Friday, July 27, 2012

Native Watercraft Slayer Kayak Review NEW for 2012-13

Native Watercraft Slayer 12 and 14.5 Review

The Slayer is Native Watercraft's new boat for 2013 and it will come in both 12' and 14'6" models. According to Legacy Paddlesports, the Native Watercraft Slayer should be shipping in September 2012. The Native Watercraft Slayer 12 is priced at $1179 and the Slayer 14.5 at $1279. I've seen the design both as CAD specs on paper and from video released last week. Legacy Paddlesport's resident kayak fishing gurus Jimbo and Woody spent the last two summers fishing with pro kayak anglers and really getting a feel for what these fishermen were looking for, and I think Legacy has really nailed it with this one.

Designed with a clean deck layout (KISS) the Slayer offers ample room to stand, rig, strip line, or simply chill out and enjoy the day. (Native Watercraft Catalog 2013)
Unlike some pretenders this thing is ultra stable in terms of being able to really stand up and not feel squirrely. The Slayer paddles more efficiently and maneuvers better than any sit-on-top fishing kayak on the market, which I believe manifests from the Native Manta Ray in terms of hull design, because that boat really moves for a sit-on-top.

The seat is unprecedented, sticking with the same First Class Seat design in terms of material and comfort, but is a huge step up from other high-low seats out there. Many kayak anglers had complaints about how other high-low seats on the market have a bar that digs into their tailbone. Plus the supposed option to use a cooler under your seat wasn't really an option at all in other high-low models. In the video a Yeti cooler is displayed and fits perfectly on its own, or as a boost to the seat. They also showed how easily Plano boxes fit underneath the seat and how easy they are to access.

Anglers wanted lots of easily accessible storage and universal features that could be used throughout the whole Native line - from the Ultimate to the Manta Ray to the Slayer. That is why Native fans will be pleased with the design. Both the fore and aft open bow storage areas not only perfectly fit the Native Watercraft coolers that go all the way back to the first years Native arrived to market, but the Groove Track Mounts fit all the same Native accessories from years past like the Folding Dash, Lashpoints, "The Groove" Scotty Rod Mounts, Outfitting Plate, etc.

As a kayak fisherman, I really hoped that Native made the area for resting your rods open. I have fished with multiple rods on a kayak where you are sticking your rod into a closed compartment and it becomes cumbersome and in all actuality you just don't use it. I usually just set my rod on top of the compartment, but with multiple rods on board, tangles and clutter just seemed to follow. The Slayer -- thank the fishing Gods -- has simple rod tip rests that are split by a functional dry compartment, which holds all of your electronics and valuables. It sounds like a small feature, but in my world it is huge. Kayak Anglers wanted simple, streamlined, and uncluttered features with clean lines that can be easily customized and the Native Watercraft Slayer has done just that.

Rounding out the features are carefully designed and well placed scuppers in the fore and aft storage areas, and both open storage areas have an option for hatch covers if you so choose. Further, their are molded indents fore and aft for tackle boxes. From the video the indents make a lot of sense - very subtle indents - just enough so that tackle boxes and buckets aren't sliding around the boat. Last, the Tag Along Stern Wheel comes standard on the Slayer because fishing sit-on-tops loaded with accessories can only be so light without giving up options and extras. The Tag Along Stern Wheel just gives you one more nice extra after you unload the boat and need to take it that last 20 feet or so to the water without dragging over concrete or rocks.

The Slayer will be available Fall of 2012 and comes in Mango, Fire Brick Red, Lime, Olive, Sand, and Camo.


Native Watercraft Slayer 12 $1179.00
Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5 $1279.00


Slayer 12 325 lbs
Slayer 14.5  385 lbs

Slayer Performance/Features Pros:

- Stability of the flat deck for standing
- Paddles Extremely Well
- Overall Comfort of the First Class High-Low Seat
-  Clean lines and features
-  Molded indents for buckets and tackle boxes
- Padded Aluminum Grab Handles
- Well placed scuppers
- Easily accessible storage fore and aft
- Previous years Native Watercraft accessories fit on the Slayer
- Made in the USA

Slayer Cons:

- At $1179 and $1279 these are close to the high end for their respected categories, however the peace of mind of knowing that the boats are all designed, engineered and manufactured in the USA is something most Americans want to stick by.
- The optional covered hatches not coming stock on the Slayer Models
-  The Slayer only comes in SIX colors, not seven