Gear Review: P&H Virgo MV CX Skeg Sea Kayak
The P&H Virgo is a well-rounded touring kayak that excels in lakes, rivers, and ocean paddling. The versatility of this kayak makes it an easy choice for a lot of paddlers when looking at all the different options available for recreational kayaks, touring kayaks, and sea kayaks. For many, a quiver of kayaks is unrealistic and that’s where the Virgo comes in, the quiver of one.
In recent months I’ve had the opportunity to use the P&H Virgo in varied conditions on multiple bodies of water in the Pacific Northwest. Since my flatwater paddling was done solo, most of the photos in this review were taken by friends at the coast. (When at sea travel in three!) After all my time in this kayak, the thing I love most about it is its versatility. The ability to paddle on lakes, ocean, and rivers without sacrificing performance was a huge benefit that can’t be overlooked.
I’ll start with the performance on flatwater and/or slow-moving rivers. The first thing I noticed was how quick this kayak is. The v-hull cuts through the water with ease, which makes it incredibly efficient when paddling long distances. The Virgo is slightly narrower than other kayaks in its class, which means less drag, and again more efficiency in the water. Stability wasn’t an issue for me since I felt snug in the kayak which gave me a lot of control with my hips. If you are used to getting a boat “on edge” then turning and maneuvering the Virgo will feel comfortable and effortless. If you are coming from a wide and flat recreational kayak, this will take a little getting used to in the Virgo. That being said, this would be a great kayak to help take your paddling skills to the next level. The tracking on the Virgo was also quite excellent. I didn’t feel any drift when paddling in a straight line. Although, I did have to tweak the rudder lines a little bit to make sure the rudder was dropping down in line with the keel.
In the ocean, the Virgo felt right at home. It has all the proper features of a true sea kayak. Features include deck lines, two sealed bulkheads, day hatch, bungee, compass insert, skeg, foot pegs, and more. The rubber hatches on this kayak are bombproof. They were bone dry at the end of a surf session which is impressive. I had a friend out in a Dagger Stratos and their hatches were leaking heavily, along with eventually popping off while surfing. I had an easy time punching through the break with the Virgo. If the waves were much bigger, I could see preferring a boat with more rocker, but the same could be said for performance while surfing. From my time out with it, I found it to track well, and it was supper fun to carve. I did have to make sure my timing was right, or the nose would take a dive into the wave. Once I got the timing right, that didn’t seem to be an issue. While this can be true for all sea kayaks, I experienced that less in a boat like the P&H Delphin which has more rocker. We also did a quick tour around a few small rocky inlets while we were out and again, I found the Virgo quick and nimble out there. I was a little too afraid to try out some rock gardening, but I’ve heard from others that the Virgo performs well in the category also!
Overall, this kayak is one of my favorites. It offers excellent performance for a variety of different uses. It would be a great kayak to do weekend camping trips, exploring islands, surfing waves, and soaking up the sun. If I was looking for one boat to use in a variety of conditions this would be the one. If you are looking only for a sea kayak just for surfing, I would go one step up with the P&H Delphin.