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NuCanoe "Frontier 12"

NuCanoe "Frontier 12" Hot

 
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NuCanoe Frontier 12

Kayak Make & Model

Brand:
NuCanoe
Model:
Frontier
MSRP ($):
1,179.00
Length (ft):
12

In the NuCanoe “Frontier 12” you can do things your way... a better way! Go solo in style or tandem with room to spare. Position the seats anywhere along the 70" Freedom Track. Face the action with 360° Mobility. And don’t just stand, walk with confidence on the 20" wide Cast & Blast Deck.

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Photos

NuCanoe Frontier 12 SUP fishing
NuCanoe Frontier 12 fishing
NuCanoe Frontier 12 rigged tandem
My NuCanoe Frontier 12
980476_10200565324388043_1721883892_o.jpg
Small bass in the Frontier
Over 500lbs paddling a swamped Frontier.
Testing the Frontier's stability
Frontier side shot
My daughter Taylor with a smallmouth caught in the Frontier
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Editor review

(Updated: April 21, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Speed 
 
2.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
5.0
Features 
 
3.0
Value 
 
4.0

NuCanoe Frontier (Pre Production) Review

Four months ago Blake Young showed us the concept drawing of a new kayak model for NuCanoe. From what I saw it seemed like all the shortcoming of the original NuCanoe had been addressed. Earlier this month we were informed the first kayaks had been completed and were headed to Kentucky. This weekend the YakAngler crew was able to put the yak through its paces like any true kayak fisherman would. I have two words for NuCanoe, Freakin Awesome!

Your first look at the Frontier there is no doubt it’s a NuCanoe, the company has stayed true to its roots with the overall look and feel of the kayak. It has the same length as the 12’ NuCanoe, and is a tad bit slimmer with a 41” beam. It’s easy to paddle and can hold a ton of weight. That’s where the similarities end.

The new kayak has a large flat deck that NuCanoe is calling the Cast and Blast deck, if you’ve paddled a NuCanoe before you know how big of an improvement the new flat deck. To quote Adam “No more Capt. Morgan stances while fishing”.

They have added a front gear locker which quickly was dubbed the “pantry” by Blake during our trip down the Elkhorn. The gear lockers is sealed very well; during our stability testing the Frontier was totally swamped but the gear locker stayed dry. There was a small amount in the hull but nothing a long day in the surf or white water wouldn’t do to any kayak.

You are now able to store your rods, spare paddle or any other gear you want out of the way in the internal rod chamber. I was able to put my rods into the Frontier easily; only issues I could see are it might be awkward to access your rods while on the water and things sliding out of reach of the front hatch.

Supper holes! Yes NuCanoe has added scupper holes to the Frontier, which I’m told were a late addition to the design. With just me in the kayak “200lbs” I didn’t have any water coming through the scuppers. With 2 of us in there was some water in the stern of the kayak but nothing alarming. With 3 of us there was probably an inch of water in the stern. This might be alarming if we hadn’t just swamped the entire kayak earlier with 3 adults in it and safely SUP’d “Stand Up Paddle” back to shore. Leaving the kayak level all the water quickly drained out within a minute or so.

NuCanoe has gone with a track system called the Freedom Track, which secures the universal seat base and other accessories. The track system fit my YakAttack MightyBolt allowing me to use my PanFish and other YakAttack accessories. Blake said they were working with YakAttack to possibly offer the threaded RAM Ball as an added accessory.

The hull has been tweaked adding Kiss Offs, we had the original NuCanoe out as well and the tracking has improved in the Frontier. I was able to SUP easily without zig zagging down the river. The stern of new hull also didn’t catch the current like the original.

Saving the best for last unbelievable Stability or as Adam put it “This thing is stupid stable”. I was by far the most impressed with how stable the Frontier is. Check out the videos below for 180’s, tandem 180’s, bow paddling, SUP’ing in a little white water.

I was easily able to turn around step over my seat, walk to the stern and grab any gear from my crate. At one point Adam and I even decided to switch places and walked past each other on the kayak! Bottom line the Frontier is the most stable “non outrigger” kayak I have ever had the pleasure fishing from.

In summery this has probably been one of the easiest reviews I’ve done on a kayak. It was hard to find anything I disliked about the Frontier. It’s a little on the heavy side at 76lbs and a little wide at 41”. That’s it, two faults out of a laundry list of likes; I’ll take percentage any day of the week! Would I recommend the NuCanoe Frontier 12 to kayak fishermen? Absolutely, get out to a NuCanoe retailer next year and try the Frontier for yourself; I’m almost positive you’ll also agree that it’s Freakin Awesome.

Update: This is still my go to kayak when fishing with the kids, I received a production model which is thankfully lighter then to Pre Production model but is still my no means a light kayak. I've used this kayak now for easily over 30 trips and still stand behind my original review. My only new complaint is the deluxe folding seat that came with my kayak. The seat bases flex and cause the deluxe folding seat to not provide much support for the lower back. I'm told this has been solved by the updated seat bases but I have yet to try them out.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Stable, rigged solo or tandem, multiple rigging options with rails
Cons:
Heavy, bad lower back support in deluxe folding seat,wouldn't want to paddle over 5 miles in one
Over 500lbs paddling a swamped Frontier.
Small bass in the Frontier
Testing the Frontier's stability
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4.3
 
3.2  (14)
 
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4.5  (14)
 
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Ratings (the higher the better)
Speed
Stability
Durability
Features
Value
User Info
Pros & Cons
Comments
Overall rating 
 
4.6
Speed 
 
4.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
5.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
5.0

Frontier 12 Fan!

I also have a BGII that is a fabulous small water 'yak but the Frontier crushes it on big water due to the stunning stability.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Stable, Roomy, Easy to move around in. Comfortable all day, Superb Fishing Platform
Cons:
Heavy with all accessories, cart recommended
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
2.8
Speed 
 
3.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
1.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
1.0

Disappointing Fitting Quality

I bought a Nucanoe Frontier in 2012 - it was sold by a dealer that was new to the area, and I believe we were one of the earlier customers in the St. Petersburg Florida area to buy one.

We loved the boat, and it served as a fantastic tender to our Sailboat – also so stable that our large dog got almost daily rides in it. Why the low rating? After several years we noticed stains around some of the fittings. Then about three years ago, the fittings started crumbling and the hull splitting - because amazingly the fittings were not stainless. They were obviously plain nickel steel and all crumbled into rust. We have now taken the boat to the dealer we bought it from and they are contacting the manufacturer to see what they might be able to do, but told us today that they didn’t think that they would be able to repair it. I was pretty disconcerted to hear the retail rep explain that this is bound to happen in saltwater - but I never received any warnings when I bought the boat that I could expect all the fittings to crumble apart after 4-5 years of use in saltwater. It would be different if you could just replace the fittings, but when they rust, they expand and the hull has now split in about 8 different spots. So, while I loved the boat - unless you plan to only use it in freshwater (or they now use stainless fittings) I would plan a five-year life for the boat before having to scrap it.

If the manufacturer comes back and offers some type of fix, I will be the first person to come back on and let you know.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Stable
Cons:
Poor quality fittings
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
3.6
Speed 
 
3.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
4.0
Features 
 
3.0
Value 
 
3.0

After 2 Years of Use

Reviews of kayaks when newly introduced are one thing - reviews of kayaks post-introduction after significant use may be something else.

I purchased a 2012 NuCanoe Frontier 12 in 2013. This kayak has been fished frequently in an inshore saltwater environment. It has been carefully maintained, transported and stored (thoroughly cleaned and treated with 303 Aerospace Protectant immediately after each use).

The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is VERY stable. The hull has withstood well oysters and rocks. The 360 degree revolving seat is an excellent feature.

Its stability is attributed to its width and relatively high gunnels. Hence, there is a significant trade off: what the Frontier 12 offers in stability it surrenders in "paddle-ability": when confronted with resistance from anything more than minor currents, tidal flows and winds paddling becomes laborious. In more challenging conditions it becomes a "large barge". The relatively higher seating position (which accommodates 360 degree seat swiveling) adds to greater wind resistance.

My greatest disappointment with the Frontier 12 has been its warped deck. Shortly after purchase I learned NuCanoe was having some "issues" with cracking and warping decks. Some Frontier 12 owners were complaining the deck was too "flexy". NuCanoe's solution was to provide owners with a Styrofoam block insert (a major PITA to put into the hull via the bow hatch). With the foam block in place the deck was more firmly supported eliminating flex. However, the installed block also altered the deck's flatness, defeating the purpose of the deck's molded design, causing casual water on the deck to flow to the sides impeding the flow of casual water to the scupper holes in the stern. Also, a "well" where casual water would collect and not drain was created toward the bow. The foam block insert virtually eliminated all of the hull's interior storage space (ugh). When contacted, NuCanoe told me the warranty would be voided if the Frontier 12 was used without the foam block insert.

Another disappointment is how badly the kayak's color has faded. After each use it has been well-cleaned. Treatment with 303 makes it look better but as soon as it gets wet and the 303 washes off it returns to a dingy and lack-luster appearance.

A major concern has been rusting of the heads of the screws that secure the Freedom Tracks to the hull. Thankfully to date nothing catastrophic has occurred, however, I'm not looking forward to if/when 1 or more of these screws fail. Evidently, NuCanoe used hardware not suitable for exposure to saltwater corrosiveness. Be advised: the Freedom Tracks are nice for mounting a number of accessories but not nearly sturdy enough for trolling or for passively fishing a rod in a rod holder.

Of lesser concern but no less aggravating has been poor quality/poor quality control. The lift handles have had to be replaced because grommets have torn out. The hatch seal has had to be repaired and replaced because it simply fell apart.

One strongly recommended improvement NuCanoe should make to the Frontier 12 would be a hatch in the midsection and/or stern allowing interior access to the hull particularly for wiring, securing add-ons from the inside, etc.

Over time I've learned that many accessories offered by NuCanoe, especially many of their seats and seat swivels, can be purchased at significantly lower prices from sources other than NuCanoe. Had I known then what I know now I would have bought a "bare bone" Frontier 12 hull then outfitted it with seats, etc. sourced elsewhere to save money.

In summary I think the NuCanoe Frontier 12 may be best suited for those who desire or need a kayak that is very stable and/or offers more weight capacity. Perhaps NuCanoe has since 2012 addressed the "flexing" deck issue in some manner other than the foam block insert, i.e, thicker deck plastic, so that it's interior hull space is available for storage. The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is adequate for mild water/weather conditions but is less than ideal when faced with water/weather conditions beyond mild. To help maintain a competitive position in the market place while increasing sales and market share NuCanoe should strive for the highest quality of materials and quality control possible.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
stability
Cons:
warped deck-faded color-lack of access to interior of hull midsection and stern-poor materials (faulty hatch seal, grommets torn free from lift handles, rusting screws that secure Freedom Track to hull)
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Speed 
 
3.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
4.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
4.0

NuCanoe Frontier 12

This model is excellent for the coastal waters and very addordable as well.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Very stable and durable
Cons:
Not very fast
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.4
Speed 
 
3.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
5.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
5.0

Nucanoe Frontier 12

Having had this boat for almost 4 years now, i have had it through the wringer. I have paddled and fished creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, and fished the open gulf of Mexico through the surf. extremely stable, I feel perfectly comfortable standing up offshore, in 1-3 foot swells. The built in track system, allows for the mounting of all types of add-ons. but the best feature of the track system, is for the seats, i can quickly add a second seat base, and now i have a tandem, I have even taken my 3 year old grand daughter out in it (gotta startem young!) if I am fishing solo, i slide my seat towards midships, to a better paddling position, then as i am drifting across my fishing area..i slide the seat back, to free up more room to move around and stand, or throw my cast-net to catch live bait. and with the 600 lb capacity, safety is never compromised...well if you tandem two 300lb persons..then you may want to reconsider, and use 2 boats :) Only drawback, is it is not as fast as the narrower boats, but that is the trade off...stability for speed, i would rather have the stability, carrying capacity, and comfort, than 2-3 miles more per hour. I have loaded a treestand, backpack, and rifle, and took it to the swamps deer hunting, did not harvest anything, but my plan included being able to strap a dead deer in the boat, along with the treestand/and gear, and not give it a second thought. (well, alligators wanting a dead deer in a small boat did come to mind) I also purchased a set of beach wheels/kayak cart, by balancing the boat properly, i have dragged this set up hundreds of yards through soft sand, the wheels that come with the boat are good for short trips around the yard, but for long drags...get some wheels. all in all, I have no complaints with this boat. customer service is top notch, only issue I have had was a torn hatch seal, which was replaced in a few days once i let the company know. would I buy another Frontier? you can bet on it.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Stability, versatility, gear capacity. dry. tracks like an arrow, ready for electric or gas motor, no modifications required for using a motor if you choose.
Cons:
slower than most due to the wide beam.
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