Nu on the block

Boating NZ - - Boat Bling -

Ive been play­ing around with an Amer­i­can-made Nu Ca­noe Pur­suit fish­ing kayak for the last sev­eral weeks. A com­bi­na­tion of in­dif­fer­ent weather and a very busy work sched­ule meant I haven’t used it as of­ten as I would have liked, but the three or four oc­ca­sions I took it fish­ing were enough to form an opin­ion on its pros and cons.

PROS

THE SEAT The al­loy-framed mesh seat is com­fort­able and height-ad­justable. Mounted on rails, it also slides fore and aft so you can achieve the best bal­ance and pad­dling ef­fi­ciency (not rais­ing the seat shifts the cen­tre of grav­ity for­ward). I pre­fer the seat in the down po­si­tion for pad­dling.

STA­BIL­ITY Though less sta­ble that the 12-foot Nu Ca­noe Fron­tier, this 13.5-foot kayak is plenty sta­ble enough to stand up in if the wa­ter is flat. That’s handy for cast­ing and fish spot­ting and it also al­lows you to pole the boat or pro­pel it like a pad­dle board – the good-qual­ity car­bon and plas­tic pad­dle is con­vert­ible. The sta­bil­ity helps in other ways too, like reach­ing be­hind the seat and man­ag­ing fish boat-side, as well as get­ting in and out of the boat. It makes it eas­ier to re-en­ter the boat from the wa­ter too, which is an im­por­tant safety con­sid­er­a­tion.

LAY­OUT The slide-mount rail sys­tem is ver­sa­tile and Nu Ca­noe has a range of rod hold­ers and other fit­tings to suit. The rear box with its in­te­grated rod rack is use­ful and the drawer for­ward ac­cepts small tackle boxes or other items; I tended to se­cure an in­su­lated catch bag on the non­slip up­per sur­face of the plas­tic drawer unit. I like the in­ter­nal rod tube stor­age for four rods along the decks, but reels are vul­ner­a­ble to salt­wa­ter ingress should the deck flood. The rear scup­per bungs are hard to reach from the seat.

PER­FOR­MANCE This kayak pad­dles much better than the Fron­tier and tracks straighter too, de­spite not hav­ing a rud­der. Though not quick, it per­forms much like other kayaks of this length and once you find a com­fort­able cruis­ing speed, you can cover the ground at a steady pace.

AC­CES­SORIES Nu Ca­noe of­fers an ex­ten­sive range of pro­pri­etary ac­ces­sories to fit its ver­sa­tile rail mounts, many of which fea­tured on this kayak. A lean­ing rail is an op­tion, along with elec­tric power, and the kayak can even be rowed with the ad­di­tion of a row­ing kit.

TRAILER The boat was sup­plied on a Kiwi made trailer, which takes most of the pain out of trans­port­ing, launch­ing and re­triev­ing a kayak. I’m sold on it. At 37.2kg, plus gear and ac­ces­sories, it’s es­sen­tially a two-man job to lift the kayak on and off the roof of the car and it can only be trans­ported right way up un­less you want to re­move the seat. Life is much eas­ier with a trailer.

CONS

BEACH TROL­LEY The Nu Ca­noe beach trol­ley slots into a hole in the tran­som. It worked okay on the Nu Ca­noe Fron­tier I tri­alled, but on the Pur­suit the tran­som dis­torted so much un­der load the kayak dragged its hull on the ground. I used my C-tug trol­ley in­stead.

LOW FREE­BOARD In choppy con­di­tions, I shipped quite a lot of wa­ter over the decks, es­pe­cially when pad­dling into a head sea. This kayak has rel­a­tively flat, open decks with min­i­mal flare in the bows and low free­board. It’s great to stand up on, the self-drain­ing decks clear the wa­ter quickly through the scup­pers, and the raised seat keeps your bum dry, but any gear stowed at deck level, in­clud­ing rods and reels, gets wet. There is de­cent dry stowage in the bow locker, though.

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