Feelfree Atlantis 12 and 14 - Day Touring Kayaks
Review by Duffer, Codger and The Fridge Fairy.
A new backrest has been fitted to improve the paddlers posture over longer distances and make rolling easier (for those that can).
Sometimes too much is written about a kayaks performance and not enough about its function. High performance is essential if you are planning to compete in the next Olympics or embark on some extreme white water adventure or disappearing over the horizon.However, if you are a mere mortal and are drawn to paddling as a form of recreation with some fitness thrown in for good measure then day touring could be for you. Huge numbers of people now enjoy non-life threatening paddling and probably now outnumber the extreme guys by a thousand to one.
I have said it before but kayaks are like slippers and shoes - size matters and it is so important to get it right. Atlantis 12 and 14 will happily accommodate a paddler who is bigger in the beam than a racing snake. The design brief for Atlantis was to build a kayak for touring and hire that is comfortable, easy to paddle and not unnecessarily tippy. I am happy to report the designer, Sir Paul of New Zealand, stuck exactly to the design brief. The Atlantis was also designed by man not machine. The prototype is made in wood by hand then paddled long before the techy rotational moulding work starts at the factory. Not all kayaks go through this process and you soon work that out when paddling them.
About Atlantis 12.
Atlantis being very well designed for the middle ground of paddle sport has been copied several times – being copied can be annoying but is a strong compliment for the design. Atlantis 12 has two hatches and two bulkheads which form the dry compartments in the bow and stern. In this context dry means “does not flood” because the inside of your kayak is wet from condensation, washing it out etc. These dry spaces add flotation and the bulkheads add mechanical strength to the hull and deck.
The cockpit configuration is both comfortable and proportionate. Some cockpits can be too small and a struggle for a recreational paddler to get into whilst some are too large and you feel lost in the cockpit. The Atlantis cockpit is not too small and not too big but that is my opinion based on my being 6 foot and 14 1/2 stone. The Fridge Fairy likes the Atlantis as a kayak but would not choose to paddle one often as she is not 6 foot and 14 1/2 stone. Smaller paddlers do better in smaller kayaks and Atlantis is designed for taller and heavier paddlers.
Feelfree Atlantis 12 Outfitting.
Like all well made kayaks Atlantis has everything it needs in all the right places. Comfortable adjustable footrests allow the paddler to get their legs into the right position for easy paddling. Bring the footrest back so that your legs are held comfortably up under the adjustable thigh braces, adjust the backrest so that you sit upright and you have the best paddling position. The seat is comfortable and strong. Atlantis 12 has a touring rudder which is smaller than an expedition rudder and is controlled by your feet on the footrest. This rudder is perfect for this kayak and solves any issues with weather cocking and steering. Weather cocking is when the breeze makes the kayak turn upwind or downwind when you don’t want it to. This can be an issue for recreational paddlers on open bodies of water – it’s not a problem for the “Experts” and anyway the touring rudder has it fixed. Again the design criteria for mere mortals have been adequately addressed.
This is an easy kayak to paddle. Stable and easy to manoeuvre without using the rudder and straight tracking with the rudder for those that prefer it that way. A nice kayak for a heavier paddler who wants to take on some rough stuff as well as flatter water, the build quality is very good. Easy going enough to be a hire kayak of choice especially in Europe, where kayak hire exceeds kayak ownership. You won’t qualify for the Olympics paddling an Atlantis unless the IOC introduces grinning as a sport. Enjoy the paddle.
Atlantis has a standard size cockpit rim that will take either a nylon or neoprene spraydeck. Neoprene decks are dryer and if you intend rolling the kayak or paddling in the rougher stuff then neoprene is best. Combination decks are those with braces which make summer paddling more comfortable as the tube around your waist can be loosened.
This a day touring kayak and Feelfree by chance make two very nice paddles called the Day Tour. Whilst the blades are similar you have the choice of an alloy or glass fibre shaft. The glass fibre shaft is lighter and warmer in the hand but leaves a slightly larger dent in the wallet. Both these paddles are available as two piece paddles as well.
To buy a Feelfree Atlantis in the UK or Ireland please follow the links below.