Photo: Jeff Moag

Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.7
($1,599 in roto-molded polyethylene,
L: 15’5″; W:29.1″; 77 lbs., 450-lb. capacity

Built and bred for the ocean, Ocean Kayak’s own supremely well-equipped New Zealand import stands out. Any discussion of this Trident starts with the boat’s game-changing features. The Multifunctional Reversible Center Hatch Cover—a mouthful synonymous with awesome—is the heart of this fish-savvy system. The top and bottom sides of the uniquely jointed center hatch can flip over interchangeably—ideal for safe storage of sensitive electronics during splashy surf transits. Even the fasteners are superb, easy-to-grab rubberized toggles that create a seaworthy seal. Then there’s the fishfinder transducer fitting, pioneered a few years back by OK’s engineers (now thankfully compatible with most brands), that no longer clogs a scupper.

On the water, the Ultra paddles a lot like OK’s proven Trident 15, only swifter. Taping out at 15 feet, 5 inches, the boat somehow sports both heft and grace. This is a supreme big-water fish killer built for the long haul, as the sharp, elongated bow slices a straight and easy course through lazy ocean rollers. The tradeoff is a jittery ride when rapid-fire chop hits the bow sideways—one that’s easily countered, though the lumpy water common in tight spots isn’t this cruiser’s prime habitat.

Aftermarket add-ons are legion, including a hand-pumped bait tank, an internal rod tube and the Ice Box, a serious above-deck aft storage unit. The Ultra comes in only one flavor, ready to fish including the rudder, which explains the elevated base price, a premium but fair cost given the fishing-forward features. Even minor fittings are molded-in, a supreme mark of quality.