My review of the Ocean Kayak Trident
Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:31 PM
I’d read the forums and looked at the photographs and so on and decided that I would start a thread on mine, from the start until, well, whenever it’s finished. So let us start at the beginning:
Just like Christmas, a parcel, all wrapped up, was lying on the floor for my attention. A 15ft long parcel. A couple of minutes later and this was all on the floor around it and I got my first real view of a Trident. It was love at first sight! Initial thoughts were that it looked solid, purposeful and well thought out. Closer examination brought out even more extra details and I realised that it wasn’t another kayak that had been turned into an angler edition by merely adding some flush mounts but something that had actually been designed for the sole purpose of being used for chasing fish all day long, comfortably, ergonomically, safely and thoughtfully. It just looked ‘right’. Once safely strapped to my roof bars it was time to see how it handled being driven as I took it home on the dual carriageway, slowly increasing in speed to 70mph or so – steady as a rock, no flexing or additional noise. It passed the first test and I’d happily go on a decent run with it on the roof.
Back home I grabbed a C-Tug, a PFD and my camera and unstrapped it from the roofbars, proper reviewing starts here.
Immediately noticeable was the weight – officially 1.8kg more than the Prowler 15 Anglers I’m used to, weighing in at 27.2 KG’s (60lbs instead of 54lbs in old money). I’m no nine-stone weakling but no weight-lifter either and I’d say that the average man in the street would be quite able to car top it solo, but it’d take effort. That said, the load balance seemed better spread than the 15 and it was easy enough to manoeuvre.
Once on the C-Tug and tightened up I took hold of the rear toggle handle and began to haul it down to the beach. Again, the extra weight was clearly noticeable but at no time did it become a struggle. Here I took heed of the first change in the fixtures. The toggles aren’t attached to their own point as on the 15 but instead go through the two holes and around a shock-cord deckline. This has the effect of pulling tight any slack and thus making the pulling of the kayak more steady and I would imagine it also keeps rattles down. The following photographs show what I mean, but using the forward toggle:
On the way down to the beach I liked that, and found it well thought-out and useful. I changed my mind, however, on the way back when I used the front toggle to pull it home. SO different. Maybe it’s tighter pressure on the shock-cord or something but it was uncomfortable for me. This was compounded by having the drain plug in the way as well and by the time I’d returned home I had changed my tune completely. It was no major job to undo the various fixtures and cords and re-thread them though and I now have the toggles hanging loosely with the bungee pulled tight – and the pressure on the toggle will be the same with or without extra’s placed under the bungees. Incidentally, the drain plug appears to be made from a stronger and more hard-wearing plastic than that on my 15.
Once at the beach I unloaded and dragged it into position without the trolley. It moves easily enough on wet sand. I then took the following general shots of the whole boat:
Front quarter, showing the bow:
A higher angle to better show the general layout of hatches, tankwell and seat area:
The rear quarter and a view of the rudder fixings and rear bungee area
A side view which draws attention to the more angular look of the moulding than on the Prowler 15:
Starting from the front you have the drain plug and toggle handle, both already mentioned:
Next comes the forward hatch which is of a less flexible and more sturdy feel than that on the 15 and which feels a lot more secure ‘in-place’, giving an impression of water-tightness. It felt snug and secure.
(Photograph to follow)
The hatch is then secured by the crosslock buckle which is again very secure and inspires confidence. It also appeals visually and ergonomically – and doesn’t need two handed operation or 4 straps to be put into place.
Now, on the 15 there is an extra strap on the front of the hatch which secures it so it can’t fall off. OK have opted instead to put a thin cord through a small hole in the side of the hatch and tie this off to a bowline. Effective and lightweight for sure and a minor detail but it doesn’t quite match the quality of the rest of the design – it looks like an afterthought, but does the job.
But what a hatch! It’s HUGE! Until you try to put stuff in you don’t appreciate quite how different it is. I usually have to put my C-Tug in methodically to get everything to fit and balance out after stripping it down into 5 parts. The Trident will take it in 3, the two wheels went to the rear and the crossmembers and supports stayed in one piece and pushed up to the bow. This had two immediately obvious advantages over the 15. Firstly, the balance would be better as the forward pieces remained upright and wouldn’t move about loosely. Secondly, by shifting the wheels backwards the nose would be lighter and thus more buoyant. Furthermore, I still had loads of room and could easily add a buoyancy bag or dry bag full of clothes. Perhaps even both.
From inside, looking backwards:
Next up was the sonar shield and fishfinder well. To me this is a very welcome addition – whenever I launch a wave goes over the bow and hits the back of the finder. The pressure of this is greater than that which the waterproofing is generally rated for and thus condensation becomes an issue on the screen in short order. I don’t see a problem now – the finder itself can be folded flat with the shield over the top and clipped down, streamlining everything and keeping the rear dry (ish) and away from excess pressure. The shield then flips up for actual use and still shields the back of the unit as well as reducing flare. Shock cord acts as a spring to keep it pushed down onto the finder itself too, in position and not flapping about in the wind.
More thought has been put into this too. Drainage slots are a featured part of the well and these also allow the transducer cable to run down to the transducer scupper making the addition of a hole for running the transducer inside the hull unnecessary. This is one less area for a leak and also means the transducer will give more accurate information on water temperature and optimum performance as a finder.
Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:36 PM
The transducer scupper hole, from underneath, is obvious in that it is far larger than the normal ones. It’s actually quite deep and formed in a teardrop shape which I presume to be for enhanced aerodynamic flow of water as the standard scupper holes also have a teardrop-shaped surround. (Please note that the photographs of the scuppers are not at the same magnification and are thus not in scale with each other).
These scupper holes are in the footwells. These have been redesigned and are self-draining. In the Prowler 15 I would always have water retained between the ridges but the Trident has gaps for this to flow through and down where it does drain away very efficiently. I know they work because although I still got a lap full of water going out through surf but it all disappeared. A great improvement and one which wuill be of added benefit when fishing in the winter.
Next comes the Rod Pod (or Cod Pod with a bit of luck!). This is the feature that first impressed me when the Trident was announced, and which I had admired on the Kaskazi Dorado. On the 15 I had always wondered what I would do with a decent haul of fish that I wanted to keep - chance would be a fine thing – but now this is no longer an issue. I can now treat fish like beer and send them straight down the hatch! Again, the cover is solid and not too flexible and fits snugly. It is also held down by a couple of straps (though not a Crosslock this time, which would be useful for opening one-handed but not so secure in the event of a capsize).
Opening up there is a tray covering half the length. This can be moved around and will prove to be ideal for my use by holding bait where it can be kept dry and secure (ie ragworm/lugworm wrapped in newspaper). Other small items could be stowed here too, or food, and in my opinion it is a useful addition.
Take the tray out and the entire interior of the hull is accessible. The length and width – not to mention the position - of the hatch itself will make stowage of tackle a piece of cake. No more messing around with rod clips or paddle-keepers or risking flushmounts or turning rod holders around and lowering them, no, even rods of a good length should go in with no trouble. Not only that, any heavy stuff put there is close to the centre of the boat and thus won’t affect the ride adversely. As someone who doesn’t use a crate but who wants to be able to stow things away this is ideal. As a photographer as well as an angler I also now have the option of being able to take a decent SLR with me, where I can get to it at will, without the danger of damage instead of just relying on a compact in the PFD. Hell, I could even get my Crown Graphic in there! OK have just designed the first truly photographer friendly yak!
Oh, the hatch cover also has the bit of string attached.
So, from the seat forwards you have the following; hatch, sonar shield, hatch, bowline, toggle, carry handles, pad eyes and rudder peg fitment area:
At the bottom of the photograph above you will see a ‘contour’. This is the front of the seating area. Looking the other way you can see the overall shape, with a build up at the front and a slope to the rear (and scupper holes). Thus much of the shaping for a good seating posture is already built in.
Add the new high-backed Comfort Plus Seat Back and you’re away. Now, there are many options for seats and supports in the OK range and while I found this to be comfortable and with good support in the short time I was afloat today I also found the Basic Seat Back fine for half-day paddles in the Prowler 15. This came a lot higher up though and should make heavy paddling easier.
The seating area:
Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:39 PM
Behind the seat are, of course, the flushmounts. These are unchanged and useful for both rod storage on the water and trolling lures from as well as fishing from if sitting side-saddle.
The rear tankwell is next. Proportionally this appears to take up less area than that of the 15, having thicker sidewalls, but does in fact appear to be larger. However, it has been extensively redesigned and a lot of thought has been put into it. No longer is there a flat tray with 2 scupper holes – this is shaped and channelled and the scupper holes are actually lower than the main body and thus get drained into. This may not seem that big a deal but I for one will find it a bonus.
Something that I also liked was the central ‘dog clip’ attachments on the shock cord. Bungees can go everywhere when unhooked from buttons but this will all stay in position and the clips can no doubt be attached to crates by those who use them. There is also some bungee cord across the narrow piece of the tankwell just behind the cockpit. I can’t work out it’s purpose (nor, actually, the narrower section as it happens) but if it does get in the way it is easily removable. The pad eyes are sure to come in useful anyway.
From the other end:
Right on the stern there is more shockcord formed into a small cargo web. Handy to have but most likely not something that will be used much.
That’s the end of part one, what it looks like and how it’s laid out. My personal opinion is that it’s very well designed throughout with only the odd minor niggle as already pointed out. It looks the business and appears to be a capable kayak.
But don’t just take my word for it:
Part two will deal with my initial experiences on the water as I took it for a short test drive.
Edited by Mark Crame, 13 September 2007 - 11:26 PM.
Posted 12 September 2007 - 10:20 PM
The C-Tug stowed in the front hatch, camera in the rod pod and PFD on I dragged the trident into the water, getting in without about 8 inches beneath me. Swell was a couple of feet tops with a decent distance between each wave. Wind was fairly strong and blustery.
I was also trying out a new paddle, a Carlisle carbon fibre two-piece jobby that I was quite excited about. This was not a good idea though as I realised after launching that I couldn’t compare handling if using a different paddle to the one I normally use. Furthermore, I think the paddle is too short for me unless I need to alter my technique and the kayak was practically empty. Hence this is just a short and generalised review, not felt to be accurate, and while I am reporting things they will be revised the next time I go out – please don’t take them as gospel.
I paddled out, head into the surf. The first thing that struck me was that the nose was more buoyant than the Prowler 15. The second thing to strike me was a breaking wave that dumped water in my lap. So, the dry ride promised on all the forums was not 100% truthful…but then I always get a wave in my lap anyway. Directional stability was very good and the kayak kept its course with ease on the way out. It was a stable ride through the surfzone and I took it gently just to test these things. I could feel it was heavier and for all the talk of its speed I felt it was slower than the 15 on this occasion.
Getting out into deeper water and away from the groynes I started to feel the main difference I’d heard of; the seating position is higher than on my previous yaks. While it didn’t feel tippy or unstable, it did feel different and I seemed to feel more movement than normal – but this is possibly down to being used to a different boat as well as the higher seat. Response to the paddle was more like a Frenzy directionally with the nose veering slightly with each stroke. This may be due to the new paddle though as I also found that if I paddled equally and in an intended straight line I gradually turned in a circle. It was also hard work to get anywhere!
I decided to not bother with the paddling things any further for the time being and just to see how it responded when left to is own devices. It seemed to weathercock slower than the 15, which was good, and less water came in from the chop. It also drained out of the footwells and scupper holes very effectively (the lap full of water at launch was very quickly gone). It was also quite comfy to lie down in but so is the P15. Next I decided to try it in the surf.
As I paddled towards the surfzone I noticed it was very keen to pick up a wave on its own and ride it. It was doing it every time with no attempt by me to do so, even when I was not paddling but just slowly drifting in. After enjoying this I got to the point where I’d usually head in and caught a decent wave. Straight as a die, no need to correct with extra strokes and no tipping. The bow stayed out of the water and I glided in effortlessly, turned and went back out. It turned easier than the 15 too at this point. The next time I came in it was very slowly. Again, no turning from my course, no dipping of the bow under the water and no tipping. Very impressive. The last time I caught an even nicer wave by chance (the yak made me do it!) and I surfed it in easily, being turned a bit when I got into about a foot or so of water.
Certainly today, in these conditions and with a paddle that wasn't right, it marked itself as a better surf yak than the Prowler 15, but an inferior paddle. I’ll give it another go shortly with my usual gear as the latter is contrary to other reports. That'll be part three.
Edited by Mark Crame, 13 September 2007 - 10:55 PM.
Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:49 PM
Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:57 PM
How refreshing to read a review that states a true, unbiased account of the pro's and con's of a new product!
It must be tempting to write a "rose tinted" review of something when we have spent our hard earned cash on it!. Nice one Mark I like the look of the Trident and it may be my next purchase yak. Thanks for producing a review that is trustworthy!!
p.s. That's got to be the cutest "model" ever to have appeared with a kayak!
Posted 13 September 2007 - 01:10 PM
Posted 13 September 2007 - 04:07 PM
Cheers David. I kind of worried that the first paddle report might be a bit negative but like I said I think it's the paddle and getting used to a different yak more than something wrong so it's a case of watch this space - besides, an honest report helps everyone. I bought the gear to rig an anchor trolley this morning and am starting on the rigging of that and am hoping to have another paddle today. What I did miss out of the first part was the excellent rigging of this kayak - the Prowler 15 fell down in that there was little in the way of fitments to attach a decent length anchor trolley - whereas the Trident will allow, with standard fixings, an almost full length trolley, and that's what I'm doing, on both sides though like a twatt I got 4x 3.5 metre engths of cord instead of 2x 7 metre. Bah.
Won't that still work if you join the two 3.5m cords? because the trolly only runs front to back, not completely around the blocks? (can't vision it in my mind though ?) Good luck with it though Mark I have looked at your pics about ten times now and my misses said" oh god!" when she saw me looking at it heh heh!!. I am getting to the NEED stage now ha ha
Posted 13 September 2007 - 04:45 PM
It would be sensible for OK to use such a review to show customers they are not perfect but definitelygetting there.
Well done, an entertaining read and I look forward to the saga continuing.