This is a bit of wrap up of my trials in the Pinnacle ski covering how it paddled and the overall performance. One of the key things that peaked my interest is the V hull shape, in my experience this is the first dedicated fishing SoT to use this design in the hull, I have paddled deeper V composite sea kayaks and like the performance a lot.
On the water
The deep ski style seat is very comfortable and is my preferred seat position. This lowers the center of gravity and gives greater contact with the kayak as a whole which enhances control and responsiveness from paddler to ski. Stability in all conditions was excellent, sideways on a wave, punching through surf etc. All were done with confidence and ease. The hull is very quiet off the back of a wave as the V hull tends to slice the water rather than slap the surface like other flat bottom South African Skis. The video footage will tell the story better.
The foot wells have no venturi system which for surf launches is not ideal in my mind as you can end up with up 20kgs of extra weight from water sitting in these deep foot channels. The surf in my trials was not big but I could feel the extra weight slow my momentum through the surf zone. I would prefer a venturi for this reason. Hull speed is good and quickly gets up to speed, the compromise with the deep v hull is reduced maneuverability, however with this kayak that is largely overcome with the extra lift in the bow (or rocker). Good secondary stability made it easy to rail/edge the kayak to make the process of turning quicker and require less effort. The skeg style rudder is very effective and made controlling the ski in the surf easy.
The rudder cable adjustment system is a little over complicated and was not easy to adjust when on the water, its pretty much set it and leave it ( I like to change the angle of the toes at times depending on what style of paddling I am doing, cruising, surf etc). As a fishing platform this is typical of the ski’s coming out of South Africa where the front is largely free of any clutter. Great features like large center pod that goes all the way to the bow, useful extras like the bow paddle park. The smaller hatches on the deck are useful for gear but all leaked so would make sure all gear was in dry bags or boxes.
Footage from first trial in messy water
Off the water
This is where I started to see a few concerns on the finishing and detailing but after a bit of a chat with the Pinnacle guys I have a better understanding of some of the below findings which should be excused under the circumstances however I think it only fair to make mention of them.
Likewise it is also worth putting this into some perspective so as not to scare off any of you who are potential buyers. I have worked with a few smaller & larger manufacturers over the years and non are without some faults, be it processes or human negligence. At the time of writing this, Pinnacle have been outsourcing manufacturing of the skis to a 3rd party where the control on quality and consistency is hard to maintain, this company hand lay the resin and brush the gel coat. This is where the flaws begin to show .
Gel coat has started to bubble in a few areas and will only get worse in time, the weight is listed at 25-28kgs however I weighed this one in and 32.6kgs which was a bit of a handful to throw around on the shoulder. The hatches have all been fitted with self-tapper screws which are exposed inside, this is a lazy shortcut where bolts and nylocks would be preferred to avoid ripping hands or gear on sharp screw ends.
I understand Pinnacle will be vacuum infusing the ski and spraying the gel coat in the near future and all done in-house at their own factory. This would hopefully sort these small but important quality details, the ski is priced in the high end of the market for NZ so expectations are going to be high. Too often a good design is let down by finishing, I believe this is a good design. I enjoyed paddling it, certainly will appeal to paddlers contending with surf launches & landings and those that like composite kayaks.
I have said it before with the composite kayaks targeted at fisherman and the same goes for the Pinnacle, I am hard on my SoT kayaks so would not own one of these as a dedicated hunter gatherer platform myself for fear of damaging it every time I head out, plastic is still my preferred for that purpose, however if I had the budget for another kayak to use in the surf or paddling offshore in the rough this would be on the wish list.