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k a y a k e r

Photos: M
elyea //
lex Matthews
looksha 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
FOR NECkY, the new Looksha Elite repre- weight is about 170 to 220 pounds, but at 150 each stroke. Large oval hatches (rigid
sents a return to its roots. Not another Brit- pounds I thoroughly enjoyed it. The seat is shells over neoprene gaskets) provide
ish-style kayak or “poke around the bay” rec comfy and the back-band adjusts easily to pro- easy access to storage.
boat, this is a true North American–style vide solid support. The thigh hooks and the
touring kayak, complete with a rudder instead underside of the deck create a nice knee pocket
SWeet SWede FOrM
of a skeg. for a very positive grip with the legs.
The Swede-form shape and “humped”
The Elite has a distinct Swede form, mean- Initial stability is very comfortable and there
stern deck create awesome cargo
ing its widest point is aft of the seat. While is a ton of secondary.
capacity in excess of 200 litres.
this creates a lot of volume for storage, racing Because the rocker is very pronounced,
kayaks also favour the shape for a number of the Elite has very light tracking and benefits
The Elite has a clipper bow (more
other reasons: better stability; longer, more from being paddled actively, or else paddled
vertical rather than long and
slender hull entry for increased speed and ef- with the rudder, which uses a SmartTrack
overhanging) which extends the
ficiency; narrower foredeck for a closer, more pedal system. The downside is that with the
waterline for increased efficiency
vertical stroke; tighter turns because the great- rudder up, the Elite has a definite tendency
and provides more volume for better
er curve to the stern lifts more of the stern keel to wander and blow around. The upside is
rough-water performance.
free of the water when edging; and less ten- outrageous manoeuvrability! Edging away
dency to “pound” when paddling into oncom- from a turn will have you immediately carv-
ing waves and chop due to the finer bow entry ing a hairpin. It’s a hoot in rock gardens and
length ....17 ft 6 in (6 cm)
and stern-biased volume distribution. tight channels, and due to its speed is very
as measured
The Elite is built in Thailand, and while not quick to accelerate onto waves and swell,
particularly light (ours was 57 pounds), the while the pronounced rocker makes the boat
width ......22 in (6 cm)
build quality is excellent. A honeycomb foam a blast to carve around on a wave. The clipper
cockpit ...2 x 16 in (81 x 41 cm)
core is used for stiffness, and everything is very bow does a great job of staying on the surface
weight ....7 lbs (2.8 kg) fibreglass
nicely put together, with no leaks, rough edges, even on steep waves.
as measured
or imperfections. Hatches remained bone-dry If you can’t imagine ever using a rudder, then
49 lbs (22.2 kg) carbon
after extensive rough-water play and rolling. this is not the boat for you. However, if you
price.......$2,999 US fibreglass
The fit accommodates a wide range of sizes. like efficient touring, carrying big loads, and ac-
$,999 US carbon
There’s lots of foot and legroom, but smaller celerating down waves in a following sea along
paddlers won’t feel dwarfed. Optimal paddler an open coast, then you will love the Elite.
26 ADvENTuRE KAYAK | Spring 2010
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