New Kayak Models for 2014

Every winter, manufacturers begin releasing new products for the new year in time for spring and every year the selection at ACK.com gets a little bigger.

In 2014, we added quite a few new models for kayak fishing like the Striker, Big Game II, Lure, Slayer Propel and Ride 115X. Ya, that’s a lot! But it wasn’t all fishing kayaks that were released for 2014, and we’ve got some other exciting models slated to land near the end of the month. Here’s more of what’s new for 2014!

Advanced Elements PackLite

Pack it up, and pack it up small with Advanced Element’s newest inflatable kayak, the PackLite. This ultra-light kayak weighs less than 4 lbs  and packs down to an unbelievable 11″ x 11″ x 5″. It’s not going to be the highest performing inflatable kayak around but it doesn’t have a price tag that you’d expect for one either. At just $299.99, the PackLite is a great option for paddlers looking to take on a remote lake or stream or for those who have limited storage space in their travel bag or at home.

PackLite

Perception Sport Striker

Perception Sport has done it again with this new entry level model designed for the kayak angler at a great price. The Striker has a simple design and, thanks to its Tri-Hull design, is quick, stable and has a weight capacity of 500 lbs.  One notable feature its its two tiered seating area so paddlers can choose between a high vantage point or low paddling position. For anglers looking to get started kayak fishing, the Striker is a great place to look.

Perception Sport Striker

Ocean Kayak Big Game II

Ocean Kayak updated the Big Game kayak for 2014 with a slew of new features geared toward kayak fishing. They’ve integrated a number of features found in the Predator (from their sister company Old Town) including the high/low Element Seating System and mounting brackets. As you might’ve guessed by it’s name, or even just by looking at it, this is a ‘yak that’s stable as all get out and meant to hold your gear. As much as you can pile on. Kayak anglers who value comfort and stability should give the Big Game II a look.

Ocean Kayak Big Game II

Feelfree Lure

The latest kayak fishing model to land at ACK comes from Feelfree and is called the Lure. This thing is made for fishing, especially if you like standing and casting. Like many of today’s fishing models, the Lure comes equipped with an adjustable seating system, called the Gravity Seat. Its also got a padded standing platform with a standing assist strap and a cool ridged rod keeper area near the bow to make it easy to lay down your rods while you paddle. Definitely one to look into for anglers who prefer the fly.

Feelfree Lure

Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel

Earlier this year, Native combined their very popular Slayer kayak with their Propel Drive and the Slayer 13 Propel was born. This has quickly become one of the most popular pedal-powered fishing kayaks around. It’s stable, quick on the water with the drive and even with a paddle, turns easy with the rudder system and it’s First Class seating system makes it very comfortable. Give it a look!

 

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel

Wilderness Systems Ride 115X

This year, Wilderness Systems updated their popular Ride 115 to make it more kayak fishing friendly. One of the major features of the Ride 115X is the new removable console which revels a large pass through the hull with a battery storage area that allows for quick and easy installation of a transducer, battery and head unit. Wildy has done a great job tweaking this model with small changes only an angler would notice, like the addition of scuppers in the standing area and increased bulkhead width.

Wilderness Systems Ride 115X

Wilderness Systems Focus

Wilderness Systems’ completely new model for 2014 is the Focus.  Intended to blend the stability and predictability of the Tsunami with the speed and efficiency of the Tempest, the Focus caters to the more assertive intermediate level paddler that’s looking to take their paddling to the next level. The Focus comes sized at either 14.5 feet or 15.5 feet and has an optional rudder kit.

Wilderness Systems Focus

Coming Soon

While there are sure to be many more models in 2014, we already have four on our radar slated to arrive in the next couple months. Stay tuned for more details on each!

Native Watercraft Ultimate FX Series – Arriving March

The Ultimate FX is loaded with features for the kayak angler like Native’s High/Low seating system, newly improved standing areas, built in anchor trolley’s and much more. We’ll be covering this series in greater depth when they arrive later this month.

Pyranha Nano – Arriving April

The Nano is a short river running boat that’s super maneuverable and compact.  It’s a great balance of a play, creek and down river whitewater kayak that will push advanced paddlers to explore parts of the river that a bigger boat can’t reach.

Pyranha Fusion Sit On Top – Arriving April

The brand new Fusion SOT will open river paddling to a whole new group of people. With this crossover whitewater / recreational kayak, just about anyone can jump in and have a blast right away.

Pyranha Burn III – Arriving April

Used by intermediate and world class whitewater paddlers alike, the Burn III is finally making it’s ACK debut later this month. This is the benchmark in precision river running and creek kayaking for 2014.

So which model are you most excited about? Let us know by commenting below!

The Design and Development of the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Fishing Kayak

By Shane Benedict of Legacy Paddlesports (Liquid Logic & Native Watercraft), Reposted from Shane’s Logic with Permission.

Initial Drawings of the Slayer Propel 13
Initial Drawings of the Slayer Propel 13

The Development of the Slayer Propel 13 really started when Native Watercraft first developed the pedal drive Propel system in 2008.  I had just joined the Native Watercraft design team so I hadn’t had any input on the beginnings of this concept and design.  In the few times that I pedaled the Mariner Propel I could feel the potential and I got really excited about designing the newest addition to the Slayer line of fishing kayaks in 2013.  As we began to work on the Propel, we started to really understand that the advantages of using your legs were not limited to the power of larger muscle groups to do the work: pedaling also leaves your hands free to fish, and the more you fish the more you catch (well sometimes). Beyond that, we also found two more advantages of having a bike-like motion to drive the propeller. The motion itself is familiar and easy to maintain, as most of us have pedaled bikes.  By simply pedaling in reverse you can drive the boat backwards which plays a huge role in fishing. Pedaling facilitates actions that every angler needs to do, like approaching a structure, stopping, and pulling large fish out of tight areas and from under obstructions.

Native Watercraft Pro Staffer Philip Ruckart slaying 'em.
Native Watercraft Pro Staffer Philip Ruckart slaying ‘em.

We started initial conversations about the new Propel design with Native Watercraft guides and pro staff. It was agreed across the board that the traditional paddled Slayer kayak would be a good place to start. We even had folks on the Native Watercraft Facebook page asking for a propel driven Slayer before we were even really sure we were gonna do it! Everyone thought that the open floor plan, 360 degree accessory track coverage, superior stability, and efficient paddling hull of the Slayer would make for an ideal platform to install our Propel System. What we came to realize over time was that it wasn’t just a fishing kayak we now understand that it’s a great boat for cruising out on the water for any reason at all.

Another view of the Slayer Propel 13 and the seat slider attachment.
Another view of the Slayer Propel 13 and the seat slider attachment.

We focused first on hull design because the hull does have to be adjusted quite a bit to accept the propel drive unit. We spent a lot of time looking at how the water flowed across the hull and into and around the propeller. One of the challenges was getting the prop to engage completely and more efficiently with the water while keeping it tucked up against the hull to minimize the depth of water needed for the prop to run. After our first prototype, we had a bit of aeration during hard pedaling, so we did some old school plastic welding to form different curves to change the flow of water into the propel cavity. Not only did the changes create more power and speed, they also decreased water noise.

Welding in new hull curves.
Welding in new hull curves.

The rest of the hull design balances traits of efficiency and stability. Too wide and you start to really hinder speed and make more noise by having to push a wider hull through the water. Too narrow and the boat will become unstable when it loses buoyancy on either side of the paddler. So it is important to prioritize the desired performance characteristics. In the Slayer Propel, we wanted to create a boat stable enough to stand in easily, but that would still move through the water as smoothly and quietly as possible to take advantage of the speed of the Propel System and maintain the ability to paddle the boat as well. The Slayer Propel is 33″ wide, so by no means a sea kayak (which are sub 24 inches), but it is much more stealthy than other fishing-specific pedal-driven boats. We started at the bow with as sharp an entry as we could while still maintaining the large front storage tank. Smoothly curved, large pontoons drop down into the water through the mid section of the boat to provide a ton of stability and a quieter ride. Without the pedal-drive system, we have found that this hull paddles well with a kayak paddle. We feel as though we have come up with a confidence-inspiring hull design that complements the Propel system.

Ergonomics provided a key focus in this design as well. We knew we had to integrate our First Class seat. Not only did we want people to be more comfortable while pedaling, we wanted them to be able to pedal for longer durations and be more efficient while doing it. We tested many different people’s leg lengths, weights, heights, and pedaling styles, and found that sitting up higher in the Slayer with the head of the femur at the same height or higher than the crank spindle (the axle that goes through the top of the unit) allowed pedalers to relax and sit more upright. We created a sliding rail system that adjusts by simply loosening two thumbscrews and sliding down the rails to the desired position to adjust to different leg lengths and pedaling postures.

Testing different crank arms, pedals, and seat heights.
Testing different crank arms, pedals, and seat heights.

Another aspect of the pedaling ergonomics that we tested extensively was the length of the crank arm (what the pedals attach to). Normal upright bikes use something around 175mm crank arms. In our older propel models we had used 165mm crank arms but in our testing were getting an uneven pressure during the rotation of the pedals. We found that the 155mm cranks evened out the rotation pressure, eliminated the feeling that our knees were in our chest, and still gave us plenty of leverage to drive the prop. During tests, I did several long pedals ranging from 2 to 10 miles. Once we switched to the shorter cranks I found that I could maintain 3 – 3.5 miles an hour for extended periods and still have plenty of energy to get the boat up to 4.5 or even 5 miles an hour and hold it for 5 to 10 minute durations.

Propel Testing Tank
Propel Testing Tank

Last but not least the Propel drive unit has gone through extensive testing and transformation over the past couple years.  We brought in house a former bicycle industry designer and engineer to focus on the continued improvement of the Propel drive.  We have put the unit through long hours of submersion testing at our facility and the resident gear heads put together a motor and linkage to drive the unit constantly for days of wear testing.  It has been a fun project to not only design the boat but to also make improvements to the drive unit itself.

The longer the testing went on the more excited we all got. The Native Pro Staff and endorsed Guides did a great job advising us on features they wanted to see. What I found during the time I was on the water experimenting with this boat was that I wanted it not only for fishing but to just get out and enjoy the water. During my longer pedals the feeling I was getting was that of going on a bike ride, or a cruise in one of our touring kayaks. Everyone who takes it out for a test pedal falls in love with the way the speed and ease of pedaling lets you explore a huge territory and maybe get a little exercise.

Out for a sunset cruise with Betsy.
Out for a sunset cruise with Betsy.

 

Here is a link to a bunch of photos from the Development of the Slayer Propel
See you on the water.
Shane

 

p.s. Here is a little video I did of the first day pedaling the production Slayer Propel.


The First Pedal of the Slayer Propel from Shaneslogic on Vimeo.

Rigging the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel

Re-posted from AustinKayakFishing.com with permission, original content by Tim Nikels.

After dreaming and obsessing about it, I finally made my mind up to purchase a new Slayer Propel. Left work early stopped by ACK, no second guessing or wondering, just “Hi, I’ll take one of these, in lizard lick, is it in the warehouse and when can I have it?”

ACK got it in from their warehouse the next day and installed 4 flush mount rod holders behind the seat because I really liked that layout on my Manta Ray, and don’t really care for milk crates. Also had ACK install the anchor trolley (because their costs for installation are insanely cheap, so why not?). Since I didn’t want any issues with messing up the rudder, or having to worry about carrying a heavy boat, I opted for the C-Tug kayak cart, and it works great and the color compliments the boat.

Little LED light Soldering...
Little LED light Soldering…

I was able to pick it up the early following day with the installations completed. I was spending the weekend with my boys so didn’t spend much time on the boat, only rigging was installing the front hatch cover and rearranging the bungies in the rear well the way I like them. I debated my lighting options for a while and decided that I’d rather have green LEDs, mainly because my blue LEDs are on white strips, which would look like crap, even thought the lights might be brighter. I had 24″ strips on my Manta Ray and noticed that I was always trying to lean forward to see the lit up areas under the boat, because the lights were all up front. For the Slayer Propel, I decided to install 48″ light strips on each side, which brings the lights back almost to the cockpit.

The Fish Finder all rigged up.
The Fish Finder all rigged up.

For my fish finder, I bought a Humminbird with Down Imaging, as I’ve been told DI is a big help in tournament fishing. You can see the power cable and transducer cable coming out of the grommet to the right. After debating where my paddle was going to be stored and how I wanted things placed, I decided to do what most do and mount the FF on the right rail up front using a ram ball mounting system for the head unit.

The battery is located in the front hatch, instead of making a box or anything for it, I just used velcro to attach it to the wall of the well, easy in and out and it holds it securely in place (power cabling also run through a Hobie grommet into the hull). I need to do a little bit of tidying up of the wires in the hull, and work in a fusible link somewhere, but everything is currently functional and the way I want it. There’s still another circuit available on the switch, so I still may do some cockpit lights later (although they always just blinded me in the Manta Ray, maybe installed below the seat they won’t blind me).

I’ll be taking it on its maiden voyage soon so I can see how to manage grass with the Slayer Propel peddle drive.