Test paddling the hot new gear for 2015

Test paddling the hot new gear for 2015

Posted by Ryan Bayes on 2014 Aug 6th

2015 is going to be an exciting year for paddle sports, particularly stand up paddling and kayak fishing. While there were some cool new touring kayaks and recreational kayaks its obvious that most manufactures are focusing their resources on the two fastest growing segments in paddling, kayak fishing and sup!

Here are some of the highlights from the open air demo,

IMG_2844

If I had to choose just one new craft I’m most fired up about, it would probably be this bad boy, Jackson Kayaks new Cuda 12LT. The Cuda LT is Jackson’s first thermal formed kayak and easily the most tricked out lightweight fishing kayak soon to be on the market. The LT is rumored to be almost 20 lbs lighter than the poly version. The poly Cuda has already been one of our most popular fishing kayaks and I’m sure the LT is going be a big hit too. We have been asking for a thermal formed fishing kayak for years. Looks like Jackson was listening!

IMG_2845

Another highly anticipated fishing kayak by Jackson, the Kraken. This is an offshore or big water fishing boat. This thing is crazy decked out, possibly the most heavily accessorized fishing kayak I have ever seen. It comes standard with lights, live well, cooler, live well pump, 30 million rod holders and any other trinket you could ever want to make catching fish easier. I took this thing for a short cruise and was impressed with the speed as well as the maneuverability for a bigger kayak like this. It’s not being promoted as a standing platform but I found it plenty stable enough to comfortably stand in mildly choppy water. If you need to paddle a long distance to catch big fish or hang out in rough waters the Kraken might be for you. Oh ya, there is an all new super comfy height and trim adjustable seat, complete with therm-a-rest lumbar support.  Don’t get to comfy though, you have to be awake to land that fish!

IMG_2846

Jackson now has a line of fishing coolers. These coolers are built with fishing in mind, they have a standing grippy platform top as well as tracks to mount what ever you might need. Lots of heavy duty tie downs as well. Built out of heavy duty plastic, this might be the last cooler you ever buy. Comes in 3 sizes, one pictured is the biggest size.

IMG_2847

First class view from the Kraken, the seat is as comfortable as it looks!

IMG_2850

The Amundson 12’6″ TR was our best selling touring board this year and my personal favourite. I was really stoked to get out on the all new 12’6″ x 27″ TR-X. This board paddled great, not as stable as its 29″ wide bigger brother but it was a good deal faster. Here John Amundson is giving me the quick run down on this board. This was one of the best looking boards on the beach, and there was literally hundreds of boards on the beach. I don’t think this thinner 12’6″ is going to outsell the 29″ wider model but for people looking for easy paddling speed this is worth checking out.

IMG_2851

The most exciting new kayak for the touring crowd is easily Current Designs new Equinox GT and GTS. Based off our already best selling Solstice GT and GTS this 16′ shorter version is going to be a big hit with the touring crowd that doesn’t need 17′+. These will be available in kevlar and glass and will be built in North America so you can expect Current Designs standard industry leading construction.

IMG_2852

Another highly anticipated fishing kayak, The Hobie Pro Angler 2. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I was asked at shows if the Pro Angler was available in a tandem.  Well now it is! At 17′ long this thing is really a boat more than kayak, and like a boat you might be wanting a trailer to move this thing.

IMG_2853

Some big news as well from Hobie on the mirage drive. The mirage drive now has updated bearings and will come standard with the ST fins. Apparently these 2 improvements are over 10% more efficient than the previous generation. I can vouch that these new drives are smoother.

IMG_2854

The only criticism I ever heard about Hobie’s amazing hands free kayaks was that the seats were not as advanced or as comfortable as other brands, — not anymore! These new seats are standard on all Hobie Kayaks. Welcome to the next generation of Hobie!

IMG_2855

Naish has a few new models too and some of the best looking boards on the beach.

IMG_2856

Old Town has a sweet new fishing rig as well. The all-new Predator XL Minn-kota comes standard with a 40lb thrust electric trolling motor. The motor mounts through a slick pod in the centre of the hull. It has several options for pods if you are not using the motor. While it was nowhere near as fast as the Torqueedo Electric motor I have been using in my Hobie Pro Angler 12, you can get this hole package for about the cost of a Pro Angler, without the motor.

IMG_2857

Wilderness System’s new Tandem Touring Kayak. Based off the highly successful Tsunami hull shape, this cruiser is equipped with Wilderness Systems industry leading Phase 3 seat.

IMG_2858

Wilderness Systems Thresher. Another dedicated off shore fishing platform being offered in 2 lengths. Designed to handle big surf and big water. Highly customizable console system and large forward hatch for keeping your catch in.

IMG_2861

The centre hatch is designed for easy storage and easy access to rods. Stow the rods securely inside while you break out through the surf or rough water. Of course it also has a fish finder ready console as well.

IMG_2862

New seat for the Ride series. The new seat can tilt, raise and slide forward or aft.  It even has a recliner option for the ultimate kayak fishing/lounging experience.

IMG_2863

Starboard has totally redone the Touring series as well. This was one of my favourite boards at the demo. It felt faster and tracked straighter than the old Touring series. This is the 12’6″ x 30″ model and was a blast to paddle!

Stay tuned we have 3 more days down here checking out the new gear.

Ryan Bayes