Thursday, April 11, 2013

Outdoor Hub Reviews: NuCanoe Classic 12 and Frontier 12 Hybrid Kayaks

Submitted by Anthony Larson of Coulee Region Adventures and originally posted on Outdoor Hub

Being a kayak guide and outdoor writer, I am often asked about watercraft. The most asked questions are “kayak or canoe?” and “what do I use?” The answer is no surprise or secret: my craft of choice is the NuCanoe system–hands down.

About seven years ago, I was paddling down Coon Creek in Wisconsin with my then-eight-year-old daughter when all of the sudden, and for no apparent reason, we flipped. The current pushed her into a brush pile and she struggled to escape, the cold water pushing against her. While I was fighting to rescue her, the canoe drifted down stream, and we lost a lot of gear. My cell phone was damaged (they weren’t as easy to come by back then) and we lost a rod and some tackle. It would take quite a few outings on completely stable water before she would get in a canoe again.

A few years later, a buddy of mine’s brother bought a NuCanoe 12. He was bragging about how stable the unit was, and how he can adjust the seating in it. He had me at stability–as soon as I got home I looked at NuCanoe on YouTube, read a couple forum reviews, and ordered one sight unseen.
A few days later, the NuCanoe 12 arrived, and on the first day I had available, I tossed it in the water and put it to the test. It did everything that it was advertised as doing. Modular seating (check), stability (check), and stand up and fish (some difficulty but done). I bought one more for my guide business.
NuCanoe 12 and Frontier 12 Hybrid Kayaks
Last year, NuCanoe launched their second model, the Frontier 12. They advertised it as being just as stable as the NuCanoe , but with more features: cast and blast decking for user mobility, scuppers for easy draining and tracking, built in storage compartment, and cup holders. Basically, everything the user wanted in the NuCanoe is found in the Frontier.

Being a fan of NuCanoe already, I purchased my first Frontier when they first came out and put it to the test. The unit is very stable; the built in storage compartment basically runs the entire length of the unit, providing lots of room to place long items such as rods, tents, or blankets. The maximum weight capacity is 650 lbs, but most importantly, as advertised, one can stand up and fish out of it with very little discomfort.


Both the NuCanoe and Frontier are made from injected mold plastic. I've had my Frontier for over a year and my NuCanoe for three years. Both models get used in professional fishing and experience a high amount of abuse. Neither unit is showing signs of wear and tear and function well under those circumstances.


Both units perform as advertised, and both serve a purpose for the user. The NuCanoe reminds me of a sit in canoe and the Frontier reminds me of a sit on kayak. For fishing, hunting, and utility craft, I recommend the Frontier. For leisure paddling, I recommend the NuCanoe. Having the ability to get up and walk around takes the Frontier to a whole new level of watercraft.


Price point for the NuCanoe 12 is around $950, and the Frontier 12 is around $1,200. Because of the versatility of the craft, and the amount of use I got out of them so far, the NuCanoe systems are spot on in value. Industry standard for kayaks/canoes start out at $200 for the el-cheapos, and $5,000 for custom-made models. In comparison to other crafts similar to the NuCanoes in the industry, the price point is well within industry standard.


This is the biggest category when I consider writing a product review: would I tell my buddies about this unit and recommend they buy it? YES. The NuCanoe system is made in Ohio, and most of the accessories are made in the United States.

My daughter and son both feel comfortable and safe in the NuCanoe and we go out as a family all the time in them. I highly recommend this product for anyone that loves the water, as well as other kayak rental and fishing guides.

Image by Anthony Larson

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier- A Family Freindly Watercraft

By Anthony Larson
Originally Published on

As an outdoor communicator, one of the questions that frequently come up are “canoe vs. kayak” or “what boat do I like”.  Like anything, there are compromises that have to be made. All watercraft have their advantages, and disadvantages when compared side by side.  One has to consider what the watercraft is designed for, amount of usage it will get in comparison to the price, and what the desire for usage would be.

I have seen kayaks go for as little as $200.00 at your run of the mill big box retail store (there is no exclusivity to the brand or chain). I will say that similar to most things in the watercraft industry- you get what you pay for.  These cheaper units are great if you plan on using it for a season or two, if you have waterfront property where transport is not an issue, and if they don’t see much abuse via rocks or scuffing on concrete.
Adam stands while fishing in the back waters of the Mississippi River
I have also seen kayaks go for $6,000- a rich man’s game I don’t plan on getting into.
There is one watercraft that stands out from the pack. The NuCanoe Frontier.  NuCanoe launched the Frontier last year, and advertised it as a stable, versatile watercraft; designed for fishing, hunting, and paddling.

I purchased the Frontier when they first came out, because I was already a fan of the NuCanoe product line.  I will tell you that the Frontier definitely hit the nail on the head.  I did everything I could to flip the Frontier; I feel very comfortable being in boat, and can stand up and sight fish, or just cast; the accessory line makes the Frontier adaptable for just about any situation; most importantly, THIS IS SOMETHING I CAN HAVE MY KIDS IN!

Being a parent of a special needs child, stability in watercraft is essential. I once flipped a canoe with my daughter a few years ago, and it was the scariest thing ever. She would cry every time she would set foot in a canoe, it was just too scary for her.  Taking her out a few times in the Frontier has rebuilt her connection with the outdoors and watercraft industry; and with my son’s disability, I trust the stability to keep him dry while we explore the back waters of the Mississippi River and the cranberry marshes of Tomah/Warrens.

Overall I highly recommend the Frontier as a family friendlily watercraft and am impressed to see a product that lives up to its advertised potential.



Anthony owns Coulee Region Adventures, an online resource for outdoor adventures in the La Crosse area. He has been a fishing guide in the area for the last 7 years, promoting silent sports and green eco tourism featuring the trout streams of the Coulee Region and kayak adventures in the Mississippi, Black, and La Crosse Rivers; as well as the Cranberry Marshes of Rural Tomah/Warrens and the mysterious Trempealeau lakes.

Anthony is also a freelance photographer having his photographs featured in BASS, FLW, Coulee Region Parenting, and Outdoor Hub.

To learn more about Anthony- visit his website

Friday, April 5, 2013

Frontier Power Yak by Unique Yaks

Check out this Frontier customization by NuCanoe dealer Unique Yaks in Tampa, FL:

"This is our new Frontier Power Yak with Aluminum seat base, Solar trickle charger, built-in battery with on-board charger, battery meter and on-off switch, stake out pole, anchor trolly, and motor with extension handle.  It has a deep cycle AGM 12v 35 amp hr. battery with an on  board automatic charger. The Solar assist Charger is putting 7 watts or 2 amps into the battery from daylight to dusk. We sent a boat out fishing and camping for more than 3 days and it still had almost half power at the end of the trip with no additional charge except the solar assist. It also has a quick release to raise and lower the motor for shallow water. In the picture showing the solar panel, you can see the Red Key. This is your power key and can be turned off and removed if you stop on the water at a restaurant or for an adult beverage. No one can power off with your craft.This is the Ultimate Flats or Deep water Power Yak. Only in America and only from NuCanoe and Aquaterrasports." 
     ~ Doc, Unique Yaks

Monday, April 1, 2013

Coast Fly Angler Loving the Frontier in Wilmington, NC

I have been kayaking 15 years, currently own 7 kayaks, and for the first time ever felt truly comfortable on the water. I am 6'6" 300 lbs and almost gave up on kayaking recently. Had spent last few months researching fiberglass skiffs and welded jon boats in the 20' range. Had it all figured out, $20-25k admission to the club, towing 2,000 lbs, insurance, assholes at boat ramps at 7 am each weekend, etc.. 48 hours ago I heard of NuCanoe on the NC Angler forum and my interest was peaked.

I love small boats, kayaking for 15 years, got two Sotar white water rafts we use on remote 10-15 day float trips in Alaska each year, usually arctic rivers 700+ miles above Anchorage. Got a 16.5' Ally pack canoe we use in Alaska when bush plane payload is an issue. My wife and I are travel nurses and spent 3 years in Alaska and 4 years on Nantucket before returning home to NC two years ago. I love small watercraft, but it has mostly been like cramming a square peg in a round hole. Till today, I got in the boat my dealer in Hickory, NC took to the nearby lake. I sit there staring around as if something was amiss. The thing missing was my 300 lb butt being at or below the water line and a kayak that looked like a moderate passing boat wake would swamp it. I stood up after a few minutes of contemplating life, no ropes, no casting stand, just stood up. It was nothing short of liberating. Without the decades of trials and tribulations I have had on the water with small boats, you just couldn't understand. 

Bought mine and had the guy put in an order for another lime green one for my wife. Buying Minn Kota Riptide (saltwater) 55 lb thrust trolling motors tomorrow, outboard Yamaha's in a few weeks. We are going to take these boats all over the place. Wife says thank you as you saved us $20k and her garage parking space the skiff would have occupied. Just wanted to shoot you a quick thank you myself. BTW, Charles Mogray, owner of Outdoor Supply Company in Hickory, represents your product line well. He was very knowledgeable and helpful today. 

Coastal fly fisherman need a stable boat to go up and down the intracoastal waterway to access the hundreds of tidal creeks where the redfish hide. Redfish, called red drum in our area till the recent boom in fishing interest for them. Guess in the gulf they are called redfish, the fly fishing interest for them has boomed in the last decade. The trouble is getting to them without a specialized flats boat, often a technical poling skiff, called microskiffs. These boats will set a person back $15-40k and that puts them out of reach for the many hard working blue collar fishing guys in the Carolinas. The stability of your boat, coupled with the ability to add a motor to enhance range, then stand up and sight fish for redfish in 1 foot of water is HUGE man. 

This boat was made for this area. Traditional kayaks lack the stability to withstand boat traffic wake from the many larger boats in the ICW, lack the ability to stand up safely in, and lack the range to go several miles one way looking for secluded creeks off the waterway. Wilmington is an untapped market, as would be Oriental, Morehead City, and Southport. I mention Wilmington specifically as they are a hot spot for both population and fishing interest in NC. This is the general area where folks from Raleigh and Charlotte go on vacation, have weekend homes, and such. From just north of there in Topsail Beach, to just south of there in Southport/Bald Head/Oak Island, we all shop in Wilmington. I wet my lines just 15 miles south of there on Bald Head Island and Oak Island where my folks have had a vacation home my whole life. Anyway, just making a suggestion. If I didn't know who/what NuCanoe was until 2 days ago, I am certain many other outdoorsman in my area don't either. I will generate some energy in my area as my wife and I, both avid fly fisherman, will join your Team NuCanoe. You have a great product!

-Dan Hall Jr.
Rockingham/Southport, NC