TESTED: FEELFREE MOKEN KAYAKS

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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They may take a bit more elbow grease to move along, but these Moken kayaks from Feelfree can be a great alternative to your trailerboat.

TESTED: FEELFREE MOKEN KAYAKS
Feelfree Moken kayaks: who says you need a big outboard engine to catch fish?

As more discerning readers would have noticed, these vessels are in fact not trailerboats. However, kayaks of any species are commonly seen on a multitude of waterways from dams to estuaries, offshore to creeks, to wherever else there may be fish.

So many dedicated anglers out there don’t just own trailerboats, but also have some form of kayak or canoe in the shed, and I am counted in that number. There are always those times of compromise when the boat has to be left home but the kayak can come along.

But compromises aside, there are a number of advantages to taking out the kayak: they cost a whole lot less than a standard trailerboat; they don’t require a trailer; they are very economical in terms of fuel; and, depending on how big the night before was, they are a superb form of exercise while having fun.



BOAT FOR ONE

One of the latest to hit the market comes from the awesomely named Feelfree Kayaks on the Gold Coast. Although these rigs can be used for a spot of recreational paddling, they have been pimped to the max for the fisho, and we had three of these fishing machines up for test — the Moken 10 Lite, Moken 12.5 and Moken 14.

Looking at all three kayaks, it’s immediately clear they are designed for fishing (I especially love the camouflage colour combinations). Each model is relatively lightweight, particularly the small and manageable Moken 10 Lite.

Some of the first things you notice when aboard these kayaks is the abundance of watertight storage space, the fancy accessory fittings and adaptors, and the adjustable rod-holder system. The strength of the rod holders is a slight cause for concern because they only have small screws holding them in, but Feelfree tells me the company is looking into a stronger system. The seats are very comfortable and adjustable — I like the ergonomics — and they allow you to sit without having to go to a yoga session beforehand.

The "paddleability" of these units depends somewhat on your level of fitness, but if you’re not fit when you start out in one you’ll definitely be well on your way after a few sessions. It can also depend on how many sausages you had the night before, but as long as you are in reasonable shape (and aren’t we all?) paddling is straightforward and pleasant.

These Moken models are not especially wide and so they’re fairly quick on the water, but you might lose a little bit in terms of stability. Having said that, you can still stand up on the kayak — it’s not something I’ll be doing, but I did see it done in a demonstration.

When it comes to fishing the biggest advantages kayaks offer is the fact they are so stealthy and are able to access spots most standard boats can’t reach. The ability to sneak up on your prey should not be underestimated. And when fishing, access to the aforementioned storage space and tackle hatches comes in handy. The Mokens even have convenient little side pockets for clippers or pliers.

The adjustable rod holders are also very good here because you can set them to be out of the way when paddling. There is also a wad behind you, so there is no shortage of space carrying the quiver of rods.

These kayaks also feature a very interesting hull design. Called the Tri-hull, this design aids stability and maintains buoyancy out wide, which allows for better tracking when paddling and drifting.

These hulls are also ideal for fitting a transducer. And for those who like their on-water gadgets, these Moken kayaks also have plenty of flat surfaces that are ideal for mounting GPS sounders and the like.



THE WRAP

These vessels are an excellent alternative to the trailerboats we are all used to. They are cheaper, give you a bit (actually, a lot) of physical exercise, are easy to transport, and are extremely economical. What more could you want?

As for these particular kayaks, they are great machines. They are all designed with the fisho firmly in mind, offering excellent storage for gear and your rods, as well as being a stealthy alternative that will allow you to get to places a bigger boat with an engine could never dream of accessing.

They may take a bit of extra work on your part, but if you’re keen on getting very close to the water and the fish — and putting in that extra effort — these Moken kayaks could be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.



PERFORMANCE

(PPM — Paddles Per Minute)

1kt (1.8kmh) @ 4ppm

2kts (3.6kmh) @ 8ppm

4kts (7.2kmh) @ 22ppm

15kts (27kmh) @ 100ppm — wide open throttle with a Great White on your tail!

 

ON THE PLANE...

  • Recessed handles on sides for easy carrying and loading
  • Adjustable foot-peddle and rudder system
  • Comfortable padded seating
  • Adjustable rod-holder system
  • Abundance of sealed storage



DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

  • Rodholder tracks a little flimsy
  • Struggles to plane
  • You’ll get tired arms if you’re unfit



SPECIFICATIONS: FEELFREE MOKENS

FEELFREE MOKEN 10 LITE

Priced from: $1195

Length: 315cm

Width: 79cm

Weight: 25kg

Capacity: 160kg



FEELFREE MOKEN 12.5

Priced from: $1575

Length: 385cm

Width: 82cm

Weight: 30kg

Capacity: 190kg



FEELFREE MOKEN 14

Priced from: $1655

Length: 448cm

Width: 78cm

Weight: 34kg

Capacity: 196kg



GENERAL

Type: Fishing Kayak

Material: Polyethylene



CAPACITIES

People: 1

Berths: Depends on your balance

Rec. HP: Three Red Bulls

Max. HP: Nine Red Bulls

Fuel: 1L for lighting the fire

Water: No need — you’re paddling on plenty



ENGINE

Make/model: Bicep / tricep / abs

Type: Human

Weight: Generally over and in need of a diet

Displacement: Depends on height

Gear ratio: Depends on arm length

Propeller: Standard paddle or carbon-fibre



SUPPLIED BY

Active Water Sports

5-6 / 698 Ashmore Road

Molendinar, Queensland 4214

Tel: (07) 5564 8077

Web: www.feelfreekayaks.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #295, May 2013.

 

Find Feelfree Kayaks for sale.

 


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