Thursday, November 18, 2010

North Carolina Instructor Reviews the Maelstrom Vital 166

Here's more news on Maelstrom sea kayaks provided by a paddler and sea kayak instructor who recently headed out to coastal waters to give the Maelstrom Vital 166 a try.

Fern, from in North Carolina, U.S.A., contacted me a while back with some questions about the Maelstrom Vital 166. Several paddlers have, as they have been looking for more news and reviews from other paddlers on the new Maelstrom sea kayaks, the Maelstrom Vital 166 and the Vaag.

Also my BaffinPaddler Web stats show I'm getting the most Web traffic overall for my news on Maelstrom kayaks and Greenland paddling posts. Web stats are so great! So share your news. People are looking for it.

I fell in love with my Maelstrom Vital 166 on the first try and have been posting some of my own reviews and following the news and reviews from other, more experienced paddlers like Alex Matthews. Of course, no love story is perfect forever. But it's a great feeling when it hits! I was anxious to hear back from Fern after her recent trial and I asked if she would send us back news of her test paddle. Here it is.

Maelstrom Vital 166 Review, November 2010

I went to Sea Kayak Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, United States to demo the much talked about Vital 166. The kayak is 16'6" with a 21" beam. First, I took the kayak out to the protected water to play with the edging, turning and rolling (it was quite good!). The next day, I took it in the open water and surf and it surpassed my expectations.

I found no inherent issues with the hatches - all components were secure. The kayak surfed beautifully. It held to expectations of consistent turning ability and was responsive whenever demanded.

About me - I've been kayaking for about 15 years, and am an ACA certified Instructor. I've owned a Valley Anas Acuta and P&H Sirius S. I presently own an NDK Pilgrim. I also have a Riot playboat for surfing - I didn't think I was looking for another kayak - but, the Vital changed my mind.

As a matter of fact, I fell in love and put in an order for one... perhaps it will arrive in time for my birthday. If you see a paddler in a kayak that looks like an Orca, it will be me.

This kayak proves that a kayak does not have to be short (14-15') to be suited to the smaller paddler, and provide outstanding all-around performance. Bravo Maelstrom! I will be posting an article with more detail on our website in the coming months - check in with us at soon.

Thanks for sharing your review Fern

And hey, Happy Birthday and congrats on your new boat! I'm so happy for you! It's so great to find a boat you love.

2012 Update: Maelstromkayak and Boreal Design are no longer manufacturing and distributing the Vital 166 or Vaag 174 sea kayaks. Boreal Design declared bankruptcy in 2012. The company was sold to another manufacturer along with the Vital and Vaag designs, which are no longer manufactured in Quebec or in Canada. Maelstromkayak has two new high-performance kayak models with new design features: the Forvag and Flod.

Happy Paddling and finding your perfect paddle mate(s)!
The BaffinPaddler

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