Hands free fishing just got better with the Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel Kayak. The Slayer 13 Propel has the same open deck layout and fast stable hull as the Slayer series, plus an extra large rudder for quick maneuverability. The Propel system is the only pedal drive that can be pedaled in reverse, an essential capability when battling the catch of the day. The seat can be quickly adjusted forward or backward for a total travel distance of 11" and still have plenty of room behind the seat for tackle boxes. The Slayer 13 features ample foot pads on the deck to increase traction and reduce noise. The open bow trunk is perfect for Native fish bags, PFD storage, and comes with scuppers for drainage when punching through waves or surf, and with Native's groove track mounting rails located on each side from bow to stern customizing the Slayer is a cinch.
|Length:||13 ft 2 in / 4.01 m|
|Width:||33 in / 83.82 cm|
|Weight:||120 lb / 54.43 kg|
|Capacity:||350 lb / 158.76 kg|
|Leg Room - Total:||50 in / 127 cm|
|Number of Paddlers:||1 - Single/Solo|
|Type of Kayak:||Sit on Top|
I'm comparing this to my old Hobie Mirage Outback since they are very close in size and design. I find the Native to be slightly less stable than the outback, but stable enough to be comfortable even in fairly windy / choppy conditions. The propel system is not as convenient to set up or remove as the Mirage drive, nor is it as smooth pedaling. I'm using this more for exercise than anything else, so the lower efficiency of the propel system will actually benefit me while at the same time I won't be able to make the distances I normally could do with the mirage drive due to exhaustion. I like the first class seat, but would have preferred one more like the Hobie Pro Angler with a complete aluminum frame, instead of the flimsy side straps that tend to slip and loosen on the first class seat. The ability to reverse is nice, but not a big factor unless you are fishing or having to maneuver in tight spaces. The hull appears to be well made and sturdy with a very nice weight capacity for its size. My greatest complaint is the rudder. Even in calm conditions, it is far too small and shallow for the size of the boat and is very slow to respond to any changes in direction and has a very large turn around radius. Considering where I live (South Padre Island) the conditions are usually quite windy and choppy, making the rudder even more of an issue, so much so, that despite Native's unwillingness to make a larger version of the rudder, I am having my local Hobie dealer modify my rudder with some spare plastic from one of his broken boats that will double its depth and hopefully solve the inability to track in a straight line and improve turn radius and response time and require less babysitting of the rudder handle overall. While I have several complaints about this boat, the only serious one that would make using the boat unpleasant is the rudder. If you are in calm waters, it may not be as much of an issue, but if you are in high wind / chop areas, you may want to seriously consider another boat or have a way to modify the rudder. Other than this issue, I like the boat fairly well and at least the propel drive is solid, whereas my old mirage drive pedal arms would break on a regular basis from the extreme stresses of my workouts and they were expensive to replace (broke 3 times over two summer seasons).
This is a really good kayak. Fast, stable, comfortable seat. Package was a great deal - delivered to my door, no tax and discounted life jacked and paddle. Paddle and jacket are good and a perfect fit. Now the downside - first had an issue with the bar that holds the propel system down - but the manufacturer sent a replacement right away. But, the real issue is the bracket the holds the propel system down - it is only on one side and within a short time, my pedaling started raising the pedals slightly resulting in a small but consistent noise. Until they fix this issue, I would not purchase the kayak as its annoying and only going to get worse. Additionally, one of the pedals kept working its way loose. So, a good kayak with some issues that can be a great kayak when the issues are corrected. Austin Kayak customer service is great, but the manufacturer has some work to do.
I decided to wait on writing a review until I had some time on this kayak. I've put probably 100 hours out on this kayak now since purchasing it in May 2015. The bad - Let's get the bad out of the way first. The shipping is terrible for this kayak. Other people talk about it on here, the guys carrying your kayak have no idea that they're carrying 2500$ worth of plastic around. I will say that it is free, which was great compared to the Hobie brand, so there's only so much complaining I can do. As for the kayak itself, the included plastic rudder is weak. I didn't trust it to control me in choppier waters and went with the boonedox aluminum rudder. HUGE difference in control for not much money. This was my biggest issue with the kayak. Beyond that, it's missing some of the quality touches that the Hobie PA has. The accessories panels and such mounted on the PA were of higher quality than the aluminum tracks on the Slayer. The good - I don't really have much I dislike about this kayak. It's extremely stable, and only if I intentionally tip it will it tip. I've been in 4 foot rollers over 100 feet of water. I've been on inland lakes pedaling straight into 30mph gusts "the propel does not care about wind". The seat is always comfortable. Pedaling the kayak is easy, I can go after work for 4 hours pedaling and not feel fatigued. Easy to reach the front hatch as well as behind me. The tracks included are sufficient to run rod holders on each side, both easily accessible within arms reach from a comfortable position on my chair. I was also able to mount extra ram tubes behind me, a kayak crate, lowrance fish finder, and even some accessory track lashes for my paddle and boga. The only hole I drilled was for my transducer, otherwise every other accessory could be mounted with the included tracks. A big plus to me. Speed is solid too, I am a big guy at 6'2 240lbs and I can get up to 4.5-5mph full on trying, or 3.5mph without much effort. The only time I've touched a paddle is to push off of a dock, otherwise everything is done with my feet and the rudder. My only hope is that Native eventually releases a Pro Angler level Slayer or Ultimate pedal version, ideally closer to the PA width of 37". The PA has a few inches on the Slayer as far as width, and it makes a big difference for stability.
I have had the kayak out 8 times in the past month, and I have got to say that I am floored by the stability, and overall quality of the Kayak. I was thrilled to be getting it, and now that I have it, I can't wait to go out again, and again. I noticed that I don't even deploy my anchor because with the pedals, I can go forward and reverse, holding my position is easy. When I stand up to fish I can move back and forth with a couple of quick turns of the pedal, by hand. If you are on the fence, hop off and buy this kayak....you will not be dissapointed.