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Fishing Kayak Reviews Native Watercraft "Slayer Propel 13"

Native Watercraft "Slayer Propel 13" Hot

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October 22, 2012    
 
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Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel

Kayak Make & Model

Brand:
Native Watercraft
Model:
Slayer Propel
MSRP ($):
2,399.00
Length (ft):
13

The Native Watercraft “Slayer Propel 13” took many of the successful features from the original Slayer line and made them better with the addition of an updated Propel drive system. Superb handling and forward and reverse set the Slayer Propel 13 apart from the competition. With an open bow hatch, center electronics console with thumb screws, new Super Seal scupper plugs, and a large open cockpit this will sure to be the leader in pedal powered kayaks.

Features:

  • Propel Drive
  • Slide Adjust Seat
  • Electronics Console w/ Thumb Screws
  • Open Bow Hatch
  • Quiet Stable Hull
  • Super Seal Plugs

Specs:

  • Width: 33" 84 cm
  • Weight: 101 lbs 46 kg
  • Depth @ Beam: 13" 33 cm
  • Capacity: 500 lbs 227 kg

Photos

Slayer Propel at Outdoor Retailer open air demo
Slayer Propel full speed Outdoor Retailer

Editor review

If you’ve tried out a Propel kayak recently and it wasn’t the new Slayer Propel 13 you owe it to yourself to give it a second try. I was able to give this kayak a 10 minute test run at this year’s Outdoor Retailer and it did not disappoint.

The seat has been set at the perfect height allowing your hips to stay in line with the drive system. Hearing Woody Callaway explain the scientific process of how they found the perfect level for the kayaker’s hips was very interesting. Woody said (and I’m paraphrasing) “I stuck a bunch of foam under my ass until it felt right”. Pedaling the Slayer felt very natural, I didn’t feel like I was pedaling up an incline like previous Propel models. It was also very easy to adjust the seat which has been mounted on rails. A quick turn of the knob and I was able to loosen, slide the seat into position, and tighten back down. While on the water one of the Hobie Pro Team members was in a Revo 11. I was able to easily keep up with and even outpace the Revo 11 at a comfortable cruise. Pedaling the kayaks all out, the Slayer Propel was faster than the Hobie Revolution 11. A better comparison would have been racing a Hobie Revolution 13 but that kayak wasn’t on the water at the time of my demo. One con about the seat on the Slayer Propel is that it no longer has a high and low position. The Slayer Propels seat feels like it is right in between the high and low position of the original Slayers.

Deck layout was similar to the original Slayers but you lose the side Plano storage areas and gain one behind the seat. They have also switched the screws on the electronics console with thumb screws so you can easily access it without tools. I’m not sure how much use the center electronics console will get in the Slayer Propels because when the drive is down it covers the console. Native does add 2 extra rails on either side that will allow you to mount accessories and electronics and still clear the Propel.

Hopefully I’ll get one in October so I can do a more detailed review. This kayak was my top pick for best kayak at Outdoor Retailer 2013.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Update (2/24/14) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’ve now owned my Slayer Propel for 3 months. I’ve used it in lakes, ponds, rivers, saltwater flats and bays. The Slayer Propel is still one of my “Go To” kayaks in many situations and will be my “Go To” kayak whenever covering any distance.

I was initially worried about the higher seat position making the boat less stable but I’ve had it in 3ft rollers so far and the kayak did fine. You just have to be mindful of your center of gravity just like standing.

Many “fishing” kayaks now days are coming pre-rigged with a ton of rod holders and accessories. I appreciate that Native Watercraft hasn’t done this with the Slayer Propel. I’ve been able to add exactly what I need and am not left with a bunch of crap I don’t.

The Propel drive is great a covering distance and quickly with minimal fatigue. You might notice you back getting stiff after a few hours of use. This is easily solved by reclining the seat back to a 45-60 degree angle. This takes a ton of pressure off you lower back. My only issues with the Propel drive is its horrible performance in grass and its loud vibrations while peddling.

At the Adventure Fishing World Championship in the Florida Everglades we had to travel for several miles across grass flats. If the drive comes in contact with sea grass it will quickly wrap around the prop and cause noticeable issues in performance. I had to constantly pull up and clear the prop of debris. Sometimes I was able to pedal in reverse quickly to remove any unwanted vegetation but more often than not I had to pick up the drive to manually clear it.

The drive while being pedaled is also very loud. The vibrations are amplified by the hull which quickly spooked any fish on the flats. A possible solution would be to add some thin moleskin where the drive rests on the kayak to prevent the kayak amplifying the drives vibrations.

Would I still recommend this kayak? Yes… Would I recommend it to someone who fishes grass flats frequently? No…

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Speed 
 
5.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
4.0
Features 
 
3.0
Value 
 
3.0
Mark Watanabe Reviewed by Mark Watanabe August 28, 2013
Last updated: March 05, 2014
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20)

Slayer Propel Outdoor Retailer Demo And Beyond

If you’ve tried out a Propel kayak recently and it wasn’t the new Slayer Propel 13 you owe it to yourself to give it a second try. I was able to give this kayak a 10 minute test run at this year’s Outdoor Retailer and it did not disappoint.

The seat has been set at the perfect height allowing your hips to stay in line with the drive system. Hearing Woody Callaway explain the scientific process of how they found the perfect level for the kayaker’s hips was very interesting. Woody said (and I’m paraphrasing) “I stuck a bunch of foam under my ass until it felt right”. Pedaling the Slayer felt very natural, I didn’t feel like I was pedaling up an incline like previous Propel models. It was also very easy to adjust the seat which has been mounted on rails. A quick turn of the knob and I was able to loosen, slide the seat into position, and tighten back down. While on the water one of the Hobie Pro Team members was in a Revo 11. I was able to easily keep up with and even outpace the Revo 11 at a comfortable cruise. Pedaling the kayaks all out, the Slayer Propel was faster than the Hobie Revolution 11. A better comparison would have been racing a Hobie Revolution 13 but that kayak wasn’t on the water at the time of my demo. One con about the seat on the Slayer Propel is that it no longer has a high and low position. The Slayer Propels seat feels like it is right in between the high and low position of the original Slayers.

Deck layout was similar to the original Slayers but you lose the side Plano storage areas and gain one behind the seat. They have also switched the screws on the electronics console with thumb screws so you can easily access it without tools. I’m not sure how much use the center electronics console will get in the Slayer Propels because when the drive is down it covers the console. Native does add 2 extra rails on either side that will allow you to mount accessories and electronics and still clear the Propel.

Hopefully I’ll get one in October so I can do a more detailed review. This kayak was my top pick for best kayak at Outdoor Retailer 2013.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Update (2/24/14) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’ve now owned my Slayer Propel for 3 months. I’ve used it in lakes, ponds, rivers, saltwater flats and bays. The Slayer Propel is still one of my “Go To” kayaks in many situations and will be my “Go To” kayak whenever covering any distance.

I was initially worried about the higher seat position making the boat less stable but I’ve had it in 3ft rollers so far and the kayak did fine. You just have to be mindful of your center of gravity just like standing.

Many “fishing” kayaks now days are coming pre-rigged with a ton of rod holders and accessories. I appreciate that Native Watercraft hasn’t done this with the Slayer Propel. I’ve been able to add exactly what I need and am not left with a bunch of crap I don’t.

The Propel drive is great a covering distance and quickly with minimal fatigue. You might notice you back getting stiff after a few hours of use. This is easily solved by reclining the seat back to a 45-60 degree angle. This takes a ton of pressure off you lower back. My only issues with the Propel drive is its horrible performance in grass and its loud vibrations while peddling.

At the Adventure Fishing World Championship in the Florida Everglades we had to travel for several miles across grass flats. If the drive comes in contact with sea grass it will quickly wrap around the prop and cause noticeable issues in performance. I had to constantly pull up and clear the prop of debris. Sometimes I was able to pedal in reverse quickly to remove any unwanted vegetation but more often than not I had to pick up the drive to manually clear it.

The drive while being pedaled is also very loud. The vibrations are amplified by the hull which quickly spooked any fish on the flats. A possible solution would be to add some thin moleskin where the drive rests on the kayak to prevent the kayak amplifying the drives vibrations.

Would I still recommend this kayak? Yes… Would I recommend it to someone who fishes grass flats frequently? No…

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Fast, Comfortable, A Hobie Contender, Clean deck without a ton of factory riggings.
Cons:
No high low seating, Drive does bad in grass, Drive is loud and can scare fish, Not light on the wallet
Slayer Propel at Outdoor Retailer open air demo
Slayer Propel full speed Outdoor Retailer
Unboxing Native Watercraft Slayer Propel
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