FeelFree Aventura V2 14′ Kayak Review
I’ve been so busy building a kayak trailer and getting the boats customized for the season, that I haven’t really done an in-depth review – or even taken a long paddle in my new Aventura 14.
Most people who live in Richmond Virginia like I do feel that they must drive three hours to Farmville to buy a kayak. But this year, I discovered that that is just not true! I found Oak Tree Outfitters in the White Marsh Shopping Center in Gloucester County. It was only an hour away from Richmond! They had stock on many FeelFree and Vibe kayaks in their shop. Travis Jenkins had the Aventura in stock and in my chosen color – RED! He has a great selection of fishing kayaks right now – and more Aventuras ready for you to start your padding adventures this weekend.
The new Aventura Version Two has the traditional performance features of the original kayak. As you would expect in a sea kayak, it includes an accessible cockpit with a very comfortable padded seat that is bolted into the boat. The backrest is adjustable using straps in the cockpit. It also has easily adjustable foot pegs. Padded knee braces complete the cockpit outfitting so you can have all the usual points of contact and feel at one with the boat.
Add a spray skirt as I did, and you can master your advanced strokes and rolling techniques, while extending the season well into the fall and spring. The only mod I made to this kayak was the addition of a towing or anchoring cleat behind the rear hatch. All the bungees and deck lines are included as you would expect in a sea kayak.
Version 2 is lighter weight than the previous kayak because they are using a super-linear plastic powder. Besides making it easier to load and transport, the lighter weight also provides added glide on the water.
So it was time to splash the boat and go for a 20 mile paddle! I put the kayak in the water at Oaks Landing in Saluda VA near my boathouse and paddled out to the Rappahannock River. The morning was beautiful with temps under 80 and a gentle breeze.
I found the hull to be very efficient. It tracks like an arrow with a high degree of glide on each stroke. This boat is made for going in a straight line for a long time! With the skeg up, the back end swings around with just a little edging required. The Aventura is a fun and nimble sports car on the water!
I stopped for a snack two hours later at the top of Lagrange Creek in Middlesex County. I had not paddled up here in over 10 years and forgotten how quiet and beautiful this stretch of water can be. But as soon as I loaded back up and started home, the skies started to cloud, and the wind picked up. And up. And up.
By the time I got back to the Rappahannock, the river was running with whitecaps. The Aventura just shrugged it off like it was a bathtub. We had to run just a point off the downwind waves, so I dropped the skeg. The boat continued to track straight and surf over – and through the choppy 2’ waves with ease. I didn’t get any water in the cockpit as we made our way back to Urbanna.
In the end, it took two hours to paddle out, and two hours to paddle back home. The FeelFree Aventura 14 stayed dry, and the seat remained comfortable for the whole trip. The adjustable back band is supportive, but low enough as to not get in the way of a full torso rotation. The kayak has two hatches – one over each bulkhead – and both remained bone-dry when I loaded the boat on the trailer at Oaks.
At 14’, this sea kayak may not be able to carry enough gear for a week-long expedition, but it certainly can handle all-day paddles and overnights. For the casual paddler that has stayed in recreational kayaks, the Aventura is great “next step” for skill building and even more adventures!
Go by Oak Creek Outfitters this weekend and pick one up. The boat comes in both 14’ versions – for large paddles like me – and 10’ and 12’ models for smaller kayakers.
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