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!