Posted on October 24, 2011

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 the Trident Ultra 4.7 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.