Feelfree is the kayak company that has built a wheel into the hull of their kayaks. When you pull up to the beach or boat ramp and jump out of your Lure 11.5 kayak and drag it back to your car on the wheel, you will get impressed looks from people. I guarantee lots of people will be looking at and talking to you about this kayak. I am not sure you can really call a kayak sexy but this one surely is! Looks aren’t everything, however, and the guys from Feelfree have included some really clever features in this kayak.
To say this kayak is stable is an understatement. I have tried to really rock it and it centres itself very easily. It also felt very stable in some light wind chop and swell that I have experienced in some semi-open water. I would have no problem giving it a go in some more challenging conditions based on its performance to date, but with all kayak trips I will assess the conditions fully before I head out.
I am a pretty uncoordinated guy but when I stood up in the Lure 11.5 it felt like I was almost on solid ground. Heck, I almost did the Macarena on it, but I could not remember the steps. Mounted at the front of the kayak cockpit is a leash that you use to pull yourself up out of the seat into the standing position. I tried to stand without using the strap and I could feel the momentum transfer to the kayak as I pushed myself up and I felt a bit unstable. The strap removed this feeling and certainly worked well.
This kayak is made for standing. It has some foamy stuff stuck on to the floor as a non-slip measure and the cockpit is nice and flat with nothing to trip over. It was easy to manoeuvre the kayak from the standing position using the standard kayak paddle.
People wonder why you would want to stand on a kayak. The main advantage for me is to help see fish. The elevated position really improves the angle you can see into the water while wearing polarised sunglasses. It is also handy for casting into some locations. Retrieving lures from trees is also a lot easier and sometimes it is just nice to stand up and have a stretch. Fly fishing is also a bit easier from the standing position as you do not need to be as concerned about trying to keep the back cast elevated.
After sitting in the Lure 11.5’s Gravity Seat you may not want to stand up anyway. This is the most comfortable kayak seat I have ever used. It is fully padded and the angle of the backrest is adjustable. The height of the seat can also be easily adjusted just with a lever. Even when you pull up on shore the seat can be easily removed from the kayak and used as a comfortable camp chair for smoko. There are also pockets on the side of the seat so you can securely store a few items like pliers and lure scent.
While seated in the super comfy seat there is a whole heap of different features within easy reach to make your fishing easier. Between your legs is a hatch lid with some elastic on it to hold a water bottle and when the hatch is opened using the simple latch there is a good-size space to hold some soft plastic packets and even a mobile phone stored in a waterproof container. Be aware this area is not waterproof and water does seem to make its way in there.
Located along the sides of the kayak is a track system that is compatible with most track mounting systems eg. Scotty, RAM, and Ralblaza. I easily fitted my Railblaza mounts to the kayak without the need to drill holes. It would be a perfect system for mounting a sounder to the kayak. This is something that I will definitely be doing in the future. There is also a plastic clip that fits securely into the track system so you can securely attach items to your kayak with a leash.
Behind the seat is a couple of vertical rod holders for storing your rods or for trolling. A rod leash is factory fitted in the vicinity of these rod holders. The track system is also installed around the rear well. In this location it is used for a unique tie down system using elastic straps and more of those cool clips. The well is large enough to take a crate or esky.
At the front of the kayak is a water safe hatch that allows access to the inside of the hull for extra storage. In normal use the inside of the hull stayed perfectly dry, however, while I was trying to remember the moves to the Macarena while standing on the nose for an extended period of time water did enter the hull.
At only 350cm long and 91cm wide this is not the fastest kayak to paddle. It paddles easily and with the factory fitted rudder it tracks very easily. For paddling I liked the seat in the lowest position as it felt more natural to me.
The foot controls for the rudder are also excellent. They are fixed at the base for bracing your feet while paddling and the rudder is controlled with the toes. The rudder is self-centring,very responsive, and is raised and lowered very easily with a cord located next to the seat. With the rudder deployed it is very easy to set up a drift along a piece of structure, using your feet to keep the yak aligned to your desired drift. The rudder is standard fit out for the kayak.
I am a bit of a thin guy but this kayak is well suited to a bigger person. It has a weight capacity of 193kg, so even with some fishing gear it is well suited to a heavier angler. Combine this with its stability and features and it is a fantastic first kayak for a beginner or an ideal upgrade for someone more experienced.
The complete kayak weighs in at around 36kg, however the seat is removable bringing the hull weight down to 31kg. It is a heavy kayak and I do struggle loading it solo onto my ute, however, it was a breeze with a mate.
The Final Verdict
Feelfree have put a lot of thought into what would make a great kayak for fishing and they have definitely got it right. The kayak is well suited to larger rivers with little portaging, estuaries, and semi open waters. There are some great ideas to make the whole kayak fishing experience pleasurable and that seat is something you have got to try to believe. The fact the seat is attached to one of the best looking and most practical yaks I have seen is reason enough to have a Lure 11.5 in your garage. I suggest it won’t stay in your garage vey long though as you will be out paddling at every opportunity.