Showing posts with label feel free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feel free. Show all posts

Quick Takes On 4 Kayaks

Last weekend the North Texas kayak folks got together for the annual Spring shindig and fundraiser for Heroes on the Water. Several kayak dealers worked hand in hand to have a fun time and give folks the opportunity to try out a lot of different kayaks in one spot as well as meeting fellow enthusiasts.
I used the opportunity to take a test spin in a few different kayaks I've wanted to try. Today I’ll give my first impressions. Don’t take these as full reviews, just first impressions from what I prefer in a kayak.

Feel Free Lure 11.5

First off, the seat is everything they claim it to be. Comfy and the adjustment mechanism is cool. The kayak was easy for me to stand in without using a stand assist strap and I felt comfortable even in the chop out on the lake. I’m not crazy about the locks on the front hatch and it walks some when paddling. I also like the keel wheel in the back being wide and unobtrusive. This would make an excellent river boat or smaller water boat.

Ascend FS12T

The frame seat is a nice touch though it has a tendency to slide back. There are some things that they need to work out on the deck. Two more scuppers where the water gathers would be a big help. They STILL need to move that premounted rod holder. I’d also like to see a better locking system for the chair but for $549, you can’t beat it. The kayak paddles pretty well and stability was definitely better than expected. I stood up and rocked the boat a little bit and it did well in the chop. Sure it could use more rocker but for rivers and lakes this might be a winner.

Native Slayer Propel

This is another very stable kayak. I thought the stability had improved considerably over the Slayer 12. I’m not a fan of the process of dropping the propel drive but what can you do? The motion of the propel felt strange to me as if I lost torque when the pedal was farthest from me. It was just foreign after the back and forth in a mirage drive. The speed seemed pretty good and a little more response from the rudder would be nice. It’s not really for me but the improvements that keep coming from Native are good ones. Definitely worth a try if you are in pedal market.

Hobie Adventure Island

It’s daunting when you first slide into one of these sailing kayaks. It seems like a lot to remember and learn but the learning curve is actually pretty quick. THIS IS A FAST MACHINE!!! It’s a blast and a bit scary the first time the sail scoops the wind and you start flying across the water. I think it’s going to take some practice before I can fish off of one but wow what a rush! This is definitely a boat I want to try again.

Five Kayaks Everyone is Talking About

Most of the 2014 kayaks are starting to arrive in showrooms across the country, while a few are being shown as pictures only for now. Leaking photos, excitement about arrivals and new reviews are fueling the growing buzz for several kayaks. Energized by the Holiday Shopping Fever that is so rampant this time of year, kayaks, and these five especially, are being mentioned in almost every forum and Facebook group across the nation. Innovative designs are leading the excitement and for good reason. These are not listed in rank order. You'll have to decide for yourself which is tops on your list.

1. Native Slayer Propel

Since its first "accidental photo leak" earlier in the year, the Slayer Propel has been seen as a game changer by many. A narrower kayak than its brother the Mariner, the Slayer Propel offers the hull of the original Slayer (with some improvements) but the versatility and speed of the Mariner. Native still hasn't given the Slayer any real underdeck storage but I'm just one guy asking. The price: $2,399

2. Jackson Big Rig

At just over 13 feet long and 37 inches wide, the Big Rig from Jackson is exactly that. Designed for superior stand and fish capability, it should deliver. It's still listed as a prototype but is available for preorder now. The estimated weight capacity is between 550 and 600 pounds which should bode very well for larger paddlers who want to stand and fish. The price: $1499 w/o a rudder and $1699 with a rudder. 

3. Old Town Predator

In two models (13 and MX) the OT Predator has made a splash in the kayak market. Combining lots of sought after features, Old Town is causing people to look their way. A three position frame seat option, rod pod and six removable mounting plates bring comfort and customizability to a big water boat. The smaller MX removes the Rod Pod and is a slightly smaller boat for river running which makes a great fly casting option. The price: $1299 for the 13, $1199 for the MX.

4. Wilderness Systems Ride 115X

The 115X offers a new twist on a current favorite. The removable electronics bay in the front has been a huge hit with fishermen this year. Having a single box that all of your electronics fit on and in (for single transducer models) that are easily removed when needed has been a major draw. With an already proven stand and fish capability, this just adds another reason why people continue to buy Rides. The price: $1059. 

5. Feelfree Lure

The Lure has seemingly taken the lawn chair seating craze one step further. The leaked photos seem to have the Lure posed with a cushioned, lumbar cradling, four position seat that should rival any competitor on the market. Add in molded handles, tri-lock hatch and available rudder and Feelfree is swinging for the fences. Little in the way of thoughts and reviews are out yet on the Lure but it is burning up the internet with talk of what could be. The price: $1099 w/o the rudder, $1249 with the rudder.

Love the list? Hate the list? What should be on the list that's not? Let everyone know!