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journal k ayaker’s


INSIDE OUT BY ALEX MATTHEWS


Looksha Elite Composite


FOR NECKY, the new Looksha Elite repre- sents a return to its roots. Not another Brit- ish-style kayak or “poke around the bay” rec boat, this is a true North American–style touring kayak, complete with a rudder instead of a skeg. Te Elite has a distinct Swede form, mean-


ing its widest point is aft of the seat. While this creates a lot of volume for storage, racing kayaks also favour the shape for a number of other reasons: better stability; longer, more slender hull entry for increased speed and ef- ficiency; narrower foredeck for a closer, more vertical stroke; tighter turns because the great- er curve to the stern lifts more of the stern keel free of the water when edging; and less ten- dency to “pound” when paddling into oncom- ing waves and chop due to the finer bow entry and stern-biased volume distribution. Te Elite is built in Tailand, and while not


particularly light (ours was 57 pounds), the build quality is excellent. A honeycomb foam core is used for stiffness, and everything is very nicely put together, with no leaks, rough edges, or imperfections. Hatches remained bone-dry after extensive rough-water play and rolling. Te fit accommodates a wide range of sizes.


Tere’s lots of foot and legroom, but smaller paddlers won’t feel dwarfed. Optimal paddler


26 ADVENTURE KAYAK | SPRING 2010


BY NECKY KAYAKS


weight is about 170 to 220 pounds, but at 150 pounds I thoroughly enjoyed it. Te seat is comfy and the back-band adjusts easily to pro- vide solid support. Te thigh hooks and the underside of the deck create a nice knee pocket for a very positive grip with the legs. Initial stability is very comfortable and there


is a ton of secondary. Because the rocker is very pronounced,


the Elite has very light tracking and benefits from being paddled actively, or else paddled with the rudder, which uses a SmartTrack pedal system. Te downside is that with the rudder up, the Elite has a definite tendency to wander and blow around. Te upside is outrageous manoeuvrability! Edging away from a turn will have you immediately carv- ing a hairpin. It’s a hoot in rock gardens and tight channels, and due to its speed is very quick to accelerate onto waves and swell, while the pronounced rocker makes the boat a blast to carve around on a wave. Te clipper bow does a great job of staying on the surface even on steep waves. If you can’t imagine ever using a rudder, then


this is not the boat for you. However, if you like efficient touring, carrying big loads, and ac- celerating down waves in a following sea along an open coast, then you will love the Elite.


CUT IT OUT! Cutaways in the front deck allow for a closer, more vertical paddle position for an efficient catch at the start of each stroke. Large oval hatches (rigid shells over neoprene gaskets) provide easy access to storage.


SWEET SWEDE FORM The Swede-form shape and “humped” stern deck create awesome cargo capacity in excess of 200 litres.


BOW UP


The Elite has a clipper bow (more vertical rather than long and overhanging) which extends the waterline for increased efficiency and provides more volume for better rough-water performance.


length ....17 ft 6 in (536 cm) as measured


width ......22 in (56 cm) cockpit ...32 x 16 in (81 x 41 cm)


weight ....57 lbs (25.8 kg) fibreglass as measured


49 lbs (22.2 kg) carbon


price.......$2,999 US fibreglass $3,999 US carbon


neckykayaks.com


PHOTOS: MAIN BY ROCHELLE RELYEA // INSETS BY ALEX MATTHEWS


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