Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Maiden Voyage in my Bonafide SS127
I was fortunate enough to be able to take my new kayak out on the water for its maiden voyage on Saturday. The Bonafide SS127 is a kayak that has been building hype and anticipation all across the country since Luther Cifers, CEO of Bonafide Kayaks and YakAttack, announced he was starting a kayak company. I ordered my kayak back in November and everyday my excitement grew and grew until it finally arrived. Mariner Sails gave me the call I had been waiting for and my Bonafide SS127 in Top Gun Gray had just been unloaded from the truck.
Except for a few stickers and a few YakAttack accessories I haven't done any modifications or installs to this kayak as of yet. The weather wasn't ideal, however it would give me a good opportunity to see what she could do in some rough conditions. The wind was blowing about 15-20 mph with gusts up to 25mph. Normally I would not get on a large lake in those conditions but the launch is about a mile from my house and big wind is a good test. On any other day and any other boat in high winds I would opt for a lower position if the kayak offers a hi/low seat but, I wanted to see how comfortable I felt in the high position here. Now you have to understand that the high position on the SS127 is much higher and any other kayak that I had been in previously by several inches. I will admit that even though I had test paddled the prototype and knew of its stability, I was still a little weary of being this high in heavy cross winds. As I got a few yards away from the shore I did feel the wind pretty strongly and I felt like my body was catching a lot of it but not once did I feel unstable or "tippy" on the kayak. A few more yards paddling cautiously and my confidence grew in that high position. I never felt the need to switch to a lower position at any time on the water that day.
Another point of interest to me was o see how difficult it would be to paddle a distance of a half mile or so while in the high position. It's true that the foot pedals were a little harder for me to reach in the high seat but thankfully the design team at Bonafide molded in foot holds behind the pedal rails for this very reason. I was able to rest my feet there and paddle comfortably. I'm not sure how I will manage this when I finally install a rudder, but that's a discussion for later. I will say that for me having a paddle of 240cm was extremely beneficial in getting a proper paddle stroke from that high position.
I could drone on all day about standing in this yak and the stability that it has but you already know from the various videos thats have been posted previously. Having paddle the prototype, the stability was exactly what I was expected and didn't disappoint. The three points of interest to me on the stability and the high position seat are the easy of standing, sitting, and reaching back.
Going from a seated position to standing in the high position was so easy and effortless that I was genuinely surprised. It take so little effort and feels much more natural than any previous kayak that I'd been in before. The other side of that coin is going back to seated. Usually for me when I go from standing to sitting I go through this three step progression, squat, squat lower, fall into seat. With the seat on the SS it's just so natural to get up and down combined with the stability and the ridiculous comfort on the seat. The third benefit I found from the high seat was the ease of which I could twist and reach into my Blackpack. I'm not a skinny guy so sometimes it feels a bit awkward trying reach into the tankwell to retrieve something. I did it without a strain or a grunt and was even able to reach behind my crate into my softside cooler, all while taking having a strong wind blow across my bow.
There is so much of this kayak that I have yet to explore or experience but for the few hours I was able to spend in it I can see that the SS127 most definitely set a new standard in the industry and sets it self apart from the competition. My hats off to Luther, Hans, Matt, and Jake and all the rest of the team at Bonafide kayaks that made the kayak that we want.