Length 15' 9" (4.8 m), Width 25" (63 cm), Weight 62 lbs (28 kg).
Maximum weight capacity 397 lbs (180 kg) depending on water conditions.
Taking a break from the wind on a Welsh beach, after five hours of fishing for Tope and only a handful of doggies and a few fresh mackerel baits to show for it, I suggested to Simon Everett the UK's distributor for Kaskazi Kayaks that I might like to give his Kaskazi Dorado a quick spin on the water. Paddling back out into the wind I suddenly realised that I wasn't alone, Simon was behind me onboard my Prowler 13 shouting something about his camera and photographs.
Designed by Leon Franken, the Kaskazi Dorado is hand built and finished in Cape Town, South Africa. The Dorado is one of three designs in the Kaskazi stable, which are specifically aimed at kayak fishing off the South African coast, where the sea and waves can be inhospitable as can the strength of the winds.
We were faced with steadily increasing winds, which made paddling very difficult indeed, although the sea remained relatively calm.
You don't so much sit-on-top of the Dorado, as you do with most fishing kayaks, you sit deep inside and the cockpit fits snugly around you giving a very secure feeling, your legs slip either side of the large fish box, and your feet position themselves over the adjustable rudder pedals which tilt forward / backward to adjust the rudder.
With the seat in such a low position within the hull, water does build up in this area as it does in the footwells during your time on the water, a small price to pay for the extra stability that the low seated position provides. The Dorado is an incredibly stable kayak… surprisingly.
Paddling out you instantly realise that you are onboard a composite kayak, less effort, superior gliding speed, great feeling. Crossing the wind the Dorado automatically steered windward, helping my upwind progress.
Downwind, wind over tide the ride was not so comfortable, the Dorado required constant correcting, this was remedied by lowering the rudder via the pulley system on the starboard rear quarter just behind the cockpit, this was a little stiff to operate, but once down worked well and kept the kayak on a true course.
Raising the rudder was considerably easier.
If you like storage space the Dorado has plenty. Three screw-in hatches leading to two separate compartments, one screw hatch in the bow section, two to the rear (one either side of the tankwell). The large tankwell accommodates a standard crate. Finally there is the large fish box in the cockpit which is ideal for storing rods when coming in through the surf, food, bait, camera, tackle etc, in fact the fish box is more convenient than the crate for general use on the water.
Behind the seat are two flush rod holders, angled conveniently away from the paddle stroke and ideal for trolling a lure.
The Dorado has four carrying straps, standard bow and stern handles and a pair either side of the cockpit which are placed in cut-outs on each gunwale. Simon and I discussed the possibility of having these removed and the gunwale raised level to reduce the amount of water in the cockpit, Simon is toying with the idea of having this modification done by a UK boat builder to see how it compares.
Overall the Kaskazi Dorado is a great paddle, if the wetness in the cockpit could be reduced then it would be an outstanding paddle, a good choice for the kayak fisherman with some experience under his belt and looking for something a little special, a kayak that can handle anything you throw at it.