Submitted: 10-10-2005 by Kevin1963
When I first started looking for information on the Prijon Barracuda, I was surprised on how little info there was out in cyber space about it so I decided to write this review in the hopes that it may help anyone else out that is looking for information on this kayak. Personally I like the Prijon boats, there is just something about HTP blow molded plastic (not rotomolder) and knowing that you don't have to panic every time you scrape bottom or have to drag the kayak up on shore.
My first kayak was a Prijon Touryak bought new and I used it for three months, but after awhile I started to feel as if I was exceeding the capabilities of that particular kayak and wanted to move up to something with a little more speed so I went ahead and bought a end of the year Demo model that the dealer was happy to get rid of because customers were having trouble keeping it upright when they would demo the boat, so it wasn't selling. Now after having used it for the last few weeks I have come to the following conclusions.
Yes it is fast, (that is why I bought it) I just love the speed of this thing. It is an entirely different ride than the Touryak and yes, it is tipsy, as stated in the previous reviews, but I have not tipped it over yet and I have had it out in four-foot rollers and white caps on the lake. Initial stability isn't what you buy a kayak like this for so forget it ( I will use the Touryak for bird watching in the swamps )
I took the Barracuda out on the lake the other day when there was a high wind advisory and I agree with the previous review in that in following seas this particular boat is all over the place (Weathercocking) and will soon start to turn on itself even while doing a sweeping stroke with a Greenland paddle. So how do you fix it? Well just buy the rudder, this little fix (around $200) will solve the problem and gets this rocket ship back on course.
I like the hatches on the Prijon boats because they are large enough for me to put my Paddleboy kayak carrier into instead of leaving it on shore. A lot of boats Ive seen I can eliminate simply because the hatches are too small. The Barracuda has a small quick access day hatch with sock on the starboard side behind the paddler that is easy to twist open, but watch out! Remember what I said about initial stability! Otherwise, you might find yourself rolling over.
Prijons are engineered well as far as putting a lot of thought into how to layout the webbing on the deck for securing a spare paddle, T-handles, seat adjustments, hatches, rudders etc and this boat lives up to that expectation.
I took the Barracuda out into a quiet bay the other day to practice my Bracing and Rolling and was surprised as to how far you can roll this boat over and still recover to a upright position. The Barracuda rolls and braces better than my Touryak, but then again it is narrower.
Fit and finish are very good and the only change I am going to make is to the seat. I removed the seat pad so as to get myself as low as possible in the kayak but have found that without it there is just to much play in the hip area so I may have to add some padding back into those areas.
Paddle float rescues. Ok I have to admit I do not always get my roll on the first try so when that fails I have two choices. One, try to get back in while the kayak is upside down or two, do a paddle float rescue. Because the Barracudas cockpit is smaller and the kayak is narrower than my Touryak, doing a paddle float rescue takes a bit of practice or you may find yourself rolling over in the opposite direction. I have practiced it on the calm waters of the lake but I can only imagine what it would be like trying to do it in rough water.
Not all rudders are created equal. There is more to a rudder than having a piece of metal on the stern of the boat, and this is were the Prijon boats come out ahead in that the rudder is a composite material, well shaped and uses gas type peddles for ease of operation. Most of the Prijon boats that I have seen come set up for a rudder that can be bought afterwards and installed in very little time with simple household tools.
Overall I'm very pleased with the Barracuda. It is my workout kayak, once you get use to the stability issue I think you will find it an excellent kayak for the more intermediate kayaker who is seeking speed at a lower price then you would pay for a composite boat.