Last weekend I went to Port Townsend Washington to the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium. It is a great event where anyone can come and enjoy taking classes, sitting in on lectures and demoing lots of kayaks.
There was a new kayak that caught my attention and I decided to take it out for a demo. The kayak is named the Xplore by TideRace Kayaks. I wish I could have spent more time in the kayak and enjoy it in various conditions. But I will just give my first impressions.
At first sight the lines of the kayak are very pleasing. The color schemes are very catchy as well. Overall the finish of the kayak looked really solid and has an additional hatch just forward of the cockpit. The placement of the day hatch seemed to be a bit of a problem for me. It was centered behind the cockpit, making it difficult to access. I am not sure but maybe the future builds will have the day hatch offset to one side. The Xplore is 18 feet long and has a beam of 21 inches. It seems to be a very fast moving kayak through the water. When on edge the kayak seemed to display very predictable stability. I found the kayak to be very maneuverable and have quick response. I could see using the Xplore as a great multi-day kayak. Plenty of storage space, great speed and still very playful. My chance to paddle the kayak was in calm water conditions so I cannot speak for weather cocking or other factors of paddling in rough conditions. The kayak was designed with the idea of being used in rough conditions. I would be more than happy to test one out any day in rougher conditions.