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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: cobra navigator vs ocean kayak caper  (Read 7414 times)

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  • Sea Lion
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  • Location: Sonoma County
  • Date Registered: Sep 2006
  • Posts: 4793
Last year I bought an ocean kayak brand caper model for use here on the sonoma coast. This spring I bought a cobra navigator xf from sean/gwkc. I've used the navigator a few times now and really wish I would have just went with the navigator from the start. The caper has a few small advantages such as better secondary stability, way easier on water access to front hatch, and slightly easier to load on top of roof racks due to its shorter length. The navigator's advantages are many and for a more fun day fishing in less than ideal conditions, crucial. To start with, even though the navigator is almost 1 1/2 feet longer, half of that extra length is in it's bow. Because of all the rocker/upsweep in the bow the amount of hull in the water seems to be about the same as the caper. After paddling both boats the navigator is alot faster and actually tracks straight. The caper is so much slower and does not track straight at all. Which is weird because the scuppers in the navigator are about twice the size as the caper's. I would have thought the larger scupper holes would slow it down. Also, between the more pronouced/kicked up bow, the larger scuppers, and a molded in ridge on the bow between the forward hatch and the cockpit, the navigator takes less water in during white water launches, and even when a larger wave manages to fill the cockpit, the larger scuppers drain about 2 1/2 times as fast as the caper. The top of the navigator sits higher off the water also helping to make the ride alot drier as any windchop would continually slap small waves into the caper's cockpit. The center hatch on the navigator is the larger 8" round. I took mine out and put in hobie's, single latch with a hinge on one side, hatch. You can buy a round tackle tray that fits in it and reach in there and pull out tackle one handed. The navigator has alot more spots to install flushmount rod holders and the crevice to install the fishfinder mount is nice because you can leave the mount on, remove the finder, and the mount is below the top of the boat so it won't get caught when you load the boat on your roof racks. The navigator with 4 rod holders weighed 52 lbs. The caper with 2 rod holders weighed 50lbs. Essentially the same weight but man are these two different boats. The navigator sells for $200.00 more...and worth every extra dollar.
Looking for a shorter-lighter kayak. Cobra Navigator XF.


  • Fish Nerd; AOTY Architect
  • Sea Lion
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  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Date Registered: Jan 2005
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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that owns those two kayaks.  I fished the caper for a couple years and then mostly switched to the navigator when I won one at Elk in 2005.  For the most part I agree with everything you've said... the navigator is faster, tracks better and has better surfaces for rigging up extras like rod holders.   However, I've found that the caper actual handles better in the surf and it's still my go to boat on days when the swell is a little larger.   I think in part it's the softer plastic in the caper that I like in the surf as it seems much more forgiving if you wipe out and end up getting hit by your kayak.


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  • Sea Lion
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  • Location: Sonoma County
  • Date Registered: Sep 2006
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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that owns those two kayaks.

Actually made my final decision to buy the navigator after talking to you at the Fred Hall Show earlier this year. Thanks for your input. Jim.