Day 23 of our 25 Days of Christmas Guide features the new Tri Powered Radar series of kayaks from Wilderness Systems. Wildy Team Member, JD Desrosiers, shares with us the development from inception to production of the new tri powered Radar series.
Tri Powered Effecta
At ICast in July of 2016 Wilderness Systems unleashed the all new Radar 115 and 135 kayaks to their stacked line-up of fishing boats. One of the most innovative concepts that happened in these boats is the fact that you can Paddle, Pedal, or use the Propulsion. There is no other company in the paddling industry that has been able to execute all three of these factors into one boat, until now.
I was very blessed, fortunate, and thrilled to be a part of and involved with the development of the Radar kayaks. The process was long and hard, but the engineers at Confluence did a phenomenal job on this rig. Some people may say I am being biased, but for a “pedal boat” that paddles as well as all the other kayaks in the Wildy line-up speaks volumes to the design, and technology that has been invested into this killer machine.
So you may be asking by now what makes the Radars so special, and what helps them stand out from the crowd. The Radar’s proprietary S.M.A.R.T. Hull Technology combines stability, maneuverability, acceleration, responsiveness and tracking for optimal performance in multiple water environments and configurations. Design elements include an upswept bow for a dry ride, a defined keel line for excellent tracking, a rockered chine for responsive steering and a flat, stable platform for standing and freedom of movement in flat to rough water. A sure to be a stand-out in the market, the Radar delivers stand-up stability without increasing the width of the hull, thanks to its S.M.A.R.T. Hull design. The boats also feature retractable rudder technology aiding in rudder longevity.
When David Maughan was designing and laying out these to incredible models he did a superb job at taking into consideration everything and anything that a fisherman could or would want in a fishing machine. The Radars are decked out with state-of-the-art outfitting including expansive SlideTrax rails and a multitude of storage opportunities. Wilderness Systems’ exclusive Flex Pod system provides the versatility to deploy side-scanning or down-imaging electronics while using either of the Helix Propulsion Technologies.
Wilderness Systems’ renowned ultra-comfortable seating is continued with the award-winning, patented AirPro MAX high-low seat. It can be ergonomically trimmed for paddling or pedaling positions, and can also be stowed in a vertical position to increase standing area or to use the AirPro 3D Max seat. With its new quick adjust levers; users can slide the seat fore and aft to set leg length, essential with use of the Helix PD Pedal Drive or adjusting the trim of a fully loaded boat.
Back in the late summer David called me up and asked if I wanted to meet up to play around for the day in both Radars, and boy was I ever excited. This was a crucial paddling trip because David was trying to gather any last minute information for both boats before the molds were going to be made. We were able to hit a local hot spot where we could be both on a lake and a river system. From a previous trip I knew the Radars were going to perform remarkably on the flat water of the lake, but I could not wait to take them up the river to play in some current and skinny water.
We eagerly unloaded the 115 and the 135 and hit the water trying to make the best of our time. After spending an hour or so paddling around and fishing form both boats we pulled out the all new Wilderness Helix MD (Motor Drive) and PD (Pedal Drive). I slammed the Helix PD in the 115 and I was off to the races testing out the speed and functionality of the Helix PD. The 115 weighting in at 82lbs cruised effortlessly, and there was no fatigue at all from the seating/pedaling position. This is due in part because you are able to slide the Air Pro Max seat to accommodate the distance from the seat to the pedals. While standing and fishing I was able to walk from the bow to the stern without any concern of flipping. The stability reminds me very much of the ATAK models. Tracking was spot on, no matter if you were paddling or pedaling, this things was on rails.
Next David and I switch boats, and I jumped into the 135, and boy was I ever surprised at how well this 13.5 ft machine performed. The first thing that jumped out to me was, and I’m still floored about how insanely good the 135 paddled. It had the exact same feel as the 115, and certainly did not feel like a 13.5 ft boat. Tracking and stability was way beyond par, and was far beyond my expectations. My next test in the Radar 135 was to drop in the Helix MD to test the speed and overall turning. With the Helix MD the 135 effortlessly cruised along at a nice 6mph, and still had a little more left in the tank. At 4mph I decided to start testing the overall turn radius, and what I am about to tell you about made me jump out of the boat. I was able to complete a full 360 degree turn at 4mph in one and half lengths of the 135! This simply blew me away, so I did it 4 more time testing in opposite directions, simply unreal…but it did happen.
We then decide it was time to paddle the Radars up the river to see how they handled the currents and test out the maneuverability around fallen trees and in tighter areas. Again I just could not get over how well both preformed time after time. Having the slight upswept rocker helps in the currents of the river, and the bow shredded water easily. I would not hesitate at all to take either the 115 or 135 down a calm placid river with Class I or II rapids.
The Radar features a premium, matte glass bead finish on the deck to reduce glare and is available in six colors: Desert Camo, Dusk, Mango, Midnight, Sonar, and Solar. The Radar 115 is priced at $1,349 USD, and the Radar 135 at $1,499 USD. The Radar 135 is now available and the 115 will be hitting retailers in January 2017, with the Helix Motor Drive available now and the all new Helix Pedal drive dropping in early spring of 2017.
The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 has already earned Kayak Session‘s prestigious Coolest Product of the Show 2016 award in the “kayak fishing” category at PADDLEexpo 2016.
Tri-Powered Effectiveness! Paddle, Pedal or Propulsion….you choose!
- Length: 11’8″
- Width: 34.5″
- Deck Height: 15″
- Weight: 82lbs
- Capacity: 450lbs
- Length: 13′
- Width: 34″
- Deck Height: 15.5″
- Weight: 95lbs
- Capacity: 475lbs