Barracuda kayaks?

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
Hello to all.
I have come to hear about a kayak maker in New Zealand called Barracuda. I looked that the web site and the kayaks are all made with pretty high foredecks with swells directly in front of the cockpit combing. Some early Aleutain kayas were made in that fashon, but most of those made today by just about everyone are not so high. Being a newbie, I have no personal opinion about it.
I am wondering if anyone out there reading this has had any experience with barracuda brand kayaks.
 

cougarmeat

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Bend OR USA
From the photos on their website, they look a little bit like the EddieLine Fathom you were/are considering. Though there are features that are effective in the lab, some of these subtle, or not so subtle characteristics may not come as much into play on open water. For example, I seldom have water wash over my deck. If it does, it makes for an exhilarating change on a normally dry paddle. The high deck could be a preferred feature for those with a larger foot size. Kayaks taper in various amounts towards the bow; some are so short at the peddle location that size 11 or greater feet have a fit problem. I’m built a bit like you - too much time running up sand dunes on the Oregon coast to get in shape for football. I’ve tried out some kayaks where the cockpit was so low I could barely fit my thighs in.

Unless you’ve been in the brand before, I’d stick with a boat you can sit in first. Like I’d buy a Mariner without sitting in it because I know Mariners. But I would not buy a Tide Racer or Epic or Sterling unless I had a chance to sit in it and preferably paddle it.

If/when you try out that Fathom, note how easy (or not) it is to get in and out of. Lock you knees up under the deck and rock the boat side to side. Make sure the fit is not too “sloppy” but it doesn’t have to be tight. And remember, you can pad the sides with more foam if necessary. That’s one area with the whitewater people can help. They are pretty good and shaping foam for a better fit.
 
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JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Hi Steve,

They're one of the most common sea kayaks seen here these days. A major attraction is that they are very light, which makes them attractive to women and smaller paddlers who have trouble loading them on cars. They are also very popular for lower-skilled paddlers competing in the Coast to Coast, a multisport race that involves a grade 2 river paddle.

None of these comments should be taken to detract from them.

I don't have enough personal experience with them to make any meaningful comment, but I'll ask around. A good friend has one of their models, an Interface, and she's happy with it. I'll see what she has to say.

Wait out.
 

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
Thank you both.

The Barracuda brand has the high deck, but it doesn't look high where is should be high for a large footed paddler to get clearance for his feet. I have no idea why the for-deck would be so high other then to break waves. But it will also catch wind (I think)

I am not a kayak maker so I do not have enough knowledge to speak intelligently about the subject, but it would seem if a high fore-deck was wanted for foot clearance, you'sdmake the "pregnant bulge" only over the foot section, going from front to back over the adjustable range of the foot pegs. And such a bulge could be only about 1.5" tall and about 10 long and work for it's intended purpose
.A swell of 1.5" and 10" long would not catch much extra wind and yet would give better fitting to people with large feet. No extra clearance seems to be needed (to me) behind the toes of the person sitting in the kayak.


(but as I said, I can't say for sure. Just my passing thoughts)
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Perhaps it's the contrast with the low back deck that makes the foredeck seem so high?
Barracuda.JPG

The Current Designs boats like the Prana are similar. ('Danish style' or 'Scandinavian style' as some call it...)
barracuda vs pranaJPG.JPG


The Barracuda boats have taken that idea 'to the max', I guess.
Here's the boat they built for Scott Donaldson to (successfully) paddle the Tasman Sea from Australia to NewZealand. A bit far from a 'real kayak' like many of those trans-oceanic boats.
Barracuda for Scott Donaldson.JPG
 

chodups

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Maybe high to facilitate legs centered, driving strokes? I don't know. I didn't see anything mentioned on the website regarding to function. Seems kind of odd to me.
 

JKA

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I haven't yet delved into the high foredeck on the Barracudas, but from my limited experience in them I have found them very loose in the cockpit. I was unable to get much contact.

To fit big feet in a low-decked kayak, Conrad Edwards, a NZ paddler who has done several trips with Paul Caffyn, has an inelegant but effective solution.

His Nordkapps sport a Big Foot, a moulded (from a dog bowl, according to Paul) bump above his feet. It features a hatch, which he opens when paddling in the tropics to achieve air flow, which also has a compass on top.

Conrad isn't known for following the usual path. A very interesting, talented man.
Conrad2.jpeg
Conrad3.jpeg
 

Mac50L

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South Island, New Zealand
Added to JKA's mention of Paul and Conrad and for something to read (got to entertain you lot somehow) -
If you go to -
to Trips and to The Long Journey Home (PDF) you will read of Paul and Conrad's trip to Greenland.
"This is Paul’s story of his trip to Greenland in 1999. The trip to the origin area of the kayak he paddles."
 

dermot

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Apr 9, 2015
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The Barracuda brand has the high deck, but it doesn't look high where is should be high for a large footed paddler to get clearance for his feet. I have no idea why the for-deck would be so high other then to break waves. But it will also catch wind (I think)
i have a CD "Danish style" boat with the high foredeck, the use case there is being able to use a surfski style "knees together" position, something that is impossiable for me with my Delphin (with a low foredeck)

the high foredeck is not about foot room atall... that said, the CD boat has a ton more footroom when compared to the P&H
 

mick_allen

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To fit big feet in a low-decked kayak . . . an inelegant but effective solution.
Off topic for self- referencial big feet humour, here's another inelegant but effective solution for 'toes out' rather than the above 'toes touching'.

Facetious-4.jpg
 

JohnAbercrombie

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My solution to the problem of: "I should have checked the footroom before building the boat!"...My Frej that I wanted to use when wearing larger footwear.
IMG_0222.JPG

IMG_0230.JPG
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
That's EXACTLY what I had in mind John. A simple swell from just behind the forward bulkhead and giving room inside,coming back about the range of the adjustment of the foot-pegs. I don't know what that idea has not become a bit more "standard". Not being a designer or builder myself I can't say for certain, but I am guessing such a swell would not give the wind much to grab but would do a LOT for adding to the customer base who would buy a kayak of any specific model.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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That's EXACTLY what I had in mind John. A simple swell from just behind the forward bulkhead and giving room inside,coming back about the range of the adjustment of the foot-pegs. I don't know what that idea has not become a bit more "standard". Not being a designer or builder myself I can't say for certain, but I am guessing such a swell would not give the wind much to grab but would do a LOT for adding to the customer base who would buy a kayak of any specific model.
It's simpler to just add a bit of deck height 'from the get-go', IMO.
A tall friend with Sz11/12 feet has a Stellar which requires paddling in bare feet or neoprene socks (not booties), and then donning shoes/Crocs on landing. That's not something I'd be willing to do- I think it's really dangerous when landing in slippery/rocky areas.

A bit more on-topic: any 'bulge' in the deck will help to prevent capsize. That's probably the reason for the very high foredeck on that Tasman Sea kayak?
It doesn't have to be foredeck - a better solution is the Ursa designed by Dr Robert Livingston (creator of Bearboat design software):

URSA 420.jpg


The story of the URSA connection to the Mariner Coaster was described by Craig Jungers in his piece:"In Praise of the Coaster".
 

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sofstu

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Thank you both.

The Barracuda brand has the high deck, but it doesn't look high where is should be high for a large footed paddler to get clearance for his feet. I have no idea why the for-deck would be so high other then to break waves.
Breaking waves is a good idea but not needed from my experience.

My deck is low, as in I almost have to crawl in and I can't point my size 9 bare feet skywards.
However I still stay relatively dry in 2+ foot waves.

While looking at this video I discovered I am basically in a bowl with walls of water on both sides.

So a raised coaming would honestly do nothing to keep me more dry.
It would however make enter and conventional exits easier.
Wet exits are surprisingly easy and I just slide out.
 

SZihn

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I am now very aware of the foot room when I look at any kayak. My Necky Chatham 17 has enough for me, but just enough, and I only were a size 9.

I now wonder why molded kayaks don't usually have a bulge over the foot pegs to accommodate larger feet. It would take only 1" to maybe 1-3/4" more and the swell or bulge would need to only be about 10" long.


I am not a boat designer or builder, but I still wonder why ANY kayak is made without room for people with larger feet. If my size 9s are able to FILL the space anyone with a bigger foot would have trouble. And the Chatham 17 is not a small kayak. At 17' 3" long and 63 pounds it would seem logical to have made it to fit larger paddlers, but a tall man may have problems because many will have feet larger then a size 9. I cannot wear any type of shoe or boot that has a heel that sets back even 1/2 inch or my feet will not fit. If I ever made kayaks, I would allow for larger feet even ins smaller boats because it seems to be an easy design to make the deck a bit higher over the range of the foot pegs.
 

CPS

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Different boats fit different people differently. I don't think you could really make a one size fits all kayak that would work for everyone.

I've got size 9 feet as well, and there's definitely a few kayaks I can just fit them onto the pedals while grazing the top deck. But generally those are boats intended for smaller paddlers (who generally have smaller feet).

Then there's the opposite end of the spectrum, boats where the deck is too high, and I need to make an effort to get good thigh connection because of it. But they'd fit someone with bigger thighs just right.

Aesthetic appeal probably plays into it a lot as well. Who wants a kayak with a funky looking foot bulge? Probably not a large enough market share to justify it.

But maybe I'm wrong.
 

drahcir

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I am now very aware of the foot room when I look at any kayak.
That is the first thing I look at. My feet are size 9+, but once I put on a dry suit and big-enough water shoes, my fit choices become strained. Further, I want the ability to take my feet off the foot pegs and stretch out my legs. Those kayaks, with deck pods just in front of the cockpit, only make things worse.
I can reconstitute a seat, the back band, mess with the rigging, fix some skegs, etc. All that is acceptable, but changing the basic kayak shape is not in my skill set.
 

sofstu

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Aesthetic appeal probably plays into it a lot as well. Who wants a kayak with a funky looking foot bulge?
I wonder about this,
I think the turbo hood bulge in some cars looks good.

I would think a well thought out bulge in a kayak deck may also look good.

However SZ,
I am wondering if you have thought about making your own kayak.
I personally feel anyone who can make a custom wooden gun stock should have no major problems.
There are several wooden kayak plans available online, or do like I did and study several of them.
Then design your own boat based on what you like in all of them.

Although I will make a couple minor changes when I reskin it and even more changes in my next kayak, I couldn't be happier with the end result.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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However SZ,
I am wondering if you have thought about making your own kayak.
I personally feel anyone who can make a custom wooden gun stock should have no major problems.
I hope @SZihn makes a decent wage with his 'real job', and taking time away from that to build a kayak.....well, just 'work the numbers' to see how expensive that home-built boat will be.
I've built a bunch of boats and it is lots of fun, but it doesn't make any sort of economic sense.
For me, designing my own boat is in the same category as doing surgery on myself, or acting as my own lawyer. :)
 
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