Material: Polyethylene (as tested)
Style: Touring/Sea Kayak
Weight: 54 lbs
Cockpit Size: 32.25 x 16 inches
Ideal Paddler Weight: 160-220lbs
Rudder/Skeg: Rudder only
Hull Type: Shallow “V”
MSRP: $1,599 USD
“At fifteen and a half feet, the Elias is extremely efficient for a kayak its size. Its relatively modest waterline translates into less effort for the paddler at normal cruising speeds, making the Elias significantly more efficient for everyday touring than other kayaks in its class.”
The Necky Elias is one of Necky’s newest releases for the 2013 paddling season. Designed and introduced as the “his” version of the popular women’s specific Necky Eliza, the new Elias is designed with a higher volume hull configuration to suit a wider range of paddlers. I had the opportunity to take a poly-version of the Necky Elias for a test drive at this year’s EORA conference in Killington, VT.
At First Glance
The Elias is available in three available layup options: Composite fiberglass, Composite Carbon, and RM Polyethylene. Like the Eliza, the Polymer version is available with a rudder only option while the composite versions are outfitted with a retractable drop skeg. In addition, the Elias comes nicely outfitted with spacious bow and stern hatches and bulkhead compartments, reflective perimeter deck lines, and a comfortable touring-style cockpit configuration designed for a secure fit. Since the Elias Polymer is constructed of a single-layer polyethylene, the design team at Necky was able to keep the weight down to 54lbs without compromising stiffness.
During my test paddle, I was pleasantly welcomed by a very comfortable and easily adjusted seat and cockpit. Necky’s Comfort Fit™ seat and though braces have been a staple in their touring kayaks which I personally find to be comfortable and low maintenance. The foot pedals are adjusted via straps which are connected to operate the rudder system.
The stability profile on the Elias is similar in performance to the Eliza. The primary stability is a little bit tender and may feel tippy at first but the Elias’ hull transitions nicely to a rock-solid secondary stability. The stability combination provides a playful hull which allows for quick lean turns and confident edging. Although the Necky Elias is over 15 feet long, its overall waterline is coupled with moderate rocker which keeps the craft responsive.
Because of the Elias’ moderate rocker and playful hull design, I found its overall tracking to suffer when the rudder was not deployed. With the rudder deployed, the Elias performed well in terms of cruising speed and overall efficiency. I personally found that the Elias would mesh well with a drop skeg configuration, but the polymer version is only available in a rudder version.
The Elias has very attractive lines and reflects many design features currently seen in the Necky lineup. In terms of volume, the Elias has a very interesting profile with high volume in the bow and stern with lower volume in the cockpit area. This combination would set the Elias up as a great day or weekend tripper with hefty cargo loading capability.
An ideal paddler weight for the Elias would fall in the 165lb to 220lb range. Since its older sister, the Eliza, was designed with women paddlers in mind, Necky constructed a kayak tuned for smaller framed paddlers. Taking a similar design approach with the Elias, Necky built a playful and agile kayak with medium-to-larger framed paddlers in mind.
Overall, the Necky Elias proved to be an impressive touring kayak. At fifteen and a half feet, the Elias is only a couple inches longer than the women-specific Eliza but adds noticeably more volume. Moderate rocker allows the Elias to playfully respond to lean turns and edging. This playfulness does compromise the Elias’ natural tracking ability but can be corrected by deploying its foot controlled rudder. The Elias would make a great companion during a day or weekend trip, exploring coastal environments, or just playing around in surf.
† Notes on paddler size/weight
Necky has designed two great niche kayaks, the Eliza for smaller framed paddlers (LV) and the Elias for medium-larger framed paddlers (HV). So where does that leave paddlers who are in between (MV)?
The Eliza fits paddlers in the 90-130lb range, the Elias fits paddlers in the 165-220lb range – kayakers (such as myself) in the 130-170lb range really don’t fall on either side of the spectrum. If a paddler seeking a kayak in the Necky family but tends not to fit in either the Eliza or Elias category, the slightly longer Necky Chatham 16 might provide the appropriate fit.