The Kaskazi Skua ARX - A convertable sit-on to sit-in kayak
A review by our forum's "Joebh"
If you want both fast and dry, get a Kaskazi Skua ARX with bonded on spray deck. I bought a Skua ARX without spray deck and later bonded a spraydeck to it. It has a larger cockpit opening than sea kayaks but smaller than rec boats and you can attach a full spray skirt to the coaming.
I've owned British made and designed kayaks with both keyhole and ocean cockpits, but I wanted a SOT which is easy to get in and out of in deep water, was self bailing, and maneuverable going out thru the surf without having to use a full sprayskirt - hot in Florida - and the Skua ARX meets these needs.
Most Skua ARX owners buy the removable spray deck and unbolt it when they want a typical SOT/short surfski but I had the tandem version of the Skua and found this a pain so I bonded the spray deck on. The spraydeck knocks down most of the waves from coming in the cockpit, even when I take it out thru the surf in the ocean (except for big waves). The Skua cockpit is much more form fitting than other sit on tops, like a surfski but is still self bailing with two scuppers near the rudder pedals.
Take a look at this YouTube Boarding the ARX video that shows the design and self bailing features of the Skua ARX. It illustrates these features better than anything I can write.
The Skua spray deck has a much larger coaming open area and is no where as restrictive as a normal keyhole etc. sea kayak coaming and it does not allow the thighs to control the kayak.
The cockpit is deeper and snugger than other SOTS and allows similar control to a surfski. People have modified their surfskis with a front spray deck/cockpit hood to reduce waves coming in the cockpit. The Kaskazi Skua has a significantly higher top end than the Pelican and is a bit faster than my Cobra Expedition, which is actually shorter. It turns infinitely better than the Expedition in the waves.
There are other considerations in choosing a Skua besides height and weight.
1. Besides height and weight, you need to consider that the Skua cockpit is quite snug, much more like a surfski than typical sit-on-tops. The cockpit on my Skua ARX in the seat area is actually snugger than my former Epic V10 Sport Surfski at the lower part.
2. The foot well is narrower so I couldn't wear normal kayak sandals, such as my Keene sandals and had to go to slim kayak shoes like my Sperry Swells. Also, the footwell section around your outer calves is narrower so my calves are in constant contact with the kayak (except when pumping your legs for higher speed). This contact gives better control in waves, but might be disconcerting. If you have fat legs or highly developed calves, you might not be happy with it. I am 5'10" tall, 182 lbs, and probably have average calves.
3. Since the Skua AR/ARX has a snugger cockpit than most sit-on-tops and is probably snugger than the Dorado, I strongly recommend that any prospective buyer at least sit in one before ordering a new Skua from Kaskazi.
4. I have been emailing Arthur and Tracy at Kaskazi and they are redesigning the Skua AR/ARX, moving the cockpit back and the seat 1 " lower. This will increase initial stability and allow them to increase the footwell size as I suggested. If you will be ordering a Skua, you should wait for the new design to come out.
I think my Skua ARX with bonded on spray deck is a great kayak for the river and ocean, but not everyone on this forum would be happy with it.
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