What’s hot? What’s going to be hot? We asked four kayak designers from four different points on the industry compass for their predictions in fishing kayak design. When choosing your next kayak, keep in mind these words of crystal ball gazing.
CEO // Vibe Kayaks
Vibe Kayaks exploded onto the scene in 2013 with a line of value-priced boats and smart fishing features. This year, they are adding the Shearwater 125, a versatile fishing machine with multiple options for layout, seating and power.
“Foot-power kayaks are going to continue becoming more widely available, but I think we are going to see more kayaks designed for electric power. With more tournaments allowing motorized kayaks, I think we will see more boats prewired with mounting options and modified hulls for motor power.
On the paddling side, I think we are going to see more simple, light and stable boats with open deck space. There are also going to be more seating options for adjustable positions, improved ergonomics and better back support. And I think we are going to see manufacturers revisiting the ergonomics of foot braces. Some boats have seats seven to 12 inches off the deck. The angle of the foot brace should change to be more comfortable.”
Senior Fishing Brand Manager // Hobie
Almost 20 years ago, Hobie changed paddlesports when they replaced paddles with pedals. Brand manager, Morgan Promnitz has been onboard for most of the ride. His fishing skill and eye for design have informed many of the company’s most iconic and genre-breaking boats.
“With many kayak manufacturers getting into the pedal-drive market, you’ll see kayaks that are wider and more stable. The paddle stroke limits how wide a boat can be, so a pedal-drive system makes it possible to design a wider boat. You are also going to see more kayaks with higher seats allowing anglers to see and target fish better.
In the past, the rotation in the upper body required to make a paddle stroke limited seat design, and now seats can support the angler and have higher arm rests because they are not interfering with body movement.”
President // YakAttack
After defining the kayak fishing accessory market as president of YakAttack, Luther Cifers changed fishing kayak design with Bonafide Kayaks. The tunnel hull, stealth lines and feature-rich designs are out of this world, a blast back to the future.
“In general, I think we are at a divergent place in the evolution of kayak fishing. We are seeing more inexpensive kayaks at box stores that I would describe as very entry-level. On the other hand, we are seeing more high-end boats. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how that divergence plays out and how newcomers who start out with an entry-level model ultimately work their way up to a more high-end one.
“For us, the biggest trend in design is improving what I call ‘fishability.’ Buyers can expect to see a better integration of features into the boat. On our boats, we focused on a better hull design to improve stability, but we also included smart, angler-friendly features like an integrated shelf under the seat. We try to imagine things anglers wish they had but can’t add to their current boat.”
President // NuCanoe
NuCanoe has always been unconventional. Their practical canoe and kayak hybrids focus on versatility and comfort with an open deck and wide, rounded hull. As the guiding force, Blake Young has always been ahead of his time and looking into the future.
“I think the long-term trend is a design loosely connected to a traditional kayak. The new concept is a personal fishing craft that is low maintenance, easy to transport, offers a great experience and gets the owner connected into the kayak fishing community. More people are becoming connected and forming relationships that make kayak fishing more fun. Sharing tips, trading rigging and outfitting ideas, comparing kayaks, meeting up and friendly competition are just a few ways I see this playing out. The make-the-boat-your-own customization plays into the social aspect, every kayak angler wants to share his unique setup.”
Keeping it reel. Photo: Martin Lortzsa