Pedal driven kayaks are gaining in popularity and we are excited to have the Manta Ray 12 Propel in our lineup. This kayak is going to really help make Propel kayaks appeal to the masses.
Weighing in at 32kg, it's not so heavy that loading becomes impossible for one person. While pedal kayaks are expected to be more expensive, the price on the Manta Ray is cheaper than the other Propel models that are available.
The rudder is under-stern mounted and is controlled by a lever on the left of the seat. Steering is a simple affair. Move the lever to the left (as you pedal) and the kayak will turn to the left. Or, move it to the right to go right. It does take a little while to get used to hand operated steering as you don't get the same feedback as you do through a foot operated rudder. The turning circle is reasonably tight, so maneuvering the kayak around tight turns won't be an issue.
The front hatch has a high quality rubber lid and there's ample space inside to store gear for a day's adventure. The carry handles are solid and this makes lifting the kayak much easier. And then there's the seat. The First Class Seat is everything you want in a seat; comfortable, supportive and as it doesn't absorb water, it dries quickly. To move the seat forwards or backwards, simply loosen two knobs and the seat will slide on the tracks. A recess on the hull allows for simply transducer mounting.
If you want to fish from this kayak, we can easily upgrade the kayak with two flush mount rod holders behind the seat, a rod holder / cup holder combo on the right side of the seat and Groove tracks to the side of the cockpit.
What's it like to paddle....I mean pedal. It's a little quicker to get up to speed than the other pedal kayaks we have experienced (the Native Slayer series), but this is to be expected with the sleeker hull. At 3.6m long, it's never going to be an all out speed machine, but it seemed to move along pretty nicely. The stability was greater than expected. Standing up is certainly possible, but there's not a platform beneath you to the extent of the Slayer 10 or 13.
The Manta Ray Propel should prove equally popular with those after a kayak to pedal around and explore with as it should with kayak fishermen looking for a cost effective pedal boat. Regardless of how you expect to use it, just ensure you are ready for the stares you are likely to encounter. Pedal kayaks are still very novel and are not a common sight on the water. The Manta Ray Propel should go a long way to changing that however!