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Perception Prodigy 13.5

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: Perception Prodigy 13.5 recreational kayak

A most excellent kayak for flat and mostly calm waters (rivers, lakes, and bays). Very stable with plenty of room for a companion, whether a larger dog or most tweens and younger. Excels at kayak camping.


  • Overall a really nice, solid, stable, and roomy kayak
  • Plenty of room for your four-legged buddy
  • Tracking is good without a rudder; rudder is bonus and recommended
  • Seat is comfortable and adjustable
  • Rear hatch is great when camping or for items not needed when paddling


  • Large, heavy, and awkward (land mobility)
  • No spray skirt available (that I'm aware of at this time)
  • Split rails for rudder paddles may not cover optimal location
  • Advertised 'front hatch' is simply open storage accessed from inside the cockpit, no actual hatch
  • Some advertisements list a skeg but there is no skeg available
  • Optional rudder MSRP is as much as adding the same rudder on after-market
  • Lack of accessories

Don't be fooled by the Cons, this is an awesome kayak if you are serious about bringing your buddy with you, kayak camping, or both.  It also works just fine for a short solo paddle as well, although so do plenty of other kayaks.

Marketing. I fault copy/paste marketing folks for having bad info out there regarding this kayak. Half the ads I saw and some reviews listed a skeg, when in fact no skeg is available. How can you trust a review that is nothing more than a copy of the company's marking materials in the first place?

Accessories. Being a unique and perhaps not heavily in demand product, there's a dearth of accessories for this model. No spray skirt is one example. And while the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120/140 is a sister kayak of sorts, the cockpit opening is such that it will not accept the dashboard available for the Pungo. That said, these accessories don't make much sense in this configuration and now having used mine for six months I realize if I had them I'd never use them.

This is a big kayak and with that comes weight. I can manage it on my own with no gear in it, and have even loaded it solo on my roof rack. However this isn't for the faint of heart. I purchased a bed extender for my Ford Explorer Sport Trac and haven't looked back. It makes loading my kayak, and multiple kayaks, pretty much as simple as it gets. If you have a pickup I recommend checking into this option. On the plus side the handles supplied fore and aft work very well, no complaints.

Having used a cheap inexpensive starter kayak for the six months prior to this purchase, I can say that I'm extremely pleased with the tracking. However due to my previous experience I felt compelled to purchase the add-on rudder and am glad that I did. I've still paddled without using the rudder and no complaints. However the ability to steer to port and starboard 'aggressively' for a kayak of this size makes it worthwhile IMHO.

There is a catch, however. The rudder pedals attach to existing tracks along the insides of the hull. The configuration for the tracks is that they are in two pairs, fore and aft. I'm a tall guy at 6'3" and plan on kayaking solo w/just my dog, i.e., not in a tandem configuration with another person. For me with the seat back, the sweet spot for the rudder pedals is between the two sets of rails.

However by bringing the seat forward just a bit, plus the added cost of an available extension kit, I'm able to access the pedals on the fore pair of rails. This also provides additional room for gear behind the seat but not in the aft hatch which is nice.

At some point I may reconfigure by removing the existing rails and replacing with one pair more in the gap between where the two pairs had been, although this is not really necessary.

I could go on, but suffice to say I'm extremely please with my purchase and I take it out as much as I possibly can. Here are some key photos to help give some idea:

Maiden voyage on the South Llano river w/4 passengers. 

Prodigy Perception 13.5 next to sister kayak Wilderness Systems Pungo 120.


Cold weather kayaking.

Max from inside the cockpit. I can also fit a soft-sided cooler between my knees and it doesn't interfere with me, Max, or paddling.

32 miles down the Rio Grange through Mariscal Canyon at Big Bend NPS.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1,017.81 grand total (w/discounts from AustinKayak_dot_com)

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Price Historic Range: $663.20-$1,139.81
Reviewers Paid: $1,017.81
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