Demo day impressions

Went to a demo day this afternoon. It was dead flat water, so I couldn’t tell much, but it was still fun to get an impresion of some boats I’d only read about.

5’9", 160, currently paddle an old Avocet RM.

The Aquanaut LV(composite) felt just as I expected it would – like a longer, narrower, straighter-tracking Avocet. Very smooth, comfortably familiar. Cockpit was snug on me. The RM Aquanaut LV is larger.

Avocet(composite): My old friend, only more responsive. It’s a boat that gets bored being perfectly upright on flat water and keeps asking to go play. The cockpit needs work – this boat deserves much better thigh braces. Valley’s composite cockpit layouts didn’t impress me at all.

Suka: Nice low deck, felt fast, nice response to an outside edge. The thigh braces were well back, but the seat was too narrow for my hips – they’ll lose sales to women unless they make the space between the seat hangers wider.

Force 3: The low foredeck felt great for paddling, but I don’t know if my legs would want to be that flat all day. Nice blend of tracking, responsiveness, and stability.

Force 4: Much roomier than the 3 – almost too big for me, but it’d be comfy on a long trek with full gear. The 4 actually felt more responsive than the 3 to me – I might have been a bit too light to get the ends all the way in. Felt like it’d be a nice boat to load up and go long.

Rumor: A very different feel – tall and narrow, loose primary, happy to be edged. Cockpit opening was too short to pull my legs in while sitting. Need more time to understand it beter.

Tempest 165 Pro: Another boat I could easily own. Comfortable stock outfitting. The boat doesn’t call attention to itself – just gets out of the way while you paddle.

Anas Acuta: What fun! Amazingly responsive to an outside edge. Magnifies sloppy paddling technique. This is a boat for someone who wants to be actively involved in every stroke. It’d probably make me a better paddler.

Eliza(plastic): I was impressed – someone’s realized that women typically have shorter legs and wider hips, and built a cockpit to fit. The thighbraces were well back and the seat was too wide for me, but I’m not the intended user. The paddling performance was very nice. I suspect that Necky will do well with this one.

Wenonah Vagabond(royalex): What a nice little canoe! I can see one of these being a great flatwater exploring/fishing boat, especialyy for someone whose knees won’t tolerate the kayak seating position. In a lighter layup it’d be a great cartopper for someone with limited upper-body strength. I was trying it with a bent shaft and we scooted right along. Sometimes I think that solo canoes are the least appreciated paddlecraft.

Nice boats, nice people, a fun afternoon.

were you at paddle fest
in the adirondacks? If so how was it? Did you have to wait long to try different boats?

Contoocook canoe & kayak in NH
Rainy day, not many people, no waiting at all. The reps seemed happy to have someone to talk to.

Do They Stock Canoes?
I keep meaning to swing by there but havn’t yet.

I’m wondering what canoes they might keep in stock?



Impex Montauk
I was life guarding at a demo day recently and I agree with your impressions. If I was to add a boat to my fleet I would like an Impex Montauk just to play with in surf and rough conditions. When I tried it I had fun in it more so than any of the “serious” boats.

I’d give them a call. I saw a mix of Bells, Wenonahs, and Old Towns in the shop, and some Mad Rivers in the racks, but don’t remember all the models.

Montauk Is A "Serious"
boat for fun conditions. :slight_smile:


Necky Eliza
I demoed this boat recently also. It was the first 22" I’d ever gotten in to (all others having been more like 24") and boy, what a difference a couple of inches make! I liked the Eliza a lot, it was fast and responsive, although it had an initial tippyness that made me wonder how I would fare in it on rougher waters (I tried it on totally flat water).

When I tried to lean it, it leaned pretty far before starting to roll though. (I don’t know how to roll yet so I had another boat next to me to stop that from happening). A friend who was with me, who had never paddled before, did fine in a Tsunami 120, but promptly capsized in the Eliza.

I was able to move much faster in this boat than others I’d been in, but to be honest, I also had borrowed a really great paddle, which made all the difference. It was a very lightweight, 210mm, agressive Werner.

The main thing I didn’t like about the Eliza was the weight. It’s still pretty heavy. But then, that’s the thing I never like about plastic boats. Also, I has a rudder, and I would have loved to try one with a skeg. I don’t think that’s an option on this one. Finally, I prefer the tupperware style hatch lids over the ones with straps which the Eliza has. Just a cleaner look.