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).
I own a Slayer Propel and a Hobie Pro Angler 12. The Slayer Propel is a
better all around kayak if you only own one pedal kayak. This is due to
it paddling well without the drive. Reverse is great too. That said, the
PA12 and Slayer Propel are not comparable in many respects. The
Slayer does need some refinements. Overall, I use it differently than
my PA12. If I want to fish docks and shoreline structure, I take the
Slayer. If I am fishing a lake with heavy grass and more offshore
structure, I take my PA12. The rear rudder and skeg sticking down on
the Slayer is a pain when loading and unloading, dragging on a launch,
or installing a cart. The rudder handle is uncomfortable plastic deigned
and awkward on the left side of the kayak if you hold the rod in your
left hand. The Propel is easier to pedal, only slightly than the Mirage
drive, but your knees are in your chest more. I could go on and on
about what makes the Pro Angler more thought out, but reverse is so
awesome, it almost outweighs all the negative comparisons. In reality,
the Slayer Propel compares more and easily trumps a Hobie Outback.
Nothing really compares to the feature packed Pro Angler...yet. If I
could have only one pedal kayak, it would be the Slayer Propel. ACK
supports online sales like nobody else too.
First of all, I want to give high praise to Austin Kayak! Their customer service is top notch--when you give them a call, a
live person answers the phone!! All my questions and concerns were handled very professionally, and the kayak arrived
earlier expected with absolutely no damage. The Slayer Propel is a fantastic fishing machine. I had intended to buy a
Hobie PA, but after my test paddle I had a few concerns, I did some more research and found the Slayer Propel and
ordered it without a demo. I couldn't be happier. The pedaling is easy (like a recumbent bike) and I hit a top speed of 4.5
mph during my first trip. Maintaining a steady pace isn't too fatiguing, and this boat is easy to paddle also. The ability to
move backwards is a great feature. It turns fairly tight, but not as tight as the PA. The boat tracks well, and is very stable.
I had no problem standing, and I am fairly big guy (6'1", 240).