04-18-2011Submitted by: Larry
Reviews for Caper Kayak by Ocean Kayak
Based On: 16 Reviews
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my Caper several years, but have felt I hadn't used it enough for a knowledgeable review until now. I love my Caper and if it weren't for a minor design oversight, I'd rate it a perfect 10. That is the failure to make the tank well big enough for a milk crate. However, a 16-quart Coleman Excursion cooler fits very nicely in the tank well and holds fishing net, rods, anchor, etc. very nicely.
I chose the Caper as the best combination of moderate weight, stability, length and price at the time, and it has never disappointed. I later added a lighter, faster, costlier sit-in Hurricane Santee Sport 116 for guests, but I still prefer the Caper for fishing. I can get off it and wade or sit sideways with legs in the warm gulf water or swim--it's that stable. Mine is a pre-Angler model, so I added a Scotty rod holder in front of me ($30 installed)and two flush rod holders behind the seat ($15 each installed), making it a fine fishing craft with no need for a milk crate.
There is good information in earlier reviews, but I have news about hull slap. I found there is a "sweet spot" for sitting (for me it's about 6 inches forward of the back of the seat well) that lowers the bow, thus increasing speed and reducing hull slap to next to none. A sand bag or some other weight in the front hatch likely would have the same effect. I put duct tape over the scupper holes in the tank well years ago and it has held ever since. I had no problem with build quality. I'd chose the Caper again today.
04-07-2010Submitted by: Kevin
- Rating: 9 of 10 Is there a better kayak than the Ocean Kayak Caper? Not for me, its the best of the best. However, it's not a perfect 10 and I'll tell you why.
At 11'0" and 45 lbs. is very easy to load and unload alone into the bed of my pickup. Many longer kayaks require two people and a kayak trailer or special transport rigging, not the Caper. My storage space is limited to 11'3" so the Caper fits great. Once in the water, its design continues to impress. I bought scupper plugs and my seat is 100% dry (I weight 170 lbs). With or without using plugs in the front feet scuppers, a small amount of water comes off my paddle and lands around my feet. I now prefer no plugs in the front so the water can drain. In my opinion the molded foot wells on the Caper are far superior to sliding adjustable foot braces found on many other kayaks. I love the paddle holders! The large hatch in the front keep water out on choppy lakes from my experience. Tracking and speed, excellent and excellent. I'm sure there are better, but for use on rivers and lakes (every other day I hit the water and go 10 miles minimum each day) I do not desire better.
I wish the side handles were on the outside instead inside which makes it difficult to grab hold to while loading alone. The molded tank-well works well for my ice-chest, backpack, etc. However, it's too narrow for a standard size milk crate (not that I care, but you might). I bought the OK 6" CAM Locking Hatch (about $40) and had the dealer install it directly in front of the seat. Unfortunately when you open it it, it provides direct access to the hull and does not come with a cat bag (nor will any cat bag fit it). OK should have designed a molded water proof storage area under this hatch and included the hatch on all Capers, not just an additional upgraded. Fortunately, my dealer installed a bucket with a sponge under it while installing the hatch. That way when I can put things down there and they will not get wet or slide around in the hull.
Now for kayaks greatest flaw and not just the Caper. LEAKS! I bought my first Caper new and took it out for the first time only to discover it had major leaks in the scuppers. The dealer exchanged it for another new one that didn't leak. Satisfied, I went and bought a second Caper for family and friends to use and guess what. It also leaked from the scuppers and was exchanged for another one that didn't. Word to the wise, test your kayak (new or used) by getting a hose and filling the hull with water. If you see any leaks, you have a problem. TEST every time you are buying.
Overall, if Ocean Kayak improved the 6" center hatch, relocated the side handles to the outside, slightly enlarged the molded tank-well and improved their Quality Assurance the Caper would be flawless (perfect 10).
06-30-2009Submitted by: mainman1
- Rating: 8 of 10 I have been paddling sit on tops for several years. I've owned and/or paddled a wide variety of kayaks over this time. I have finally concluded that there are 3 things I want with a kayak. The first is stability. I kayak alone, frequently in the open ocean and enjoy going through swells and chop. The second factor is weight. I car top and don't like to struggle getting a boat on the roof. Finally, I like a roomy cockpit, although I am not that large at 5'10 and 180 lbs.
I recently bought a Caper and am very happy with it. Its light, easy to lift and easy to get on my car roof. It is also very stable and handles swells and chop very well. Finally, for a small boat, it has a large cockpit and is a comfortable ride. It tracks OK and is fast enough for me.
My only complaint is that the hatch is not completely waterproof, but this is a relatively minor problem. All and all, a very good and solid boat.
06-11-2009Submitted by: Chipbutty
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have had a Caper Angler for a couple of months now. Very pleased with it. Roomy and comfortable (I'm 6'1"). Punches through waves well, easy maneuverability, perfect size and weight for transporting. Recommend trolley though. Good all-rounder!!
06-11-2008Submitted by: DBC
- Rating: 5 of 10 I am new to kayaks but neither I, nor my wife, were impressed with this kayak. We rented the prowler 13 and the caper this weekend to try them on the flats and they were like night and day. She was on the Caper and could not keep up with me on the Prowler. She seemed to be having to paddle harder than me but I wrote it off as to her not being used to the kayak and nervous.
We spent about 2 hours fishing and decided to swap. I could not believe the effort I had to put into paddling to get that thing to move and if I stopped it didn't coast at all. We were in a pretty good chop and going into the wind, so I had to constantly paddle HARD. After spending two hours in the Prowler and enjoying paddling softly so my wife could keep up, I was now working my butt off. It was noisy going into the chop also, very noticeably compared to the Prowler. Comfort was also not as good and my wife changed her mind about getting the Caper and now wants a Prowler 13.
07-30-2007Submitted by: annehillebrand
- Rating: 10 of 10 Mainstream Jazz was great for a first boat, but no bells and whistles, and basic weight range for a 9 ft. Then Scupper Pro 14' had all the features, great weight capacity, and paddled really sharp, but was a lot of weight for me to get to the water. I'm 5'1" 54 year old woman. A Winnie the Pooh body style. Like in the story of the Three Bears, the OK Caper is JUST RIGHT.
Inside handles, big tight hatch, lighter than anything else anywhere in the same price range, but still good weight capacity. I can even stick it in the 4-door Explorer if I want. About a foot hanging out of the back window if the front passenger seat is flipped forward.
Paddled the Little Econolahatchee River with an Orlando MeetUp group today. A little over 4 hours today. I couldn't have been happier if I was made out of chocolate. I knew going in that there was one thing I would change. Did, and really like it.
For seat attachments I added click-buckles mid way of the straps. Leaving the brass clips (with half a click-buckle on the yak. This way, once adjusted, it takes just seconds to put in or take out the seat. Still have full adjustability, but don't have to relieve the settings to attach the seat. Same type buckles as on the hatch, just smaller. Got at "Big Old Bass Store" for just a few bucks. You only need a foot or so of web strap for each of the 4 brass clips.
Today I carried my gear and that of 3 friends and all stayed dry no problems. Snap on top rubber hatch lids that some yaks have just don't impress me. The lid on the Caper is really strong (In a pinch camping could be used for a basin). Had two sandwich totes in the tank well, but could have had a giant Coleman just as easily. I may add some luggage straps there, also. Just easier for my hands than bungees.
This yak is actually the Caper Angler, so has 2 good fishing rod holders already installed. Seat back has a good sized pocket on the back, with drain hole and overflapped zipper. Inside there is attached cord with a whistle, and a plastic hook clip for attaching valuables, like your pocket tool or waterproof flashlight. The paddle keepers on both sides are great. One for the paddle and one for a gator stick. (smile)
Footholes do fill with water, but that doesn't matter here in Florida. I like to stay wet, as it's hot here. That's ok, but the cup holder filled with water and my drink floated up and out.
I will add a cat bag soon to keep camera and keys.
Travel Country Outdoors is a long-time dealer on the North side of Orlando. They carry everything and have always been good to customers. They have an online store, too. I have a AquaBound carbone paddle and feel very confident keeping it in the paddle holder.
This is going to be my yak for a long time.
05-03-2007Submitted by: irene, Austin, TX
- Rating: 10 of 10 I like my Caper. I feel safe in it and I am able to carry it by myself, being a slightly older (55) woman. My son likes it. Sometimes we rent a kayak for company but they all want my lime-green one and I end up with the rented one. I have only used it recreationally, more for exercise than anything else so I am afraid I can not add stuff about holders and such, since I do not these things. I feel I have a dry ride whenever I am in it.(important to me).
01-08-2007Submitted by: Catch
- Rating: 9 of 10 After demo testing a wide range of SOTs to use mostly for fishing, finally chose the Caper about a year ago. What sold me was the combination of good tracking and excellent stability, yet short and light enough to carry to hard-to-reach launch areas. The runnerup was a Tarpon 140, and during timed testing, I found the T140 only marginally faster. Not enough to overcome the Caper's advantages of much lighter weight, excellent stability and manuverability. A bonus, although not a factor in my decision, was that the Caper is one of the best bargains among SOTs.
The boat has been mainly used for fly fishing. I followed many of PlasticNavy's rigging techniques, including using a 12qt Igloo in lieu of milk crate. There've been several occasions where the manuverability of the Caper has paid off, both fishing and non-fishing related. For example, on one occasion a large manatee snuck behind my boat, and with one sweeping paddlestroke I was able to turn 180 degrees and capture him on camera!
A couple of negatives. 1) the footrests and beverage holder collect and retain water, and 2) there is some wave slap due to the almost sponson-like hull.
07-07-2006Submitted by: mike b - stuart,fl
- Rating: 10 of 10 Bought my ocean kayak Caper and took it out for the first time recently and had a beautiful experience. the kayak is a little lower in the water and wider than my girlfriend's O.K. Scrambler(about 6 inches wider). the wider beam obviously makes it a more stable platform and less affected by the wind. i do have to say, i noticed that her kayak was faster than mine, but i don't mind giving up a little speed for stability. in fact, when i jumped into her kayak to compare the differences, i tipped over immediately! mine also tracked better in high winds. all in all, they are both great kayaks, and we couldn't be happier.
08-14-2005Submitted by: ts
- Rating: 10 of 10 Ocean Kayak Caper is my 2nd kayak. I was looking to replace Tropic Islander that I bought at Costco. I was looking for not too long of a kayak so that I could still transport behind my SUV. I was also looking for a relatively wide kayak for stability and to carry me properly (250 pounds). After recommendations at a Kayak store I decided on Caper, and I am really glad I did. It is a very stable kayak, perfect for light touring. It handles choppy lake conditions really well and it is very comfortable.
My only complaint is water collects in foot rests, but I think wet boots will take care of that. It is very easy to transport for me. It is relatively faster than my first kayak and it gives you confidence in lake currents. I have not taken it to the ocean yet but I am sure it will handle calmer ocean very well. If you are looking for a recreational, light touring kayak I think this kayak is one of the best alternatives. I know, because I searched and compared many different possibilities.
04-20-2005Submitted by: ctoona
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is one of the best all around boats I have ever paddled. It is perfect for the Florida streams and creeks, the springs and the surf. It is very easy to turn, it is quick and I can make it around almost any obstacle. In addition the size is very easy for one person to store, and to transport. I could not be more thrilled with this boat- now only if I could find a woman that I liked as much!
09-13-2004Submitted by: hal
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is one fun little boat, although not so little actually at 11+ feet. Very stable; tracks well; surprisingly fast; maneuverable in surf; surfs surprisingly well -- it's length compared to shorter surf boats gives it an advantage in accelerating to catch waves. Will punch through moderate surf with no problem, then trucks along nicely in ocean swell. My brother, an accomplished whitewater kayaker, took it out in the surf of the Outer Banks (a hundred yards or so offshore) to scope out the dolphins and surf it back in -- he raved about it! Relatively light and therefore a breeze to cartop and unload. Has been "discovered" by kayak fishermen, but at heart is simply a nice all-around boat for everything from flat bays/lakes to vigorous surf zone paddling. Ideal for fishing, photography, exercise, and general fun in the water. For fishing, however, you might first consider the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 -- a bit faster, a bit more stable, and more comfortable. I would call the Caper a recreational day tripper, but don't use it on real long trips (over, say, 3 or 4 miles) -- it's simply too much work over the long haul, and the pronounced "hull slap" in choppy conditions might annoy you after a while. Be sure to get a nice seat back with it and some scupper plugs! An excellent sit-on-top performer from Ocean Kayak; if I had just one sit-on-top, this would be it.
03-01-2004Submitted by: ibmikie
- Rating: 9 of 10 I rented the OK Caper today. I would have to say this is the best fishing kayak in the 11' range. The Caper has a very roomy cockpit. I am 6' tall and 210 lbs, and there is plenty of room to spare. The Caper is a very stable kayak. I had no problem sitting sideway and extending my legs straight out. The front hatch is huge, but the bow is very low volume, so you really can't store much inside. The tankwell deep, but a little on the small side. The Capers tracking is ok. takes a little effort to hold a course. As for speed, I tested it with GPS, you be the judge. Cruzing speed in all directions 2.8-3.2 knots (3.2-3.7 MPH). Max speed (all out)was 3.6-4.2 knots (4.2-4.9 MPH) wind were 10 to 15 from the west. All in all a good fishing kayak. I prefer the WS tarpon 120. It felt faster and tracked much better. The Caper would be my second choice. A great Kayak for calm bays and lakes. If your looking for a kayak that offers the most, but storage and transporting is a problem, then this might be the one for you.
01-14-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Ocean Kayak “Caper” was released in early fall of 2002 and a week before they arrived in San Diego Allen Peugh dropped me a line about these new little boats. Our quest to find a combination of affordable, stable, dry and fishable kayaks was taking a while and this was good news.
When we arrived at the shop we pulled out a Caper and Drifter to compare and contrast; Karen took the Drifter and I launched the Caper to start. It became immediately apparent just how true the rumors of the wet ride for Drifter were. Karen found herself sitting in a pool of water the instant she launched into the calm bay and I was paddling around quite dry. The Caper proved to be a lot of fun at first glances. We took the Drifter back up to the shop and pulled down a Scupper Pro T/W – the fisherman’s choice when fishing an Ocean Kayak. By all comparisons the SPTW was a rocket ship compared to anything else. I cruised across the back bay area and in circles around Karen, now in the Caper. The SPTW has its appeal, for sure. Speed and secondary stability are the obvious standouts but the seat is narrow and the cockpit simply too short for my frame (I'm 6'4 and all legs). Additionally the length of this yak would have proven tricky when it came time to store it in our tiny, shared garage back at the apartment complex.
We both paddled the Caper a bit more and took it back to Allen’s with questions of pricing, warranties, etc. We took a week to really think it over and while we did so we paddled a Cobra Explorer but were not blown away. We called Allen with our order – 2 Capers, 1 in the color “Sky” the other in “Sunrise”. The fact that OK makes such a fantastic orange color sold me right off, to be honest. I’m such a sucker for orange. And before you laugh off this comment think about the importance color plays in your vehicle choices, wall paints or anything else. If you're not happy with the color then you're just not happy.
The Caper has all the great qualities you look for in a fishing kayak with a few fundamental perks that really put it in a class of it’s own. After paddling this yak for the past 12 months I believe it is the greatest offering for a lightweight (45 lbs), quick, maneuverable, fishing kayak that won’t break your budget or your back. It has its shortcomings, of course, but I feel the deficiencies are far outweighed by the pros.
At just 11’ it is a short boat by kayaking standards. The same hull shape and body style as the Drifter make this look like a true little brother to the larger offering from OK but the higher seat provides a level of comfort that blows away it’s older sibling. A very generous front hatch has plenty of room for a spare paddle and several fishing rods. Storing 7 1⁄2 foot rods is no problem and the width and stability of the Caper make retrieving those rods a cinch. The optional round hatch in front of the seat is a smart add-on as it provides a bit more easy-access storage space for small necessities (dykes, scale, tackle, etc). Also, it can’t go unmentioned that the cup holder is perfectly sized for your favorite brand of 12 oz canned beverage. A slightly larger water bottle (such as our REI 16 oz. Bottles) fit perfectly, too.
The tank well was a bit of a disappointment at first; it’s very narrow at the bottom with only 9 inches from edge to edge. The length is approximately 22 inches so upon first looks you imagine a very long, narrow bait tank or crate of some kind for storage. Fate stepped in here, for me, and provided a perfectly sized Coleman cooler that we found in Cabo San Lucas. I do not recommend traveling to Cabo for your cooler, however, as it will cost you well over a grand when you factor in airfare, hotel and mandatory cruiser and panga fishing. This cooler fits as though it were made for the well of the Caper itself. When I discovered this match-made-in-Mexico I immediately affixed a pair of PVC rocket launchers and drilled drainage holes in the bottom. I haven’t gone the last step and added a pump system but I imagine that will happen in due time.
The Caper is a dream to paddle. The weight and short body make navigating tight areas, such as around docks and between boats, child’s play. The first few times you paddle this kayak you may find it to be a bit zig-zaggy, again, this is because of the shorter hull and you will quickly adjust your paddle stroke to push the Caper straight and true (mostly). The hull tracks well and handles moderate wake like a champ. The width of the seat (all 30”) will handle even the most well endowed rump with comfort. This width also gives the Caper a stable ride so that even klutzes like me are able to stand upright and balance for a short time.
With two rod holders on my cooler and the Surf to Summit fishing seat I have a total of 4 rod holders behind my seat. I added one more to the center console of the kayak. There seems to be plenty of room for adding the screw-down type of rod holders but I have not heard of success with flush mounts. This is due to some special compromises made when designing a smaller kayak, of course, and some of the real-estate we would liked to have seen for flush mounts, or Ram balls just isn’t there.
The Caper is a small kayak and when you pile in a 200 lb paddler and another 40# of equipment you put it lower in the water. I've added scupper plugs in the seat to stop the steady ebb and flow of water in around the seat but Karen doesn't require this for her boat to stay above the water line. Ocean Kayaks signature "hull slap" is present in this boat, too. when fishing in windy conditions I take on a good deal more water than the longer kayaks do simply because the short bow doesn't deflect water well. This isn't a problem as those types of days don't occur often enough to really make this a huge detriment.
I've fished this boat off the shores of La Jolla, as well, and it punched through the surf like a champ. Rolling back in is easy, too, with the smaller frame handling nicely in waves. I dumped it once but that was my own fault for not paying any attention and getting swept up by a breaking wave when I thought I was behind the zone. Ha!
It has been said many, many times by people much more experienced than I am “There is no perfect fishing kayak” and that statement holds up under my scrutiny of the Caper. I will say, however, that the Ocean Kayak Caper is an excellent fishing kayak that deserves a place in the list for folks considering a first boat. With high points for ease of handling, stability, fishabililty and storage I’ll put this kayak up against most any for estuary, bay and flat water fishing.
08-11-2003Submitted by: P.D.
- Rating: 9 of 10 Let me preface my comments with the information that I am a 160 lb, middle-aged, single female. I was introduced to ocean kayaks by a friend who has a Frenzy, and was very impressed with the stability of the boat. I went to an Ocean Kayak dealer and sat in a Caper, Scrambler, and Scramber XT. My criteria were that 1) the boat was comfortable to sit in 2) I could lift it by myself onto the top of my car without hurting my back. The Scrambler was too tight on my hips, the ScramblerXT was comfortable but was over the borderline on weight and had no carry handles, so there was no way I could manage it easily by myself. The Caper won out on both counts, plus I liked it's capacity for carting stuff.
The Caper has a pretty flat bottom, with gently curved lines. It too is a wonderfully stable boat. On utterly still water, the hull is absolutely silent. As I hoped, it tracks much better than the Frenzy (I went out with my friend) and is slightly faster. The smaller scupper holes don't harvest pond scum the way the Frenzy does. The seat is pretty high; I know I'm sitting in a little bit of water, but I don't really notice it. The footrest area and cupholder collect paddle drip, and there is no place for that to drain. I've paddled it once in choppy, windy conditions, and noticed that the hull doesn't deflect spray much, and the paddling was a little tougher, but I had no doubts about getting home.
I carry it upside down on top of my car, without special carrying rack, and the straps tend to whip in the wind and beat on the roof on my car, which can be fixed with foam. It fits easily through the doors in my house and down into my basement for storage - another very big plus for me.
I grew up with a family canoe, and I have to say, it's wonderful to have a boat back in my life again. I would recommend the Caper to anyone, except the surfers, and whitewater river runners. The front hatch is well designed to deflect water to scupper holes, but is in no way waterproof.
03-17-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 The Caper is the kayak to buy if you want a piece of good in everything! I am looking forward to eventually get the used Caper when the market has been developed. I tried out the Caper in a test pull. It was extremely stable and also exerts a good speed. Turning was excellent, as well as tracking. I think it would be an excellent boat for the ocean bay, lakes, and rivers. It is light at 45lbs, comes with carrying handles on the side. Handles is something Ocean Kayak has finally corrected and added to its kayaks, but they mounted the handle on the inside of the kayak, instead of outside! This is only really good for cartoppers, but if you want to carry the kayak like a suitcase, good luck... the handles mounted on the inside of the kayak will kill your fingers at suitcase carrying style.
The Caper has huge potentials, especially as the perfect fishing boat. The molded in tank well in the back is a must for fishing, and a hull accessible hatch in the front allows you to store storage below. Love to get one in the near future.
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