New Pedal Powered Kayak Hits The Australian Market
2 years ago
By Graham Foley
There used to be only a couple of pedal kayaks available in Australia, both of American manufacture and with large price tags. With the increasing popularity of pedal power a new player has recently entered the Aussie market, with a brand new design at a very competitive price and with heaps of features and included extras.
Crazy Kayaks based in Albion Park NSW import a pedal kayak they call the Kings Kraft and with an overall length of 3.3 metres it’s a substantial vessel. The cockpit is 87 cms wide, however, despite the impressive dimensions the Kings Kraft has a bare weight of only 25 kgs. The seat on the kayak is constructed of tubular aluminium with a woven synthetic fabric attached. The back of the seat is adjusted by means of a webbing strap on each side.
It seems the designers had a field day with the internal fit-out by including a total of six flush mount rod holders with four directly behind the seat, giving easy access to spare rods, landing nets etc… Another two flush rod holders are located each side of the bow which is a handy position for trolling. The final two rod holders are a swivel type that can be adjusted to multiple positions on a ball and socket arrangement, located either side of the cockpit. They may take a bit of tweaking to determine the optimum position as when they are loaded with a fishing rod some obstruction may me experienced whilst pedaling. As with most things, once the user has it worked out to best configuration to suit them it’s pretty well plain sailing. Other inclusions include a large hatch at the bow enabling the stowage of large items such as a sleeping bag or back pack. The lid has four locking points providing a good seal against water coming over the bow, although BLADE recommends dry bags for extra security on your stuff getting wet. There are two smaller hatches as well, one located under the seat and the other at the stern internally fitted with a tackle tray and fabric pouch for small items.
The propulsion unit is placed through the opening forward of the seat in the hull and is then locked securely by a stainless steel latch on either side of the unit.
On The Water
It’s important to spend some time working out the seating position before setting off. The seat is fully adjustable to allow optimum distance in relation to the pedals and adjusting the backrest for maximum comfort. Pedaling in the recumbent position would be a new experience to many but it doesn’t take long to get used to it and is surprisingly relaxing leaving hands free for casting. The tiller is located on the left side between the seat and the inside wall and is operated with the forefinger and thumb in a forward and backward motion. Initially the operator may find a little resistance but it doesn’t take long to wear-in and becomes increasingly smoother to operate with use. A slow pedal rotation will get you under way quickly achieving an ideal trolling speed. Being a brand new unit, it took a little time for the drive mechanism to wear-in, but after an hour or so it freed up and continuously less effort was required to pedal the Kings Kraft. A welcome feature is the ability to reverse pedal being particularly useful when trying to unsnag a lure from a submerged log or other obstruction.
Casting from a standing position is no problem as this kayak is very stable. The hull shape works well keeping water resistance to a minimum. At the time of the kayak test there was a twenty five kilometre head wind which presented little resistance to the Kings Kraft. Other paddle powered kayaks on the water at the same time were struggling to make much headway.
Although possibly lacking some of the refinements of other pedal kayaks the Kings Kraft pedal kayak offers a lot at around half the price. With good build quality and a simple yet robust design it is sure to be a big hit amongst the kayak angling community. The only thing a purchaser may need to do is fit a fish finder as pretty well everything else comes as standard for less than $1800 plus delivery.