August 2, 2008 Unless you happen to be shooting a raging white-water rapid the prospect of reaching speeds anywhere near 25mph is not something normally associated with kayaking – but swap paddle power for a 9.5hp engine and the whole game changes. We’ve covered a menagerie of fun watersports machines recently, from the amphibious Quadski to the Aquajet Jetbike, all aimed at injecting a serious dose of thrills into aquatic activities and the latest to catch our attention - Surfango’s PowerKayak - is no exception. The PowerKayak mates the body of a kayak with a fun little 4-stroke engine to deliver a 25mph top speed and the ability to explore lakes and rivers with no regard for what the wind and current are doing.
The PowerKayak Hawaii and its fully-enclosed sister the Adventurer are Surfango’s take on the evolution of the Kayak. Both can be paddled, but that’s hardly the point – fire up the electric-start 9.5hp 4-stroke engine and open the hand-held throttle and you’re off like a shot on your way to the 25mph top speed (28mph on the slipperier Adventurer), which will feel very quick indeed when you’re sitting low in the waves. The joystick steering is quick and responsive enough to throw you if you’re not on your guard.
The kayaks feature waterproof storage compartments, fishing rod holders and an on-board digital dashboard telling you your engine RPM, battery level, coolant temperature and a petrol gauge. The 2-gallon fuel tank is enough for two hours at full throttle on either version of the kayak. The Adventurer can be fitted with a skirt to keep the rider’s legs reasonably dry in colder climates.
The jet pump is fitted with an innovative “weedcutter” device to ensure no vegetation gets curled up around the shafts – so there’s no problem with using it in sea-weedy water. The engine has been selected for its smooth, quiet drive so you can take it up a quiet river without making a nuisance of yourself to other campers.
Weighing in at around 120-130 pounds, the Powerkayak and Hawaii are easy enough to transport and there’s an optional beach cart if you need to move them solo. These little beasties are certainly not as terrifying some of the fire-breathing watercraft we’ve looked at lately, but they’re zippy enough for good clean fun and they come in at a pretty attractive price point starting at US$2899 for either model.
Surfango’s other major product is the crazy PowerSurf FX, which essentially is a surfboard fitted with the same motor – and in the right hands, it really carves. The PowerSurf FX retails at US$2699.