This summer we spent a week touring the Tangier area north of Halifax with a great mix of boats, including the Looksha IV, a 17-foot sea kayak by Necky. During our combined holiday and boat test adventure we evaluated the kayak’s performance, comfort, and ease of use for paddlers of different abilities.
Getting to know the Necky Looksha IV
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 they also allow Necky to produce 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.
Necky Looksha IV Specs
Weight polymer: 62 lbs
Cockpit: 18” × 31.5”
Rear hatch: 14.5” × 10.5”
Forward hatch: 10” × 8”
MSRP: $1,899 CAD
Inside the boat
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 Necky 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.
Stability and handling
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, we found that it takes more than a concentrated effort to push the Necky Looksha IV past its stability zone, and when loaded with gear it’s 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, it’s 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. The Looksha was not left behind when tossed in with larger composite touring boats on our casual touring trip. Where it fit in the pack depended more on who was paddling, rather than the length or construction material.
Summing up the Necky Looksha IV
The Looksha IV sea kayak was the only plastic boat on our trip and it was a favorite of all the paddlers. This nimble and stable kayak is capable of carrying its fair share of gear. 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.
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