A look into the latest from Hobie, Ocean Kayak, Necky, Wilderness Systems and more!
For those of us tuned into what’s going on in the paddling industry, August was greeted with much anticipation as manufacturers started rolling out their new kayak and canoe models. Industry professionals and consumers alike became giddy and almost child-like. August pretty much came and went and as always kayak and canoe manufacturers didn’t fail to deliver. With new and innovative features and updates to tried and true designs to shorter and longer versions of already popular models, I’ll just jump right in and sum it all up for you. I could have easily cut and pasted product descriptions but instead I wanted to share with you some of what I know and what I’ve learned over the last few weeks.
Wilderness Ride 115 & 135
I was trying to hold back on this one until the end but I can’t help it. The newly designed Wilderness Systems Ride 135 and it’s new sibling the 115 are not to be ignored if you enjoy kayak fishing or simply want a sit-on-top with unbeatable stability, capacity and plenty of cargo space. The most notable new feature is the Freedom Elite seating system, which simply lets you adjust the position of your seat forward and backward — something I have yet to see on any sit-on-top kayak. Another feature familiar to the popular Tarpon series is the SlideTrax accessory system making it easy to install and adjust a variety of accessories. This one gets two thumbs up from this guy! Click for specs, colors and pricing for the Ride 115 and Ride 135.
Dagger Zydeco 9.0 & 11.0
For those of you familiar with the original Zydeco, you already know what a great performer this entry-level gem can be. With it’s new slick design and features, you’d think that these boats were expensive but at less than $450 for the 9.0 and $550 for the 11.0, it’s the perfect boat for just about anyone. I’m big on quality seats and the Zydeco’s adjustable, ultra-comfortable CFS-R Seating System doesn’t disappoint. Compact, lightweight and easy to use, I think it will be hard to find another recreational sit-inside for the buck. Click for specs, colors and pricing for the Zydeco 9.0 and Zydeco 11.0.
Hobie Mirage Revolution 11
Perhaps one of the most notable launches is the new Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 offering all of the same great features as it’s bigger brother in a more compact and lighter configuration. Recently named “Best Boat” at the iCast Sportfishing Trade Show, the Revo 11 deserves it, with the same quality and features you’d come to expect from Hobie. This one is surely to be a hit amongst paddlers and kayak anglers as it lends itself to being more maneuverable making it perfect for rivers and smaller bodies of water. According to several reports, this boat has been described as one that “cuts through water like knives through butter” — sounds about right! Click for specs, colors and pricing.
Hobie Quest Deluxe 11
Why stop at the Revolution? For those who prefer to paddle over the pedal, Hobie has applied their magical shrinking potion to another popular model, the Hobie Quest. Why so magical? Because it’s pretty much an exact replica of it’s bigger brother. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, they took an already awesome boat and simply reduced it’s size and weight making it ideal for smaller paddlers. Don’t be fooled though, it’s still packed will all the great features that you’ll find on the 13ft version such as the mesh-covered stowage pockets, molded in rod holders, high back seat, large covered bow hatch and of course a Hobie paddle. Click for specs, colors and pricing.
Necky Vector 14
Instead of a younger sibling, Necky has taken a step forward with the launch of a larger version of its only sit-on-top model the Vector 13. I haven’t paddled the Vector 13 for several months but I was left with the lasting impression of a fast boat with bullet like tracking — I can only imagine how the 14 paddles. Sleek, slender yet stable enough for any paddler, the Vector 14 is a great boat for those looking for sit inside performance in a sit on top kayak. And how can you not appreciate its good looks! Click for specs, colors and pricing.
Necky Rip 12
The Popular Rip 10 has also joined a new generation of kayaks with siblings with the introduction of the Rip 12. The Rip is known for being an easy to use and playful boat for beginner to intermediate paddlers. The Rip 12 offers many of the sought after features and performance of the 10 but with two extra feet, you can expect enhanced tracking, speed and glide. Click for specs, colors and pricing.
Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 & 12
Probably one of the most talked about launches was the introduction of Ocean Kayak’s new family of kayaks, the Tetra 10 and 12. This is another boat I look forward to paddling soon with reports of better tracking and speed than its cousin, the Trident series. Ocean Kayak labels them as cross-over boats for paddlers who might want to dabble in several different activities. I have to agree as the Trident series was designed with the angler in mind, the Tetra is a made for everyone. You can purchase the base model or the angler version, which come with the Rod Pod II, and two flush mounted rod holders. Click for specs, colors and pricing for the 10 and 12.
Mad River Serenade 13
Just like the Native Watercraft Ultimate and Wilderness Commander, the Serenade 13 can be labeled a kayak/canoe hybrid but edges more towards a canoe in my personal opinion — which is what I love about it. This is the perfect boat for anyone looking for a comfortable kayak-like paddle with all the great features of a canoe. Steve Messana, ACK President and co-owner, had the privilege of paddling this beautifully designed fiberglass boat and was surprised at how quick it moved and described the paddling experience as a “slick” one — lucky Steve! I haven’t tried this one myself but you can count on me being first in line.
Liquid Logic Marvel 14.5
Okay, so maybe not “new” but once a child of Native Watercraft, the Marvel series has been re-launched under the Liquid Logic brand. Why the mention? Because we are happy to announce that we are now carrying this model so I guess that makes it new to us! Our buyers were “sold” when they had the opportunity to demo this boat and were quick to offer it as part of our product line-up. I’ve personally had a lot of experience with this boat and can only describe it as one of the easiest to use and most comfortable sit-inside tandem kayaks. Complete with the ever-popular First Class seating system, which you can find on the Native Watercraft Ultimate, this one also gets my vote! Click for specs, colors and pricing.
Ocean Kayak Ultra 4.3
Although unavailable at this time, I must, at the minimum, make a quick mention of the shorter version of what many consider to be the “ultimate” kayak-fishing machine, the Ultra 4.7. At 14’ it’s still considered to be a long boat providing the performance you need when you are serious about kayak fishing — stay tuned, we expect availability before the end of the year.
So there you have it. A quick summary but do expect more in depth reviews over the next few months. If you are local to any of our stores, don’t miss out on our Demo Days where you’ll be able to demo all of these models and more.
Have you had the privilege of paddling any of these boats yet? We want to know, share your experiences with us by commenting below.