For the prototype testing we put the Interface in the hands of a selection of customers & key retailers..here’s what they had to say…
Ian Ferguson, Fergs Kayaks
(MBE & multiple world & Olympic kayak champion)
I must start by saying I am a real fan of the Beachcomber. That’s why our hire fleet is full of them, as I want people to have a really good experience when they come down here to hire, and then can’t wait to come back again. So with that in mind, Gordon bought down the new prototype, The Interface.. No bells and whistles just an amazing looking glass hull and a top on it.
It was a bit heavy to carry, but only the test boat, so no worries.
It was quite choppy on the harbour, with wind at around 25 knots. But no problems, I was off to give it a good test. First observation after about 5 strokes. Definitely faster, Yeha. I love fast boats so I was immediately in a good mood. I was hitting straight into the wind with Gordon beside in a beachcomber trying to keep up with me. I eased back so he could keep up. Unfortunately the new boat only had a make shift deck, and for my weight caused a small amount of splashing going directly into the wind. Gordon assured me that the real deck would be much better.
After a good testing paddle into the wind, I turned and went with the wind. Well, it just rose out of the water and jumped onto the wave to give me as well as an easy ride, a very very dry ride. No splashes at all, despite the really choppy. I just rode over all the spray. I really felt the boat up on the plane.
It out rode the Beachcomber all the way home. It was a beautiful ride with the wind. And that’s what I love doing. As for turning, a little slower than the beachcomber as it was wanting to stay a straight course with that new hull.( Possibly why it held the swells so easily). However when it started to turn it was quick and seamless. Over all score. I ordered 10 on the spot, and want them tomorrow. Ever heard of night shift Gordon?
This should be an absolute winner on coast to coast, totally faster than the beachcomber.
(Auckland University of Technology , senior lecture sport & recreation programs)
Whether you are influenced by good handling characteristics, aesthetic appeal, innovative design, quality construction and efficiency, or all of these factors, Barracuda have a new boat that I think will please a discerning paddler. I am able to draw these conclusions, having had the opportunity to test the new craft, which will shortly hit the market. The prototype is Glass fibre, however the design will be produced using the now well-established vacuum molding method that results in light and rigid craft.
The boat has less rocker than the beachcomber and therefore pitches slightly less when the chop begins to increase. This also enables the boat to track very nicely on all points of the wind and maintain momentum. The hard chine enables very precise maneuvering as you begin to use the rail, which for the paddler who really wishes to hone their skills provides the opportunity to do so. The rudder when used, like the Beachcomber is very effective and produces very little drag.
The boat maintains a nice shear line, which with the defined shape of the chines, makes for a rather attractive looking craft. I suspect this boat will have broad appeal and be very satisfying to paddlers who are interested in refined characteristics. Its precise and forgiving and I think I’ll be placing an order.
(Multisport & Adventure race competitor, most recent achievements, Winner of Mountains to Sea, top 10 placing individual open men’s Coast to Coast “the longest day”)
I had the opportunity to test paddle the new prototype sea kayak from Barracuda kayaks. The conditions where very calm, a glassed out sea, but with a decent swell, with waves of around 1 metre rolling through. These are my first impressions of the boat, bearing in mind, the kayak is aimed at under 75kg paddlers. Great initial stability, with reasonable secondary, the boat would have a very good balance of initial vs secondary, with a lighter paddler. Tracking was exceptional, with the V hull, and hard chines keeping the boat straight with no effort, again, on the swell, the boat tracked perfectly and held its line on a wave nicely, and was predictable in a broach.
The volume was nicely balanced, with the hull creating good lift heading out through the swell, and although there wasn’t any wind on the day, the very low profile deck and waterline would keep windage to an absolute minimum, and the V hull giving good traction in the water. Acceleration was very good, as good as any sea kayak I have paddled, and the boat held a very reasonable top speed comfortably, we had the GPS reading around the 9-10 Km/hr at a comfortable paddling pace and tempo. This boat will make a great fast day tripping boat, for paddlers up to 80kgs, in most conditions, especially in wind and chop, although the lower volume wouldn’t be ideal for punching through larger seas. For the lighter paddler, this boat would work very well for extended trips up to 3 or 4 day.The boat would also make a nice downriver multisport kayak for the smaller entry level competitor.
Watch the video from Sam’s test paddler HERE
Jason Milne, www.paddleguy.com –
( Industry expert, videographer ,photographer and kayak blogger)
Being a huge a fan of the Barracuda Kayaks lightweight kayaks I was pleased to be invited to be asked to join a select few to test paddle the prototype of the new Barracuda Interface sea kayak. I have been paddling the Beachcomber sea kayak for more than 3 years which has proven to be a great all-rounder for me excelling in playing in the surf and a great kayak for scouting around the NZ coastline on day trips.
It was about 12 months ago I had a chance to paddle one of the original fiber glass designs of Barracuda with the deep v hull … what a great experience, as good as the Beachcomber is, after paddling the V hull in some rough water I realized this was the hull design I wanted, sadly it was not possible to get one of the original designs as they were removed from production due the high costs of manufacture.
Enter the Interface, I sleeker faster version of the beachcomber but with the advantages over the V hull. Which include less sideways slippage on a wave, greater directional control, and quieter over the back of waves and all round nicer feel under the hull. I found the Interface incredibly efficient, fast and stable. On a wave it was like being in ski picking up runners with even less effort than the Beachcomber and very easy to edge to change direction. I have my order in and cant wait!
(North shore canoe club – 20yrs kayaking 10yrs of sprint racing to national level, adventure racing, ocean ski racing & seakayaking)
I took it down to Orewa for a test drive. I was lucky with the conditions. The wind had turned to a 15 knot offshore SW wind but the 1m easterly swell was still rolling in. The tide was just turning on the way out so I knew I was going to pick up some good waves at the river mouth.
I wanted to see how the boat handled in the surf, so I decided to take it out through the break and catch some waves for 40mins or so then take it for a longer paddle to Waiwera and back to test it out on a straight run Paddling out through the break I could instantly tell how easy it was to punch through the waves. The bow and vee bottom made landing the kayak over the back of the waves very soft with virtually no hard slapping.
When turning the boat, it turns nice and sharp, as with all kayaks with vee bottoms and hard chines it turns best when leaned onto its rail. I doubt many paddlers would notice the difference in turning abilities between this boat and the beachcomber. Remember; unless you are turning in a hurry to catch an approaching wave, there would be few times you need to turn a kayak around with such urgency.
I found the surfing qualities fantastic. The waves I was catching were approx. 1m – 1.5m and very steep due to the offshore wind and outgoing tide from the river mouth. The boat had such impressive tracking ability I quickly decided to raise the rudder and just use the chines to surf the boat. Often when surfing steep waves, round hull kayaks tend to lose their edge and slide down the wave face rather than carve along it. This new kayak doesn’t have that problem at all. It can be easily controlled in the bottom turn and then hold its line along the wave. Allot of fun.
After catching my quota of waves I thought I would let the stand-up paddle boarders have a chance at catching them and go for a paddle up to Waiwera and back. The increase in speed over the beachcomber was noticeable straight away. The vee bottom, hard chines and extra waterline length have all had a significant part to play in making this boat a very nice experience when paddling longer distances. The boat run was particularly good. I feel this is the type of kayak that would suit a paddler who wants to cover more distance without sacrificing comfort or stability. It’s hard to quantify exactly what the speed advantage is over the beachcomber without the use of my GPS, but I would say an improvement of 20% would be a reasonable assumption.
Apart from the superb tracking and under water qualities of this new design, one of the standout improvements is the lower profile deck design. I’m still a big fan of the beachcomber layout. But for someone who comes from a K1 racing background I found the low windage effect of the new deck really improved the enjoyment of paddling this boat over longer distances through cross winds. All up I really enjoyed my day with this new kayak and can’t wait to try it again once it’s in full production and all the extra features have been added to it.
(Auckland Canoe Club Member )
I enjoyed paddling the new Barracuda Interface prototype so much I put my order in on the spot! I’ve owned several kayaks, including the larger Safari and appreciate the capabilities and rough water handling characteristics of V hull sea kayaks and the innovative design, quality and backup support that Barracuda brings to kayaking.
First impressions are the Interface is the ideal day boat for all year, all weather paddling, a smaller and lighter package that my wife and daughter will enjoy paddling too and be comfortable out in conditions they otherwise wouldn’t be. I trialed the Interface on a couple of breezy days with a wind against tide chop, conditions where it excels. If you haven’t paddled a V hull kayak the Interface does feel a bit different at first, more of a sports car than a sedan, but you quickly realize the excellent tracking and superior secondary stability you get.
With low volume and just over 5 meters long and 590mm (???) wide you feel connected with the water. the Interface slices smoothly into waves with no slapping up and down, the good amount of rocker ensuring a relatively dry ride considering the kayak’s size. What’s under the water comes into its own running across the waves as the chines allow you to edge like a skier, while the defined keel line and excellent Barracuda rudder makes downwind running a secure and enjoyable experience. The Interface tracks very well with the rudder up too, with a just little edging needed to keep it straight and I’d say in flat conditions I’ll probably paddle it that way quite a bit and it has very good acceleration in these conditions with the rudder up.
Being a smaller, lighter paddler (<75kg) I’m ordering the low volume version, which will be great in the wind but might be a bit of compromise on storage compared to larger kayaks, but still plenty of room for the gear you need, including an overnight camping trip. Of course you could add a deck bag for trips or sneak some stuff into your mates boat. A few of my paddling buddies were also impressed with the Interface, but being around the 85kg range they are looking at the higher volume version, same hull, but cleverly designed to give a bit more room inside. I haven’t seen the new deck yet, but hear it will have a few goodies including paddle rest, glove box and flush hatch covers. On the day we tested it, different paddlers were consistently getting 11-12 kph in the prototype, which is a few kg heavier than the production model Interface will be. Pretty good speed and we were all over 50 too.
Watch the video from Jeff’s test paddler HERE
The Barracuda Interface (prototype) is a fast, fun and stable boat to paddle. After 10 years in a plastic Puffin and then another 10 years paddling a Barracuda Expedition, I was a little nervous slipping in to the Interface prototype, with its narrower hull and shorter overall length. It felt a bit like I was hopping out of a trusty family saloon and jumping in to a peppy wee sports car.
But the result was a combination of the comfort of the saloon and the pep of the sports car. In calm water the Interface was quick and steady. My paddling companions were keen to challenge the Interface’s speed in the flat water, and those paddling sleek, low volume boats were a good match for the Interface.
But the big difference came when the Interface struck choppy water. Heading into .5 metre wind blown waves, the new boat just sliced through the water, quickly leaving behind the paddlers who, in the calm conditions, had almost matched the Interface’s speed.
Running with a following sea the Interface held its line, giving a stable ride and, when the waves formed neatly, a slick surf. Side on to the waves it felt stable and certainly as comfortable as the trusty old Expedition. Overall, a great boat, adding a bit of speed to the Barracuda Beachcomber and a bit more performance through its V hull. David Lomas, an Auckland paddler for the last 25 years.