boat has been capsized for some time.
I initially had some problems with comfort. Even though the boat was a good match for my size (6', 194 lb), it was common to get aches in my hips after long sessions. I finally traced the problem to the position of the backrest. My legs and hips were forced into an uncomfortable position and I had to tense them to maintain a solid connection with the backrest. Replacing the backrest with a back band made a huge difference in comfort. The back band is also better in that it allows for lying back much further than the backrest didóa more comfortable position for resting as well as bracing. It was easy to add the back band and it greatly improved the fit and feel of the cockpit. I strongly recommend you try it. If you want to know how I did it, just send an e-mail and Iíll be glad to pass it along. The addition of a thin layer of neoprene where my legs contact the thigh braces and cockpit also improved the comfort of the boat.
I gave the Looksha a "9" because, as great as it is, it can still be improved. Welded plastic bulkheads would make it better because they are stronger than foam, absolutely watertight (so far, mine have been rock-solid, but Iíve heard that foam bulkheads leak eventually), and would increase storage space. In addition, a day hatch would be very convenient and, for reasons stated above, a back band would be welcome.
To sum up, the Looksha IV is an excellent kayakóif it was a car, it would be a sport sedan. It handles very well, carries a lot of gear, is built well, and it looks great, too. It should be on your list of boats to demo.
06-10-2002Submitted by: aghs
- Rating: 10 of 10 We bought a pair of new Roto-Moulded Looksha IV's. What a terrific boat. I'm 6'0, and 180 lbs. It's a bit snug getting in (less so if I actually warm up and do some stretches), but a nice fit when paddling. With good paddling technique you'll track well (it's MUCH better loaded), and if you're 'lazy' you can just drop the rudder which puts the Looksha on rails.
The Looksha is very responsive for a 17' boat. You can move well with a draw stroke, and corrective sweep strokes will keep you on track. Even in chop with boats trying to swamp us, this boat is a kick! I'm looking forward to more open water and rougher conditions.
The initial stability/tippyness can be a bit daunting at first. But within half an hour you'll completely forget about it and enjoy a quick responsive boat with dry hatches and a sexy profile!
04-22-2002Submitted by: DB
- Rating: 10 of 10 Probably the best all around sea kayak. This boat, kevlar or plastic, tracks great empty or fully loaded. You do not have to use the rudder. If you do, something wrong with your body coordination, and if you do not have legs and torso coordination do not get into this boat; it's not for you. In rough weather, high seas,and strong side wind, you want to be only in such a kayak. Great sea kayak for long trips, lakes or ocean.With so many sea kayaks around I'm giving the Looksha IV 10 out of 10.
03-26-2002Submitted by: Matt
- Rating: 8 of 10 I own a Looksha 1V kevlar without too muchexperience with other boats, but I must admit that had I tested others, I might be more objective. The tippyness becomes secondary once you get the hang of it but the weathercocking seems to be an inherent characteristic of the design of multichined boats. I believe that a deep vee tracks better. The seat is very comfortable (5-10 175lbs) and the fit is perfect. Boat is weel made.
02-15-2002Submitted by: WG
- Rating: 8 of 10 Great all around boat. Empty, doesn't track well without the rudder down, but does love to lean - takes a while to get a turn started, then spins very tight. Fully laden, tracks OK and still turns well. Fast on lakes (easy 4 knots from me, laden, and I'm slow) and very stable in chop. New seat is really comfortable and new front toggles are easier than the old ones.
All up, a great general boat and good enough for rough stuff - I've paddled all day and still kept up speed and comfort til we beached. This boat has had me out every weekend since I got it - so easy and so much fun. Other boats have been a bit of a chore at times - not this one, ever. (Like the last guy said, why no day hatch?)
02-15-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 7 of 10 Plastic verions: This is a fast stable boat comfortable in a wide variety of conditions, and overall I am happy with the purchase and recommend it to others. I have used the boat in several long open water crossings, a lot of harbor work, and in some pretty rough surf conditions. It has performed well in all. I have had the following problems with the boat: (1) It does not track well at all without using the rudder. Plan on using the rudder because even in calm conditions it wanders excessively (2) The rudder/foot pedal adjustment straps/mechanism come loose at the least opportune times, limiting rudder travel and creating a dangerous condition (3) the rudder lines are easy to tangle. (2) and (3) can be corrected by securing the adjuster, and installing cable guides.
12-06-2001Submitted by: no name
- Rating: 9 of 10 Looksha IV poly. Tried a few models to make the transition from white to open water, after using an OK Scupper Pro for a few years (stop laughing). At 174cm / 70kg, I couldn't get enough control in some larger cockpits of other poly boats available in Australia, but the thigh hooks on this one gave me great edging.
Tracks well with minor weather cocking empty (easily fixed with lean), much less so laden. Leaned onto the hard chine, it turns faster than many of the playboats I tried out (what IS that black thing on the stern?). Whey-heh! Not a huge amount slower than the Aussie and NZ 'glass boats, either. The more rockered, softer chined poly boats simply couldn't match speed, tracking and response. Yes, it is hard for an open water beginner to get back into solo because of moderate initial stability (good job I can swim), but no drama with an assist. If that's an issue, stick with sit-on-tops! This boat isn't daunting, and I can see its potential once I get more confident. Tippy? Try my Prijon Cyclone!
I put my Pacific peso (yes, joke about low Aussie dollar) where my mouth is - I've ordered a poly Looksha IV with an electric pump (one less worry for a neophyte) - and I guess I'll need a day bag, too. Plastic looks excellent and seems more durbale that most (not as good as blow-moulded boat, but OK). If it had a day hatch, I'd give it a 10.
11-19-2001Submitted by: dbarfoot
- Rating: 9 of 10 rented this kayak after reading the reviews thinking that this one may be the one for me. I've rented a few others, but the Looksha IV was the best in terms of performance. I'm a beginner, but felt secure even leaning it on edge. However, I'm very disappointed because I just didn't fit well in the cockpit. The thigh braces were too tight and low causing my legs to go numb. I'm 6'1 225 lbs. Too bad for me... I really liked this one otherwise.
10-29-2001Submitted by: cris
- Rating: 3 of 10 I purchased a Kevlar Looksha IV. It is a beautiful boat, but I have not found similar experiences in chop as described above by other owners. I learned, and was later told, that it tracks poorly. I must use the rudder in almost any chop. Perhaps it is too light for me (140 pounds). I have become very nervous about taking it out in any weather that may produce chop, and am finding I am not enjoying the boat except in very sheltered areas. I have never felt "tippy" in it, however. Except in chop, in which it sways side to side, I feel very stable. I am not yet accomplished enough to enjoy its responsiveness on turns. I own a plastic Necky Narpa, and the experience is totally different in choppy water - the boat is totally fun. The difference in the two boats is 20 pounds in weight, and the different shaped hull. the Narpa has a V shaped hull, and the Looksha has a double chime. The narpa tracks well for me, and I rarely use the rudder. I will probably sell the Looksha after next season if I cannot overcome the problems of its poor tracking.
10-23-2001Submitted by: LF
- Rating: 10 of 10 Well.. I bought the looksha lV last March 2001 and thought I'd give it some time before I gave my thoughts. First, this boat is VERY forgiving and has pretty good speed. I was surprised when with others how easy a glide and fast pace it could keep. I have been on very flat H20 and very rough 3-4ft with heavy wind. On the average its mostly rough but this boat takes it. I'm 5'11''/200# and feel this boat is perfect for me. I really like how well the Looksha lV cuts through chop then in smooth water turns predictably. Out in the rough on the Chesapeake Bay the rudder is needed,(you can fight it w/o but why?) Use the rudder and make some time. Edging in big and small waves is fun and catching a free ride is easy. This boat just seems to make you smile in rough water. The tracking is much better than alot of other boats even longer, but few of those can also turn like this boat. Just a great design Necky.... Thanks. PS, very little, if any, water gets in the hatches, even when in a roll which comes in handy when you want to be dry.
08-30-2001Submitted by: Dave
- Rating: 8 of 10 (5' 10" 170 lb kayaker from Florida) Purchased an orange plastic Looksha IV year 2000 model earlier this year (2001). It was an easy decision because of the boat's performance in tracking and its quick turning response to a lean. Other boats I demo'd included WS Cape Horn 14 and 17, Perception (Shadow, Sole and Carolina), Current Design (Storm and Breeze). The Looksha was my preference because of its secure secondary stability and its relatively low foredeck.
I got it for use mostly in the rivers of North Central Florida, and I must mention that the sales people tried to talk me out of buying the 17 foot long Looksha ... they said that it was too long for use in rivers. They said I should get a Looksha Sport. I'm glad I didn't listen to that advice because after taking it through some very tight spots, I must say that the 17' length has not been a factor at all (except when the river is less than 17' foot wide!). I find that the boat is only slightly more difficult to turn then a shorter Looksha Sport (my wife has a Looksha Sport so I know it also). On a scale of 1-10 I can't give my boat a 10 because the seat isn't very comfortable, the carry handles are uncomfortable and there is no thigh padding (unlike Perception boats).
Additionally, I will mention that it cartops just fine on my Dodge Caravan with Thule racks and Yakima Mako saddles. The Mako saddles were quite a lengthy purchase decision ($220 for 2 boats from rackwarehouse.com) but they are perfect for these boats and they have integrated straps. Also, I will mention that the 2000 model does not come with a padded seat and it is very uncomfortable. I e-mailed Necky, and they shipped me a padded seat for free (apparently the 2001 model comes with a padded seat). Good customer service definitely!
08-28-2001Submitted by: ladams
- Rating: 8 of 10 I am 6'2", 240lb, size 12 foot. Consequently, the cocpit of this boat was a little too tight for me. I didn't notice legroom problems as much as a pinch over my hips, but tight is tight. Also, the boat was a bit edgy for me. Nothing I wouldn't expect to grow into but not all that comfortable at first.
Having said that, she paddles like a dream! Just HINT at what you want her to do and she's there already. For the medium sizes paddler looking for a little excitement, the best choice I've paddled so far. Not for the beginner unless you plan on growing into your boat.
07-10-2001Submitted by: Mike B
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought a plastic Looksha IV less than a month ago, after demo'ing it and several others, for me it was the best combo of speed and handling in a poly boat. I am 5'10", weigh 175lbs. If you have big feet (larger than size 10 I'd guess) this may not be your boat. My wife & I are moving up from our Acadias, which served us well for the last few years, but are just not enough boat anymore. It is absolutely amazing how well you can handle and turn this boat when it is leaned on edge, and it tracks very well too. If you ever have even the slightest difficulty holding a line due to wind or current, you can drop the rudder (which I rarely ever need) and it goes perfectly straight with almost no effort. I agree with the other reviews which state that it feels a little tippy at first, but that feeling goes away very quickly, and you really begin to appreciate the improved handling that comes from being able to edge so easily. We camped out of our yaks this past Sat nite, and my Looksha IV handled the extra weight without a problem. My only minor gripe is that my boat came with last year's hard plastic seat back, which is not that great. I am upgrading it with a Bomber seat back ($25, plus labor). Great boat, love it, wish I got it sooner!!!
P.S. My wife got a Perception Shadow, which she really loves, it was my 2nd choice - if you can, you owe it to yourself to demo several boats, you will know which one is right for you!!! (on paper, I thought the Dagger Cortez was perfect for me, but I hated it on the water, that would have been an expensive mistake)
06-21-2001Submitted by: Gregg Brickner
- Rating: 9 of 10 Looksha IV HV, fiberglass - My wife and I recently took the fundamental sea kayak course at Northwest Outdoors Center (NWOC) in Seattle, which was extremely good. Our 'graduation' paddle was in the Deception Pass area, and I was in a Necky Tesla NM. I liked the Tesla a lot, however NWOC is big on teaching you how to turn the boat with edging and carving (never used a rudder), and the Tesla just didn't respond to turns as well as I imagined a boat could. Well, my wife and I demo'd all kinds of kayaks at REI and NWOC, still never using that rudder! We zeroed in on the Necky Looksha IV S for her (5'3", 115 lb), and the Looksha IV HV for me (230 lb, 6'1"). The Looksha boats seem to turn amazingly well when edged (without that rudder!) We rented these boats from NWOC and took them to San Juan Island for a weekend. We paddled from Friday Harbor to Jones Island against the current in very little wind (three hours). That afternoon, we paddled around the island (couple of miles) before dinner. We paddled back to San Juan Island the next day, this time with the current, starting in calm waters, but crossing San Juan Channel in about 10 kts wind, opposing the current, and a few white caps forming. We paddled down to Turn Island (two and a half hours from Jones Island), had lunch, and regretfully returned to the kayak launch at Friday Harbor, in a few places exposed to the growing 15 kts wind.
Frankly, I was amazed at how comfortable I was in the Looksha IV HV. We are relative novices (although we are very familiar with these waters from our sailboat). But the Looksha definitely felt more stable the rougher the water, and the crowning event was being at the point the wakes from the (very nearby) Mosquito Fleet Ferry and the Victoria Clipper crossed - 2 to 3 foot confused, breaking waves. And the Looksha loved it! This same boat, in Lake Union, definitely feels "tippy", but get it in some chop, and those hard chines (I guess) seem to kick you back upright. Unlike some other boats Iíve tried, there was never any time the boat did something I didnít understand and couldnít control. It was completely predictable at all times. The tracking was amazing, we took a GPS along, and you can actually see the homing effect from pointing directly at a destination while the current sweeps you to the side. Turning, once again, is amazing with a knee lift in the direction you want to turn (or butt-drop in the other direction, as Iím beginning to think of it). Still never used that rudder all weekend! I had the newer seat, with the adjustable back rest, and it was fine. My quads fit perfectly under the thigh braces. I used neoprene diving booties, and kept my heels to the centerline most of the time. If I have any complaint, it would be lack of height for size 12 feet which seems to preclude me using soled shoes of any sort. I also noticed the boat tending to want to turn parallel to beam seas we encountered in the Wasp Islands, to the point of being very difficult to correct without a rudder (at my skill level). However using the rudder would presumably take care of that? On the whole we really loved our Lookshas.
Will I put my money where my mouth is? Yup, my wife and I have placed deposits on two Kevlar Lookshsa IV boats (an S and an HV) which we should have in two weeks.
06-15-2001Submitted by: Chrish
- Rating: 10 of 10 What a fantastic boat! I just bought the poly model after tons of research & then on water comparisons between my final choices, the Looksha IV & Sport. I was hoping the shorter Sport would suit my needs, but it was just too slow when compared to the IV for any distance paddling, though it was still excellent in all other respects. The IV is fast, reasonably stable with great secondary stability, & turns like a smaller boat when on a lean or with the rudder down. I have had only 2 windy rough days to experience so far, but this boat just seems to get more stable the rougher it gets. As mine is a new 2001, it has a nice padded & adjustable backband instead of the hard plastic seat back, & a padded seat pad. It fits me well @ 6'2 & 220 lbs, & I may still add some hip pads & pad out the thigh braces for a tighter fit, for even better control. Sea Kayaker Mag said it best in there review...This is the BEST plastic kayak they (Or I) have ever paddled.
01-14-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I started my first paddling with Looksha IV (Kevlar), I found it little tippy ..only for beginning, I was not confident to paddle at rough sea , but now I don't like to paddle in calm sea ..this is because of Looksha. Last week I paddled over a waves of 5' to 6' ..easy ..very responsive ..so far in my opinion no kayak can beat Looksha ...thanks to the designer and Necky Kayaks.
01-02-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Looksha IV kevlar. This kayak eliminates the distinction between the boat, the paddler, and the water. In almost all other kayaks I've experienced, I felt like I was "in a boat" paddling "on the water". With the Looksha IV, there is just the experience of paddling. For me, this is the most important aspect of kayaking. I feel comfortable with this kayak in all kinds of conditions, including the turbulent waters left from the power boats that zoom around.
09-17-2000Submitted by: BryanM
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have had the HV in Kevlar for about 6 months. It is an excellent boat for those who have some experience, it has an initial that is a bit on the tippy side however the secondary is very good. The boat handles all conditions very well. I have had it out in Puget Sound's Deception pass to the Columbia River all were easily handled and fun. The initial stability does improve with a load of gear and will hold plenty. I did have to modify the seat slightly for my 6'2" 240lb carcass. An excellent boat that will be hard to out grow.
08-16-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased my plastic Looksha IV a couple of months ago, after researching and testing kayaks since last August, and I am very pleased with my decision. I found getting into and out of the boat a challenge at first, although this improves with practice. Once in the boat I never found the initial stability to be an issue and the secondary stability is great. About the third time out, my wife and I were in one foot chop without experiencing any problems, since then we have been in much rougher water and the boat handles well without causing any undo alarm or concern. I'm 6'4, 180 pounds and wear a size 12 shoe - I find the cockpit to be somewhat close fitting (my preference) but comfortable, someday I may decide to invest in a padded seat back. I wear a pair of windsurfing booties in the boat I don't have any foot clearance problems. No kayak will have all the features that I desire, all things considered Iím quite happy with my choice of the Looksha IV.
07-16-2000Submitted by: DF
- Rating: 8 of 10 Plastic - Excellent Maneuverability and fast for a plastic boat. Weathercocked in light crosswind, but corrected with a little edgeing and occasional semi-sweep stroke. Rudder was difficult to pull back into center position and feet fell asleep. Negatives aside, I had a blast paddleing this boat and will demo the glass version next.
07-12-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought the plastic model about 2 years ago. It is my first boat and I still love it, and do not see outgrowing it anytime soon. Some initial thoughts: The looks are top-notch - Storage is more than adequate - the rudder is tough - the boats takes a beating and holds up well - it is very swift and fun to take into the chop. Problems, however: getting in and out sucks!!! I do not find intial stability to be very good at all - cockpit is too low inside and I can barely keep my feet straight up (they are not very large feet) - legs tend to get numb quickly and there is not alot of room inside to move them around to a more comfortable position.
07-10-2000Submitted by: Michael Heikka
- Rating: 7 of 10 The Looksha IV is a tough, fast, heavy, sharp handling boat. It tracks well, turns well, is built like a tank, and carries a moderate amount of cargo. But if you are larger than 5'10" or 180 lbs, you may not like this boat. It has deep (far rearward) thigh braces and a low front deck (made lower by a recessed "trough" for deck rigging) that makes it difficult for larger people to get into the boat, especially after a wet exit. People with feet *GT size 10 will not be able to wear paddling shoes inside the boat, because of the low deck and rigging trough and rigging fasteners. Barefoot paddling can result in cold, numb feet or sleepy, tingly legs. Combine that with a high seat bottom and hard, high seatback (that falls out and dangles in the way after a capsize) and you have an uncomfortable posture for 6'1 200 lb paddlers. The hard, high seatback is simply miserable. The chined hull can make the boat react strongly to some wakes and waves, which can be unnerving for beginning (or very tired) paddlers, and annoying for the rest. On paper, the boat was perfect for me. But after paddling them intermittently for about 2 years, I passed. Many people rave about them, and they really hold up well. But the more time I spent in the Looksha IV, the more uncomfortable it became. This boat either works for you or it doesn't.
06-26-2000Submitted by: David
- Rating: 10 of 10 Polymer - My wife and I are new to kayaking. Probably 5 hours paddling total. We have tried a number of different boats from sit-ons to 17 foot cockpit. We went from feeling very wobbly at first, in the first boats, to being comfortable in the Looksha IV albeit on calm waters so far. It seems an effortless boat to paddle, easy to turn, and stable. We are planning to buy two. Advice to those who are put off by its initial seeming lack of stability - stay with it - in less than an hour it will not be an issue unless you are really top heavy. I am 5'9" and 178 lbs, my wife is 5'5" and weights about 123. We both fit the boat well and
independently came to the conclusion that the Looksha IV was our first choice.
05-15-2000Submitted by: Kevin
- Rating: 10 of 10 HV Kevlar - I love this boat. I am glad I spent the extra $ for the kevlar version. It's easy to carry and to lift onto my SUV. Reports of weak intial and strong secondary stability are true. Now that I am used to this I have no problems at all. I have found this boat to be fast with great tracking, and superb in chop and on flat water. Weathercocking is easily compensated for with the rudder. I am 6'2", 210 lbs so the extra room in the HV is much appreciated. Like I said...I love this boat.
05-08-2000Submitted by: RW
- Rating: 10 of 10 Purchased the FG model approx. 1 month ago. Intitial stability is "tippy" but with practice it becomes less bothersome. Boat tracks straight and is a lot better in rougher water than flat water. (But it also performs well in the flat water.) The boat sets up well on the chines when it is leaned to make turns. Overall a great boat.
04-19-2000Submitted by: PL
- Rating: 10 of 10 The HV Kevlar is great for me, 5'11" 230 (+/- 100 lbs). Its only 45 lbs and it can carry enough gear for weeks. It handles beautifully in calm and choppy waters. The design is beautiful especially with the double chimes. I didn't know until my friend taught me to raise my knees opposite to my turns inorder to use the secondary chime. Wow!!!!!!!! It reminds me of my experience banking at high speeds in that new Auto Test ride in Disneyworld. It's a very good cruising and racing boat. You are right, its a bit tippy when you're not rowing, but the main purpose of this kayak is stability in rough water and turning at high speed. In fact someone told me that his Looksha performs better in the ocean than in calm water.
04-02-2000Submitted by: marvin
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've owned the Looksha IV (kevlar)for about 2 years.Once used to it, it is a dream. Fast, sleek, and light on he shoulder. Weathercocks too easily. Rudder offsets it quite well.
03-13-2000Submitted by: Will
- Rating: 10 of 10 I agree with all of the comments about the boat's initial stability. After a few trips, however, I didn't even notice that. I've taken this boat out on several of the rivers, creeks and sounds of the coast of north carolina, and it's performed remarkably well under a variety of conditions. The rudder can be pretty helpful in a strong crossbreeze as the upturned nose of this kayak causes it to weather cock pretty easily. Im very happy with this boat and would recommend it highly.
02-08-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have only rented, but toward the purpose of purchasing the best make and model. The Looksh IV is my favorite by far. The initial stability (gettin' in and out) is a little shaky, but if I launch in shallower water, I'm fine. I love the pace I can set almost immediately. I have paddled only the plastic ruddered version, but this is quite handy in Lake Erie: either the wind on our shallow lake or sharing shores with moronic boaters who ingnore etiquette. It turns on a dime. I can cruise or sprint, and it adapts to my paddling mood. Plenty of space and the deck rigging can hold almost anything securely. A little heavy, but that weight disappears out on the water. A great boat for intermediate and casual experienced paddlers. I think I will find one and buy it...
02-04-2000Submitted by: MW
- Rating: 7 of 10 Plastic multi chined boat, heavy at 62 lbs, but once on the water a joy to paddle. This is my first boat; I've paddled in many condidtions on the Long Island Sound and the Hudson River. It maneouvers well, but without a rudder or skeg it would be a chore to paddle as it tends to weathercock in windy conditions. It tracks reasonably well without the rudder in calm seas. This will soon be my second boat, mainly because I prefer to paddle without a rudder, and because of the weight factor.
10-04-1999Submitted by: Jesse P.
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is my first Kayak,my wife picked a Wilderness systems Cape Horn and I went for the Necky Looksha IV(plastic) looks are a 10,deck layout is a 10, inital stability is poor,not medium-poor,I'd give it a 4. secondary is excellent:10,speed is fantastic!that's a 10 easy,tracking:9, manuverability is an 8 It may be ,as I get more practiced,a superior boat, but as it now stands I
must admit: my wife's selection is a better craft,stable,plenty of storage (despite being 2 FT shorter)and more forgiving at the expense of being marginaly slower-they both C to C roll well, the Looksha affords a better thigh grip than the cape horn and has a better seat,the 'Horn has a flat area behind the comb that makes your self rescue a breeze. A beginner would have more confidence in the Cape Horn.We use our Kayaks 2 times per week ,spending 4to6 hours per time, we have been out about 12 times-our purpose is to develop our skills for a 3 week deep blue trek next May .
our primary use is the California Central coast,secondary is lakes and protected bay
09-28-1999Submitted by: samelnyk
- Rating: 9 of 10 This review pertains to the HV model. An interesting boat. I bought this for my birthday, so I decided to splurge and get the kevlar/graphite version. First of all, the workmanship is excellent. This is a beautiful boat that looks "just right." Second, it is light (45 pounds). Third, it fits me beautifullly. I am 6' 2.5" and 230. This is a boat that can be leaned easily and wonderfully. However, it is more "tippy" than the other boats that I own (a Merlin XT and a Dagger Magellan). You have to do some work to get used to it. That is the stage that I am in. I am working with it and I can see the strengths of this boat. This boat does well in choppy water (as long as you get over the medium initial stability). My only complaint is that it should have been rated as a medium (not high) initial stability and a high secondary stability. Overall, this is a great boat and one that I will not outgrow for a while.
09-17-1999Submitted by: Bill
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Looksha IV(plastic version) is my first true sea kayak and I could not be happier. It handles well in all conditions and turns on a dime (for a sea kayak). Because of the multi-chined hull the boat feels unstable initially but the secondary stability is very good. This boat will satisfy paddlers of all skill levels.
09-14-1999Submitted by: EB
- Rating: 10 of 10 After trying different boats, I decided on buying a Looksha IV. But first I demo'd glass, kevlar, plastic (even a plastic Looksha Sport in the surf on the Washington coast). I tried the IV with a rudder and also with a drop-skeg. After several months of paddling extensively on inland lakes, the (unpredictable) Puget Sound and Pacific coastal swells, I decided on a glass Looksha IV DS (Drop-Skeg) because I love the way the Looksha handles, it's light so I can solo-car-top (I guess the drop-skeg boat saves a little weight over it's rudder-cousin), I haven't experienced any backpain during long paddles, and the boat holds enough gear for multi-day trips. Oh yeah... it looks really cool, too.
08-26-1999Submitted by: gfenner
- Rating: 9 of 10 I am a new convert to kayaking and the happy owner of a new Looksha IV. Although burdened with the challenges of weight (62 lbs) faced by all plastic boats - this compromise pays a dividend in both durability and price. This boat is also an above average performer on the water - I am capable of maintaining a brisk pace with my friends in their composite Necky's, although I suspect my arms might ache a little bit more than there's. Lastly, the Looksha IV possesses the agility and responiveness one seeks in a kayak - capable of satisfying all but the most ardent of kayakers.
08-23-1999Submitted by: Steve
- Rating: 10 of 10 Put simply, the nicest plastic boat I've paddled. It is very responsive, yet I find it very stable. It is a great combination of fun to paddle and a nice tracker. It may seem tippy to some folks, but I couldn't be happier with it.
08-15-1999Submitted by: DT
- Rating: 10 of 10 WOW! This Kayak is truly a dream. It slips through the water, yet manouvers like a whitewater boat. This is the most responsive boat I have ever been in. The secondary stability is also really good in this boat. This is the King of the Necky line for single sea kayaks.
08-15-1999Submitted by: Trina
- Rating: 7 of 10 This is another boat in my "Family Fleet", but I'm still a little scared of it. It handles nicely on flat lakes or small waves (boat wake and the like) but its just too wobbly for me in wind chop and ocean waves. On the positive note, its the fastest, least energy consuming boat in our fleet, and carries its fair share of the camping gear. I would recommend this boat for someone with some experience and little fear.
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