Rides: Alvah Maloney’s Necky Looksha 17
A mountain man and his favorite sea kayak
By Katie McKy
You might think that a boyhood on a mountain would make a man a mountaineer or that coming of age on whitewater rafts would make a man prefer standing waves to the ocean’s waves. This hasn’t been the case for Alvah Maloney, who had an ordinary boyhood–for a boy born in the early 1800s. Like young Abe Lincoln, Maloney was raised in a one-room log cabin. Maloney’s cabin was atop a Maine mountain, which meant a two-mile walk each way to the bus stop, down and up the mountain. There was no electricity, so he busied himself building forts and catching frogs, tadpoles, and salamanders in ponds. There wasn’t even running water inside the cabin. However, there was running water outside his home. Lots of it. Maloney’s parents owned a river rafting outfit. He grew up on whitewater, but a trip to Patagonia introduced Maloney to the charms of sea kayaks and, in particular, the Necky Looksha 17.
You were raised on whitewater. How did you come to love flatwater?
I enrolled in a National Outdoor Leadership School semester course in Patagonia, Chile in the spring of 1998. We spent 90 days in Patagonia, sea kayaking and mountaineering and this experience gave me a love for kayaking.
What do you love about sea kayaks?
A sea kayak is a great avenue to get outdoors and is the most versatile craft I have. While I truly love the thrill of whitewater kayaking, a sea kayak can be just as thrilling. I can surf, for example, but my sea kayak also brings me to some incredibly peaceful and serene water environments. I can take my sea kayak on extended day trips, island hopping along the Maine Island Trail. And I love to fish. There is no better opportunity to fish the flats than with a smooth and quiet sea kayak.
You love the Necky Looksha 17 for both you and your beginning and experienced customers. Why?
The Necky Looksha 17 has excellent initial and secondary stability, so even beginners can feel confident. It tracks well, which can be one of the more challenging skills for beginners. It has a good amount of rocker in the bow to propel over the waves rather than through them. Experienced paddlers like this boat for the same reasons. It’s great for long distance and expedition paddling, having the ability to pack a lot of gear without sacrificing speed. It accommodates various skill levels and is the most well-rounded boat in my fleet.
Was there a moment when you fell for the Necky Looksha 17?
As the owner of Maine Kayak, I have to sit in a kayak every day. There was not one particular watershed moment for me. It was really about what boat I could paddle every day and be comfortable and confident in all sea states, what kayak would allow me to lead two-hour naturalist trips, multi-day island camping overnight trips, and everything in between.
Where do you paddle your Necky Looksha 17?
Most of the kayaking I’ve done in my Necky Looksha has been in Maine, with most of my time spent in John’s and Muscongus Bay in the Pemaquid region, but I’ve taken it up to the Allagash River and down to the outlet of the Saco River. It’s even been red fishing with me on the intracoastal waterway in Florida.
Maloney is proprietor of www.mainekayak.com
$1,700 USD in Superlinear® Polyethylene
L: 17′; W: 23.75″, 68 lbs.
An outstanding sea touring, expedition kayak with exceptional tracking, performance, glide, and storage capacity, this kayak will take you there. Combined bow and stern storage capacity of more than 200 liters and SmartTrack rudder foot controls makes this kayak immensely efficient even when fully loaded. Also available in carbon composite.