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Michael Swain
 
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Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak

I'm looking to buy a folding touring kayak, and after much research I
narrowed my choices down to the Feathercraft Kahuna. I took one for a
test drive recently and liked the way it tracked, even for a
relatively short boat (14' 9"). The biggest complaint about it I've
heard is that it's difficult to assemble. It takes about 2-hours when
you first try it, which goes down to 30-minutes after some practice
and several bruised knuckles. Some also say that it slows down in
rough water, although that's probably true of any folding kayak. Does
anyone else agree with this assessment?

My main concern is its durability. Has anyone owned a Feathercraft
Kahuna or K-Light (its immediate ancestor) for two years or more? How
has it held up under heavy use? Is there any special maintenance that
needs to be done to keep them working? Any help is appreciated.
Thanks.

Mike
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Dave
 
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Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak


"Michael Swain" wrote in message
m...
I'm looking to buy a folding touring kayak, and after much research I
narrowed my choices down to the Feathercraft Kahuna. I took one for a
test drive recently and liked the way it tracked, even for a
relatively short boat (14' 9"). The biggest complaint about it I've
heard is that it's difficult to assemble. It takes about 2-hours when
you first try it, which goes down to 30-minutes after some practice
and several bruised knuckles. Some also say that it slows down in
rough water, although that's probably true of any folding kayak. Does
anyone else agree with this assessment?

My main concern is its durability. Has anyone owned a Feathercraft
Kahuna or K-Light (its immediate ancestor) for two years or more? How
has it held up under heavy use? Is there any special maintenance that
needs to be done to keep them working? Any help is appreciated.
Thanks.


Can't speak to the Kahuna, but folding boats in general get faster (vs. a
hard-shell) as the water gets rougher. They're more stable so you can spend
more time paddling forward and less time bracing.

YMMV,

Dave


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akasharkbow
 
Posts: n/a
Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak

(Michael Swain) wrote in
m:

I'm looking to buy a folding touring kayak, and after much research I
narrowed my choices down to the Feathercraft Kahuna. I took one for a
test drive recently and liked the way it tracked, even for a
relatively short boat (14' 9"). The biggest complaint about it I've
heard is that it's difficult to assemble. It takes about 2-hours when
you first try it, which goes down to 30-minutes after some practice
and several bruised knuckles. Some also say that it slows down in
rough water, although that's probably true of any folding kayak. Does
anyone else agree with this assessment?

My main concern is its durability. Has anyone owned a Feathercraft
Kahuna or K-Light (its immediate ancestor) for two years or more? How
has it held up under heavy use? Is there any special maintenance that
needs to be done to keep them working? Any help is appreciated.
Thanks.

Mike


I work in a paddling shop where we sell the Feathercraft Kayuna. I think
that it is a great boat. Feathercraft has done a great job in both their
design and use of materials. You are right that it can be difficult to
put together the first time as there are lots of parts and there is a
specific order to how it is put together. If you jump in and think "I
know what I am doing, this goes this way..." without following the
instructions, you will put a peice together and at the end have a left
over piece making you take it apart so that it can fit into the boat.

It does come with quite an extesive book and a video showing you how to
put it together. The first time for me took 1.5 hours but try number
three took me 35 min. Not to bad for just pulling out of the trunk of my
car...

The material that they use for the decking and hull is great. It is very
strong and abrasion resistent. Long term use it will take some wear but
it is expected. If you do get a hole in the boat for what ever reason,
there is an emerg patch kit to get you back home. They also have an
amazing long term care and repair facility at the factotry and will
easily patch or repair any part. Since it comes apart, you just send the
part needing repair saving shipping, etc.

As far as the boat slowing down in rough water, I am not sure. Comparing
it to a glass boat, it will be slower just because of the loser material
along the hull compared to glass. I have paddled it several times on day
trips in different types of weather and though it was slower, it wasn't
a huge difference. Folding boats are designed for compactness. There
will always be a trade off for that. You can adjust the tension of the
hull and the internal sponsons help tighten things up quite a bit as
well.

If you are paddling in a really rocky area, you might want to look into
getting the reienforced skid plates as an add on option. It will really
extend the life of the hull in the high aprasion areas. Also, be
carefull in the assembly process to keep sand out of your boat. It can
be murder on the poles. The poles fit together the same as a tent and
there isn't a lot of tolerance in the design and the fit together really
snug under the best conditions, a little grain of sand in there can make
things fustrating.

Like anything else, the more you take care of it, the more it will take
care of you. Regular cleaning after each trip (if you are in salt water)
will go a long way and make sure that the skin is completly dry before
packing away when you get home. Also, keep them out of the sun when not
in use. Those three little tips will make the last a long time.

Everything is replaceable, things will wear out over time so you can get
the part and you are back in business.

Since I work at paddling shop, you can take them with a grain of salt
but I think that they are great boats.

Cheers,

David H. Johnston
Toronto, Ontario

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Rick
 
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Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak

....stuff deleted

As far as the boat slowing down in rough water, I am not sure. Comparing
it to a glass boat, it will be slower just because of the loser material
along the hull compared to glass. I have paddled it several times on day
trips in different types of weather and though it was slower, it wasn't
a huge difference. Folding boats are designed for compactness. There
will always be a trade off for that. You can adjust the tension of the
hull and the internal sponsons help tighten things up quite a bit as
well.


I've read, and heard claims, that skin boats create less disturbance than a
hardshell boat. The boat's own wake, for example, is dampened by the softer
sides and this reduces hull resistance in the water. The same would
logically apply to other wave conditions. I can't vouch for this, though
perhaps John F. can comment. I've heard from many sources that skin boats
paddle beautifully, or paddle like a pig, (giving credence to the idea that
hull design can offset any benefit/detriment gained by having a skin over
frame boat).

If you did not see the National Geographic "Baidarka" video, you should.
They discuss this fairly well, but the boat tested was very long 18' and
only 17" or 18" wide (IIRC), so it is possible that any benefits felt were
as much a function of a very long hull, low weight, and bifurcated hull.
Still worth seeing if you can find it (check your library).

Rick


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lcopps
 
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Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak

A folding kayak is actually faster in rough water, but not from any
fluid dynamic advantages. Because of its flexible frame and soft
flexible skin, these kayaks are much more stable in rough water, and
require little if any bracing. I paddle a Feathercraft K1, and often
paddle it in the open Atlantic. Even when the water is choppy, I rarely
have to brace. I also own a Klepper Arius II. Its even more unflappable.
However, with a 34 inch beam. Most folders are slower in calmer
waters, but Feathercraft and FirstLight Kayaks have leveled the field.
The K1 is larger and more durable than the Kahuna, but is heavier and
takes a minimum of 40 minutes to assemble. The hull materials are
identical and are professed to be quite durable. Mine has run over
oyster shells on several occasions in the tidal estuaries and is none
the worse for wear. I took my Klepper to Tahiti where it scraped coral
reefs on more than a couple of occasions. I only found 1 scratch on the
hull when I returned. Folders have reinforcement strips made out of the
same hull material over the keel and chines for added durability.
Feathercraft frames are made of aluminum, so you can keep them assembled
all summer, and strap them to your car top as you would a hard-shell. It
is highly recommended to lube the frame joints when assembling so they
do not seize when left together for months at a time. So assembly times
would only be a factor if you break them down frequently for air travel,
or don't have a kayak rack.

The Kahuna gives you more of a close-to-the-water ride. It is amazingly
stable. But if you plan to do a lot of rough water paddling, I would
recommend you look at the K1. Its up sweped hull, and higher design
handles rough water better. It doesn't dive, and the waves wash over
less often. If you get the Kahuna, I would also recommend getting the
hatches. They make assembly easier, and help you pack your boat more
efficiently. You can also get a rudder for the Kahuna if you want.
Unless you paddle a lot of open water, you shouldn't need one.

If you want a web site for folding kayaks, check out:
http://www.foldingkayaks.org/

Michael Swain wrote:

I'm looking to buy a folding touring kayak, and after much research I
narrowed my choices down to the Feathercraft Kahuna. I took one for a
test drive recently and liked the way it tracked, even for a
relatively short boat (14' 9"). The biggest complaint about it I've
heard is that it's difficult to assemble. It takes about 2-hours when
you first try it, which goes down to 30-minutes after some practice
and several bruised knuckles. Some also say that it slows down in
rough water, although that's probably true of any folding kayak. Does
anyone else agree with this assessment?

My main concern is its durability. Has anyone owned a Feathercraft
Kahuna or K-Light (its immediate ancestor) for two years or more? How
has it held up under heavy use? Is there any special maintenance that
needs to be done to keep them working? Any help is appreciated.
Thanks.

Mike


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akasharkbow
 
Posts: n/a
Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak

"Rick" wrote in
ink.net:

...stuff deleted

As far as the boat slowing down in rough water, I am not sure.
Comparing it to a glass boat, it will be slower just because of the
loser material along the hull compared to glass. I have paddled it
several times on day trips in different types of weather and though
it was slower, it wasn't a huge difference. Folding boats are
designed for compactness. There will always be a trade off for that.
You can adjust the tension of the hull and the internal sponsons help
tighten things up quite a bit as well.


I've read, and heard claims, that skin boats create less disturbance
than a hardshell boat. The boat's own wake, for example, is dampened
by the softer sides and this reduces hull resistance in the water. The
same would logically apply to other wave conditions. I can't vouch for
this, though perhaps John F. can comment. I've heard from many sources
that skin boats paddle beautifully, or paddle like a pig, (giving
credence to the idea that hull design can offset any benefit/detriment
gained by having a skin over frame boat).

If you did not see the National Geographic "Baidarka" video, you
should. They discuss this fairly well, but the boat tested was very
long 18' and only 17" or 18" wide (IIRC), so it is possible that any
benefits felt were as much a function of a very long hull, low weight,
and bifurcated hull. Still worth seeing if you can find it (check your
library).

Rick




That is interesting. I will look into it for sure. I hadn't heard that
but it makes sense about the disturbance.

Cheers,

David
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Bob
 
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Default Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak

It took me about 45 minutes to assemble my Kahuna for the first time,
that included fielding one or two customers' questions at the
paddlesports shop whee I work part time. I had not assembled ANY
Feathercraft kayak prior to then. My fastest assembly time is around
20-25 minutes.

I agree with the respondent who said that having hatches would aid in
the assembly process. It would certainly help if you plan on using
the boat for overnighters.
I took mine on an 8-day trip through the Everglades last year and
hatches would have been nice.
I would have liked to have had a rudder as well. The waves got a bit
pushy on the first 2 days out in the ocean. Rudder would have helped
also with the wind hitting at odd angles. The Kahuna performed quite
well though and I was very pleased with it. At one point we had to go
about a mile or so across Whiewater Bay to get to one of the overnight
stops. The winds were about 15 to 20 mph, but were dead in our face
which made the going pretty easy; despite the resistance, the boat
wasn't getting pushed around as it was with the wind at an angle.
I had never intended to use the Kahuna for anything more than day
trips when I purchased it but it proved it's worth as a multi-day
boat. Definitely consider the K1 though if you plan on open ocean
trips.
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