With the recent buzz of the NuCanoe Pursuit, I knew I needed to get into one so I could see what all the talk was about.
The NuCanoe Pursuit is 13.5 feet long with a 35 inch width. The hull weighs 82 pounds and it has a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds. The price point starts at $1600 and goes up as you add accessory packages to customize your Pursuit.
Thanks to Everett Park and Billy Weemo Weems I was able to spend a few hours in the Pursuit and test it in a real world, fishing scenario, not just a 20 minute test paddle.
I like an open deck layout that makes it easy to stand, sit, and move around as I am fighting fish. The Pursuit definitely has that. The seat and flush mounted tracks that allow it to move fore and aft are really the only thing along the deck. No hazards to trip on, no useless console or cupholder that ends up gathering water.
I really appreciated the rod tubes and the accompanying staging places molded into the sides and front of the NuCanoe Pursuit. Where we fished was a damned river that has tree overhangs, bridges, and other hazards that love to pick pocket rods in vertical or almost vertical rod holders. This kayak does have two flush mounted rod holders behind the seat but they weren’t used much throughout the day because of the availability of the rod tubes on the side of the deck.
If I did need to reach around to get something out of my tackle bag, the multi-height Pinnacle Seat made it easy. Couple that with the side to side stability of the kayak and I could swivel around and fish behind the boat or side saddle with ease. That’s a huge plus over other seats that may go up and down but lack a swivel adjustment.
The most surprising thing about this kayak is the combination of maneuverability and speed. A sharp bow and strong fluid hull design allow the NuCanoe Pursuit to get up to speed quickly and hold its momentum. A few strong paddle strokes and you will glide quite a way.
An efficient hull isn’t hard to find but one that is also able to turn fairly quickly for applications in wind or current is hard to find. I was able to turn the kayak 180 degrees in two paddle strokes. I have only seen that happen in two other kayaks I’ve been in and both were lacking in the hull efficiency category.
Stability or as many refer to it as the ability to stand (which are technically two different things), is pretty good in this kayak. For me it was a similar experience to standing in an ATAK 140 or Coosa HD. It isn’t an aircraft carrier so folks who are balance challenged or wear their weight around their belly button may find it ok. Folks with experience standing in kayaks will find it easy.
Points of Improvement
While the seat has many nice features, it still needs additional refining. I needed to adjust the tension straps on the horizontal portion of the seat and had to get out of the seat, turn around and dig my hand around until I found the three pull straps. At that point I just pulled what I could while floating and it was a little better. The straps weren’t super tight when I launched and I ended up sitting on the cross bars for a couple of hours. I’d like to see an easier way to adjust the tension of the seat both on the horizontal and vertical portions of the seat so I don’t have to be an on the water ninja or beach the boat to make adjustments. I also think the backward slant of the vertical portion of the seat is too extreme and the lumbar support was too high to actually be lumbar support.
All this glorious track in the floor of the boat is wonderful but there is zero available on the traditional place to put track on the gunwales. I’d love to see some inset track that would be available for mounting graphs, rod holders for trolling, and other accessories while still being able to have a “no grab” feature by being inset in case you wanted a naked hull for fly fishing. Anglers can add track but it won’t be flush so it will grab.
While the deck has “heel braces”, I’d love to see some foot pegs, even ones that mount in the track in front of the seat that could be added when you need to brace. Paddling against wind and current I often find I need more than an inch worth of plastic to brace against. Make them removable and you should be golden.
While the NuCanoe Pursuit seems like a big kayak with a seat and not much else, the finely thought out placement and function, coupled with an excellent hull design make for an excellent kayak.
I can see big water, river, and marsh applications with the Pursuit and am surprised more people aren’t already in them.