Vajda Infusion II XL River Construction: A seasoned K1 paddler’s first impressions

Our friend Cliff Roach from www.goodboykayaks.com sent us a candid review of his initial impressions of his new Vajda Infusion II XL in the River Construction. Attached is his unedited email to me.
“Hey Mark,
Got the Infusion out along with a M/L size Nelo Vaquish 3 in WWR layup, my L size Epic Legacy in performance layup, and of course the XL infusion in river layup. Jesse and I paddled all three. BTW, the guy that beat Jesse in the Video was non other than Borys Markin. I paddled the Infusion for a full paddle (8 miles?). Out of the three boats, we found the Vajda best in overall stability. Significantly more than the Nelo which has little primary or secondary. The legacy was only marginally less stable. We thought the Vajda has more primaray, but the Epic has more secondary. However, we have to consider that the smaller volume boats (M/L and L) should have been more stable since we sunk them more. So, clearly the Vajda is more stable overall. Jesse felt the Vajda was faster than the Epic, but slower than the Nelo. Of course, “feel” can be highly subjective, and the Nelo is his primary boat. Obviously they are all fast. I saw no Epics in the mens olympics,but did see several Vajdas, so we know it is a genuine contender. I have heard some hulls are fast, but that it takes alot of effort to keep them out of the water, and at lower speeds, they take more energy. I have heard some top paddlers say that they think that perhaps only the very top paddlers in training camps can get the extra speed out of the Nelos. I know Dawid Mocke said that %90 of ski paddlers should be in a Swordfish (interchange for not the top tippy models). While Jesse may be able to get a extra few seconds out of the Nelo, for me, stability = speed. I think the niche of the Vajda is going to be that it is a true speed contender that is notebly more stable, and has great glide at marathon speeds. I am going to be faster in it, if for no other reason than, it is much more weight appropriate, and I don’t “sink” it like I do the Legacy. I found wash riding to be a joy in the Vajda with the understern M rudder. Great control. Now, the layups: Jesse’ WWR is carbon/kevlar and over $3000. The Vajda felt very similar in stiffness and weight. Both these layups are thought for impact resistance. While there is some flex, there is no wobble, and there is confidence to bounce back from an impact. Nelo goes from the %100 useless club layup to over 3K for the fitst real layup. I don’t have the pretty carbon outerlayer, but I like the strategecally placed carbon patches. Otherwise, the insides look much the same. The Epic performance was way stiffer than both the Nelo and Vajda. Of course, it is also noteably heavier, and rigid is not a good thing for impacts. The Vajda is higher volume than the other two. The extra volume is put up high in the boat above the water line. This is especially helpful for turning, since you can lean the boat farther. It is also much better in wakes and waves. Have not measured it yet, but the seat looks to be the same height (SA style in the river layup). I was concerned that if it was lowered, I would be squeezed into the hull, but found that I was totally uninhibited. Add to that the solid full foot plate, and I got leg drive/rotation like never before. I didn’t realize how much was being sapped from me in the smaller Epic. Fit and finish is of course tops. No glitches, no issues. Overall I am thrilled, and glad I took the chance. It is beautiful, fast, stable and comfortable. What more could you ask for? I am selling my Legacy, and may be looking at a Msonic to boat down in on rough days. Oh, and remember I was bitching about the foot plate mounts being on the side? Turns out the Vajda had the most lateral room out of the three. Go figure. Thanks again, Cliff”