Native Watercraft “Slayer”
Introducing: The Slayer
By Neil Taylor, Native endorsed guide with www.strikethreekayakfishing.com
This new watercraft is now available from the great folks at Legacy Paddlesports. Working with the guide staff, the intent was to create a fishing kayak that addresses some of the requests of the kayak anglers, taking the best aspects of other Native Watercraft boats and rolling them into a new model of fishing kayak. The line of options in the Native brand is exceptional. With the Ultimate, Mariner, Manta Ray, Redfish and Versa Board-there have already been great options for everyone to choose from. The goal of creating a boat that satisfies other needs in one kayak was something that the Native team took to task. As part of the advisory staff on the design and trial of this new kayak, I knew that what they would come up with would be a winner.
The Slayer is a self-draining, sit-on-top kayak with the layout and stability to easily stand up for sight-fishing. It was designed to be light enough to handle/lift but with enough gumption to handle choppier conditions. Where Native has never skimped is on comfortable seating, something that also exists with the Slayer. This “first class” seat has the same support and elevated comfort of their other boats. As it has been all along with the Ultimate series of watercraft, the seat on the Slayer holds up to critical analysis. I knew this would be slightly different from the Ultimate seat. No underside “pan” like on the Ultimate seats, the simpified frame structure locks in solid at both the lower or raised positions. In use, the biggest thing that many users noticed right away is the superior lumbar support in the Slayer seat.
The overall deck layout is outstanding. It was designed with a flat standing area for anglers to easily get up and sight-cast to fish. A “built-in” seat riser option was also incorporated, something that makes standing up (and sitting back down) easier to do safely. The bow section of this kayak is something that I talked about with the company going back several years. I have long believed that an enclosed hatch is something that wastes deck space that can be more useful. Realizing that there are people who want a hatch up front, the development team made the hatch an accessory option. This front “tankwell” is a perfect fit for a Native cooler bag but can be utilized for just about anything. (See Native Slayer Accessories)
The rest of the built-in features: “inserts for tackle boxes, crates, bait buckets, rod tips and beverages”. The permanent accessory rails are excellent for adding rod holders and other items like camera mounts. The bungees in the front and rear tankwells are adjustable. For off-the-water mobility, the tag-along wheel was included on this model.
The Slayer in action:
The initial test paddle of the prototype I first used, the boat handled well above average in a crosswind versus other kayak options I have ever paddled. It is not noisy or “sloppy” with good elevation of the seat even in the lowered position so that the user can have high expectations of staying dry. When the bracket is finalized, the rudder will also be an option for the Slayer owners. Tracking is good with the existing model but the rudder will offer an option to shift the feet to adjust the direction of movement.
Speed comparison, there is some variation on perceptions and observations. The hull design, the expectation was that the Slayer would be faster than the Ultimate. The actual performance: It is too close to call. It is probably just about the same for “like-length” kayaks in each model. The Slayer 14.5 is sleeker and the length makes it a faster paddling kayak than the Slayer 12 (a wider boat, but a great compact little fishing kayak!) People who are buying the Slayer who had the Ultimate are reporting back that they have no buyers remorse.
Paddling the Slayer versus other models is “different”. Trying out the Slayer, some people may want to consider a longer paddle than they would normally use, especially if that user is above average in height. The boat moves well in the water but in windier conditions I would recommend putting the seat up to 90 degrees or even a slight big forward so that you can “lean into the wind” for better torque and speed.
For the “stand and fish” crowd, the Slayer probably “poles” better than the Ultimate. Using a long paddle, stake-out pole or a pushpole, it is easy to get to the bottom and push off easily, steering the kayak in the direction you would like to go. In the seated position with either the seat high or low, visual distance is outstanding.
From the pictures, you probably like how it looks. If you are in the market for a fishing kayak, I would find a Native dealer and try this option. It is the newest fishing kayak in the market and because of that, and the input they got from the Native guide staff, this boat is a winner.
2014 updates, there will be more crafty additions with utilization of the underside of the seats for tackle storage and a “Propel” version of this boat. This creates another “offshore” craft for the people who want to venture out on this kind of trip, a craft that is more similar to the Mariner.
Weight: 70 pounds
Capacity: 400 pounds
Weight: 75 pounds
Capacity: 450 pounds
Boats are available in