I bought 2 16' Prism ocean kayaks almost 25 years ago. They been used in lakes, rivers and the gulf and have always been fantastic. Been at my river property outside for at least 18 years. Getting ready to go fishing in bays and gulf so had to replace the hatch seals. Love these kayaks!
As a longtime kayak fisherman from both a Hobie Revolution SOT and a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 135 SIK I wanted something in between. I got the well kept 19 year old Prism used and fell in love with paddling again. The ease of a SOT, the glide and tracking of a traditional. It tracks arrow straight, has a quiet hull, its unaffected by wind and it begs for acceleration. Its a dry ride with the scupper plugs in and works well for fishing if you travel light. No tankwell, but the 2 huge hatches allow large items to be stowed below. I fish the Hobie the most but the Prism is my favorite all around kayak. Fun to just paddle, fun to fish!
Awesome canoe for a solo person. I've used it to go canoe camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, general fish, general recreation, exercise, down river racing, and exploring. Great long glide for each stroke. Fast, very maneuverable considering the speed type of design. Great secondary stability. And even a great looking boat in the lightweight kevlar layup or better. I've gotten all sorts of admiring words from strangers. Many of which are not even fellow canoe people.
It's very maneuverable and very fast! It makes me look far more experienced than I am. The forward and aft dry storage compartments are really handy and have to say the aft compartment is close enough behind me that it's accessible without even turning around. Somebody thought this kayak through and did a great job!
I'd recommend Aquaterras Prism 100-fold over whatever I've been renting all these years, and complete this review with a rating of 10.
I made the repair myself, first bondo, then a heavy duty rubberized contact adhesive inside and out flowed by a spray on rubber paint inside and out. The process took me about four days to let everything cure correctly and I have been using it 4 to 5 times a week for the last 2 months. I stuffed the cargo wells full of styrofoam and spread great stuff to seal the gaps. I left the space under the hatch open for wet bags, and gear, installed two rod holders and a light, as I am only able to go in the afternoon and usually do 10 to 12 miles each time. So I am in the dark for most of the trip. I have tested if it's sinkable and am proud to say it will not sink any more, might not be fun to paddle, but it will not sink. I have it rigged for fishing and cruising.
Performance wise, after reading the letters before mine. I have limited knowledge but I do have some, I like sitting on top, I like the fact that I can get in and out easily, take off from the beach like surfboard, and it handles chop well I think. I am taking off from Victoria station and usually fishing at 17th st bridge, and actually going out of Port Everglades. The ships and speed boats deliver a lot of chop and once you round the curve at Port Everglades, the surf in the channel (especially with all the wind we have been getting) is easily 6 feet or more. It's a rush, but I find the Prism really preforms well and I am enjoying immensely.
This is a fine SOT with thoughtful features, those footpegs for instance, and robust midship carry handles, but what it's designed to do doesn't include going fast. Anyone burning up the water on a Prism must have one heck of a forward stroke.
What I did was take Plastic Lawn edging. About 3 1/2 inches wide. I cut and wrapped it around the hatch lip. I then pop riveted it to the lip every few inches. I then sealed it with poly butylene caulking. The hatch then fits on the top of the lawn edging and I only use one of the seals that I glued to the extension. The only drawback is it make putting my longer seargun in but it won't take a long gun anyway.
It is a very fast boat and great in the wind. I dive with mostly Scupper Pros and they can't keep up.
I am now 230-240lbs. and I love it. I just mounted a fishfinder on it today. I have a Drifter by Ocean Kayaks and it is a Tugboat. Its hard to paddle because it is so wide. But when I seldom scuba that's what I use. I want to find another Prism used.
I originally bought it as an all-around vessel that I could do a little small-wave surfing in, but mostly fishing and cruising. I have found that it tracks extremely well, even in choppy ocean water. There is no hull slap. Turning isn't very difficult. A light quick back paddle and a hard front paddle on the other side gets it going around quite nicely. The boat is very stable, and I have never tipped it outside of the break. I raced a friend who has a 3 person aluminum fishing boat (Colby is the brand, I think) with a 5 HP outboard in choppy water with 1ft swells. I kept up with him. This kayak is fast!
The problems with it: the fore and aft hatches leak a lot in the surf. It is best to get through the surf quickly if you plan on spending time out in open water. If you want to stay in the surf, emptying out the water every 30 min or so isn't a bad idea. The check valves in the auto-bailing system are useless. I removed mine and the bailing system works better now. Lastly, when riding over a breaking wave, it is hard to get the bow over the top of the wave. I know that this is due to the length of the boat, and it is not really best for this type of activity.
For you surfers out there, this is definitely not the best rig. It works well in small surf, but anything bigger than 2 ft puts the bow right into the water, and that's the end of the ride. However, I do not consider myself an experienced kayak surfer, and I have gotten a few good rides out of some 3ft breakers in this rig. It might be technique...
Prisms are 14 feet long and are set up for a rudder but it is not needed. These sit low in the water, maybe a few inches from the edge of the boat to the water and turn easily. I like this because I also had a Cobra Tourer and my wrists would sometimes hit the sides of the boat when I paddled which stunk, although could've been my lame technique.
The Prism weights 62 pounds so it is about 10 pounds heavier than the Tourer. A dolly can be used to transport it as 60 pounds of dead weight is tough to carry by yourself, even overhead for any length of travel. I am 5'10", 200 pounds and the Prism is perfect. I bought the 2nd one from a guy who was 6'2" and he said it was great for him also. He actually took off the foot pegs because his legs were so long. The $100 Prism is older and only has 2 scupper holes, the other has 4. These can easily be plugged for use in bays or lakes because the draining feature they offer is not needed. When in the ocean the scupper holes allow a certain amount of water to enter the boat from the bottom creating a sort of equilibrium, about 2 inches of water or so. When/if water comes in over the side it just joins with the water already in the foot area and stays at the same equal level. Pretty neat huh.
This is a sit on top model so no hassle with the spray skirt and stuffing your body into the boat. Also if you fall out there is no tricky technique needed to right yourself. You can see examples of this on youtube if interested. With the sit on top Prism you just flop back on top of the kayak laying on your belly across the seating area. When stable just roll over onto your back, then twist around so you are back in. It is that easy. Practice this in some shallow water just to make sure you can do it, especially if you are not in shape. You will get wet for sure when in the ocean but if you fall out you want to be confident you can get back in, otherwise it might be a long swim next to your kayak back to shore.
There are 2 hatches in this kayak both of which press down onto weatherstrip molding and stay down using straps sort of like a book bag with the same type of plastic clasp. These hatches are not waterproof (no hatch is) but do keep 99% of the water out. If you are going for an overnight trip use a plastic bag for your sleeping bag, clothes, etc., and you will be fine. The Prism also has a molded cup holder right in front of the seat which is nice. The Tourer has a round hatch large enough for a wallet, keys, cell, but when I use the Prism I just place all this in a plastic bag and put it in the pack behind the seat.
The Prism is a great Kayak especially for the value. I sold my Tourer for $1000 and bought 2 Prisms for $350. You might not find them so cheap in your area but every now and then they pop up, especially during the winter.
The Aquaterra Prism is just a foot shorter and no well behind me but I am not a diver so don't miss it. I also like the foot rails of the Prism with the adjustable pegs to rest your toes on. Don't have a rudder on this and don't need it either it seems as it turns very easily. I agree also that it is fast as heck; almost feel like I am cheating too!
Feels a bit lower in the water than the Cobra Tourer. I plug the scupper holes when in the bay using the simple plugs sold at West Marine. Also the little kayak dolly that has the scupper poles makes for an easy trip to the sand. You can roll it right into the water and also place it under the boat and roll it right back out so no sand sticks to the bottom of the boat! $70 for those dollys but worth it.
BUT best feature for me is that the Prism at 14 feet fits inside my E350 Ford Van. I have it all the way up between the seats and then up a bit in the back pinned just inside the door edge but it fits! No more lifting the Cobra Tourer on and off the surf racks on top of the van! The Aquaterra Prism is great. Good like finding a used one but when you do keep it for life!
I'm 6'5" and 220 lbs and I fit pretty well once I removed the adjust foot pegs. Seat and foot wells are always a wet, but I have gotten used to that with a SOT boat.
They are pretty quick for a SOT, but not fast enough to keep up with a typical sit inside. About the same speed as a Tarpon, a bit slower then a Scooper Pro.