Late this summer we had an opportunity to spend a week touring the Tangier area north of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a combined holiday, scouting mission and boat test adventure on which we had a great mix of paddling abilities and boats. The Necky Looksha IV was one of the boats we took along.

The polyethylene Looksha IV – like its composite cousins – has low profile decks, a double chine and a rockered hull

Yes multi-chine hulls have many performance advantages but it also allows Necky to products a pleasingly rigid plastic boat. All the deck fittings around the cockpit are recessed into the plastic to prevent snagging during from-water re-entries. We did notice the lack of a perimeter grab line, which is now part of all the Necky’s newer designs.

Inside the Looksha IV the large cockpit and seat will accommodate just about any sized paddler although comfort was hit and miss

The backband will adjust up and down by removing a couple screws and reclines forward and back on a rope and cleat system. The storage compartments on the Looksha IV have foam bulkheads and the hatches are sealed with a double hatch system of neoprene and hard polymer covers secured with two webbing straps. This hatch system is simple and stayed dry for four days of normal touring conditions and seeped only slightly after extended rolling and playing in the surf.

The foot pedals are attached to the rudder wires with nylon webbing. There is a ladder lock adjustment ahead of the seat, which was greatly appreciated by tall paddlers who usually have to climb inside the cockpit head first to properly set the foot pegs. With the rudder locked in the up position and using the pegs to transfer power to the boat, we noticed the nylon straps stretched giving a spongy brake feeling with each stroke.

The most noticeable handling characteristic of the Looksha IV is the inspiring secondary stability – the type of stability generating confidence in paddlers who are not used to tilting to improve boat turning radius

Even our least skilled paddler was cranking the Looksha IV over and sweeping it around. In fact experimenting with the Looksha IV we found it takes more than a concentrated effort to push this boat past its stability zone, and when we loaded with gear its next to impossible.

During our rolling practice we noted the Looksha IV had similar righting characteristics. You had to keep your head down, righting the boat by pushing past its edge, and then rolling your body up. Rolling the Looksha is by no means difficult, its just different.

Between the secondary stability zones the Looksha is very nimble feeling and one of the quickest turning seventeen footers any of the paddlers have paddled

Straight-line tracking was moderate, and easily controlled by either quick tilts and minor correction strokes or by simply deploying the standard rudder. Tossed in with larger composite touring boats on our casual touring trip the Looksha was not left behind. Where it fit I the pack depending more on who was paddling it than the length or construction material.

The Looksha IV was the only plastic kayak we had along on our trip and it was a favourite of all the paddlers. It is capable of carrying its fair share of gear, it is nimble and stable. If the polymer Looksha IV gets the new upgraded outfitting we’ve seen in Necky’s new composite boats it will be one of the best general purpose touring boats around.

Specs

Length: 17 ft
Width: 22.5 in
Weight polymer: 62 lbs
Cockpit: 18×31.5 in
Rear hatch: 14.5×10.5 in
Forward hatch: 10×8 in
SRP: $1899 CAD

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