Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 Propel

What can you say about the kayak that has the most patents in the history of the sport? First, it’s probably one of the best kayaks available for families, fishing, and just plain fun on the water. It’s also a new design, so you don’t see very many out there….yet.

Specs:

  • Length: 12’1″
  • Width: 30″
  • Depth: 12
  • Weight: 58 lbs (plus propel unit)
  • Material: Roto-molded Polyethylene (roto-molded equals strong and light)

Pros:

  • The Ultimate has a split hull (tunnel hull)… kind of like a catamaran, but better. The Split hull reduces the wetted surface and displaces less water than traditional kayaks. Less water displaced from the hull makes the boat faster and more efficient. Boats that have more displacement, have more drag…Thus requiring more energy to move the boat. The Ultimate’s split hull results in a much lighter boat in the water,when compared to traditional displacement hulls. Its no surprise that the hull shape is just faster and more efficient than traditional kayak hulls. What does mean? You can go further and carry more gear, with less effort in an Ultimate.
  • For the gear head…the Ultimate has a seat like no other. The aluminum frame supports a UV resistant mesh that cushions, drains water, and ventilates air. Its 100% adjustable to the paddler and is one of the few seats that can claim to be all day comfortable. This is a seat that allows you to do long trips. The seat also adapts to how you load the boat. It unlocks and slides forward, or reverses. No matter how the boat is loaded, slide the seat and trim the boat appropriately. For example….if you load the boat to heavy in the stern, your bow will rise and make it hard to track. In the Ultimate you just slide the seat forward a little more forward and bam!…perfect trim, no pushing water or getting blown around in the wind. If you have ever owned a canoe with fixed seats, and taken a child out on a lake, you know what I mean. For camping, release the seat out of the boat and you got your camp chair. Just one less thing you don’t have to bring on over nighters!
  • The Ultimate series also come with an Adapt-A-Trak gear attachment channel on the outside of the boat. The “AAT” is a J channel that gear can be clipped into. Its there to attach things like spray covers, paddle holders, rod holders, tie downs, fishing accessories…even a cooler for cold or hot drinks!
  • The Ultimate 12 Propel is a multi-use kayak. You can paddle it like a regular kayak, or add a Native Propel unit and pedal. The pedals turn a shaft driven prop under the boat at a 1 to 10 ratio. For every one turn of the cranks, the propeller spins 10 times. This is a single gear set up and once you get going and up to speed (15 to 20 revolutions of the cranks) you can spin easily all day with larger muscle groups and leave the paddlers in the dust!

  • If you are a fisherman, the benefit is that you can move the boat forward and in reverse with your pedals, control the boat with the one finger rudder control, and have one hand free for rod/reel. A huge difference with other pedal kayaks is that the Ultimate 12 Propel can be pedaled in reverse. Again for the fisherman, the boat’s angle and position can be controlled regardless of current, wind, drift, and easily without an anchor.
  • Comfort patents? Yep. The Ultimate’s split hull increases the boat depth for your feet. Increasing the foot room and keeping the heel well below the bottom of the seat. This increases blood flow through knees and ankles and keeps your feet warmer and from falling asleep. The Foot rest are over sized and give a large footprint of support unlike simple pegs. The deck of the boat is open style like a canoe. Its easy to get in and out of like a canoe but comfortable because you and sit just like in a kayak.
  • For those with any shoulder or upper body issues, this might be just the boat to get you on the water. Let your legs do all the work, and control the rudder with one finger!

Cons:

  • Just because it’s a propeller that spins fast, doesn’t mean you are going to be able to overcome the small displacement a kayak makes in the water. The boats speed tops out at 3-4 knots, about as fast as you can paddle a comparable kayak 12 feet long and 30 inches wide. You cant pull a water skier.

The verdict:

  • The first time I paddled the Ultimate I knew it would be stable, I had seen other fisherman standing up with ease but I had no Idea how light on the surface of the water the boat would feel. It turns with ease, and getting the boat up to speed was and an effortless exercise gentle fwd strokes. But it can carry as much gear as a Canoe. It’s the prefect balance of canoe/kayak hybrid. Blending Capacity, Comfort, speed and stability, it’s the ultimate watercraft.
Native watercraftPropelRecreational kayaksUltimate 12

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