03 February 2003
Originally reviewed in 2003, inside is an indepth review of one of the most popular club boats around for canoe polo. Includes an update on the 2005 model...
I don’t really remember why our club decided to purchase Eskimo Geqkos at the first time, but since then we haven’t had any regrets. At the first training session with the new boats the first thing we noticed was the poor quality of the footrests - when paddling with a new boat the bad things are more likely to be noticed before the good ones... Those footrests were a product of Nova and rather unfortunately used by Eskimo in their boats. The plastic footrests were just too fragile for heavy use. (At the moment we’re using ones made out of aluminium and those are better than good.)
After fixing the problem with the footrests our attention was drawn to the front and aft bumpers. The first thing we noticed in the bumpers was that the material used was really hard! I really can’t say wether it would pass an official scrutineering or not. The more serious problem we faced with the bumpers was when the first bumper shattered (obviously too hard material), about after ten training sessions. Now when half of it was gone it was revealed that the bumper was attached with steel bolts. When you’re replacing the old bumper with new one the bolts present a major problem. Though these are serious flaws, we never felt that we had made a mistake when purchasing these boats.
To my amazement there were no negative things as for what comes to paddling with the boat. The first time I sat into the boat the seat felt a bit wide though not too much (hey, it’s a boat for club use so, one size fits all), but in all other ways it was really comfortable. After the first hour or so on the water, I was surprised. I had totally forgotten that I wasn’t paddling with a composite boat. Its maneuverability and speed are as close to composite boat as they can ever be. There has to be a huge amount of time and money spent into the design work.
For a beginner this boat is really good, as its movements are a lot smoother than with a composite boat. The Geqko quite well forgives minor errors in ones technique and provides a good support for your legs and good stability while throwing and passing. While doing an eskimo roll you can ease yourself on the backdeck without having the backside of the cockpit digging into your spinal cord.
The maximum paddler weight is somewhere around 81-82 kilograms. At the moment there isn’t a bigger model available. As a positive feature, the seats place is adjustable about 5 cm in both ways from the center point.
As we ordered the second set of Geqkos, we bypassed the problems with the footrests and the bumpers by ordering the boats without them. As it happened they had changed the seat model to one which has a possibility to attach a common lower-back support strap. Anyway, according to Murphys law there’s always something going wrong and this case was no exeption. First of all, Eskimo had decided to make all the boats in the same grayish color. They just place a plastic tape, of your choise of color, on the front and back decks. This, I think, is bad news for the clubs that have purchased the boats with a single overall color that isn’t the same as the new grayish one. This might be a good thing in a long run. It allowes better trade options for used boats, because all the boats are in the same basic color and the color that separates the teams is created by using different coloured tapes on the deck. We got lucky, they still had few totally blue Geqkos available.
Well, as I sat into the new seat I noticed two minor bumps on it. They were really digging their way into my backside. I have to say that I really liked the older seat model better.
As a whole, though quite expensive and despite of the minor flaws, in my opinion the Eskimo Gecko is one of the best, if not the best plastic boat available for club use from beginner to expert.
- light weight
- comfortable seat (older model)
extremely good maneuverability
- adjustable seat
- the solid bumpers (can be ordered without them)
- original footrests (can be ordered without them)
- the new seat uncomfortable
- the new color system
estimated price around 750 euros, there’s no such thing as good and cheap
Overall as a plastic boat for club use ordered without the bumpers and the footrests:
out of 5
[Update : March 2005]
Eskimo will be releasing an updated version of the ever popular Gecko this year, possibly as soon as April. With new "blow moulding technology" and improvements in all areas including a larger range of colour choices it looks like Eskimo's Gecko will be appearing in a lot of canoe polo clubs in the future.
For more see Eskimo's site
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