Boat Test: the Scorpio LV MKII by P&H Kayaks | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
Boat Test: the Scorpio LV MKII by P&H Kayaks Photo: Adventure Kayak staff

Given the popularity of the original, P&H has sensibly left the Scorpio’s best features untouched.

I had never paddled a P&H Scorpio before Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium founder Christopher Lockyer sat me in a loaner LV. It was a sublime September morning at the put-in for the Shubenacadie River, a rollicking freight train of crashing haystacks and swirling eddylines. It’s not every kayak that feels instantly intuitive, but the Scorpio LV was just such a boat.

Six years after the original Scorpio launched in 2009, P&H is introducing a second generation—the Scorpio MKII. First to be released is the LV, the smallest of three sizes available this paddling season. Manufactured at P&H’s factory in Great Britain, our orange demo LV is among the first to arrive on North American shores.

From the moment we hit the water, it’s apparent the MKII and I enjoy the same chemistry as its predecessor.

Given the popularity of the original, P&H has sensibly left the Scorpio’s best features untouched. Touring and ocean (or river) play paddlers will find the MKII uses the same CoreLite construction—a triple-layer polyethylene that adds a bit of weight but is more durable and rigid than standard PE plastics. Rounded chines and a shallow V hull make the MKII responsive and maneuverable, while tried-and-true dimensions—16 feet, eight inches long with a svelte 21-inch beam—deliver an optimum blend of speed and stability for more experienced paddlers.

Feedback from half a decade’s worth of expedition paddlers and weekend warriors has also led to some significant improvements. “The MKII has a slightly different volume distribution,” says U.S. head of operations, Brian Day.

On the water, added volume around the knees means a more comfortable, super dialed-in seating position. The updated stern has less rocker behind the rear hatch, which translates to improved tracking and handling in crosswinds and following seas.

The most welcome change for many—especially rolling aficionados and paddlers with shorter torsos—is the lowered deck height behind the cockpit. The original LV was no barge, but the MKII is even easier to roll and re-enter.

Some tweaks are more subtle. The recessed slider control for the skeg or optional Skudder (more on that below) has moved in front of the cockpit, read- ily accessible yet out of the way of my knuckles.

Introduced last year to P&H and sister brand Venture Kayaks, the Skudder serves as a skeg when partially deployed, and an under-stern rudder—controlled by toe pedals on the foot braces—when fully deployed. While Skudder-like systems were pioneered by New Zealand designer Don Currie in the ‘90s, P&H is the first widely available manufacturer to embrace this clever concept—along with another accessory thriving down under: the kayak sail.

In 2014, P&H partnered with Australia’s Flat Earth Kayak Sails to offer a compact sail system that can be retrofitted—with a bit of engineering— to many touring kayaks. Outfitted with sail-ready hardware and a reinforced area for the mast foot, the MKII makes installation dead simple and the redesigned front deck accommodates the furled sail when not in use.

The drizzly, early spring afternoon I first launch the MKII isn’t charged with the same breathless promise as that magnificent morning on the Shubie, yet I scarcely notice the sting of the March wind. P&H says they’ve made “many little changes,” adding up to a new-feeling boat, but discovering those differences feels more like rekindling an old flame. 

Sail Away The MKII’s smart deck layout includes a pre-drilled footing for P&H’s sail kit, a compass recess and grooves for your spare paddle. 
Skudder You Say? Aspiring sailors should opt for the available Skudder, which aids steering control and tacking across the wind under sail. 
A Better Day (Hatch) While it uses the same four-hatch setup as the first-generation Scorpio, the covers on the front and rear day hatches are now angled toward the paddler for easier access from the cockpit. 

Length: 16 ft 8 in
Width: 21 in
Wight: 63 lbs
Price: $1899/$1999 (skeg/skudder)

Screen_Shot_2015-06-15_at_3.44.39_PM.pngThis article first appeared in the Early Summer 2015 issue of Adventure Kayak magazine. For more great content, subscribe to Adventure Kayak's print editions and digital editions, download issues on your device or view this issue for free on your desktop here. 

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