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Necky Vibe and Chronic - first impressions

Today the review samples of the Necky Vibe and Chronic arrived, just in time for Utah's brief big wave season. Incredibly stiff, excellent attention to detail and some nice amenities - should be great boats.

BASIC OBSERVATIONS:

PROTOTYPE SPECS:

CHRONIC VIBE
Length: 6' 6" Length: 6' 2"
Width: 24.5" Width: 24.5"
Volume: 43 gallons Volume: 45 gallons
Weight: 38 lbs Weight: 38 lbs
***Specs estimated from prototype ***Specs estimated from prototype

Manufacturer's specs for production boats have not been posted yet. I will either measure these or get the info directly from Necky for the next article.

OUTFITTING:

Both boats come in PolyEthylene plastic. The hull plastic stiffness has been enhanced dramatically with the addition of a coated aluminum rail that spans from the bow structural pillar to the stern structural pillar and again from the hull to the deck. The rail spans approximately from the ends of the grab loops. Unlike Dagger, this rail is not hard mounted to the hull. The grab loops (or rather, grab bars) and thigh hooks are made of a brushed, anodized aluminum. The seat (shown upside down here) mounts to a coated aluminum cross piece with Velcro and can be slid up or down the rail by unfastening a pin and is covered in black fabric. The hip pads are fastened to the seat pillars with long bolts that can be mounted in a very broad spectrum of positions to accommodate different sized paddlers. To increase the width, Necky has included stiff foam spacers which can be seen attached to the pad in this image. The thigh hook angle can also be adjusted to accommodate different paddlers. In short: very versatile, very light, extremely strong and quite aesthetically pleasing. The only minor issue is the mounting on the backband which only has a single point of attachment vertically - so sitting in the kayak, you can flip the seat backwards. This is a very minor point because it's easily corrected. Also, the buckles used to adjust the backband are not ratcheting, so you can't really crank the backband up as tightly as possible as with Pyranha or Riot. But, you can get it tight enough, and I have to say I already think it's going to be a step above Riot and maybe even show Pyranha a thing or two in terms of durability.

One stand out point: the foam bulkheads included with these boats are works of art. Most manufacturers will throw some foam in there, but these look like hand carved Minicell sculptures. I don't think I can bring myself to cut them for my foot size.

Also, Necky includes a copy of "Rodeo Boating: Hot Moves with Olli Grau" for the last word in owner's manuals. This is great information in a book so well designed and photographed that it belongs on your coffee table.

BASIC DIFFERENCES:

The Vibe is all surf/aerial boat - no holds barred. Besides the 8th generation Tekno prototype, this will be the first river kayak I have tried with concave sidewalls for carving. The chines are, oddly enough, rounded for the most part. The planing foot is massive with short, dramatically rockered ends. The deck lines are made to shed water unlike the Chronic and most aerial boats these days. Much of the stern rocker distribution seems to be echoed in the Prijon Delirium, while the bow rocker is something entirely different. The hull has a shallow egg shaped cavity right behind the seat that is particularly tricky to photograph. I'll try again under different light conditions.

The Chronic looks a bit more like other manufacturers' aerial boats for this season with scooped deck lines and a double edged release chine. The stern in particular is concave.

So, I'm very excited to get these on the water, take a look through the gallery and keep an eye here for more information on performance.

GALLERY:

IMAGES SIZE
Bow comparison 90K
Overview 1 130K
Overview 2 110K
Stern comparison 165K

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