Testing the Ocean Kayak Torque
Look Ma, no hands. The Ocean Kayak Torque glides silently through the water. But where's the paddle? Strapped to the side. That's right, this is an electric 'yak that sports a couple of horses under the hood. At first glance, it doesn't really look it. Based on the excellent Trident 13, the deck is pristine and clean, with a bow hatch up front, the obligatory storage well for gear storage aft, the excellent center console Mod Pod, plus Ocean Kayak's trademark fishfinder-compatible scupper and a designated space to stash a hard-sided tackle box.
The pre-wired 36-pound thrust, saltwater-rated motor pod is built by trolling motor mainstay Minn Kota. It fits flush in the slotted storage well (don't worry, it floats). The recommended, optional power pack, a heavy 12-volt sealed AGM marine battery that should run some eight hours, tucks neatly out of sight into a front cockpit hatch. The location keeps the boat perfectly trimmed. Setup takes a minute, tops. Ready to hit the gas, er, watts? Bump it up to 5.5 mph with a turn of an inconspicuous rotary throttle knob. It has infinite variable forward and reverse speed control. Steering is via rudder foot pedals.
Handling is superb, preserving Ocean Kayak's sea-going sensibility. The Torque travels straight even with the rudder up, and gobbles up surf and chop. If you turn it off, it paddles well too, with the motor off or swapped out for the included skeg plug. A friendly deck offers plentiful aftermarket rigging options. Original skepticism aside (we purists enjoy paddling), the Torque is an undeniably fun and wickedly effective fishing weapon.
OCEAN KAYAK TORQUE
($2,200 in roto-molded plastic, oceankayak.com)
L: 13'10"; W: 29"; 86 lbs., 425-475-lb. capacity
Tested July 2010