Friday, May 1, 2015

Kayak Review: ATAK

This kayak has been swirling in hype since the first pictures were released, and now that I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time in this kayak, I can say that it definitely lives up to the hype.  I’m just going to go from bow to stern and point out the features and my impressions of them.

            First start with the oversized rigid carry handle on the bow.  It’s really easy to grip, and because it’s oversized there’s plenty of room for your hands, and therefore no knuckle scraping in a tight space. I had mixed feelings about the large bow storage at first because of the lack of hull access, but after exploring different ideas I think that having that defined space will prove more beneficial rather than a single opening to an open hull.  Next we move on to the FlexPod OS.  I have loved this concept since I bought my Ride 115X. The OS stands for “oversized” so there’s more room and easier access to your battery and cables.  Moving down we come to a brand new feature, the utility tray with removable cover.  I like that I am able to actually put a drink in here that wont tip over very easy, and there’s a designated place to put pliers and other tools that keep my deck clean and organized.

            This kayak features a totally open deck that’s not only the most stable kayak I’ve ever stood up on but also walk able.  I am easily able to stand up access the bow storage hatch.  The deck also comes standard with foam traction pads that adds to the stealth, traction, and is also visually pleasing.  As with most of the Wilderness Systems fishing kayaks, the Air Pro Max is also standard issue with the ATAK. The seat will differ slightly from the Ride series in that it will attach to the kayak via slide trax instead of a molded rail, and is able to trim much further forward than on other models.  You will also notice a 5in midship hatch for smaller items like keys or camera batteries.

            Behind the seat rests the rear tankwell that boasts a different shape than other Wilderness models. The tankwell on the ATAK is more square shaped and is designed with a Blackpack or crate of your choice to rest in perfectly. Along the inner walls of the tankwell you will notice molded inserts with bungee for quick access to tackle boxes.  Keep traveling back and you will see a large rectangular stern hatch. The lid of the hatch provides slide trax and bungee for even more options for rigging and organization. In side the hatch you have your complete hull access as well as battery storage and rod stagers.  Two features that allow the angler even more organization and convenience.  At the stern of the ATAK there is another centered oversized carry handle, and pre drilled holes for mounting various accessories.

            As with all Wilderness Systems kayaks the ATAK is pre plumed for adding a rudder with ease. After looking at the pictures you will see how many factory installed slide trax this kayak has.  What you won’t see from the pictures is how this kayak performs. The low profile of a 39cm deck height adds this kayaks ability to shed wind and allow the angler to reduce fatigue and hold positions easier.

            I was initially hesitant about going back to a longer kayak after spending so much time in my 11.5 footer, but after getting proper demo time in the ATAK it’s a no brainer. I have the stability I’ve dreamed about and very cool accessories that will be available only for the ATAK, such as the Air Pro 3D seat. The ATAK is my kayak of the future and can adapt to almost any water that I put it in.