Take a piece of paper and draw a two-column chart. Label the left column advantages. The right column is disadvantages. Every kayak designer starts with this chart. In the left-hand column, they list “inexpensive, simple, rugged, diverse.” Under disadvantages they scribble “heavy, bulky, slow, unstable.” The challenge facing the Point 65 designers with their updated KingFisher modular kayak is checking items on the left column and crossing negatives off the right side.
Point 65 KingFisher Specs
Weight: 70 lbs
Capacity: 287 lbs
Point 65’s KingFisher Achieves Fine Balance
This is how Richard Ohm and Swedish designer Magnus DeBrito designed the original Point 65 KingFisher modular kayak. To cross “bulky, heavy and awkward” off the right-hand side of the list, this ingenious kayak separates into two pieces.
To keep “rugged, stable and diverse” on the left side, they rotomolded the kayak. “I wanted to create a more rigid and durable kayak,” Ohm explains. He also wanted a portable kayak that was easy to set up.
The result is Point 65’s modular concept. The bow and stern sections connect with a latch system similar to a cross-country ski binding. This allows the user to tightly cinch down the two halves. “Designing the kayak to withstand the rigors of the sea was one of the biggest challenges,” Ohm says.
Ohm remembers, “We released the first model in 2009 and customers have been asking for more.” After focusing on recreational and touring kayaks, this year Point 65 added a pedal drive fishing kayak to the stable.
KingFisher Breaks Down for Easy Storage
Building on the success of their Tequila sit-on-top fishing kayak, Ohm says customers were looking for a pedal drive kayak that is easy to own. The KingFisher is Point 65’s attempt to make a full-size fishing kayak that can fit in the trunk of a car.
At 11 feet long and 31 inches wide, the boat weighs in at only 70 pounds without the pedals. Already, it’s lighter and narrower than a typical big boat. The KingFisher is designed to paddle as well as it pedals; a trimaran hull provides incredible stability while allowing the boat to cut through the water.
The boat has many of the features expected of a factory-rigged fishing kayak. Flush mount rod holders, gear tracks, padded deck and bungees make the boat water-ready out of the box. To accommodate a fish finder, Point 65 molded a transducer pocket into one of the KingFisher’s scuppers. The bow and stern hatches have removable gear bins and plenty of storage below deck. I always appreciate horizontal rod holders with rod tip protectors when I’m fishing beneath low-hanging cover or dragging the kayak through the woods to the launch.
Of course, no fishing kayak is complete without a comfortable seat. The KingFisher Game Chair is a mesh-covered cushy throne that can be raised or lowered and even removed from the kayak to use as a beach chair.
Impulse Drive Will Enhance Your Fishing
Even without the pedals, the Point 65 KingFisher is a formidable fishing machine. Add the Impulse Drive system and the boat becomes a competitive pedal kayak.
The Impulse Drive pedal system is one of the lightest we’ve tested. And the parts and components can be repaired and replaced. The lower unit fits solidly through the deck and secures with two pins. The gearing turns the propeller fast enough to propel the boat at a respectable speed.
The only drawback is the rudder. The KingFisher uses dual rudders at the end of each pontoon. Handles on either side of the seat turn the rudder. The handles are synchronized so when you turn one both rudders respond. This is handy. However, I found them difficult to turn and the rudders slow to react.
The boat moves through the water well and pedals easily. For shallow water clearance, the pedal system has to be removed. I was concerned the modular boat would flex or shift on the water, but the connection was solid and the seam had no effect on performance.
The KingFisher really shines on land. Back at the launch, I was able to disassemble the boat in seconds. Push a lever on the latch, lift the kayak and it breaks into two halves. Each half of the kayak is light enough to carry with one hand. The two sections can be stacked to fit in a hatchback or stored in a closet.
Go Modular with the Point 65 KingFisher Kayak
In an effort to create a kayak with more advantages than disadvantages, Point 65 KingFisher offers a pedal boat experience with the convenience of a folding or inflatable kayak. If you’re looking for a pedal kayak you can fit in your life, check out the Point 65 KingFisher.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
Performs like a hard-body, packs like an inflatable. | Feature photo: Roberto Westbrook