just paddled one today,man is that a tippy and fast plastic sea kayak. Once more I’ve confirmed I’m not a fast paddler, but I could see this thing could fit a niche for the person who wanted the fastest plastic touring sea kayak.
I gave it an 8/10 only because I would not give a ten, and the Nordkapp RM by Valley is a 9/10, better overall boat for choppy water, etc. But the Nordkapp is not faster, for sure. On flatwater, for a race, the Barracuda is truly spectacular.
I had my Barracuda out in 40-50 mph wind gusts with puddlejumper this past springtime, and he did well in his Kodiak; Iwas extremely unstabl in the Cuda. Extremely. So, it's rockerless design is not meant for chop. Or photography, et cetera.
It is weird to me to see, for instance, the Nordkapp at 21 inch beam, and the Barracuda at the sanme, and yet the tippiness factor is sooo much more in the Barracuda. I don't think, other than the surf ski paddlers out there, that anyone can appreciate how tippy that Barracuda is unless they test it out. Words have no description and "21 inch beam" does not say it all.
At Canoecopia, the Pijon rep did not even bring a Barracuda, because it is a specialty boat. Many retailers have discounted the Barracuda when, afer each test paddlr dunks in i, the boat cannot sell.
I agree with you, it is the fastest plastic sea kayak, and is plenty faster than many composites. In fact, many composite are about 54-57 lb, and the Barracuda is 60 lbs, so not too far off in that regard either. I love my Barracuda, and as it was one of my first kayaks, I have learned a ton from it. For instance, how to wet exit. :-)
There are several pnetters brave enough to own this kayak: rroberts, kevin1, julian, nsmagoo tested one but opted for the Catalina, and a few others.
My friend Shermanpeabody has a red Barracuda since July, I am wonering her honest thoughts about it?
LeeG, I am glad you had a chance to try one out.
rroberts paddles a Barricuda also.
He’s over at the Gauley festival but should be back tomorrow.
straight rockered boats
There’s gotta be a balance between straight keeled and some rocker for comfort in waves.
My honest thoughts about it:
1) More women should try this boat. I have a theory (based on personal experience) that women may find this boat less tippy than men, because women tend to be shorter and have a lower center of gravity. For example, rroberts is about 6" taller than me and heavier on the upper body (being a former Marine and all) and not very heavy on the lower body. He had a harder time “taming” the 'cuda, and I can guarantee you it’s not because my paddling skills are better.
2) I must admit, the Prijon plastic of the long boats has not lived up to my expectations. The plastic of my ww Prijon (Performance) seems to be really solid, but the long boats deform in the heat just as badly as many of the other plastic boats I’ve owned. It’s not really a problem since it always pops back into its original shape but I guess I expected better of a Prijon.
3) There are lots of things I really like about the boat (nice hatches, deck nets, etc.) and just the super-sleek look of it. I think the red is especially attractive.
4) I’m sure it IS the fastest plastic kayak on the market (everybody says so) but I have found that my poor upper body strength (torso included here) doesn’t allow me to take advantage of that top speed. I can’t ever get there. Hence, I believe I’m just as fast (which, by the way, is not VERY fast) in my 15 footer. As much as I loathe admitting this, it’s too much boat for me. That top potential speed is completely wasted on me. Having said that, I still like the status of being able to say I paddle a Barracuda. (Am I shallow, or what?)
Ok, so there you have it. My honest thoughts.
Although I have not paddled the Rapier 19, I have paddled a Rapier 18 and a Barracuda. Both seem to be fast kayaks. My guess is that I’d be able to paddle faster in a Rapier 19 (RM) than I would a Barracuda.
I love my barracuda. It’s what I…
…used at the South Bass Island camping trip.
Go fast, and it isn’t tippy!
That’s not always easy, however.
That’d be a nice comparison,indeed, C_IL
Nice thought. As always, Chuck_IL, you have some broad insights. Yes, the brand spanking new Rapier RM might get the job done.
As I sit hre and listen to some WBCN (for those New Englanders out there, yeah:
…I can apprecate the thoughts of ShermP. I think the plastic is the same, long or short boat, but longer stretches of the stuff simply deform more. Yes, when I leave it strapped to the cradles in 90F heat, it warps some. But pops back, yes.
I think that it’d be great to take them for a outing when we paddle together. I’m thinking that if you, I and rroberts paddled all at one time, we’d better get some photos. That just might be a Guinness Record: most Prijon Barracudas to be on the water together. Ever.
I think the top speed is something that you wil experience once your paddle forward stroke is a tad more refined… although you sure have a ton of seat time under your belt now. It has to be faster than your 15 foter. It just does not feel like it, perhaps. But it is. I never get it up to full speed, either.
You gotta post sometime about your rolling. With your womanly build, as you stated in your Cuda post above, rolling should be easier than for, say, high gravity rroberts. Now, whether it is something you can do in the Cuda, I don’t know. I haven’t tried it in mine, yet. It is high backed. Puddlejumper and I did roll th Prijon Kodiak, but it weren’t easy, lemme tell ya.
doesn’t want to let you lean back much AT ALL! Very stiff! So I have ordered (and rec’d) an IR Reggie backband, and now I just have to figure out how to remove the old seatback and install the Reggie. I suspect that will make it easier. My 15 footer has a fairly low and forgiving seatback and I can lean way back in it… felt like I could almost roll it back up, but not quite. Haven’t gotten anywhere close in the 'cuda though.
I’ve decided to take some pool lessons, probably in the winter, and probably using my ww kayak. And if I get rolling with it, then I hope that skill will transfer over to the long boats. We shall see.
Oh, and while it would be nice for someone to get pics of the three of us in our 'cudas, I suspect we won’t be taking any pics ourselves. (hehe) If I stop paddling, I dare not even try to take a drink of water much less take a picture. Maybe that will come in time, too.
I must admit
that day you and I paddled CCL with the wind and waves kicking up pretty good, I was surprised at how well it handled in rough-ish conditions. Very impressive.
Barracuda seat back
that one is a curiosity, the seat is comfortable and the seat back is fine but with the seat in the middle position there really isn’t room to lean the seat back. I wonder if its one of those things where the deck/coaming position was committed then different seats were developed over time and the thick seat back pretty much confines the seat to the middle or forward positions. I wonder how a back band would work.
Re. the thigh braces, the deck is low enough that if a person with big legs wanted more room you could remove the adjustable thigh braces and glue in some minicell. The odd part is how tight the middle to aft position on the thigh braces is. IT’s a med.big boat that can accomodate med to small people but med/big people should probably think of a backband.
The rudder cable needs a different routing, it goes right against the outside of the knee.
Rudder is great but actuation kind of funny, I’d rather have a split footpeg with a solid flat portion and a hinged toe control.
i have had mine for 2 yrs. it is fast gives a nice smooth glide feeling and tracks well. but it doesen’t handle “conditions” well. when i took it out into the ocean in hilton head i got the #hit scared ou tof me—sorry 4 the typing i hve a broken arm—. if u are not moving in this craft you are ready to flip-it is that tippy. the only boat i need 4 a complete quiver is the valley nordkapp. the lack of rocker with the cuda is problematic for shure. at 6’,175 i have a feeling i am at the upper end for this boat.
That’s pretty funny about the photos, shermp. Yes, we will have to get someone else to take them. And that day hatch—can you imagine reaching for a Powerbar in that baby while on water? Ain’t gonna happen.
I don’t know about changing out the backband. I like mine. I find that for long paddles, many miles, the stock Prijon seatback is much more comfortable than the Valley backbands in my Nordkap and Avocet. Even with a mod of the Nordkapp backband to make it more like the Prijon. I truly enjoy that the Prijon stock seat back is low enough to allow torso rotation, yet when I get tired, or take a break, I can truly sit back. Trust me, after six hours of fairly continuous paddling, it really helps.
Interesting point about the thigh braces, LeeG. I have in fact minicelled my Barracuda braces, and it is super comfy, and the mini0cell would cover the rudder cable if I had a rudder… I see what you mean about the rudder, but frankly, I don’t like rudders. I have one on my Calabria, and it gets in the way, dinged on ground, et cetera, and I use it uncommonly (although that shorter boat needs it more than the Cuda).
Poleplant, I did not know you have a Cuda. Good for you. I know precisely the scared sh#%less feeling that you mean. It really doesn’t matter how experienced the paddler is (although I want Chuck_IL, the most experienced paddler in my local group to try mine in waves), the thing is like being on a balance beam when the weather gets rough.
Yes, the Nordkapp RM is sublime. So, on calm days, flatwater, long trips esp, I use the Cuda. On rough days, mid-long trips, the Nordkapp RM. For exclusively rolling outing or short trips, the Avocet.
Middle bass island…
…to south bass island this June was a nerve racking experience. i was constantly on the edge
We have a saying in white water that if your mouth
is too dry to spit, you are in over your head.
My mouth was so dry that my throat hurt for two days.
I like the rudder pedals. That was one of the
paddling without neoprne hatch cover
I did that with an avatar throught the surf, amazing how stupid one can be on such a fundamental issue.
I haven’t done a lot of trips but it seems that once you put 50#'s into any boat it’s rock steady, which would make a tippy/efficient boat perfectly acceptable for tripping compared to day paddling. Curious to hear other folks experience on that.