Looksha Sport question

-- Last Updated: Apr-20-04 8:56 PM EST --

A friend of mine is getting into kayaking, and we're going up to Oak Orchard soon to pick up her first boat. She has been using my plastic Impex Mystic and has been doing very well in it. Since she's athletic, I tried to talk her into a sixteen foot boat, but she wanted a shorter length. So, she has decided on a Necky Looksha Sport (I gave her a list of good, shorter boats)because the length,weight, and price were what she was looking for.(Will be used on lakes and W.Pa. rocky rivers) She is getting the skegged model. My question is this: The skeg is not like the skegs I have on my boats - to me, it looks as if it would catch the wind or be in the way. Is it supposed to be deployed all the time? Is she going to hate this skeg? She will only be getting one boat and I don't want to give her bad advice. What do you think? (By the way - she's very serious about learning skills and will be going to the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium this summer with her new boat!)

Are you talking a skeg or a rudder?
Why would a skeg catch the wind? —Rich

The skeg…
… isn’t your typical drop skeg. It sits on top like most rudders and is deployed the same way. It is not as big as your typical Necky rudder but is still quite large.

The Looksha Sport looks like a barge compared to the Mystic… May be too big for her if she fits into a Mystic.


Kind of defeats one of the main reasons for having a skeg, no? I’ve got to find a picture of this. It can’t be as bad as it sounds.—Rich

I fit into a Looksha no problem and I’m
5’9" and 215lbs. She’s going to want something that fits her better if she wants to develope skills.


– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 10:42 PM EST –

How big is she?
The regular Looksha Sport -- not the LV -- is a BIG boat it terms of volume. It was designed as a surf/rock garden boat and so turns well but tracks poorly and is fairly slow. It's a highly rockered hull with a fairly flat bottom. This a perfect example of how selecting a boat by a few dimensions can get you in trouble.

A Sport with no skeg or rudder was my 5', 120-lb wife's first kayak, and it was not a good choice. At her weight the tracking and weathercocking were pretty bad -- we tried adding ballast but it didn't help much. You could see that it was riding high -- the ends were barely in the water. Took it to the GLSKS and had a tough time with the wind there. She exchanged it for one with a rudder and ended up using the rudder all the time. The cockpit was also much too large for a good fit. She replaced it with an Avocet and now a Tchaika, which she loves.

I paddled the Sport at 160 lbs and enjoyed the way I could make it spin, but it would never be my first choice for flatwater touring.

The manuverability might make it a good river touring boat, but she should give it a long test paddle in realistic conditions before buying. It's not a bad boat, but it has a specific mission that may not match hers.

I'd debate "efficiently", but otherwise Necky is pretty honest:

"The Looksha Sport was conceived as a sea kayaker’s play machine. At 14' 4" long, it has enough speed to efficiently cover a few miles, but still spins on a dime when put on edge. With a high degree of rocker and great secondary stability, the Sport excels in tight spaces. Its superb maneuverability and responsiveness allow the skilled paddler to easily weave in and out of rock gardens and confidently catch waves in the surf zone. The Looksha Sport’s polymer construction makes it almost indestructible and a great choice for heavy-duty missions around rocks and barnacles. "

Looksha Sport
I have had my Looksha Sport for a year now and use it for mostly rivers. I am 6’1"-206 lbs and feel comfortable in the seat, which inflates. On long flat sections, in wind, and on lakes, I use the rudder. The primary stability is low, but I adjusted to that after a few short trips. The secondary stability on edge is nice. Changes direction in a hurry if you aren’t paying attention. For a short boat it has enough space for several days on the river. I have bounced this boat off all kinds or rocks and ledges and over logs and it takes the abuse well. Still haven’t gotten everything out of this boat yet. I want to learn to roll it. ( have only had it upside down once and got out without a problem) Tom

From what you’ve said, I think it will be too big!

Because of all the other stuff (paddle, skirt,rack,et.etc.)she is limited as to what she can spend on the boat. And Oak Orchard has last year’s model at a good price. Well, we’ll go and do the best we can. (Although Oak Orchard is a six hour drive, it’s still the closest shop with the most brands. Maybe we can find something used.)Thank you all very much for your input!


– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 11:00 PM EST –

I just checked Oak Orchard,and they have a couple of Looksha Sport LVs(Low Volume) listed. That would be a much better boat for a small/light paddler, and it's less money. The disadvantage(if I remember correctly) is that the LV only has a rear bulkhead and will need a good bow float bag.

If she can't find the right boat right now, she can rent for the symposium. Here's one source I've had good luck with: http://www.blackparrotpaddling.com/courses.htm#Great%20Lakes%20Seakayak%20Symposium

Good luck! I know how strong the urge to buy something can be, but it's worth taking the time to find the right boat.

I have a Looksha Sport, but can’t
say how she will find it, because I’m 215 pounds and also very tall. But when you talk about lakes and rocky rivers in western Pennsylvania, keep in mind that even a Looksha Sport is inferior to WW kayaks on rocky rivers. Lots of people seem to have a good time running flatwater boats in easy whitewater, but once you’ve experienced what even an “old school” kayak can do in easy rapids, paddling a Looksha Sport will seem like a dreary chore by comparison.

A Voyageur Stow-Float makes good bow
flotation. Does not quite fill the bow on my Looksha Sport, but should fill better on the LV. If she has problems tying the bag in, she should post again and I will give suggestions.

Check the classified ads on this board
Nothing wrong with a good used boat.—Rich

I agree…
I got my Looksha Sport here on the classifieds, and I love it! Great deal, great boat for me…

Actually, it’s worse than that
Unlike a rudder, it doesn’t retract fully and sit on the deck, it sticks straight out to the rear. IME, it’s an absolute piece of trash. Because of the way it sticks out, it’s constantly getting banged around and bent, which pretty much guarantees that it won’t work when you need it. Additionally, it’s basically either an on or off deal, with no fine adjustment like most skegs have. It’s too bad it’s such a terrible design, as the boat needs it.