Fatyak Kaafu review

Fatyak are a British kayaking brand based out of Somerset who manufacture a line of easy to paddle, affordable, durable and innovative products designed for all levels. Keeping their range simple, Fatyak produce three different models – the Surf, the Kaafu and the Mahee. This review is based on the Fatyak Kaafu – Fatyak’s all-round hull shape made for wave heads and fishing enthusiasts.

First look

Unwrapped for the first time, the Kaafu looks top notch and well-engineered. This version boasts a bright green colour scheme and really stands out! Giving the Kaafu a once over it’s clear to see a lot of time and effort has been invested in getting this kayak just right. Featuring well-designed, ergonomic carry handles, well-sealed double storage tanks, a comfy seating area, rear stowage compartment with securing mesh, fittings for backrest/thigh straps and a paddle keeper, the Kaafu looks the business and we couldn’t wait to get it wet.

Hull shape

Worth mentioning in more detail firstly is the hull, as it’s quite a technical shape. With its series of sharp rail chines the Kaafu’s bottom is designed to minimise the wetted area and reduce drag at speed. When rocked onto its edge, the sharp chines bite to help with tracking – such as when on wave. The main spine running down the centre of the hull is very pronounced at the rear and aids tracking. This gets progressively flatter as you move towards the nose and should equate to improved planing speed as you throw your weight forward and drop into a wave. Its nose is extremely acute and designed to cut through chop and flotsam as you paddle along. During wave riding, the nose will rise clear of the water to avoid tripping, as long as the rider shifts his or her weight towards the back of the cockpit. A high level of technical know-how has been incorporated into the hull, which is credit to Fatyak. This is the reason the Kaafu performs well on the flat and in waves.

Transport

It’s no secret that siton kayaks can sometimes be mission to cart about but the Kaafu’s light weight and perfectly positioned carry handles make less of a job of this than is the norm. If you take the option of fitting thigh straps then you can sling the Kaafu over your shoulder and walk with it to your drop in spot. The Fatyak sits snuggly on car roof racks and is quite a nice fit inside a van – if you’re lucky enough to own one! Let’s not beat around the bush here, the Kaafu is still unwieldy in the grand scheme of things, particularly when compared to other watersports craft, but Fatyak have engineered a design that makes the best job of a possibly painful situation.

On the water

Once you’re seated comfortably it’s immediately obvious just how stable the Kaafu is. With a considerable amount of width and volume towards the back end of the boat, you feel secure when paddling in a straight line. Even slight wobbles are of no concern – the Fatyak remains upright keeping the paddler locked in. The pronounced middle spine running along the hull’s length keeps the Kaafu tracking smoothly. If you deviate from your course then it only takes half a paddle stroke to bring you back on target. From the cockpit you have a choice of foot rest options catering for different body types. If you have particularly wide feet or you’re wearing extra rubber, such as wetsuit boots, then your feet may slip from time to time. However, pressing firmly against the plastic should ensure this is infrequent and also promotes a more dynamic paddling position. The Fatyak was great to rail (lean over) and it kept tracking beautifully. This attribute will benefit paddlers in the waves no end. The Kaafu’s manoeuvrability is admirable and it can change direction with ease. Leaning back in your paddling position will induce more spin – as will throwing in multi directional paddle strokes (forwards on one side followed by back paddling on the opposite). Unfortunately the swell wasn’t playing ball on the day we took the Kaafu out to play but we’re confident it will be a great surf hull in small to medium waves.

Other features

Although we didn’t get a tricked out fishing Kaafu, it’s obvious that the stability would lend itself to a great day casting. The two storage wells offer ample room for bait and, coupled with rod holders (an optional feature), you’ll be all set for reeling in that ‘big ‘un’. Stow an anchor in the back compartment and it would be possible to use the Kaafu as a diving platform. Due to the width and stability of the hull, getting back into the cockpit is no trouble.

Summing up

The Fatyak Kaafu is a decent bit of paddling kit that’s perfect for those who desire cross over performance. With bundles of features and plenty of scope to ‘pimp your ride’ you’d do a lot worse than getting hold of one of these puppies

FATYAK KAAFU FEATURES

  • Carry Toggles
  • Drain Plug
  • Fittings for Backrest
  • Fittings for Knee Straps
  • Integrated Carry Handles
  • Storage Hatch
  • Stowing Mesh

FATYAK KAAFU DETAILS

Manufacturer Hull Type Length Width Weight Max Load Seating
Fatyak Kayaks Standard 3.02m 0.77m 20.00kg 130.00kg Solo

WANT THIS KAYAK?

RRP: £328

Manufacturers

8 Comments

  1. P mc

    Have owned a kaafu for a few years now and absolutely love it, great kayak for its size and feel totally safe in it. Love taking it away to Scotland and fishing/exploring the inshore cliffs and sea caves. Highly recommend.

  2. Alan Reeves

    I bought the light wieght
    I bought the light wieght fatyak s adventure 16 kgs because i needed a boat easy to get to the water no fuss no trolleys
    something ,to go, for a quick paddle.I often find i take the Fatyak out instead of my others because its so easy.At the moment they only come in black in the s models .There very stable and come with 2 hatches ,paddle keeps ,etc.I would not want to paddle one on a touring trip but as a good allrounder they are spot on.

  3. Clippo

    I have just purchased the
    I have just purchased the kaafu adventure S and took it on its maiden voyage last weekend. 6 miles along the river nene. I was a bit worried about the purchase as the adventure s is more expensive than the kaafu as it only weighs 16kgs but I didn’t have to worry. I really annoyed the ride. Lots of storage, good stability, tracks well and moves quite quickly in the water. Mine came with a seat but I may upgrade it. I felt the I had to keep adjusting the seat as it was slipping from under me a bit and I feel the straps are a little low so you don’t really support your lower back well enough. I need a seat with higher straps and felt that I was leaning back to much and couldn’t relax. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.

  4. Joolz

    Have a Kaafu and others. Love
    Have a Kaafu and others. Love it, Good for general messin about. Wave flat or other sit on kayaking stuff. Like thumbs up!

  5. Freddy P

    This was the first sit-on
    This was the first sit-on kayak I tried when coming out of retirement. Having coming from a competitive race paddling background I wasn’t sure what to expect, I just knew I wanted something fun. Well, the Kaafu certainly is that. Easy to use without the need for any real skill. Simply get on and go.

    The Kaafu is very versatile and suitable for many different paddlers.

    I used the Kaafu on a number of occasions and each time with a different seat. I have to admit I preferred the Piranha seat. You definitely need one for teh Kaafu though, preferable an anti slip. It’s a little uncomfortable without.

    All in all the Kaafu is good for various kayaking requirements. From what I see when scanning sit on websites, it’s an affordable sit on top kayak as well which makes it even more of a good choice.

  6. Daniel Callis

    The Kaafu is a great option
    The Kaafu is a great option Sit on top for those who can’t justify spending £500+ for a kayak, be it budget, use or otherwise.

    It comes with a lot more features than many kayaks in the same price range, including two storage wells and a back hatch. Considering many kayaks in this price range are limited to “floating in water” being the only feature, this is very welcome.

    As for handling, I’ve had the Kaafu out in both flat and wavey conditions and as an all rounder she seems to do the job just fine. Granted it may not be the fastest thing in the world to get around on, but with a decent paddle she’s more than capable of getting from A to B with relative ease.

    One thing I will say, as SoggyBottom mentioned above, is it’s certainly worth investing in a decent padded seat. Just 10 minutes out without one can wreak havock on the neck and lower back (at one point I had to stop and lay across the back hatch for a stretch!). If you are going to get a Kaafu, get a comfy clip on seat!

  7. SoggyBottom

    I’ve been paddling a Kaafu
    I’ve been paddling a Kaafu for a couple of months and thought that it was time to share my experiences (especially considering the review/test you did here helped me choose it!).

    When I first started taking the Kaafu out I was really worried about my choice of new boat. Nice looking, well kitted out, but damn uncomfortable. Despite being set quite low in the hull, the moulded seat is quite shallow and doesn’t offer much support. As I haven’t yet bought the clip on seats, that means using your stomach muscles quite a lot to stay upright which really starts to ache after about 20 minutes on the water. The seat well is also quite wide, which means you need to turn your knees out a lot to brace, which puts a lot of strain on your inner thighs.

    The other comfort issue is that it fills with water, particularly in a bit of chop. The moulded handles seem to channel any chop up the side of the hull where it is then deposited in the seat well. Thanks to the low position of the sea and shallow channel up to it that water then ends up sharing a space with your butt for the rest of your paddle. This goes some way to explain my screen name!

    Now, the reason that I waited a few weeks before writing this review is that, despite the comfort issues, the Kaafu has some real promise. It tracks well for such a wide, stable boat, is built nicely, has good storage, rides a wave pretty well and is a really good price. All in all, despite the soggy bottom issues, I REALLY LIKE THIS BOAT.

    If you are thinking of getting a Fat Yak Kaafu, I’d suggest trying to get out on one first. Others might not have the same issues as me. I’d also suggest getting the back-rest / seat option to improve the comfort.

  8. Murray

    I just brought a Kaafu and is
    I just brought a Kaafu and is my first time buying a sit on, I found the kaafu to be excellent. It is easy to paddle and is very stable. For the price range I had £ 300 – £ 400 I couldn’t find anything as good. Highly recommended.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.