I have owned and paddled numerous SoT fishing kayaks over the years and currently fish from the Viking ProFish 400…my key reason for choosing the 400 over others is layout of the cockpit and options available to personalize my set up, comfort, lightweight and ability to use in the surf, the only drawback being a slower top end speed due to its length and width. I liked the hull speed and some of deck layout concepts in the Profish 440, but for me the hull was not ideal for my use. Enter the Profish Reload™ which is a combination of all the good things from 3 of the most popular kayaks in the Viking Range, Espri, Profish 400 & Profish 440 BUT with extra features that serve to answer all the needs of a kayak angler and tick a lot of boxes for an experienced paddler
- Kayak : Profish Reload
- Manufacturer : Viking Kayaks NZ
- Specs : Length – 4.5m Width – 75cm Weight – 29kg
- Material : Polyethylene / Rotomolded
- Target Market : Kayak Fish/ SoT Touring markets
This weekend I was on hand to help run the Profish Reload demo day at Fergs Kayaks Auckland which gave me a chance to paddle one myself for the first time. I will be giving it a thorough review over the next 4 or so weeks but here is my initial findings from a performance and comfort point of view
On the water
The contoured seat position is very comfortable and feels like a slight improvement on the already comfortable Profish 400. Stability is excellent, although the conditions were like glass I can get a fair indication on the stability, the low center of gravity of the seat and pods combined with the waterline length will result in this kayak handling the roughest of ocean swells with ease, I look forward to loading it up and putting that to the test in some rough seas.
With just the hull weight and empty tackle pod I barely got any water in the foot scuppers holes and my set was pretty dry for a low seat position. Running the classic “stand up to see who’s got the best balance test” the Reload made it look easy, whilst standing up in a kayak is not a true test of its stability at sea (nothing beats that test like actually loading it up and getting out in some messy conditions) it does tell you a lot about the secondary and initial stability, in both cases the Reload passed with flying colors
The hull was very easy to get up to cruising speed and felt like it had more to go if needed, I would estimate my cruising speed to be 25% higher than that of the Profish 400. Over an extended trip the long water line length is going to mean paddlers can maintain a higher cruising speed for a longer period. This will also translate to greater efficiency when battling a head wind home or strong currents. When paddling I could hear the scupper holes in the foot well working well so would expect these to dump water quickly if the cockpit gets swamped.
This is my first time using the Viking rudder, my preferred cockpit set up for rudders is to have a fixed braces for better leg drive which encourages proper technique and a toe controlled rudder. This current rudder has the ability to have toe controlled system added which I will do to mine as I do not like the current sliding foot tracks…the guys at Viking have taken this feedback on board and may be offering this as an option out of the factory also
Off the water
The solid side carry handles are a must have and very useful addition, at 29kgs this is by no means lightweight but the position of these handles makes it easy to manage the kayak. The Oval hatch is another useful addition, I live close enough to wheel my kayak to the beach. With the Profish 400 I have to leave the trolley on the beach hidden in the bushes, not anymore, now I can take it in the hatch with me.
The Tackle pod and chill pods are fantastic to “load and go”.. I can see how this is going to make the set up and pack down of each trip so much quicker and more organized! Full video review coming soon (est early Feb) If you want to find out more about the Profish Reload check it out HERE