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Reviews for Extra Fast Tourer (E.F.T.) Kayak by West Side Boat Shop


Rated: 9.55/10 Based On: 11 Reviews

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08-07-2011
Submitted by: DKCSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just bought a EFT this year. I have owned only plastic boats up till now. It took some getting use to the EFT. However I have mastered the craft in a very short time. I have had the kayak up to 7.1 mph on flat water. It turns well and tracks good. I will be racing the EFT this summer and I will see what it will do in strong head winds and heavy chop.
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05-01-2006
Submitted by: William MenkeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Mine is the kevlar version of the boat, with an under-the-stern rudder. Its 19'4" long and weighs 30 pounds. The kevlar is naturally a muddy yellow color, so I've nicknamed this unpainted boat Lahar, the technical term for a mudflow, in keeping with my use of geological names for my boats.

I chose this model boat to fill the gap between my sprint racing boat, a 17' Nelo Vanquish XXL, which is very fast but restricted to flat water, and my sturdy but slow sea kayak, a 15' Wilderness Systems Sealution 2XS. I wanted a boat that is safe in fairly rough seas, but which is fast. I've grown used to the performance of the racing boat, and want to capture the feeling of speed while touring. A little extra speed also greatly increases the range of a morning paddle, and opens new course options.

I've had the boat out four times now, twice on Lake Sebago (Sloatsburg, NY) and twice on the lower Hudson River (at Piermont, NY). I've been extremely pleased with its performance. It is extremely stable; I've had no capsizings so far. It keeps a straight heading with minimal tweaking of the rudder. Its narrow enough that I'm not hitting its sides with my paddle, even using a racing stroke. And its reasonably fast.

In flat water, and using a wing paddle, I can fairly easily maintain a pace of 7.0 m.p.h. This is significantly above the 5.5 m.p.h. that I can maintain with the Sealution, and only a little less than the 8.0 m.p.h. I can maintain with the Vanquish. I've pushed it a high as 8.6 m.p.h. in a sprint, which is above the speed cited in West Side's ad, but I think that I need to develop my paddling technique significantly before I would be able to maintain that speed for very long. The boat's speed in chop is, of course, less. But I was pleased to be able to paddle it at 6.0 m.p.h. into a strong headwind through light chop.

The boat handles the moderate chop that I encountered on the Hudson River very well. I was able to manuever through the rather chaotic standing waves that develop as the current races past the end of the Piermont Pier, with the feeling of being in firm control of the boat. I've had a few waves break over the deck and swish up to my chest. But the boat rides high in the water and has no tendency to submarine. I've also surfed some smallish, but well organized, rollers. The boat has some tendency to fishtail (yaw), as is typical under following-seas conditions, but I was able to keep its course fairly straight using mostly rudder control, supplemented by some variation of my paddle strokes. I could feel the pressure of the seas on the rudder as I moved the tiller bar. I hope that the rudder assembly is buit well! The advantage of a fast boat was very evident paddling into these seas, and against a tidal current that was maybe 3 m.p.h. I was able to make reasonable progress under conditions that would have slowed the Sealution to a crawl.

The overall design and construction of the boat is excellent, but I will probably futz with some minor things: The foot brace, made from 1" aluminum tubing, is a bit too narrow and hard on my feet. I can feel it even through light booties. I will probably clamp some sort of flat footrest onto it. The underside of the combing jabs my legs a bit. I will pad it, somehow. Generally speaking, I like the slung seat. It promotes much better paddling posture than the seats of most touring boats (including my Sealution), which are too reclined. But the bare kevlar, while fine for an hour's paddle, might prove uncomfortable during the course of a longer one. Some sort of cushion is probably in order there. Finally, I will have to find a way to get the pressure in the NRS flotation bags just right. I intentionally chose not to have deck hatches, but one of the consequences of this choice is that access to the extreme ends of the boat is very limited.

Overall, its a wonderful boat. Rating 10 (Excellent)

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03-17-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I read a study recently that suggested complex decision-making involving over 6 inter-related factors was best done unconsciously, and that's how I ended up with an EFT. I paddled quite a few relatively fancy-pants boats and never found one that was different enough from my Alvik to make spending $3000 seem like much fun. And then one day I stumbled over Doug Bushnell's site on the web and decided, sight unseen, that I wanted an EFT. I liked Doug's idea of the large, knees-free cockpit, and the (lack of) weight, and the price, and the fact that the boat can pass, in a pinch, as a touring sea kayak. I liked the hull shape, and the lines. I liked the price. My unconscious mind may have liked other things, who knows. Anyway, I plunked down the money for the carbon-kevlar layup, and enjoyed my interaction with Doug Bushnell, and took prompt and uneventful delivery, and have been happy ever since. The boat is just nice, to paddle. The knees-together, thigh-strap system takes a little getting used to, but quickly comes to feel more stable than knees-abducted and prompts a better stroke.

There were a few small things I would have changed. The finish has a couple of unnecesary elements of "hand made" about it - the stop nuts on the rudder wires were cheesy little wire nuts from electrical connectors - functional but unattractive, and the wires weren't capped off or soldered, so they frayed out unattractively. The carry-handles and their attachment fittings are also a bit cheesy, and hardly even necessary - I have never used them, so far, at any rate. Anyone able to paddle a boat like this ought to be able to hoist 33 pounds without popping a hose. The hatch cover needs re-thinking, and its straps are about useless in their as-delivered form, being too thin to hold without slipping. The rudder tiller is made to fit any distance setting of the footbar, I guess, but needs to be trimmed back to a peg - it's a pain in the neck otherwise, as it's always in the way when you climb in, and needs to be awkwardly coaxed over to center - easy in bare feet I suppose but I'm a winter paddler and found this awkward in mukluks. These things were all easily fixable, and of course what could be more fun than piddling around with your new boat anyway. Nevertheless ...

Other things I'm not quite crazy about include the height of the rear coaming/deck - it's ok for using as a seat-back during rests, but sucks for rolling, and the same goes for the fit of the seat at the sides, and the thigh-strap system. Great for paddling forward - which is what the boat is made for after all - but strictly so-so for rolling. It's a trade-off I suppose, and again one that you can adjust some with hip pads and so on. But since rolling securely can kind of be the difference between living and dying, in the winter, it's something that matters to me, at least, and something you need to test out some before heading out in poor conditions in cold weather. I haven't ever capsized in this boat though - waves and chop move easily under the rounded hull, and the 20" beam is relatively forgiving.

The hatch-cover is the thing I like least about the boat, and if I had it all to do over again, I would have asked Doug to make the hatch in the bulkhead, instead of in the deck. Not quite as functional, but good enough, and more waterproof; and this boat is not really, after all, a 'real' touring boat so much as a really, really nice boat to paddle, that you could also camp with if you wanted to.

I would certainly buy another EFT from WSBS - wouldn't really consider anything else very much - if this one was stolen or something. I like paddling it, which is about 99% of what matters, really, for this kind of a boat. Honestly I have no idea what another reviewer meant when he said that the EFT can be turned easily. It turns well for adjusting course - with its rounded hull it doesn't track well for its length, but is actually about perfect since a little edging and body english keeps it gong where you like, without using the rudder (which turns the boat fast, considering it's just a little thing). But trying to turn the boat in its own length by putting it over on its side is a bit of a flop. You get it around eventually, but it isn't pretty.

So, not a boat for everyone maybe, and not in every respect perfect. But for what it's made for - moving along comfortably at a decent speed, it rocks.

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02-09-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Got a chance to paddle a friends EFT(calm lake only). I own a Thunderbolt and a Tempest 17 poly. Have always been curious about the EFT. I was very impressed and surprised. I thought it would be similar to some of the high end sea kayaks, like the Qcc700. But the cockpit and ergonomics are very different. More like that of a race boat and allow for full rotation and leg pumping. It felt less stable (very quick roll rate) than a Qcc700, or Tempest but alot faster and lighter. It had the stability I wish the Tbolt had (you can lay your paddle down and take a drink or check out the scene directly behind you without concern of capsize). But, you still need to at least be aware of your position. Conversely, in the 700 I felt I could lay down and watch the clouds. In the Tempest I can watch the stars and doze off. The EFT felt just as responsive and fast at low to average effort as the Tbolt. It was not until I really dug in for top speed that I could see the limitations. It never felt like a barge or anything (like my Tempest does now), it just did not have the glide that a Tbolt has at hi speeds. I fell in love with the boat and may buy one for winter training (less likely to capsize than Tbolt), and for unfamiliar waters/open water when not racing.
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12-20-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Got this boat in Kevlar a few weeks ago. Fast, light, and well-made. I opted for the additional rear bulkhead. Weighs in at 32 lbs. Fits like a glove for me, carves well, and turns well with or without the rudder deployed. Will probably buy another from the builder (graphite Thunderbolt) in the near future. Thanks Doug!
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05-10-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am on my second EFT (first was broken on my truck by a parking lot hit and run). I also paddle a Thunderbolt and a couple of wildwaters, but the Fast tourer is my favorite for workouts and "up the lake to the dam" explorations. Unlike the T bolt and the wildwaters, you can relax and work on your paddling rotation. I race it in Fast Touring Class and find it highly competitive with Gliders and Looksha IIs - It's like my favorite hiking boots or my old Toyota 4x4, well used and truly loved.
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05-19-2003
Submitted by: haleySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The EFT is my 5th boat by Doug B. over the past many years and is one of my favorite boats, as such it's one of the first boats I grab for all around paddling. As with all West Side Boats quality is flawless. This boat handles rough water exceptionally well. High-er volume bow (not quite as high as the Wave Exceed) helps delay pearling and drives bow to surface once underwater, although flat deck @ bow fights this a bit. Understern rudder is very responsive. Boat is fast & very well named although I haven't timed any paddles or raced in this boat. My EFT is Carbon-Kevlar. Other boats by Doug in my garage are XR5 Downriver boat & X-Par Missle (2nd one, bought my first one from Murn), used to have a Sprint.....
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11-11-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Recently bought Tony>s EFT. I have paddled all kinds of race boats over my 26 years of paddling and racing. Living on lake ontario offers tremendous paddling conditions. During the Summer I paddle a Burton Molokai Surf Ski. It is a really great boat. When the water gets colder I wanted a warmer boat. My Downriver Race boat just could not track well enough. So i started searching. Lots of boats and very expensive. Tried a Necky Tasis and Looksha 3. Good boats but very heavy. Current designs Extreme looked very bulky and heavy.

The Eft is Light and responsive. Very well made by Doug. This is My 7th boat built by him. Handles rough and quartering water very well. Stable enough to get a water bottle Out in rolling seas. Tried some time trials on 6 minute strech. It is about 10 to 15 seconds faster than my DR boat. It is probably a little slower than my ski. It has a Smart Track Rudder system. Very nice addition. Large cockpit for ease of entry. All in all a really great stable Boat.

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11-23-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased a used carbon fiber with gel coated deck EFT in October 2001. I had previously order a new EFT but cancelled the order fearing that I could not get used to a narrow hulled kayak and boat a Current Design Extreme instead. The Current design has been a great boat, but he EFT still was on my mind. I took a chance in getting the EFT and hoped I would get used to it. After paddling the EFT 15 times and not going over at all, my fears were unfounded. It is one of the most fantastice kayaks I have ever paddled. It has great secondary stability, accelerates rapidly and is so smooth to paddle. The cockpit opening is large enough to allow easy access and egress. The previous owner had installed a Sealine Rudder and I highly recommend this system. It is connected to the original tiller steering set up on the boat. I wasted a lot of time getting the CD Extreme when I could have been enjoying the EFT. It is a fantastic boat and the quality of construction is top of the line.
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05-04-2001
Submitted by: Michael FurtadoSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Billed as an "Extra Fast Tourer" (EFT), this is West Side's most versatile racing type boat. Comparatively stable at 20" beam, the boat is great fun in rough seas or class II/III white water. The boat has a lot of rocker and can turn on a dime with the rudder retracted. With a rear bulkhead and hatch, the boat carries enough for weekend camping. With the beam and rocker, lighter paddlers may find the boat hard to control: At 230# and with a longer than standard rudder, I have a riot surfing and sprinting. My only complaint is that the boat is over 19', and therefore fits into the HPK racing class. If it were 18' long it would be a FSK, which is really where it belongs. Reasonably priced in Kevlar and Carbon, the boat is very light.
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04-10-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Previous boats were peformance touring sea kayak, 17' 4" by 22", high performance sea kayak, 20' by 20" and they don't touch this boat!! It is 19'4" by 20" and weighs 30 lbs. and has a huge cockpit. Construction quality reflects the small boat shop care and pride. Feet brace on an adjustable bar. Rudder options are none, racing type on the bottom about 3 - 4 feet from the stern or a more traditional over-the-stern retractable type. I chose the latter which operates with a lever that sits between your feet. You control it by sliding you toes left or right along the bracing bar.

The first thing that you notice is the ease of ingress and egressto the cockpit. You sit with your knees & feet together with a couple of velcro straps accross you knees and thighs for bracing. Stability is fairly good for a sea kayak and outstanding for a performance boat. The speed is incomparable. I opted for the rear bulkhead and hatch. There is lots of room albeit 'skinny'. I am enjoying the boat for training and day cruising - a DEFINITE 10!

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