Anyone paddle an Native Ultimate 12


I recently sold my Necky Manitou 14 for something that will be a bit more friendly to me on smaller winding rivers. I have read the reviews on the Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 and the reviews are astounding.

Does anyone have one? How do you like it? Do you fish off it?

One of my concerns is if the pontoon shape to the hull will slow the boat down. Now I am not by any means looking for a fast boat. But if I am paddling with a group of friends and they are in something similar to say an Old Town Loon I want to be able to keep up.

I fully plan on test paddling before I jump into anything, but I would really like to hear from someone that has one.



No, but “Ultimate” certainly inspires!
That Necky should have been able to handle the little creeks, but an Ultimate will probably fly over them like a 'copter.

Just looked at the website for the two
craft, and the only advantages I see to the Native craft are dumbhead stability and convenience in being able to store and retrieve stuff from an open top boat. I’ll bet that with a little edging, I could turn the Manitou effectively (I do tight and whitewater streams all the time), and of course the Manitou is much better for open lakes and waves.

Did you notice that your Manitou was about fifty pounds, and the Native Ultimate 12 is 55?

The sort of tri-hull design used in the Native Ultimates is not especially good for turning, and the extra surface area plus shorter length will make the Native 12 distinctly slower than the Manitou 14.

You have an opportunity to get a better boat than you had, but you may need to look in other directions.

Helpful Insight
Thanks for the great post G2D,

Very helpful insight. I liked the Manitou a lot on big open water, especially with some decent chop to it. It handled great for that. I was not satisfied with it’s performance on smaller faster rivers. I don’t necessarily blame the boat for this, I’m sure my skill level has something to do with it.

The only thing that I can really compare it to is my wife’s Necky Santa Cruze which we have been very happy with in all outings. There was something about the build quality that I like better about her Santa Cruz over my Manitou, I don’t know if Necky has changed their manufacturing process since the Cruze was made, but it just seems stronger. Aside from that I love how it handles on rivers and lakes.

Any ways i digress. I will definitely keep looking around for the best fit and paddle as many different boats as I can. I am also not opposed to tracking down another used Santa Cruze and buying that.

I paddled the Native Ultimate 12 & 14
on several occasions when I was first starting out. They are “hybrids”, part canoe, part kayak. Mostly I liked them for taking along the dog. My daughter was able to stand up and pole it at 13. It’s positives are stability, comfortable and adjustable seat, roomy for gear, although the load rating is not fantastic, and lots of outfitting available for fishing, including neoprene covers for rainy days. Check out the web site. You’ll have no trouble keeping up with others on rivers, but in open water, you’ll be working hard to keep up with regular kayaks. If fishing creeks and rivers are your thing, you’ll love the Ultimate. If you get out in breezy open water, you’ll wish you had something else.

had one …
…and sold it. Complaints: not much freeboard with my 200#'s in it, plus gear weight. No matter how i tried to vary my paddling technique, I always got water off the paddle and dripping back into the boat, I was always sponging up little puddles . The average market kayak cart does not fit the hull …you need the special NWC cart ( forget who makes it but it;s like $160 !) for it. It’s not a fast boat by any means or a rough water boat in my opinion. It tends to plow into a wave or chop due to the hull rather than ride up and over it. I used it for fishing back bays and quiet waters. The interior skeg box interfers with putting a milk crate or anything else in the back, other than a small bait can or small lunch cooler. Plus side: very stable , very comfortable seat.

Incredible manuverbility, slow, hard to
lean, very stable. Paddled only on flatwater.

ultimate 12
have 1 for 2 yrs, great, very stable, turns on a dime, and VERY comfortable, one fall back is speed, if u go out with some touring kayaks u wont be able to keep up, great for fishing, small lakes and slow rivers.

If the touring kayak was back paddled
it would be great for having a conversation.

I have one

– Last Updated: Jun-13-10 12:38 PM EST –

I have the 12 and love it. I can stay in it all day long in total comfort. It is great in mild rivers but the lack of rocker and freeboard does cause a little worry in the rapids and waves. It is amazingly fast but I would not consider it good enough to paddle from one point to another with a group of people in kayaks. It turns very good and tracks great without the rudder.

I have paddled the Loons and I believe they may be a little faster than the Ultimate 12.

Short story, it is a great boat for its designed purpose which is fishing and poking around mild rivers (moving lakes) and small lakes.