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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Quick background: I was into kayaking before sailing and am a pretty experienced paddler. Other kayaks that I've owned include the Valley Nordkapp, Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Pro, Dagger Alchemy 14L, Eddyline Merlin XT, Feathercraft K-Light, and a Cape Falcon F1 that I built. I also had an Advanced Elements inflatable. I'm 40 years old and somewhat athletic.

I bought the Oru to use as a single person tender when I'm going out the sailboat single handed.

Good: The Oru Kayak paddles much better than I expected, and I think it paddles better than the K-Light did (the only other folding kayak that I've owned). That is impressive considering that the new price for a K-Light is almost $4000 and they usually sell for $1200-$2000 used. I paddled the Oru about 4nm yesterday and found it reasonably fast (for a 12' boat), it tracks well, and it responds well to normal bracing, turning, and other paddle strokes. I found it stable enough to get in and out of my boat via a stern ladder, even when a 1kt current was running under my boat and after I'd had a couple of beers. The seating is pretty comfortable, though the back band needs to be adjusted properly (mine came assembled upside down which didn't work very well). I've folded and unfolded it about 4 times now and it takes me between 5 and 10 minutes.

I would rate the performance and paddling experience as being similar or better to the Eddyline Merlin. It is more stable than the Merlin and tracks similarly. It is at least as fast, and is easier to eskimo roll.

There is a storage area behind the seat which (just barely) fits my Ortlieb waterproof backpack. The boat wouldn't be my first choice for grocery trips, but it is great for quickly getting to shore and bringing along the basics. Getting into the storage area is pretty easy.

The boat is very light and easy to pull up onto the foredeck or to drop into the water from the foredeck. This makes it a lot easier to just put it on the foredeck at night instead of leaving it in the water. I also like that the boat turns into it's own box -- when it is in boat form you don't also have to find storage for a box.

Bad: The folded size is a little bigger than I had hoped and just barely fits through my Pearson 28-2's lazarette hatch. It takes about half of the lazarettes useful space, and the laz on my boat is pretty big. It probably won't fit through many laz hatches. It does fit nicely behind the boom vang and in front of my dodger just over the spray hood, and is low enough that it doesn't block my view there. The only downside is that this leaves it exposed and more likely to be stolen.

The price seems high when you consider that it is made of coroplast sign material (yes, this is the same stuff used for political signs, though beefier any coroplast that I've used). However it's an awesome deal compared to any other folding kayaks that perform this well and reasonable when compared to rotomolded kayaks (which are also cheap to manufacture).

Overall if you like paddling and like sailing it is the best kayak option that I'm aware of that allows you to combine both on a smaller cruising boat. I'm happy with my purchase. If they were a little cheaper ($800 instead of $1200) I'd probably buy a second one for my wife.
 

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Hey Alex , thanks for the review . I saw the ad for those the other day , and thought it looked interesting . Mrs. Westi bought a yak the other day it's the Scamper from Westmarine she loves it . Now she is bugging me to get a yak .
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Nice review. Thanks for posting it. I have a Valley Skerray RMX that I've had for years and really like it because it's rugged and I can pack a lot of gear in it but it it way too big to bring on the sailboat. How nice it would be to have a full sized sea kayak aboard but it would have to be tied on deck somehow. Not an option. I keep a little Dagger high volume steep creek boat up in the forward cabin. It tracks amazingly well for a little thing but has almost zero storage. Will have to take a look at the Oru. Have you tried rolling it in waves? Room for supplies? Do you think it would take much of a beating? One of the things I really like about the little w/w kayak is that it is a viable backup abandon-ship method. With the skirt on, it is pretty bulletproof. If within 20 miles or so from shore, it would be my choice to get back rather than getting in the liferaft and waiting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The storage space is roughly 28" x 10" x 13-24" as shown here:


As I said in my review my Ortlieb "Track" 27L waterproof backpack fits in there when completely full, but it is a tight fit. A couple of drybags would probably fit more easily. The bow and stern storage compartments are designed to fit flotation bags.

I've only rolled it once in calm water. I haven't been paddling very much in the last couple of years and my rolling skills are pretty rusty. I'd want to use the kayak in tidal rapids (like Deception Pass/Canoe Pass) for a few hours before really having an opinion on how it does in rough conditions and don't have the recent kayaking experience to do that right now.

I think it will take a pretty good beating. It has the advantage that skin on frame kayaks do of having a somewhat flexible skin that will deflect instead of just breaking. The plastic skin is much more durable than the cloth or hypalon used on a skin on frame kayak though.

I wouldn't be comfortable with using this as a life raft because you'd have to keep it assembled for quick use, and that would defeat the purpose of carrying a folding kayak. The Oru allows me to carry a pretty good kayak on a smallish sailboat. A w/w kayak, even a creek boat, won't fit on my 28' sailboat when I also have my dinghy lashed down on the foredeck (and it's a lot of windage and gets in the way even when the dinghy isn't up there).
 

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Thanks for the review. I first saw them on the Shark Tank tv show. I soon as I saw it I thought that it would be a great additional shore transport.
Your review was very helpful.

Thanks.
 

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Thanks for the review (first user review I've seen, BTW).

My only question about the Oru is just how well the fold creases will hold up. I know what they say on their website - but I've seen too many of those plastic hinges fail to be entirely comfortable with risking $1200. I know....it's not the same material. But I'm probably going to wait until they've been around a while without any failures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not that worried about the creases. They didn't score the material (cutting one of the two walls) anywhere but on the seat which is replaceable. The material feels pretty beefy and I think it will last a long time.

The buckles that they use through the coroplast don't seem to be designed for material this thick and do come apart a little easily. The receiver is two parts, a backing plate inside the boat and the portion outside the boat. They are meant to be sacrificial (so that if there is a chance of them tearing out that they will fail first), but I think they could be a little stronger.
 
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