New Kayaks for 2006
Wisper, Feathercraft: This nimble, fast kayak has cockpit bracing bars to provide a solid fit for medium and smaller paddlers. The Wisper is 15 feet 7 inches long and 23.5 inches wide. Choose between lightweight or sturdier skin. $2,933. (888) 681-8437; www.feathercraft.com.
Looksha V, Necky: Rock-solid stability and a roomy cockpit make this a great rotomolded sea kayak for big paddlers. It’s 17 feet 4 inches long and 23.75 inches wide, and weighs 65 pounds. $1,349; (866) 632-5987; www.necky.com.
Rumour, Current Designs: Designed by Nigel Foster for low-effort cruising and a slim fit, the Rumour has a buoyant bow and low-profile stern. It’s aimed at paddlers up to 150 pounds. 16 feet long, 19.75 inches wide. $2,849. (507) 454-5430; www.cdkayak.com.
Rapier 20, Valley Sea Kayaks: Ian Tordoff set a new record for crossing the 33-kilometer English Channel last summer in this boat. He crossed in 3 hours and 22 minutes, besting the previous record by 11 minutes. The Rapier is 20 feet long and 18 inches wide and weighs about 47 pounds, with bulkheads, hatches, and rudder. $2,999. (401) 667-2670; www.grokayaks.com.
Seaker II, Innova: Here is real sea kayak performance in an inflatable. It’s designed with a dry, enclosed interior, standard cockpit openings, and deck hatches. It’s 17 feet long and 30 inches wide and weighs 76 pounds. $2,999. (360) 707-2855; www.innovakayak.com.
Discovery I, Grabner: A folding, inflatable kayak with a rigid hull, it’s 15 feet 9 inches long and 26 inches wide, and weighs 47 pounds. It packs into two bags for easy transport. $2,995. (800) 500-2404; www.grabner-sports.at.