Perception Triumph 13 Review

Perception Triumph 13 - Review by Duffer, Erk & Cornish Kayak Angler

Why do we do these reviews when it’s freezing? It’s the 9th December and we are feeling the tail end of the storm that has just bashed Scotland and the North. It’s cold, squally and I have a nice centrally heated home nearby. Anyway Siblyback Lake on Bodmin Moor then down to Looe on the South Cornish coast for a day’s test paddle.

Perception Triumph 13 Review

The Triumph is another 13 foot day touring sit on top. Duffer liked the Perception Freedom (pre Triumph SOT) because it had great stability when fishing off the Cornish and Irish coast. First thing you notice is the seating position is higher and Triumph is a much dryer looking kayak. All the new gizmo’s are there, more hatches, bungees, moulded in handles etc.

The handles are in just the right place, the kayak feels balanced when lifted for a car-top onto a roofrack. Even ‘Old’ Duffer can comfortably car-top.

Perception Triumph 13 Car Topping

What is a 13 foot Sit on Top Kayak supposed to do?

"Without using leg straps, the Triumph felt like a sit in kayak and paddled like a sit in kayak"

First and foremost a kayak of these proportions should deliver paddling performance. It should be well balanced, easily paddled and paddle well. Triumph is slightly different from other kayaks in this 13 foot grouping as the seating position is slightly forward of the norm. How will this feel I wonder? Duffer can recall fibre glass kayaks (long before plastic was used) with similar configuration that paddled like pigs. Let’s get this thing wet and see what happens. Handles in the right place, seat and foot pegs adjusted – off we go. We are paddling a Triumph outfitted with some extra accessories including adjustable footrests and fishing rod holders, but we are not fishing with the kayak today. This is all about paddling the Triumph.

Paddling the Perception Triumph 13 Kayak

He appears confused and unusually lost for words. Muttering something about paddling as good as most 13 foot ‘Sit In’ kayaks. After a brandy Duffer finds some words which included “bu**er that paddled well”. What is more, Duffer (according to the Fridge Fairy) has a long body and short legs. Sat in the middle of the Triumph on the raised seat he looks too tall for the boat. It should feel tippy but it does not. It motors through the water and turns well with plenty of stability. Perception are renowned for making symmetrical kayaks that retain their shape. Triumph is millimetre perfect and the monster scupper drain holes will impart excellent mechanical strength that will maintain the hull symmetry.

Paddling the Triumph 13 from Perception Kayaks

Without using leg straps the Triumph felt like a sit in kayak and paddled like a sit in kayak – this is one very big tick in the box. Duffer said “The Triumph is the best 13 foot SOT I have paddled”. With the Erk paddling the Triumph whilst stood up you have to wonder what they taught him on his 1 star course.

Looe Harbour and Island

Conditions at Looe are better than those on Bodmin Moor (Siblyback Lake). The water temperature is higher and the wind has dropped. The swell is small and dropping away after yesterday’s gales. Paddling against a strong flood tide out through the harbour was easy. Triumph is fast through the water and using the back eddies we are clear of the current in no time. Paddling in and around the rocks in the small swell heading to Looe Island was easy. The balance of the boat is still unusually good and a pleasure to paddle. Triumph catches small following swells easily and is very manoeuvrable.

"Sleek lines and an efficient hull shape allows it to cut through the water with ease and it almost feels like your paddling a 13 foot ‘Sit-in’ kayak"

Sat there looking at and thinking about the angling configuration I think the Triumph would suit a “well organised kayak angler” best. With Duffers bulk (13 stone plus at least 2 more = 15+) and no fishing gear on board the centre hatch is very close to the water level. Rod holder and Scotty mounts are very accessible but there is less room for tackle and bait boxes in front of the paddler. The seating position being slightly forward has gobbled up some of that space, the price that has to be paid for the paddling performance. The Triumph is not a weather cocking angling SOT with acres of deck space; it is primarily a paddling machine. The seat supplied with the Triumph is adequate but when we take the boat fishing the seat will be replaced with something more luxurious – “you’re worth it”! Adjustable foot pegs are excellent, the hatch fit is robust and the build quality exceptional. The Triumph is very good value for money.

Testing the stability of the Triumph 13 Kayak

The Erk's thoughts...

It’s always good to get more than one opinion on something, particularly from a different age generation and paddler size.....Whenever a supplier launches a new fishing kayak I try to look at it from a couple of angles....

How does it ‘paddle as a kayak’?....... & How will it perform ‘as a fishing platform’?

I agree with duffer on this one, it is simply great to paddle. Sleek lines and an efficient hull shape allows it to cut through the water with ease and it almost feels like your paddling a 13 foot ‘Sit-in’ kayak. A narrow v-shape bow and defined keel line towards the stern help the Triumph to track easily in a straight line, although it also has bags of manoeuvrability when you need it.

Stability is relative to paddler size and ability. I’m 12 stone, and duffer is 15 stone, and we both felt it had enough stability to comfortably fish from and to play/land more powerful and larger fish. When comparing the Triumph to its predecessor ‘the Freedom’, they both offer different hull shapes. The Freedom has always been popular for offering allot of stability. It has a wide flat hull shape that offer lots of ‘initial stability’. The Triumph has a more rounded and slightly narrower hull shape that allows it to cut through the water slightly sleeker but also offers more ‘Secondary’ stability (on edge).

Edging the Perception Triumph 13

This allows you to be confident when edging the kayak and perhaps will handle rougher conditions that the flat bottomed hulled kayaks like the Freedom. One of my only grumbles with the Freedom was the moulded hatch area behind your seat that you struggled to reach over into your rear tank well. I am pleased to say that the Triumph does not have the same issue.

Paddling and testing the Perception Triumph 13

I feel this is a great fishing kayak for those who enjoy ‘paddling’ and perhaps don’t take huge amounts of kit. If you’re the kind of kayak angler who takes a lot of kit and wants hatch/deck space in front of you then this might not be the kayak for you and you may be better looking at something like an Ocean Kayak Trident.....

I could see myself off the Cornish coast-line manoeuvring this kayak in tight to the rocks and gulleys for Bass. Travelling light with my spinning rods and a box of plugs/lures.
I’d also be happy sat at anchor fishing the bottom, but it’s a sleek low-profile kayak so I wouldn’t take the Kitchen-sink with me.


The Perception Triumph 13 is available in the 'Comfort' Spec.

Hatches - Including a Large Oval rubber reinforced Bow Hatch. All rubber hatches make a good seal and after paddling and capsizing the kayak there was minimal water inside the hull.

Bow Hatch on the Perception Triumph 13

Side Handles - Moulded solid side handles make lifting the kayak much easier than flexible/textile handles. The Handles are in the right position in terms of balance for lifting and car-topping the kayak. Bow/Stern Handles - Easy grab handles that fit nicely in the palm. The carry handles are retained on bungee so that the handle sits flush to the kayak until lifted.

Comfort Seat comes as standard and we think is adequate. If more support / Comfort is needed a seat upgrade can easily be done.

Perception Comfort Backrest on the Triumph 13 Kayak

Moulded-in footrests offer a solid point of purchase against the kayak - good for bracing and edging the kayak with more control.

Footrests in the Triumph 13

There is a small centre hatch with rubber cover and built-in hatch bag - perhapsd good for popping your keys or phone inside, but inside a separate dry bag just to be safe as it may get a little damp in here.

Centre hatch on the Triumph 13 Kayak

The rear cargo tankwell on this kayak is massive! You could easily sit a small child or pet dog here for a short ride. If you are fishing, there is plenty of room here for a crate of gear and your catch.

Tankwell on the Triumph 13

At the very stern there is a moulded-in hole passing through the stern - this is for an optional rudder to be fitted. The rudder kit for the Triumph 13 is worth considering if you are paddling on open coastal waters where it can get windy. The rudder improves tracking and handling capabilities.

Rudder Pin Hole on the Perception Triumph 13

Keel Strip - The rear of the keel line of the kayak comes with a plastic rubber strip that is designed to take the brunt of any wear and tear. The Strip can be detached and replaced if needed.

Wear Strip on the Triumph 13

A quick look on the underside of the kayak - tracking channels are prominent on an otherwise flatter hull thats rounds off nicely to the side of the kayak. You can see where this hull has been developed from a touring kayak design.

Hull Design of the Perception Triumph 13

The bow is fairly sharp and flared - this makes it good at dealing with choppy waters.

Underhull Shape of the Triumph 13 Kayak

The Comfort Spec offer exceptional value for those looking for a sleek and performing touring Sit on Top. Also an excellent option for those looking to spec-up to a custom designed/rigged fishing kayak. Comfort Spec comes with the Comfort seat, Oval front hatch, round centre hatch, side handles and deck-elastics as standard.

Perception Triumph Review by:
Duffer and the Erk
for the Canoe Shops (Group) Ltd. (December)

Time for Cornish Kayak Angler (Liam at Cornwall Canoes) to pass his critical eye over the Triumph 13. Check out the below video discussing the Triumph 13, it's design and features in great detail:

For more details and information on how to buy the Perception Triumph 13, please see our website here: Perception Triumph 13