Shearwater vs Arctic Hawk

Posted by Sean K. on Jun 11, 2006

Well, it was inevitable...I didn't make it to Okoumefest even though I only live 20 miles or so away. I was really hoping to take the Shearwater 17 and the Arctic Hawk out for a test paddle as I am trying to decide between those two. A little more about me: I'm 5'10" weigh around 170, and consider myself to be an advanced beginner. I paddled a polymer Necky Looksha IV for a season, so that would be my basis for comparison.

I'm looking for a fast, good tracking kayak that can handle the chop on the Chesapeake Bay and be comfortable enough to spend a long day in with only a few rest breaks. Carrying capacity isn't too much of a concern as I don't have any plans for anything more than the occasional overnight. If I'm going to build a boat I want it to be one that can last a lifetime, even if that means I have to rise to the abilities of the boat. I'm stuck between the ARctic Hawk with the large cockpit option or the Shearwater 17. I'm guessing their handling would be very similar, and I am most concerned about a possibly uncomfortable tight fit in the Arctic Hawk. I'm hoping to make it back to the CLC showroom to at least hop in both of them, but I'd like to hear what you all have to say. Thanks All!