Designers: Why is Every New Fishing Kayak for Fat Guys?
An Open Letter from Uncle Scupper
This anonymous rant came wrapped in a rotten mackerel slipped under the hatch of my well-used first-year Revo. Kayak Fish welcomes comment from our readers. Next time drop us a line via our Facebook page. It’s easier on the nose. -KF
No offense to the big boy kayak fisherman but come on. I've recently seen sneak peeks from two premier US kayak companies. Both new boats are variations on the yacht, kayaks that are big, slow, dry and not much fun to paddle.
First: We all know it's a water sport. Anyone afraid to get wet should take up cross-stitch or video games. The last decade has seen an endless line of high-sided, wide, slow paddling monstrosities that shouldn't actually be called kayaks. We understand no one wants to go back to a wet butt 24-inch wide SOT design, but the US market surely does not need another 30-inch plus kayak.
Second: Freeboard. Stop it. Coastal regions tend to be burdened with a four-letter word. Wind. Wind, aside from being the enemy of all toupees is the archenemy of freeboard and every time you add another inch of freeboard to add volume you add more surface area for the wind to slap your boat around. Seriously.
Stop demoing your kayak on a test pond and go paddle 10 miles against a 20-knot wind. At mile five stop and rest. Pull out your cell phone and snap a selfie as you are getting blown backwards. Now, when you get back to the office laser print that mother flipper on an 8×10 glossy and pin it above your computer. Look at that pic and the pain etched on your gob every day. Then, think about adding more freeboard.
Finally, consider the metrics. The average weight of a US male over age 20 is 195. That means there is a huge (Dude, I am so not referencing body weight) demographic that has not had a kayak designed for them by any US manufacturer in the last decade. The under two-hundy crowd is begging for a new line. At this point, the non-fat kids are importing kayaks form Europe, Canada, and New Zealand at a premium because no US manufacturer is paying attention.
Really! What gives? I'll trade you a center hatch and raised seat for something 15 feet long and less than 28 inches wide. Easy on the freeboard please.
And btw… just to be clear... if I wanted pedals I'd buy a Schwinn.
PS - We don't care if there's a little water in the boat.