Venture Kayaks Easky 15 - Touring/Light Sea Kayak Review
Bought as a final attempt to try to tempt my sons back afloat but while I was awaiting delivery of my P&H Capella 166 RM I put it through it's paces myself instead and was very favourably impressed.
The cockpit is generously sized by sea kayak standards and is easy to get in and out of. The storage space inside the front and rear hatches is generous for a boat of this size and my C-Tug trolley is easily swallowed by the rear hatch. There is plenty enough room for expedition/camping equipment etc. I really like the Easky 15. It is easy to drive along and has a nice glide, has comfortable thigh braces and responds very nicely to edging. The twist lock footerests are easy to adjust while in the cockpit. Most novices would probably feel quite comfortable with the initial stability and the hard chine design gives it good secondary stability the more you lean it over. Haven't needed to try the built in skeg yet as it tracked well without it (less prone to weathercock unloaded than my P&H Capella 166 RM Sea Kayak) and what little wind I have encountered was easily corrected by edging or a slight sweep stroke. Overall a very nice kayak to paddle and one which will enable you to grow your skills further than the typical recreational style kayaks.
Intermediate Paddler Review Update: An above average recreational/touring kayak that looks like a proper greenland style sea kayak and is suitable for river/lake/canal touring and light sea work with a good turn of speed. Tracks well and responds to edging very nicely and is responsive if padded out for a good fit. A Low Volume (LV) version also available for lighter paddlers or those who prefer a narrower, lower volume kayak. You can advance your paddling skills in the Easky. Good stability for beginners but intermediate paddlers will also enjoy it. Easily stays with my P&H Capella 166 RM Sea Kayak when day touring around the Norfolk Broads. Can be fitted with the same small deck storage pod that is used on the Pyranha Fusion crossover kayak in a shaped moulding in front of the cockpit. I still like it, in my opinion one of the best touring boats Venture Kayaks have made and one of the best, and nicest looking, 15' touring boats on the market.
Sadly it appears Venture no longer produce the Easky 15 but a sound well looked after example will still make a good buy on the secondhand market. The Venture Islay probably takes the place of the Easky in the Venture range now but I haven't paddled it and to my eyes it doesn't have that same flowing Greenland/junior sea kayak shape - which may not matter to you if you are intending to stay on flatter water/rivers/lakes.
Instead the spiritual successor to the Easky 15 would probably be the P&H Virgo, which looks very much like a superior development of the Easky 15, but with higher performance moving it even further towards a more serious and capable sea kayak as well as a recreational tourer. The Virgo comes in both single skin construction (MZ3) like the Easky and in a more expensive, lighter, stiffer (so less prone to oil canning/deformation of the hull), triple layer construction (Corelite X), and also in several sizes (LV, MV, HV) to match different height/weight paddlers. Having paddled a Virgo MV recently I was very impressed with it and can thoroughly recommend it, it definitely punches well above its weight. It is surprisingly fast for a kayak of it's length as the waterline is carried well towards the bow and the stern so giving the waterline length (and hence speed) of a longer boat and it is also very manoeuvrable with the hard chine hull responding to edging very well so would be a good boat for "rock gardening" and play as well as for touring. If you are looking at kayaks like the Dagger Stratos or the Wavesport Hydra and the Virgo is within your budget then I would definitely take a close look at it as the Virgo is suitable for raw beginners but more expert paddlers will appreciate the performance and handling so this is a kayak that you can develop your skills in and won't hold you back like some of the more recreational tourers. If you already owner a longer composite sea kayak then the Virgo also makes a good compliment in a two boat quiver if you want a shorter playful plastic (robust) boat for "rock gardening" or surf duties.
Venture kayaks Easky 15