Every once in awhile (more often than not these days) the paddlesports and fishing industry is inundated with news about a new product that challenges conventional design and attempts to offer the angler something “different.”

We have all seen and heard about the game-changing and revolutionary hooks, paddles, sunglasses, rods, reels and kayaks. It’s my opinion that while some offer really interesting and innovating solutions and features that give anglers a better experience on the water, most simply fall short on their delivery. By delivery, I mean a true improvement in performance during real-world applications and fully-functional angling-specific features.

Spearheading an independent and original approach to problem solving during the research and development process with no compromise is a dangerous, expensive and risky endeavor, but it’s safe to say that YakAttack has mastered that approach.

YakAttack’s reputation has been to design and manufacture with excellence while emphasizing in American jobs with keen attention to customer needs and wants.

Luther Ciffers, the mastermind of Yakattack, has now created Bonafide Kayaks under the same vision and mission. Their first kayak, the Bonafide SS-127, is the creation by a team of industry leaders and innovators who include Luther Ciffers, kayak designer Hans Nutz, product manager Jake Fuller, and equally important, the ever crucial feedback from avid kayak anglers.

The Bonafide SS-127 was revealed in Orlando, FL, during the 2017 iCast trade show. During our stop at Bonafide, I had the fortune to spend some time with Hans, the lead designer of the SS-127. I cannot emphasize enough how interesting it was to hear first hand about the challenges and solutions they overcame to bring out from concept the SS-127.

I can attempt to explain every feature about the kayak, but I couldn’t do it better than the man himself, Hans Nutz. While the kayak definitely looked different, I knew that no matter what our friends from Bonafide said about how the SS-127 would function, the only honest way to know about its performance was by spending some time on the water.

Recently, Bobby Clark, an established name in the industry and new Bonafide Team Manager, met with me at a lake in north Houston, Texas to demo a fully-functional prototype of  the SS-127.

Typically, the first thing most people test and “feel” about the kayak is the stability. For those not familiar with hull design and performance, all kayaks (same goes for SUPs and canoes) have primary (also known as initial) and secondary stability which is given by the shape of the hull. Primary stability is the initial steadiness of the kayak and secondary stability is the ability for the kayak to stay stable when more pressure or weight is added to one side. I went into depth on those terms because I was amazed about both initial and secondary stability on the SS-127.

The kayak is rock solid, and I dare to say, is one of the most stable kayaks I’ve ever tested. When leaning on the side to test secondary stability the kayak didn’t lean as expected. The handles on the kayaks are proprietary and super strong. The rear handle folds down so it stays away during rudder operation. The front hatch has another newly-invented hinge/latch design that allows the paddler to selectively open the hatch from the front or the back as the hinges can be used as latches or vice-versa.

“Spearheading an independent and original approach to problem solving during the research and development process with no compromise is a dangerous, expensive and risky endeavor but it is safe to say that YakAttack has mastered that approach.”

Have you ever struggled trying to put rods inside the front hatch? How about a paddle? The benefit is easy access to the hatch while on the cockpit of the kayak and being able to store rods and paddles when off the water without having the cover get in the way.  

Like most kayaks, the front hatch features a paddle sheath with rod tip holders. These aren’t your average rod tip holders as the team created a practical and usable system with grooves on the hatch and notches on the tackle drawer (located under the seat), making it fully functional and solving the problem of reels falling in the water while the tip stays on the boat. The center console of the kayaks is a multi-use, waterproof box for storing small pieces of gear and/or a power source with transducer and fish finder. The box can be removed when off the water as it self contains all the elements of your electronics; a nice thing to have for security and to save prep time at the boat ramp.

The foot pegs were also created by the Bonafide design team instead of using current available designs. The advantage is having super durable, strong and sturdy foot braces mounted on aluminum tracks from Yakattack (I have yet to see a track fail).

The center of the cockpit is lined with silence EVA padding for added traction and stealthiness on the water. The width of the cockpit also opens up and offers a few extra inches of standing platform which translates on a wide stand. By now, you should be able to see how the kayak is loaded with little but relevant design differences that make a huge improvement in performance.

Looking for seat adjustability? You got it. How about a low-seating option along with one of the highest seat positions on the market? Done. Comfortable from the bottom and back? It doesn’t get more high back than this one.

The seat is simply on point. The low position allows for lower wind resistance (if needed) and the high position makes it a breeze to stand while still offering great torso and core support while paddling. Under the seat, the SS-127 includes a track drawer, which as mentioned before, not only holds the butt of the rods when stored horizontally on the deck, but also offers plenty of space for tackle boxes and relevant gear while sliding from under for easy access.

How many times have you fumbled under the seat trying to get your favorite bag of lures or pliers? You won’t have that problem thanks to the tackle drawer. The bow has a tankwell big enough for everything you need to carry and will fit a Yakattack Blackpack, milk crate or small cooler like a glove. The stern is also Micro Power Pole ready and will feature an optional rudder.

The Bonafide SS127 exceeded all expectations and fully delivered on its promises. True innovation from a kayak brand that is completely new to the market!

Check out our quick run down the Bonafide SS-127 below!

4 comments

  1. i had a chance to demo this kayak this past weekend. i really, really liked it. i’m gonna point out a couple things as well. the kayak paddles straight and true when sitting but when i stood up and paddled the tracking wasn’t very good. if i took one stroke on either side it would turn sharp. compared to my stealth 12, it tracks really well in both positions.

    the standing platform or “perch” that is on the left and right of the seat. those pads are angled down slightly (towards the water). so it feels like you could possible slip off. if those pads start to wear over time i could see that being an issue. i like the idea but maybe change the angle up so your foot is at a more natural angle. i have really good balance and it was a little sketchy.

    adjusting the seat took some time to figure out at first. its low position is probably higher that most kayaks high position. but the high position is amazing. either way the seat is the “highlight” of this kayak. the seat only locks down on the front two latches. if you got pitched off the kayak from coming in off the surf and the kayak flipped the seat would take a punch if it hit the bottom/beach and probably twist the tracks off and break them since there no way to lock the back of the seat down. that might be a 2.0 tweak to prevent the seat from twisting but then adjusting the seat might be a little more cumbersome.

    the last thing i noticed is the two scupper holes under the front of the seat. if i lay my rods down on the deck (and the seat is in the low position), my reel is almost on top of the scupper hole. if you are going through cover and don’t want your rods getting tangled you have to have your rod tips pushed all the way back and that leaves your reel over the scupper hole. i had a 7’6” rod with me. keep an eye on were you place your reel.

    i didn’t notice what mr. mueller pointed out but i think it’s a valid comment if you have a wider body type. since i’m a thinner guy (165#) the seat worked for me.

    all in all i think it’s a great kayak, mind you this is just my opinion, it still makes my cut of a possible purchase and it’s made in the USA. i still need to try the cuda hd12 or the stealth 12.

  2. Just picked up a Bonafide 127. After several trips I must say most of what I read is correct regarding the stability, workmanship, maneuverability, etc. The one big complaint I have is the seat is too narrow. Its only 16″ inside the frame. So a lot of kayakers [like me] will be sitting on the seat frame if their hip is wider than 16″. With 3″ on each side of the seat used for the adjustment bracket there is room to widen the seat. Hope Bonafide is listening.

    1. I totally agree! I just picked up an SS127 as well, and the seat frame is digging into me and becomes uncomfortable after a half hour. I really like the kayak, but I’ll be honest, the seat on my Sea Ghost is way more comfortable and is only an inch wider. A little disappointed at this price point.

  3. Great to see a new kayak out on the water! I kayak and fish in fresh and salt water with my 90 pound dog. He sits in the rear well. What are the dimensions of this well? What is the weight capacity of this kayak? Is the kayak balanced in a way that an extra 90# in the rear would be doable with balance/tracking/etc? I have had the most success with the Old Town Predator but due to it being stolen I am currently using a Jackson Cuda. It is not as stable or roomy and I am always on the lookout for something that would meet my needs. Thank you for answering my questions. I ma very excited about a new kayak prospect!