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SIXth Generation by EXO

Overview

The big volume of this kayak is the first thing you will notice. The nose is notably large and the tail supports the weight of the paddler pretty well in the rapids.
However, when you sit inside the volume disappears thanks to the tapered shape of the nose, allowing a pleasant freedom of movement even to paddlers with shorter arms.

Overview SIX Exo kayak.

As is characteristic for the Exo manufactoring, the settings are complete but essential, not to loose the considerable advantages of paddling with a light weight kayak.
The technical innovations in the construction and efficiency make the SIX the vanguard in every point of view.
Let me further introduce the main developments to you.

Handles

The new handles, more arched and rounded than they were previously, provide a comfortable and ergonomic grab.

Front handle close up.

The housing for the hand is slightly wider and deeper at the same time to prevent the wrist getting stucked. The safety is always on the first place!

Central handle in front of the cockpit.

The central handle in front of the cockpit and the one on the tail are horizontal for an easier carrying of the boat.

Tail handle close up.

The two handles behind the cockpit are perfectly orientated to be easily reachable for the swimmer during rescue operations.
Comfortable and long slots for the arms behind the handles help the rescued not to lose the two handed grip of the kayak tail.

The two handles behind the cockpit and the slots for the arms.

THE INTERNAL SETTINGS

Even in the quality of the internal settings we are witnessing a true revolution: the new construction method with open polietilene ribs, guarantee a higher robustness and simultaneously ensures a lighter weight.

Front rib close up from under the hull.

In addition, it is no longer necessary to drill the hull, except for the brackets (supports) of the footrest - seat and ribs are fixed internally.

Sitting

The SIX inherits the shape of the seat from the XG. As the ribs, it is hollow at the bottom to provide light weight and strength.

Seat close up.

Simple but efficient, it allows great customization whenever you may need.
To adjust the seat forward or backward, you simply have to loose the two-hex screws on each side that, thanks to a threaded plate, block the seat on the side of the cockpit. Thanks to a combination of holes in the seat and threaded inserts on the central rib, you can block the seat with steps of 2cm for an amplitude up to 8cm.
The backrest adjustment system comes from the experience on sailboats - the cord locks thanks to a cam cleat. Quick and easy!
The new side pads are more ergonomically shaped and easily adjustable.

Particular of the cam cleat, side pads and knee holder.

The knee holders are not the same as they were on the XT anymore. The SIX has them integrated in the cockpit, a more lightweight and functional solution. Now you no longer need to make laborious adjustments, because as shipped from the factory it is perfect fit for the usage.

Footrest

Never change a winning team! For this reason the footrest remains the same as it was for the XT300 and XT260. Being perfectly integrated in the ribs, helps to give solidity to the hull and it does not move a millimeter even under violent crashes.

Close up of the footrests integrated in the front rib.

Throw bag holder

The housing for the rescue throw bag is integrated into the front rib. The line is quick and easy to take out while leaving plenty of room between the legs not to sacrifice the comfort or loose space for the transportation of a dry bag.
We can say that the throw rope is right where it should be: exactly at hand, but without disturbing!

Throw bag holder integrated into the front rib.

Housing for the Peli Case 1200

Together with the throw bag holder is one of the most interesting innovations on the SIX. Integrated in the rear rib there is housing for the famous Peli Case 1200.

Detail of the housing for the Peli Case 1200 integrated in the rear rib.

The Case fits perfectly into the rib, leaving all the space available for the air bags and the spare paddle. It holds the Pelicase fixed so stable that it feels like you don't even have it.How did we managed without it?

Weight

Thanks to the new fittings, the weight of the kayak remains extremely low. I tried to put on a scale the first definitive prototype in my possession: its weight is 20,1 kg. A new record for a kayak of this size!

The SIX on a scale.

FEELING

I will not express my own feelings that gives the boat over too much as I want to leave you to discover them for yourself. However, I will expound the most evident characteristics.
As soon as you start paddling, the first feeling is to be on a very quick boat. Since the first stroke the kayak glides with a minimal resistance and reaches very quickly the maximum speed.
The sides give a good compromise between primary and secondary stability. The first impression is that of an easy roll, but if you push the side to the limit you can perceive the big volume distributed on a high side which helps us to prevent the flip.
It only took me a few days to get used to the side that supports a little less than the XT300 side, but quickly came the feeling of a very nimble boat with great sensitivity to the body weight movements and to the lateral balance changes.
The ability to keep direction is also aided by the rails that are well defined below and behind the cockpit and just hinted in the front.

Rail close up.

This allows a smooth response when you hit the waves from the front or from the diagonal front, without losing the carving feeling in the curve.
The rounded nose makes it easy to eddy out, because it allows you to “pierce through” with any angle or side inclination. Subsequently, when the more pronounced edge under the cockpit and the tail gets into the eddy the kayak starts to carve, transforming the linear speed into the speed of rotation. Making the curves you can well perceive how the rail under the tail prevents the side slip, favouring the precision when changing direction and making eddy out.

Upper Wellerbrücke - Photo Alex, editing Filippo.

The very narrow shape of the nose ensures speed of the kayak. For this reason, there could be expected a loss of the rotation speed On the contrary the kayak is - to my great astonishment- able to turn itself as if there was a pivot nailed under the cockpit even on flat water with very low speed or without any speed.

Köfels, Middle Oetz - Photo Alex.

The pitching on the small and medium waves is almost absent. The first rapid I've paddled with this kayak is the first one of the classic stretch on Soča: not so steep one with irregular waves. I was impressed by how the kayak did not pitch at all. Closing my eyes and pluging my ears, I could have almost imagined to be still on the flat water.

White water

The main reason why a nose so voluminous and a high was designed is to allow the boat to get out of boofs as quickly as possible and with less problems. I must confirm that this target has been fully achieved.
To test the behaviour on the high volume rivers, I tried it out on the Venter Ache with a very high level, on the Upper Oetz with a middle level, on the Middle Oetz with a high level and on the Köfelsstrecke with a medium level (levels are meant in relation to individual stretches).
The first impression was that the kayak shakes a little too much and it loses easily the direction, but it is to consider that it has been a long time since I paddled on the volume and maybe I should have got back into the habit; the Vent also starts immediately with a class 5 rapid.
After a couple of runs I began to understand better how the boat moves and that, in general, being able to keep the nose out of the water the kayak maintains all its speed and directionality, giving vivid feelings to the kayaker.

Wellerbrücke, TNT rapid - Photo Alex

It is, however, in the creeks that the characteristics of the boat are better expressed.
Although so far I could try the SIX only on the Soča river (the whole stretch including the one with siphons), I have never found it difficult to keep the nose out of the water. Slip on stones does not hide any surprise and the boof gives great acceleration and control.
I can not wait to try it on a steep creek, because I think it will be there where one can get the greatest satisfactions.

SIX prototype on the Sorba's drop, Val Sesia, Italy.

Summary

In conclusion, I would say that this is not a kayak of easy use as the previous XT300 and XT260, but its manageable with sensitivity and speed characteristics providing better performance for intermediate and advanced paddler. Indeed, the 6 was designed to run Class 6 rapids!
Surely, the shape is different from any other existing kayak - one can love it from the first second or one can hate it, but anyway it is impossible not to be noticed.
As for myself I can assure: the SIX flies!

  ⇑   TOP PAGE   ⇑ Text: Filippo
Review: Bety
 
 
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