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I bought my 2006 model because I got the kayak with rod holders, paddle, life jacket, and seat for under $800 brand new. The advertised Prowler 13 08' model was 850 by itself. My first paddle was near the Pali on Maui for a few hours, and I didn't find a single thing wrong with the performance of this kayak. A rudder option might be necessary for a long distance paddle.
Overall I rate this kayak a 10/10 and would recommend it to both novices and advanced paddlers.
Likes: Plenty of room in the cockpit, good for the long hauls (I frequently do 30km round trips) Lots of attachment points, big rear well.
Dislikes: The front hatch should be replaced with a neoprene cover (I improved the leak here by replacing the rigid straps with some hefty elastic, but still dribbles inside.
This yak needs some sort of foam wall inside to stop your stuff from sliding back in the hull - I spent 45minutes cursing whilst trying to extricate my rod that had jammed at the rear of the yak.
The plastic in the cup-holder in mine was thin enough to flex with very little finger pressure - I am not too concerned about this as I was potting this up for a fish finder, but it came close to asking for another hull.
It needs a decent rear (leakproof) hatch.
Overall, I would put this hull on a par with the Swing and although I initially regretted selling the Swing, I think the Prowler will rapidly grow on me.
First off, I am 5í9", 150lbs, very athletic, 5 years paddling experience in a Perception Sierra. The P15 is my first fishing and SOT kayak. No affiliation with Ocean Kayak
First time out was in South Padre Island/bay side. 25-30mph winds. 3ft high waves.
HANDLING: I wasnít expecting the kayak to handle very well in the rough waters, but it exceeded my expectations tremendously. After adjusting my paddling stroke I was able to track perfectly straight with a direct 25mph cross-wind. A lot of people complain that long kayaks are hard to turn. If you take the time to learn how to adjust your paddling stroke, you will be able to maneuver it just as easy as a smaller one. I was able to turn directly into the wind and then paddle into it fairly easy my first time out. I never had any problems with that P15 going in any direction I didnít want it to because of the waves and wind.
COMFORT: Iíve found the P15 very comfortable. The molded in foot wells fit me perfect. I was originally planning to buy the upgraded seat from OK. For now anyway, I donít see any reason to spend the extra money. The backrest that came with was very comfortable the first time out. I will have to see how I feel after a full day.
STABILITY: At only 28" wide, the P15 is very stable. I never once felt tipsy or thought I might flip over in the rough conditions. It didnít even cross my mind how stable it was until I got in. I think that is an excellent example of how well it performed in the choppy bay. It makes me wonder why people buy kayaks that are 34" wide, but I guess larger people might feel less stable in narrower kayaks.
LAYOUT and RIGGING: When I got home I put all my fishing gear in and set it all up with room to spare. The two rod-holders are very accessible. I really like the fact that it came fully rigged with two paddle keepers, plenty of deck loops, bungee webbing over the tank-well, 4 carrying handles, and the small tackle box in front of the seat is pretty cool. Ton of useable space in the front hatch.
It should also be noted that after an hour of paddling around in the rough conditions I came in to check if any water had gotten into the hull. I couldnít believe that there was not a single drop in the hull! I did have water come over the bow every now and then. I have never heard of a kayak not taking water over the bow in rough conditions. So if you want a dry kayak, buy a SINK. It never ceases to amaze me that people complain about a SOT kayak being a wet ride. Seriously, what do you expect sitting exposed to the elements and only 3 inches above the water line?
My second trip was to a lake in my neighborhood, perfect conditions, no wind. The P15 is very easy to turn. It tracks perfectly straight. Anyone who says itís not easy to turn doesnít know how to control their kayak properly. My only complaint about the whole kayak is that if any water gets in the footwells, it wonĎt drain out. You can get the water out using a sponge if it bothers you. I paddled under a huge fountain to cool off and came in and again did not find a single drop of water in the hull. Not "all" kayaks leak.
This is a perfect kayak for fishing and day touring. I couldn't be more happy about my purchase. And you can bet that I would have returned it to the store if I wasn't completely happy with it.
The GOOD: it's practically un-tippable-in flat water i can stand up and paddle, we had it out in 4-5 ft choppy swell and it always felt 'stable like a raft'. It's pretty quick in flat water-slower than my Elaho but not by a big margin. The hatch opening is very large. It's weight capacity really is enormous, it will probably take 500+lbs to sink it but i wouldnt paddle it with over 325. Probably it's best feature of all is the comfort, your butt is significantly higher than your feet,making it extra easy on your back.
Now, the BAD: It's only 57 lbs,but in reality its a VERY awkward boat to carry solo,the trick i found recently is to run a strap through the footwell scupper holes and hold the boat by it and the seat strap. if carrying with 2 people, the wide tugboat-like stern always hits my legs. one word here-CART. for comparison, i don't have any problems carrying and car topping a normal plastic 16-17 footer for a block,with the rest of the day gear if need be.
The plastic is thin and flexible and warps easy. I don't think it's as well made as the old Scupper Pro was. The scupper holes look like they'd catch and wear if someone has the nasty habbit of dragging their kayak over rocks or pavement. The main hatch really is downright stupid. The ridiculously deep recess eats up a lot of potential space,and the seal leaks some,i think at the seam. A normal neoprene+hard cover system would be a huge improvement. While it's pretty fast in flat water, it's a SLUG in chop.
Final Verdict: It's the perfect kayak for a non-kayaker who likes flatwater speed and occasional camping and exceptional stability. if you can find one for a good price. If not i'd look long and hard at the Tarpons(but theyre not exactly perfect either).
I ordered the Prowler 15' angler with rudder and the H1 & H2 front and center hatches.
The boat finally came in on July 15th. The only problem was that it came in without the center hatch and the rudder. I left the boat at the store and the people there installed the rudder and hatch. "Great"
Picked up the Prowler on July 23rd. All the accessories were installed.
Didn't get a chance to use the kayak until August 3rd. It was a little heavy getting on my vehicle, but manageable. The kayak tracked and had good speed, really enjoyed it.
Went to take it out of the water and found that it was a lot heavier then I thought. I solved that problem, I drained several gallons of water out of the inside of the kayak.
I then took it home and leak tested it and found a hole half way up one of the scupper holes. Contacted Ocean Kayak and they said to return it to store and they would build a new one and ship it out.
It's September 21st now and I went to pick up my new kayak. Finally we're going to get a kayak and itís been leak tested. Went to the store and it was still in the wrapper.
My enthusiasm was soon diffused when the new boat I was about to receive didn't have the center hatch and the rudder.
Give me my money back. I got a credit immediately.
I'm very disappointed with the Ocean Kayak quality control, and the 3-months from the date of order that they still couldn't get it right. It's too bad, I really enjoyed the boat for the one day I used it.
They get a 1-star for that one day. BEWARE.
Second deduction is for hull rigidity/quality, compare it to the Wilderness Tarpons and I think you'll be amazed - the Prowler (yes it's 6 or 8 pounds lighter) oil cans relatively easily whereas the Tarpon 140 inspires more confidence in the quality. Looking down the keel/hull you'll notice ripples in the OK 'yak that you won't find on the WS units. Minus 1 for quality.
If you are a fisherman that may be poleing or casting (read: standing) in the kayak, again, forget it with this unit (Minus 1). The floor is WAY too soft and standing on it comes with the real risk of actually damaging it. It caves in with about 2/3 of my 6', 210 pound frame on it ... it made a big POP when attempting to stand so I stopped ... I was afraid I'd break it.
On the plus side, it tracks extremely well, glides forever and is less wind-sensitive than the WS Tarpon. But you're gonna get wet and that slap, slap, slap in the mildest chop will drive you crazy ... while the birds and fish flee for cover!!!!
I was worried about leaks from the scupper holes. Iíd read that had been a problem. I checked the hatch and not a drop.
The biggest thing I love about the Prowler is the space. The tank well is huge. I fit my cooler, cast net, anchor and pfd back there. In IMHO itís a great fishing machine. Itís a pleasure to paddle.
The one thing this the boat does have going for it is that it is extremely stable. I think it would make a great fishing platform. I would definately reccomend that anyone considering this boat also consider the WS Tarpon.
It paddles well, very smoothly, and is very quiet in the water. I can maintain a 3.5 mph pace with almost no effort and have pushed it up to 5 mph and a little beyond with more efforts in my stroke. Its a very nice looking sleek kayak and cuts through waves and chop nicely.
Now for the negatives, at least for me - It is generally a good tracker but even with a slight breeze it wants to turn into the wind which I compensate for with more corrective strokes on one side. I will be adding a rudder, which I would have done anyway to enhance my drift for fishing, and dealing with rougher conditions out on the Bay or Ocean. I think it really needs one if you plan to take it out into bigger waters, and I can see it will be more of a pleasant paddle for me without having to resort to correction strokes.
My biggest gripe however, is that I don't seem to have the room I need for my feet. I'm only 5'10, but I have very wide feet and they feel uncomfortable and cramped in the narrow footwell area. I'm going to try and add some foam padding or mount a bar that will span the inside width of the footwells to rest my feet on.
As far as the amount of water that gathers in the footwell area and seat, its about average for a Sit On Top, and I bring a bilge sponge along and use scupper stoppers. There will still be water from paddle drip that collects, but not as bad as without the stoppers.
Overall, a good ride, very capable handler and a good choice for SOT touring longer distances and fishing. The only other sit on top kayak I can compare it to is the Cobra Tourer (see my review), which I paddled last year but was forced to sell because of dwindling finances. I actually liked the Tourer better overall for fit and storage, and it was just about as fast. The only negatives for me about it was the hull slap, and it was very awkward to load, due to its unusual hull shape. The Prowler is a little heavy to load but not as much of a bear as the Tourer.
Overall, I like this kayak a lot and its growing on me as I'm still getting over the loss of my Tourer. When I'm able, I will add another Tourer and keep the Prowler. I would recommend the Prowler highly, but take a test paddle for yourself if you can, to see if it is right for you first.
I am going to buy more kayaks because one can never have enough, but so far the Prowler is my favorite boat and as long as I keep carrying it to and from the water, I never have to go the gym.
Tracking and straight line speed are excellent too though turning takes rather more effort than I am used to - though for a long boat I guess it is okay.
My brother was down over the weekend, he has never kayaked in his life but within minutes he was zooming about in the Prowler as if he was born to it. I think that says a lot. If you need a kayak that you will take you long distances with ease, or something that will take a fair load whether it be for camping, fishing or whatever, I recommend the Prowler.
One minor niggle though, the bungee straps across the tankwell at the back are useful but would be far more useful if they were easily removable/replacable - attached with hooks rather than loops perhaps.
Anyway, minor niggles aside, a definite 10 out of 10 for me.
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