The Predator has been designed for speed and stability. The unique rudder system, which retracts up inside the hull, ensures that therudder is always in contact with the water. It does not pop out like tail-hungrudders and is easily controlled from the comfort of thecockpit.– Viking Kayaks
At first glance, the Predator features a very large front hatch and has an option of another that fits over the large rear cargo well. My preference would be to go without the rear hatch as it makes it more difficult to access your gear in the rear well.
Four end carry handles are built in to the mould for carrying purposes. Although there is no side carry handle, the side bait tray, each side of the cockpit, creates a handhold to allow one person to carry the craft.
Two rear rod holders are standard, as is the paddle park and the 6-inch centre hatch. This hatch is not big enough to stow rods or decent fish while out on the water, but does have an inner bag making it suitable to stow smaller items. A backrest can also be fitted to the Predator.
The kayak’s most outstanding feature is the retractable rudder system. To my knowledge, there is no other kayak on the market that has a fully operational rudder that folds up inside the hull. (Some sea kayaks have a skeg that folds up inside the hull but it is a fixed skeg and doesn’t operate as a rudder.) When it is lowered, the rudder is in a very efficient position and when folded up, it is completely out of the way. This minimises the chance of damaging the rudder and also keeps the stern of the craft clean so that fishing lines don’t get fouled up.
A deluxe seat and backrest can be fitted to the Predator by authorised Viking dealers. Although the model provided for the review did not have a backrest, I found the seat really comfortable, even for long distance cruising or trawling. The adjustable footrests provided solid support and were comfortable to operate while using the rudder.
The paddle park is quite unique and I found it to be quick and easy to release. The front storage compartment is massive! This kayak could be easily loaded with camping gear and food for a week, especially with the use of a 50L dry bag in the rear well. The built-in trays either side of the cockpit were handy but could do with a mesh cover for open water fishing.
The Predator would have to be one of the fastest fishing kayaks on the market, as the hull shape cuts very efficiently through the water. Its initial stability is moderate, while secondary stability is really solid. It is not the most stable yak on the market but is fine for bigger guys and has excellent performance in open water applications.
The position of the rudder makes it very efficient in turning the craft, even with its long waterline length. Without the rudder, the Predator tracks well and is reasonably easy to manoeuvre.
The Predator cruises well in both flat and open water conditions. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I pushed the demo boat out into the surf zone at Main Beach with 1.2m seas, but the Predator punched out through the waves with ease and it was good fun riding a few waves into the beach.
I then tried dropping the rudder just slightly out of the hull so that there was about 5cm protruding from the bottom of the boat. This allowed the rudder to act as a skeg without any risk of damaging the rudder while broaching sideways on to the beach.
The effect on the craft while catching a wave was definitely noticeable. With the rudder in this position the Predator tracked a beautiful straight line to the beach and resisted the temptation that most kayaks have to broach sideways on the wave. If you ever get the chance to paddle the Predator in the surf zone, you have to remember this and try it!
The Viking Predator is a great kayak to paddle and fish from! It suits most fishing applications but is particularly suited to those wanting to cover some distance and fish open water. With great features and performance, along with Viking’s 10-year hull warranty, the Predator is an attractive option.
The Viking Predator retails for $1395 (with a large front hatch, but no rear hatch). For more information contact Viking Kayaks on 1800 004 240 or email at --e-mail address hidden-- For Prowler dealers in Australia, visit www.vikingkayak.com.au/dealers.htm.
This review was conducted by Craig McSween of Splash Safaris Sea Kayaking. Craig is also a Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing. For more information or to give feedback on this review you can contact us at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking, Camping & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07) 5571 2929 or --e-mail address hidden--