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Viking Kayak Profish Reload | Rough water trial

A 25-30knt NW blowing straight into my local beach was just the conditions I needed to give the new Viking Profish Reload a run in some sloppy, choppy seas. You will see in the videos below how the kayak performed in these conditions and below I have outlined a couple of key things I was looking to identify…

  • Hull speed into a strong wind and short chop
  • Tracking & Maneuverability in a follow sea (unpredictable choppy sea)
  • Displacement of water at the bow and hull slap
  • Stability and self rescue capabilities in these conditions

Videos  –  I have made 2 versions of this session, the video directly below is the shorter compacted version which covers all you need to know, but for those that want to see the performance in greater length I have made a longer edit which holds certain scenes for longer to give the more analytical viewer time to see  detail, you can watch the Extended version at the bottom of this post.

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 Hull speed into a strong wind and short chop

Hull speed was great, from my previous 2 sessions in the Profish Reload I expected it would get up to speed quick enough to keep forward momentum in these conditions.  The strong head wind and waves dumping on the bow made me work harder to get up speed from the beach launch but the bow performed excellently to cut through the choppy sea and with each forward power stroke the hull gained speed quickly off the back of each wave seeing me clear of the beach. The scuppers drained water fast which is ideal to keep from stalling in the surf zone, surf was not as much of concern in this session as the strong head wind and incoming tide working together to create resistance to my forward momentum.

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Other key design features which aided the performance greatly is that the hull has very good tracking, meaning all effort could be focused on forward power strokes and the contoured seat position gives greater contact with the kayak which enhances reaction/responsiveness, this lower seat position means your center of gravity is lower giving a greater feeling of stability…all these little important things add up to give confidence in the ability of the Profish Reload should you get caught out in conditions like these.

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Tracking & Maneuverability in a follow sea (unpredictable choppy sea)

The Reload handled the following sea well and picked up little runners (waves) very easy, not many longer kayaks with little to no rocker, like this one, are going to be easy to manage in this kind of following sea (short choppy mess). The Viking Kayaks rudder works well and to give me greater control I fitted a set of thigh braces which, combined with the larger blade of the Adventure Technology Oracle paddle, made for some nice wave runs back to the beach.

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Again the hull design made catching and staying on these runners more achievable, the Oracle paddle power face meant I had a big engine to get me on and keep me on the wave, the thigh braces enhance the tracking ability when the unpredictable wash tried to throw you of track. A couple of times the bow went under the wave as I picked it up but popped back up quickly enough for me to recover the tracking. I look forward to getting it out in some cleaner surf to see how easily I can manage it on a wave, after this experience I suspect it will run on a wave pretty easy.

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Displacement of water at the bow and hull slap

Another reflection of the hull design is how well this kayak cuts through the chop and increases speed off the back of a wave. The video footage shows how well this performs, you will see and hear how quietly and efficiently the Reload comes off the back of a wave.

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  Stability and self rescue capabilities

The design of this kayak from the hull to the seat position really does work well for me, I find it incredibly stable, so to prove that I tried standing up, the results are clear in the images and video. I have spent time in much more tippy kayaks than this so the Reload is very stable by comparison, someone coming from a  wider kayak to this might not agree initially, however after just a couple of sessions in varied conditions I am confident they will quickly find the strengths in this hull design.

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The self rescue drill was quick and easy for me, the side handles are great for offering a solid hold point to stay with the kayak while in the water and the help when re entering. The lower seat position also aids in a quicker re-entry and recovery from a capsize. If you want to know more about the best techniques for capsize drills I have a couple of useful resources/how to guides on the subject HERE

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Summary

So in a brief summary I was very pleased with the performance in these conditions, the more time spent in the Profish Reload the more I am enjoying each session on the water, Is going to be an exciting summer of hunter gathering in this kayak with a few big offshore adventures planned.
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