First Look: Old Town BigWater ePDL+ 132

After years of R&D and months of secrecy, the biggest advancement in motorized kayaks hits the water

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Anglers are good at keeping a secret, but it took all my powers of conspiracy to keep my lips sealed when, a month before the official release, I got an exclusive preview of Old Town’s new BigWater 132 ePDL. After the OT team’s teaser, I was sworn to secrecy until the new system was let out of the bag at ICAST 23 Demo Day.

First Look: Old Town BigWater ePDL+ 132

And the big secret is big news. Old Town has combined their proven PDL pedal system with an electric motor. The system allows anglers to choose manual pedaling, pedal assist or full motor power. Combined with a matching lithium battery, the ePDL is the lightest, simplest and most compact motor system.

man tests out pedaling the Old Town BigWater ePDL+ 132 kayak at ICAST 2023 demo day

Pedal or Cruise with the ePDL

Here’s how it works. Based on the Sportsman BigWater or Old Town Predator kayak, the ePDL looks like a standard PDL pedal system with a small LCD screen and four buttons.

With the power off, the ePDL pedals turn the propellor like a typical pedal system. Turn on the power and use the up and down buttons to select 1 through 5 power assist levels. As you toggle through the levels, turning the pedals becomes easier and the boat moves faster. Stop pedaling and the propellor stops turning.

Hit the Cruise Control button, and the ePDL goes into total motor power. Stop turning the pedals and the motor takes over. Toggle through 1 to 5 levels to increase speed. To disengage the motor, turn the pedals backwards and the ePDL returns to pedal power.

So, what’s the big deal? The ePDL offers a light, compact and simple system that is easy to use and quick to install and remove. The motor is powered by an advanced 36 volt, 20 amp hour lithium battery stored in a water-resistant hatch beneath the seat.

Installation takes seconds. Just drop the ePDL in the pedal well in the deck, connect the power cord to the motor and battery and stash the battery in the hatch. The ePDL quickly goes into shallow water mode by turning a dial and tilting the system forward.

Under total motor power at full speed, the battery will only last three hours. But reducing the motor speed can extend battery life for days. And, adding pedal assist further increases the battery’s range. In manual and assist mode, the ePDL instantly goes from forward to reverse by spinning the pedals backwards. Turn the kayak left and right with a large rudder attached to a knob next to the kayak seat.

Anglers Get the Best of Both Worlds

The ePDL is perfect match for how most angler use a motorized kayak. You can motor to the fishing grounds, then switch to pedal power to maneuver the boat while fishing. To jet from one spot to the next, engage the pedal assist to make quick easy work of covering short distances.

While the ePDL is smart and beautiful, the biggest advantage is the confidence the motor system will inspire in anglers. You don’t have to worry about covering longer distances or running out of battery power. If you do drain the battery, simply switch to manual power and pedal the BigWater like a standard PDL kayak. Best of all, transporting, launching, operating and maintaining the ePDL is easier and more reliable than other motor systems.

man tests out pedaling the Old Town ePDL kayak at ICAST 2023 demo day

All of this puts kayak fishing and fun on the water in reach of more people and gives serious anglers greater options for pushing the limits of the sport. The ePDL is the biggest advancement in fishing kayaks since the addition of pedals and frame seats. I can keep my fishing spots and tactics secret, but you can understand keeping the ePDL on the DL was a challenge for the tightest lipped angler.


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  1. The small battery size is really disappointing. As in “deal breaker for me.”
    C’mon OT, a 100
    AH lithium battery only weighs about 30-35 pounds, I have a couple. And they aren’t huge. I’m sure I could get one into a kayak.

    I’m shopping for kayak, but that one won’t be on my shortlist. Bummer, too. It sounds like they get everything but battery right.


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