Billed as a spirited coastal playboat from this Swedish boat manufacturer, the Whisky 16 went down smooth as our unanimous pick as the top Skookumchuck performer. With a cockpit just aft of center, increased bow volume and a hard chine into the flattest, most planing-like hull of the bunch, the Whisky handled with the smallest degrees of separation from its distant whitewater playboat brethren. "It was the only bow where, when the bow and stern were in the water at the same time, you could still crank into turns, load up on the paddle and bring it back," one tester said, "With the others, you'd shoot off the far end of the wave." In building the new Whisky boat range for rock gardens and surf zones, Point 65 R&D head Nigel Foster designed the 16's hull to avoid purling and to push onto a plane more easily than other displacement-style hulls. Foster's globe-trotting research has also resulted in an upgraded, "beefier" foot-peg system, alleviating our testers' main gripe with the outfitting. Whether you see it as anomaly or vanguard, the Whisky handled reasonably well on the flatwater tour back to Egmont (with skeg dropped), but fits as the most highly specialized rough-water boat.
Specs: $2,899 in fiberglass, 53 lbs.; $4,196 in carbon/Kevlar, 42 lbs., point65.com. Length: 16' Width: 22". Four hatches, retractable skeg, produced in China.
This review first appeared in the March 2009 edition of C&K, as part of our review of Skook-worthy sea kayaks.