how about plastic necky sea kayaks

how are the necky plastic sea kayaks. a used lookshaw 4 came up for 1000 including skirt.


– Last Updated: Jan-30-08 6:15 PM EST –

You still haven't answered the question of what you want to be doing with this new boat, and that matters.

If you don't want to worry about skills like rolling and anything Greenland, the Looksha is a great reliable tripper as far as staying upright.

Later update - Apparently most of what I've said next is wrong, summarized that it is not an easy roller, may weathercock and that there was an era when most sea kayakers didn't roll. What I said was based on comments from people we've been with who have owned the boat, who I've been in the water with who were learning to roll and scull and Sea Kayaker estimates of who was rolling as well as observation around here and in Maine where we visit.

But - for the guys who replied following there is not agreement.

Gosh darn it Celia
I’m sorry, but the rolling comment is just off base. When the first poly Looksha’s came out they were considered higher performance sea touring boats and many many people were rolling them routinely…at least out west.

I think the fact that it’s a ruddered kayak has you placing it in the big PNW touring category, when in fact it’s dimensions and cockpit fit are very similar to the play type boats you and I paddle.

The poly Looksha IV was a legendary boat for Necky with huge sales and following. The tool simply wore out.

I would say it’s a very efficient ruddered touring kayak with a good blend of playfulness and directional stability in a ruddered boat. It’s volume is medium, yet it carries enough gear for weekend / week trips, and longer with an alpine packing attitude.

It’s not what I paddle, or would gravitate toward, but I think it may be the most popular boat in Necky history?? Not sure.

Rolling is just a skill, and a well adjusted Looksha IV will work great for learning skills.

Celia, you are doing better in being more broad in thought about this stuff…I’m not tearing at you here, just offering some perspective from another part of the mud ball, and certainly another type of background / history.

I gotta agree
with ya, ol’ salt.

I paddled the L/4 a BUNCH when it first came out and it was a pretty sweet ride, quite maneouverable and was a typical Mike N ‘rudder dependant’ boat. We sold a buttload over the years. methinks it would handle the BoF quite well, it handled the Pacific ocean OK.

Not sure when sea kayakers started ‘rolling’ but…I’m sure it pre-dated the L/4.


Looksha 4
I have owned 2, one plastic and one glass. Very good boat. Never had a problem rolling the boat. Never had a weather cocking problem either for matter. Read some of the reviews in the product reviews section at this sight. Paddle one if possible before you buy. Vaughn Fulton

Looksha 4
I agree. We sold them, rented them and I’ve taken a 2 week trip in one. I’m not paddling that kind of boat now but i had alot of fun with mine. Vaughn Fulton

Looksha IV

– Last Updated: Jan-30-08 5:44 PM EST –

This boat was the workhorse of many outfitters. It is a very capable boat.

However, in my experience it is big and beamy against some of its kin. I have an original Elaho (DS)which I purchased instead of a L4 because the L4 felt like a barge to me.

I've rolled an L4 - it takes more effort to bring up than any of my 4 sea kayaks as it does many others I've been in the last few years.

So, while compared to the biggest of Solstices or an Eskia, it might be a spritely and easy rolling boat, compared to others it can seem a bit big.

A friend of ours was using a Looksha IV for all his skills work until about a year or so ago. He is a big man. He moved onto an Explorer HV in which he did his 3* assessment sucessfully. Also, he has found the Explorer much more managable in conditions. Last I knew he still had his L4 as a guest boat. He has not chosen to paddle it since getting an Explorer.

Looksha 4 Beamy?
I don’t think 22.5" is beamy. I guess this argument is one of those “You like it or you don’t” deals. Happy paddling. Vaughn Fulton

See above
Uncle. I am still not sure about the “stable” sea kayak part though.

Its a dog.
It is the epitome of a rudder dependent boat. There must be 100 boats out there that paddle better. The fact that it was a common rental boat in its day says nothing. Almost any modern plastic boat is preferable.

on the band wagon
I cut my kayaking teeth on a Looksha IV. Learned to roll in it, surf in it, and had some trips in it. As for the rudder, I rarely used it but it was great to have at times. In fact some of my biggest days and most exposed coast were in a L4.

If you can get one it is a great kayak still. From what I remember it was one of the fastest poly kayaks of its day.

Dr. Disco says its a dog and needs a rudder - see the above comments.

Looksha IV – Rudder dependent: Yes!
The first kayak I ever paddled was a Looksha Sport, and after three days of that, I went to a Looksha IV (glass). I enjoyed paddling the Looksha IV for the next two weeks, and while I enjoyed it, and it gave me a chance to begin developing some more reasonable paddling skills, I found that in a bit of wind (unloaded, at least), it was absolutely rudder dependent, and frustratingly so. Years later, after developing more refined skills, I paddled one again, and felt exactly the same way about its weathercocking/rudder dependency.

Many fine kayaks will weathercock a bit (preferrable to leecocking, anyway), but many are also more responsive to edging and corrective strokes than the Looksha IV under those conditions. The two boats I have now (skegless CD Caribou and S&G Arctic Hawk) will weathercock a bit (especially unloaded), though without rudders or skegs, I find both to be much more manageable than the Looksha IV with rudder in similar circumstances. The Looksha IV is fun enough on a windless day (with rudder not deployed), but in general, considering the many alternatives, it’s not a boat I’d recommend.

I haven’t paddled the Necky Chatham boats, so I can’t comment on those, but last Summer I had a chance to see some of the more recent Necky plastic boats, and I was particularly unimpressed with some of the cockpit and deck outfitting they’ve been experimenting with. My tastes have gone in a different direction entirely–towards custom sized Greenland SOF boats–so the entire Necky line doesn’t interest me much. In the realm of widely available commercial offerings, I see many other boats more interesting to me than anything Necky has to offer. That said…to each our own.


You are right about the quality of the newer Necky boats. I had an older one and i looked at a new one recently. The quality is not the same.Alot of new boats aren’t the quality they used to be but prices keep going up. Vaughn Fulton

Telling photos…
In the earlier years of this decade in Maine Sports’ kayaking brochures most clients were in Looksha IVs while most coaches/guides were in Elahos :wink:

Sure felt wide…
If indeed the Looksha IV was 22.5" wide it was the same beam as the original Elaho. It sure felt wider - as if pushing more water than the Elaho.

I wonder how their waterline beam compares?

elaho and looksha IV
are both fantastic boats! we still have several of each in our rental fleet our here, and we still stock and sell both in glass versions.

for my 2 cents one of the best performance touring ruddered boats out there to this day is the Looksha IV HV…just an awesome awesome fun boat to paddle that can haul a reasonable amount of gear.

Mike Neckar is still designing boats btw, he was just here at our shop last week to let us bring a couple of prototypes fresh out of the molds out for a test drive for some feedback. He is designing for boats for Galasport over in Europe.

the elaho is by far the staff favourite around here for instructing amongst our women instructors, other than the Montauk that we just started carring last year.

No, Celia is right
I too can remember when the Looksha IV’s were hugely popular.

But I would challenge the great defenders here to get in one NOW, and compare it to what is available TODAY. I am inclined to think that some of the recollections are skewed, and that some opinions are in need of updating. More specifically, I think the a lot of what I am hearing is comparisons recalled from “back then.”

I think there are better ways to drop a grand than on a Looksha IV.

I paddle one

– Last Updated: Jan-31-08 9:25 PM EST –

I paddle one now.

Someone mentioned about it possibly being 22.5" wide. I think it is more like 24" wide.

I don't have any trouble rolling it. Maybe other boats would be easier, but the L4 rolls just fine.

It does weathercock. Probably a lot as compared to some boats.

For a used plastic L4, I would expect a price of between $500 and $1000. So yours would be at the upper end of the price range.

I personally feel like $1000 might be on the high side of the scale as well, for plastic that is some years old. You’d just have to go see the kayak and paddle it, if it lights you up then all bets are off as to what is a deal.

A few things about the kayak that would put me off:

It has and needs a rudder. The rudder assy is old. Make sure it’s in good shape and get a repair kit.

It has a high folding seat back. Scope this out for what it means to you, but I don’t like seat backs that can fold over on me getting into the boat.

The hatches on the kayak are OK for flatwater, and I’m sure they work in rough (I had an Eskia once with similar hatches) but I would not trust them compared to something like Valley hatches.

If there’s no structural problems with oil-canning, and the plastic is not degrading to brittle, and you like it, I’d try to get $100-200 off the price and then buy it.

My 2¢

Necky Elaho
I have a plastic necky elaho. It’s about four years old, and I love the boat. It is very manuverable and I enjoy taking it on twisty, winding flatwater Florida rivers. My only complaint is that it is heavy (64 pounds)…especially compared to my kevlar CD solstice. I take my solstice on lakes because it is faster and manuverability isn’t as big of an issue. Plus, it is so much easier to load and unload.

I also enjoy the fact that my plastic necky is tough and I don’t have to worry about rocks or dragging it onshore. I’m not sure how easy the necky is to roll because I’ve never tried rolling it. (I usually take my ww boat to roll practice because it is so easy to load/unload.)

I have a friend that has a Looksha V and he seems to like it.

Anyway, I hope this helps.