I have been kayaking now for over 10 years (mostly recreational, but have now moved on to touring) and have owned about seven kayaks and tried many more. I picked up this kayak used a month ago, and it has been my touring boat of choice since (I currently own three touring kayaks, but not for long!).
I am about 5'10" and 185 lbs and this boat fits me perfectly, although I believe it could also hold a larger paddler quite well. The Narpa tracks well and is responsive to leans and edges. The rudder is a nice addition for windy conditions but is not needed as weather cocking is minimal. Before I owned this boat I had never figured out how to do an Eskimo roll, but after watching a few videos...I rolled this boat on the second try very easily! I love this boat and am looking forward to logging many mile in it.For what it's worth here goes. I consider myself an intermediate paddler,no roll but working on it. I have paddled in a wide variety of conditions, winds 0 to 30 knots, waves 3 foot surf to 6 foot swells with loads ranging from basic safety gear to day at the beach loads. The beach gear includes sunshelter, soft cooler, thermarest pad/chair and other stuff.
I think you might like to know this stuff for comparison. I am 6 foot tall at 180 lbs. The Narpa is my first kayak but like most folks I spent a lot of time testing others. I have owned my Narpa for a little over 3 years and think it's great. It's tough enough to run onto oyster bars(accidentally) and not scratch badly. It handles well with or without the rudder deployed, need the rudder more in increasing winds. Turns great with or with out the rudder. I run through saltmarsh cuts and some turns are 180's. Rides wakes and wind swells fine, but surfing it can be a handful. It tends to broach but it could just be my lack of experience. My Narpa will carry more gear than I care to think about and I see no prblem getting a weeks worth stowed. Seat is great, very comfortable. I have never had my legs go numb, even after 4 to 5 hrs without a shore break. My size 11s fit fine with water shoes. I could go on but why bore you with more. I feel really at home on the water in my Narpa. My dealer kinda put it best when we were talking about my next boat,"You're looking at a new boat? Why?"
P.S. A 9 because the speed of a Looksa II spoiled me.I've had my Narpa for just over two months. In that time, I've registered 98 miles paddling on the Wisconsin lakes and rivers. As a new paddler to kayaking, I feel this was the best choice for me, and also a good boat for me to be happy with as my skills get better. I tried numerous other brands and models,(at least 10 different kayaks / all plastic) before deciding on the Narpa.
By the way, I'm 6'2, size 13 shoe, was 265lbs, when I started paddling, now I'm a slim 243lbs, hahaha. I couldn't disagree more with the other paddler who says this isn't a bigger person boat. In my search for a kayak that fit my physique, I was very particular and open with the dealers, that I needed a boat that would handle a person my size and be able to be loaded with enough gear for a weekend getaway. The Narpa is a 24" width, 16'4 length, and the cockpit is 31.5" x 17". A friend of mine, who's 6'1" and 185lbs, who also owns a Narpa, does complain sometimes that he feels he needs a narrower boat, and that it's too much boat for him. He rides about an inch and a half higher out of the water than me.
Over time, as my technique has gotten better, I've found the Narpa to be very responsive to a lean, fast, and yet very stable at the same time. This, in my opinion, would be a great choice for an intermediate paddler. I also looked at the Eskia, by Necky, which I found to have a little more stability than the Narpa, probably would track slightly better, but wasn't as quick, or as easy to turn. Ok, I guess I've written enough. If anyone has any specific questions about the Narpa, please feel free to e'mail me. Take care, JohnI started my search in Oct. of 1999 for a sea water kayak. Loving the water and the entire camping thing, I was in search off a boat that would be comfortable yet aggresive and be able to be packed up for the long hall. Let me tell you I paddled every boat that is found in the Florida panhandle and my work brought me to the Narpa. After some phone calls and a 3 hour drive, I found, paddled and bought my new Narpa,( does anyone know what Narpa means). This boat tracks better than any other rotomolded, narrower boat that I have paddled with (Narpa is 24" wide). It is easy to roll upright and it edges like it belongs on edge, so impressed. As for the whole camping thing, even loaded down, this boat still handles GREAT! Tough to boot!! My only grouch is that the line to raise and lower the rudder should have some type of handle or knot. Thanks Necky!!!
P.S. Anyone wanting to paddle in this area, please e-mail:) (what the heck is a NARPA?)