Recreation: Recreational kayak sales are still one of the fastest growing markets in paddle sports. Often referred to as "Rec" boats, these kayaks are designed largely for inexperienced paddlers or paddlers that just want to do short day trips. Rec kayaks are generally very stable and have large cockpits to make getting in and out easy. On the flip side, these large cockpits make it harder to get a dry fit from a skirt and can ultimately make the kayak a little less seaworthy if things get rough. Recreational kayaks are generally shorter than touring kayaks, with less speed and less tracking than their longer counterparts. A short kayak is inherently harder to make paddle in a straight line. This makes the design of the kayak that much more important for an enjoyable paddling experience.
Wilderness Systems has for a long time had the best selling Rec kayaks here at WCK with their hugely successful Pungo 10', 12' and 14'. This year Wilderness Systems has rolled out a new recreational kayak with many of the features people loved the Pungo for but with a few additions that make it more suited for slightly more advanced or aggressive paddlers. The Aspire 10' and 10'5" resemble the Pungo at first glance but have a few distinct differences.
|The Aspire 10 is best suited for smaller paddler and the 10.5 for |
larger paddlers, both Aspire models will sell for $699
The Pungo is known for having one of the most aggressive keels on any kayak. That is largely why these short kayaks paddle like much longer, more efficient kayaks. The Aspire keeps some of this aggressive keel but has a retractable drop skeg. This skeg can be pulled up when more maneuverability is desired or can be dropped down to take advantage of better tracking for open water or rougher conditions. Just like the Pungo 10' the Aspire comes standard with the easy to use rear hatch and bulkhead. The Aspire also has a moulded in "console" with a place for your drink, camera or tackle.
Possibly though our favourite feature of this new kayak is a feature that has made Wilderness Systems dominate the recreational kayak market for years, their seat. The entire lineup this year form Wilderness Systems has the new and improved Air Pro Seating. This is arguably the most comfortable and adjustable seat ever put into a kayak. If a bad back has kept you from enjoying kayaking in the past, it's time you come down and check out this amazing seat.
|On-water adjustment and comfort are standard on the new Airpro seats.|
Perception Kayaks has also launched a new kayak expanding on their Expression 13.5" and 14" series with a very capable and sporty 11.5'. The Expression 11.5' is a hard kayak to categorize. We like to put under 13' kayaks into the recreational category but the Expression 11.5' is such a capable kayak that it almost falls into the light touring category. While it is shorter than traditional "light touring" or " day tripping" kayaks generally in 13'-14' range, this kayak has many of the features that make longer kayaks more suited for touring. The Expression 11.5' has a smaller cockpit than most rec kayaks making it easier to get a dry fitting seal from a skirt as well as making self rescues easier. It also has adjustable thigh braces giving the paddler more control than kayaks with larger cockpits. The Expression is also narrower than most 11.5' kayaks. While this does come at the expense of some stability, the performance benefits are very impressive. The Aspire has remarkable glide and responds very well to edge turns and paddler input. Fitted with a drop skeg, when it is time to cover some water, this 11' kayak will leave many similar length boats in its wake. With rear bulkhead and comfortable adjustable seat, this kayak will no doubt be a huge hit. If you like to push yourself and progress at your sports but don't want a longer kayak to store and transport, the Expression is definitely worth checking out.
Sit On Top's: While there are a lot of new Sit On Top Models and upgrades for 2013, most of them will fall into the "Fishing Kayak" category down the page. The really big exciting news in the recreational sit on top world is Jackson Kayaks Cruise 12. Based largely off their super popular fishing series the Cuda, this kayak is ridiculously stable. Just like the Cuda series, the Cruise is designed to stand as well as sit; that should speak something about this kayak's stability. Since the Cuda came out, the non angling crowd has longed for a similar kayak but with out all the extra fishing goodies. Their wait is over. The Cruise has Jackson's highly coveted high low seating and removable chair making your time on the beach as comfortable as your time on the water.
|The Cruise 12 with Jackson's famous high/low removable seat, all for $899.|
Fishing: For us here at WCK Kayak Fishing is hands down the largest area of growth, with more and more float tubers and pontoon boat anglers upgrading to faster, dryer, more comfortable fishing kayaks. This market continues to grow faster than we ever expected. In an effort to keep up with this huge growth, manufacturers continue to release new models and upgrade existing lines. There is way too much news in this category to do justice to here. I will try to highlight some of the most exciting news, but to get the full picture, come in and check out our 25+ fishing specific kayaks.
Jackson Kayaks has some exciting news this year on the fishing front. First off, all Jackson Kayaks now come decked out with Ram Fishing Rod holders and moulded in GoPro Camera mounts, cause we all know if you don't have proof it probably wasn't really that big.
Jackson also has a new kayak for 2013, the Cuda 12. The Cuda really doesn't need any introduction. Imagine all the things anglers already loved about the Cuda 14 and put it into a smaller, lighter package. While the Cuda 14 is better suited for ocean fishing or larger lakes where more distance needs to be covered, the 12 will be better suited to smaller lakes, easy rivers or smaller paddlers wanting an easier to transport package. High/low adjustable seating, standing friendly, rod and tackle storage everywhere, just like the 14, we know this kayak is going to be a hit.
|Cuda 12 with rudder $1399, without rudder $1199.|
Jackson Kayaks has never been a company that liked to follow. This is evident in their innovative designs and out of the box thinking when it comes to fishing. To keep the tradition alive, Jackson has another first for the angling community. The SuperFishal is the first ever fishing specific, stand up paddle board. Yes, you did read that right. Complete with Rod, camera, paddle, and drink holders, this board was really designed to catch some fish. Check out WCK Fishing Team member Len Zilkowsky blog for upcoming reviews and pictures of these cool new boards.
|At $869 the SuperFishal might just give some of the kayak fishing hype a run for its money.|
Wilderness Systems has also done some upgrading to their already awesome fishing line up. Both the Tarpon and the Ride series form Wilderness Systems got upgraded to the new Airpro Seat system. Adjustability, breathability, and comfort are the key features of this seat. Don't take our word on it though, let your butt and back do the talking. The Ride series also comes with a new "Advance" seating system. The Advance System raises the paddler's position almost 5" making it easier to cast as well as giving a better vantage point. Added bonus, handy under seat tackle storage with a bungee to secure your valuable tackle. The Ride was one of the top selling fishing kayaks last year and with these upgrades to an already awesome platform, it is sure to enjoy more success this year.
|The new Ride 11.5' and 13.5' Airpro Advanced Seat System.|
Light Touring/ Day Tripping: These boats are generally in the 14' range and offer paddlers the option of doing some light touring weekend trips in comfort or with some careful packing, the ability to go on wee- long outings and beyond. While there are not a lot of new kayaks in this market for 2013, some of our favourites have gotten some upgrades and revisions.
Again, Wilderness Systems has led this category in sales with their Tsunami and like the rest of their lineup this year, the Tsunami also got a new seat in both plastic and fibreglass models. As well Wilderness Systems has improved the construction of the fibreglass kayaks across their line up. The new construction is more rigid and more durable with only a slight increase in weight. As well, we are excited to see the Wilderness Systems fibreglass boat manufacturing moved from China to Eastern Europe.
|The Tsunami 140 pictured here with the new Airpro Seat. $2199 without optional rudder.|
The Jackson Journey has been a favourite amongst paddlers looking for a 14 light touring kayak capable of doing some aggressive paddling. Many 14' kayaks are designed to make paddling easy. The Journey is designed to make paddling fun. This is a light touring kayak that you won't outgrow as your paddling progresses. At home in surf and rough waters, the Journey is also capable of long distance tripping. The lively hull partnered with Jackson whitewater kayak-esq outfitting, offer an amazing amount of control for advanced paddling or comfort for long days on the water. While the Journey hull has not changed for 2013 (and why would it?) the Journey did get some added features. Like all Jackson Kayaks for 2013 the Journey 13.5' and 14' come standard with GoPro camera mounts, a Jackson branded Nalgine bottle as well as a new hull stiffener to make an already great kayak even better.
|The Journey comes in a lot of cool new colours for 2013. Check the Jackson website for a full range of colours. Both 13.5' and 14' Journeys are $1399 with a rudder.|
Check back next week for an update on the new whitewater kayaks as well as several new Stand Up Paddle Boards that WCK will be stocking. Check our site as well for the new demo day schedule for 2013.