KAYAK REVIEW: POINT 65 WHISKY 16 3L
Eight years ago, when we first reviewed the composite Whisky 16 from Sweden's Point 65 Kayaks, we applauded its designer, famed English sea kayaker, Nigel Foster, for "boldly pushing deeper into the playboat niche than most would be willing to go."
Today, nearly every major touring kayak manufacturer has a play-specific offering. Even the terminology has become mainstream: ocean play. At the time, however, the Whisky’s distinctive features–plentiful rocker, hard chines, flat hull, stern-weighted cockpit position and high-volume ends–constituted a weird and wonderful departure from sea kayak design tradition. “The Whisky is a different and very fun kayak, summarized our review.
[WHISKY 16 ROCKER SPECS]
Now, to celebrate his 10-year collaboration with Point 65, Foster has developed the Whisky 16 3L, a new plastic version of the pioneering kayak. Rugged, three-layer polyethylene construction makes perfect sense for a boat that excels in rock gardens, surf breaks and tidal races. It also reduces the cost, making this Whisky an attractive entry-level contender for aspiring paddlers.
Durability was a paramount goal for Foster, who describes jumping on the boat’s deck to check stiffness. “it’s reassuringly solid” he confirms, “just what I need for rough water and awkward landings.” Foster shaped the hull for agile control while surfing and carving, and indeed, the Whisky’s crisp, full-length chines–which meet at almost right angles to the nearly flat bottom–bear striking resemblance to the rails and hull of a whitewater playboat. And, like my river runner, the Whisky is a champ at ripping across currents and riding waves.
The boxy hull shape also makes for novice-friendly primary stability and rock-solid edging. Beginners will feel very secure in the Whisky’s deep cockpit, which fits a wide range of paddlers. On my smallish frame, however, the coaming sits slightly high, making it a bit awkward to get “outside” the boat for bracing and rolling.
The Whisky’s bucket seat is comfortable and supportive. It’s paired with Point 65’s slick AIR-backrest, which can be inflated on the go for a custom fit and superb lumbar support. Touring speed is comparable to other 16-footers and tracking is surprisingly well behaved for a boat with so much agility. The Whisky loves narrow passages, inviting anyone to become an expert gunkholer. In designing a boat for dedicated play paddlers, Foster has created muchmore than a dedicated playboat. The Whisky 16 3L is a capable do-everything kayak for paddlers of all abilities and inclinations. A decade later, it’s still a very funny kayak. review by Adventure Kayak's former editor, Virginia Marshall. Sip and stow The Whisky hatch is a small, bottle-shaped cubby molded into the front deck for easy access. Two hatches and a day hatch round out the ample storage options. Pump and go Squeeze the small pump beside the seat to inflate the backband and pamper your lower back. The keyhole cockpit’s wide rim enhances spray deck fit and dryness. Watch out below The flat hull works together with the hard chines to create a platform that surfs like a dreamand is super stable for paddlers just beginning to explore their edges.
review by Adventure Kayak's former editor, Virginia Marshall.