KayakPro Nemo Sea Kayak

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    Photo: Ryan Heffernan

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1. Developed by five-time Olympian and world champion Grayson Bourne, the Nemo is the ultimate fusion of race and touring readiness. After weeks on the water, testers found it has the optimum mix of speed and comfort for everything from high-intensity training to all-day touring.

2. Unlike most mass-market boats, which are designed for slower speeds, the Nemo's knife-blade bow is calibrated to be most efficient at 6 to 7.4 knots. And you can tell. On Vermont's Lake Willoughby, our kevlar model accelerated in a dozen strokes and tracked like a cruise missile.

3. The flat cockpit rim and deck allow total freedom of movement, whether you're training or touring. Scalloped side cutouts in the cockpit accommodate close strokes, which minimize yaw, the side-to-side movement (or slop) that robs a paddler of forward momentum.

4. Our prototype tracked so straight that it was difficult to turn back toward home. KayakPro improved production models by adding a longer rudder, which purists will hate but intermediate paddlers won't be able to live without. It's not retractable but will give if it hits a rock.

5. In a true race boat, outfitting is secondary. Not here. The Nemo comes with a comfy fiberglass seat, dual hatches (they're a bit tricky to open but completely watertight), bulkheads, deck lines with recessed fittings, carrying handles, GPS mounts, and a gas-pedal-style rudder.

35 lbs, 17'11.5"x21.5"; $3,700 kayakpro.com

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