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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Paddling the Stealth Profisha 575: My impressions  (Read 1233 times)

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DaveW

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I went down to Albion yesterday and briefly met Dan from Headwaters Kayaking and tried out his 575, which I'm seriously considering buying.  Here's my impressions:

The good:  Before even talking about the boat, I have to remark about what great folks the Headwaters people are.  Dan was on his way out on a tour when I showed up (he was already in his boat).   He asked his mom to unstrap the boat from the truck and let me use it.  They really had no idea who I was--other than I'm some loudmouth on the Norcal site.  Anyway, I paddled the boat for over an hour and no one kept track of me to see if I was bashing it into the rocks or whatever.   It was great--and, no, no rock bashing occurred.

The first thing I noticed about the boat was how stable it was.  Everyone has said, "watch out" because the boat is only 24" wide.  I regularly paddle a T-160 and this boat did not seem any more unstable than that.  I pulled some hip snaps, and the boat stayed up on edge easily.  I could balance it on edge fairly easily, which I can't do on the 160.  I climbed around on the boat, sat sideways, pulled a few self rescues and the boat really was as good as my T-160 (or better) in all those respects.

This boat is pretty fast.  There were many regular ocean kayaks out there with really fancy boats.  I tracked myself against them and felt I was easily keeping up or passing them, which I don't think would be true in my 160.

It's funny though, the boat doesn't feel any faster than the 160 until you gauge it against something else.  i didn't realize how fast it was until I started surfing it in the small, gutless rolling waves by the beach.  I starting out paddling for waves the way I usually do, which is matching speed with them well before they break, so as to be surfing them early.  So I see the wave come up behind me, face my head forward and start paddling fast, waiting for the wave to catch up.  The first time I did this I was nearly to the beach and still hadn't caught the wave.  I took me a second to realize that I was actually out-paddling the wave.  The boat was faster than the wave.  That's never happened to me before.

Once I  slowed down, the boat surfed really well.  With the rudder thing, you can even steer the boat in a wave without the paddle.  At the end of the wave, I'd turn the boat and do the inside brace, and the boat tipped up into the whitewater and was very stable.  Mind you these were not formidable waves.

The fish compartment seemed good, with lots of room.  I know most boats are now set up with the compartment between your legs, but I'm still paddling the old style 160, so this was great for me. 

All in all, the good is that this seems like a great, lightweight seaworthy boat that someone could paddle for many miles to some remote fishing site--which is what I like to do.  It also seems way more comfortable in the surf than most SOTs.

The not so good:  The first thing I noticed that I didn't really like was the lack of back support.  I don't need one of those big seats, but I do like having some support for my lower back. I'm sure this could be rigged up.

The next not so good thing I noticed is lay-out: Where do you mount your gear?  I like having a small fishfinder and a pole holder in front of me.  If you mounted them on the actual hatch then they'd smack the deck every time you opened the hatch.  If you mounted them on the deck in front of the hatch, then they'd be far away and you'd smack them with the hatch top every time you opened it.  I'm sure there must be some answer to this that I don't know about--but it's something I need to know before buying.  I forgot to mention that there's four poleholders in the aft, which is great.  This boat seems to set up for side-seat fishing, which due to the stability, would be easy.

The other thing I was scratching my head about is the rudder thing.  It just sticks out from the bottom of the boat, which is a problem when you're coming in to shallow water or just laying it on the beach.  You can't kick the rudder up.  I'm not a big fan of rudders anyhow, so I'd probably like the boat better without one.  Too bad bad they don't have that option.  It seems like a weak point.  I have to say though, that I was pretty charmed by how well it worked in the surf.

The other minor thing was the storage, or seeming lack of it.  Although to me this did not feel like a big boat, it is over 18 ft, and it seemed like there should be more storage.  I was thinking about diving out it, and while the hatch between your legs is pretty generous, everything gets stuffed way up to the front, with no other access.  There's a little screw top hatch in the back that you could put, like, safety gear in, but really all main storage is in one compartment.  Honestly, I don't know it that's problem or not.  I'm used to my two hatch 160 with tons of storage room.

My overall impression of this boat is I really liked it.  It's the best SOT I've ever paddled--and it's light!  I carried it by myself back up to Dan's truck, which something I couldn't do with my 160.  I think I'm going to buy it, but I've got to get the rigging questions figured out before I do. 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 06:37:13 PM by DaveW »


Hojoman

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Thanks for the detailed review.


Bowmen

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I bought a profisha  575 from Dan about six months ago. I have work out some of the problems your talking about but first this the most asome kayak I have ever paddled no one passes me paddling out. I been in big swell and nasty wind chop. It's biggest problem is paddling through the kelp with a fixed rudder. Most of the time you can paddel up to it and turn around it I turns on a dime nothing turns like this does at 18'. I promised Dan I write or video my mods but have not finished. First the rudder I am going to make a new low profile rudder just have done yet. The seat,  i tried a cople of seats but the seat the works the best is is the seat out of my eddyline it is awsome it like a full lenth bucket seat. Gives full back support and locks you in you are one with the kayak very comfortable. I added a small scotty flush mount between the seat and the stock rod holder. I use a modified scotty down rigger .I have troweled a 4lb ball 150 deep. I added another handle on the port side to make it easer to pick up and transport it also used to attach the seat to. I mounted my fish finder to a section cup. mounted on the deck lid. The  batterie  is in a water proof box inside mounted on Velcro strip, the transducer is mounted to a ram ball nothing is permanently  attached and can easily be removed, for hauling or installed on my other my other. Some day I ll make a video and send to Dan on all my mods.  A work on progress. I love the kayak you will to if your thinking of buying one go for it you won't regret it.


pao

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As far as the fishfinder give Headwaters Kayak in Lodi a call (209-224-8367) and see if they have a flush mount Lid.  Watch the video at 6:38.             

« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 09:51:34 PM by yester »


wizz

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I have both a rod holder and fish fifer mounted on the lid and, though it rests against the deck when open, it does no damage at all. In fact, it's kind of nice as it keeps the lid propped up in easy reach to close. But, if you're worried about damage you could glue down some sort of protection on the deck where it lays.  I've got 200+ miles on this layout and love it. Fish finder easy to see and adjust, rod holder in front for trolling within an arms reach. Works really well. And the lid, reinforced with marine plywood, has held up to significant force. 20 lbs salmon on the troll, skates loading up on circle hooks while halibut fishing, very solid. They do make that fish finder lid which is pretty slick, but I don't know if I could still mount my rod holder in front of the ff within reach.

That hatch behind the seat will actually hold a heap of gear, more than you think, but dive gear would definitely have to go in the fish hatch.

I've actually got a response from Bruce at stealth about the rudder, and they have yet to have a reported failure. It seems very stout. You just have to lift the rear and slide the boat from the back into the water instead of dragging from the front.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 10:07:30 AM by wizz »
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DaveW

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Thanks you guys for the information.  Yeah, i also experienced what Bowman was talking about:  When you hit a bull kelp bulb with the rudder, it's instant stop.  Probably because the boat is so light.

Hey Wizz, did you set up a backrest for your boat?



wizz

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I have the stealth deluxe seat and find it very comfortable. Others have different seats, personal preference of course. The seating position of the stealth is just so damned comfortable to me with some back support.
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ravensblack

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The rudder on the Evo is flush with the keel. I wonder if they are transferable from Evo to Pro Fisha?
"I always entertain great hope" Robert Frost


bluekayak

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Just a suggestion, leave it alone for a while and see if you like it as is

Doing all kinds of mods to a 575 is like pimping out a Maserati


ravensblack

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Paul, did you put a seat in yours? Still trying to figure a clean decent way to install a comfort pro seat from Ocean. The rear straps I have figured out. Its the front one that are quizzical. There is a lot of strain on the pad eyes while leaning back and the handles are too far forward on the evo to make it easy to re-enter.
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bluekayak

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I swapped out the Stealth seat back for one w a simpler strap/clip setup, no seat pad

I typically do 20-30 miles and the 575 is comfortable enough without it

Maybe the Evo has different seat design(?)