Prijon Barracuda Scores Another Victim

-- Last Updated: Nov-08-09 6:34 AM EST --

Advice for those wanting on-water zip. Love the 11/6/09 review by DCF on Pnet of this increasingly infamous boat--the fastest plastic kayak. Everyone, and I mean everyone, reads that this 21 inch beamed steed is tippy, and says, "How can it be that tippy? My Nordkapp (or other favorite boat) has a 21 inch beam, and it's not tippy."

DCF wears his heart--and his courage--on his sleeve in writing a super fun and informative review.

Funny. The best trick: place a newbie paddler in it. They'll return to the sports of running and biking faster than you can say, "I've got a dry set of clothes in the hatchback!"

I will never sell my Barracuda. Three cheers to Prijon for still making this unGodly beast. My Advice to you, since this is an advice column: demo, demo, demo.

I had a dog named Tippy.

Did you get wet riding it?

I think there are much better rough water boats, but having owned several kayaks, I don’t think that is what the Barracuda was designed for. If you want a good rough water boat, buy something else.

I thought the Barracuda was superb in mild to moderate conditions. Did it seem tippy at first? Yes, but by my third outing I was very comfortable in it, and I never did capsize. I just had to learn to relax and trust the boat. Once I did that it was a blast to paddle. It is fast and, as the review you referenced says, it is so responsive it seems like it is reading your mind.

It is still one of my favorite kayaks.

Responsive in what way?
It didn’t seem to be very responsive to my efforts to turn it, but I wasn’t using a spray skirt and wasn’t pushing the limits of it’s secondary stability.

My Composite Sea Lion is responsive to lean turns. The Barracuda is relatively unresponsive.

The Barracuda does respond to paddle inputs for straight ahead accelleration, but I’ll leave it to others to describe what they mean by “responsive” when referring to the Barracuda.

LOL:Ok there’s the Pnet post of the Mont

Boat fit probably had something to with it. The Barracuda fit me extremely well. IIRC you are quite a bit smaller than I am, so it is possible that you didn’t get the kind of boat-to-body connection that I did.

What I was referring to by responsiveness would be more accurately described as responsive to edging for course corrections and turns. I found it to be very crisp and precise in its response.

Maybe I should try it again.
Yes, I am smaller than you, 5’6" and 155 lbs.

I probably wouldn’t own one, anyway, because I do best carrying, loading and unloading boats from the car when they weigh 45 lbs or less. My 56 lb composite Sea Lion feels like such an oppressive load to carry and load onto the car, but I like paddling it. My 45.2 lb QCC 400X is much nicer to carry and load on the car, but it’s not as playful as I’d like. If I had a 45 lb Sea Lion or similar fitting and handling boat, I’d be all set.

Not too tippy if you’re small
I rented one to paddle on Hebgen Lake when we were in the Yellowstone area without our kayaks (it was a hiking vacation but I couldn’t stand going that long…)

Over the years I’d read many comments about the Barracuda being tender, and the shop owner warned me I should have a good roll to paddle it.

The thing is, the Barracuda is also DEEP. I felt like I was sitting in the bottom of a barrel. It was too big for me to feel in good control of. Yet it was stable enough for that day.

Started out with very little wind and DAMN I couldn’t believe how easy it was to skim along in that boat. I played around with giving it gradually more effort and seeing how it responded. It has the smoothest response I’ve gotten from any kayak–more effort=more speed in seemingly linear progression.

As I had expected, due to my late launch, the wind kicked up within 2 hrs. I dreaded the return trip, as this Barracuda had no rudder and I could not edge it far due to loose fit. Surprisingly, weathercocking was not horrible, but partly that was because I took a different route back and worked every possible wind-blocking feature I could (there were tiny islands I could use for partial shelter). Because the water was so shallow near those islands, I also took a shortcut to avoid a little bit of wind-exposed passage. The shortcut required getting out of the boat next to one island, pulling the boat across the shallows, and getting back in near another island.

And THAT is where the boat’s tippiness revealed itself! I got close to shore and noticed that the bottom was extremely steep. So I put out one leg on the deeper side, thinking it would steady me while I held the boat from being blown around. That bottom was also like quicksand. I sank down immediately and the boat flopped on its side lickety-split, with me half still in it. No harm done–I just got a wet butt and thighs. But there was little warning it was going over, unlike in my own kayaks.

It’d be interesting to paddle a low-volume version that fit me well! Could be a lot of roll practice involved.

c2g has it right. it is responsive in a sensitive sort of way. you can edge this thing very easily. i just barely lift my leg and it responds.

however with little or no rocker it does turn a little slowly. but no big deal.

in conditions it really makes me work on a combination of edging, balancing and forward stroke.

but for me following seas seem to present the biggest problem. it seems to want to pearl and slide off a wave in any direction.

for these conditons i prefer my aquanaut. but mostly i use the cudda because it slides like newly waxed skis.

Nice sum,ary, pbike. U oughta review

– Last Updated: Nov-09-09 8:05 PM EST –

"It'd be interesting to paddle a low-volume version that fit me well! Could be a lot of roll practice involved."--pbike.

Answer: Prijon Catalina

it made me a better ww paddler…
…if you do not learn to let your upper and lower body work independently, you’ll flip in a heartbeat.

I found I had to relax physically while maintaining a mental vigilance.

I’ll never sell mine, but I don’t take it out in more than 10 k winds.

I agree with you, rroberts.

– Last Updated: Nov-11-09 3:00 PM EST –

You are the only one I know that could handle the Bass Isl. trip in a Cuda.

The boat is sort of like a Pontiac GTO with 450 hp engine--you either love it for it's ornery nature, or you ditch it because it's an untamed beast.

It really does show that not all 21 inch beamed boats are the same or feel the same on water.

By paddling friend, bruce, now has a SOF, so I am going to ask him to try to stay on this balance beam we call a Barracuda.

I was the only one…
…stupid enough to do it!