The newest offering from Vibe Kayaks is the 2016 model of the Vibe Sea Ghost 130. The Sea Ghost is value priced at $899 and includes the kayak, a rudder and paddle. Iíve spent the last week running it through the paces and think I have a pretty good feel of the ins and outs of the kayak.
The Sea Ghost 130 is a 13 foot long kayak. It is 33 inches wide, weighs in at 74 pounds and boasts a 550 pound weight capacity.
The Vibe Sea Ghost 130 is loaded with lots of different features including the dual position Vibe Hero seat, a pre-installed toe controlled rudder system, a large sealed center console with accessory mounting points and a fishfinder transducer port with mounting points and protective lid.
The price point is the big wow factor when you see this kayak. It is stacked with premium features that will usually run you close to double what this kayak does.
The Vibe Hero seat and dual position adjustability was a life saver in the testing environment. I had 15 to 20 mile per hour winds all day and had to do quite a bit of power paddling against the wind. The stable frame and being able to lower my profile was helpful. It also didnít leave my back sore when I got off the water after eight hours.
The rudder was really nice to have. It took a little bit of adjustment to get it right how I wanted it but the toe control option allowed me to still utilize the foot pegs without sliding the rudder. Iíve had slide rudders in the past and they gave me some issues with my hip flexors.
The front and rear hatches are a nice size for storing lots of gear and are helpful when rigging. Usually adding track is the biggest need for underdeck access (although you could use a rigging bullet or screws) but the Sea Ghost comes with front and rear track on both sides. These larger hatches would also be great for storing gear for overnight camping trips.
The Ghost paddles pretty well. Itís a little slower to get going in the wind but maintains course and motion if you stop paddling pretty well. The glide is nice. It also performed well when running parallel to the whitecaps as they hit the starboard side. It sheds the water quickly through the scuppers and I didnít feel uncomfortable in the sizable chop. Will it perform well in the High Island washing machine surf? I donít know. Iíd want some seat time with no gear over the summer before I give that a solid go, no go.
I didnít install a transducer or electronics so I canít speak to the functionality of that setup but it is a nice option to see.
POINTS OF IMPROVEMENT
The seat has a little bit of a downward angle to it in the mold in the low position. I saw it when I unpacked it and tried it out. I wouldnít slide out by any means and it need only a minor adjustment. I used a piece of one inch diameter PVC to raise the seat a touch and it was a better angle for what I wanted. I didnít notice as much of a difference in the raised position further off the deck.
The center tackle hatch is secured with a couple of buckles and has a robust seal on it which definitely holds it in place but a better treatment would be a swing hinge on the back side and a slightly smaller seal around the lid. It required both hands to break the seal at times when I was out. It also held in humidity when I had cold drinks in it which could be remedied with a vent option on it. That could also solve the seal issue.
When I sat in the kayak to adjust the rudder controls I noticed the side walls where the foot pegs are mounted had some flex to them. Honestly it bothered me a bit. Reinforcement wouldnít be a problem as there is access through the front hatch to add foam but a thicker wall or drop in the mounting point for the rails could be helpful. When I was on the water and not looking at my feet I didnít notice any issues. It was only when I was looking at it that I realized there was an inner wall flex.
While we are talking about the rudder, Iíd really like to see an upgrade from the current rudder cables. I say cables a bit loosely. The current lines are more of a paracord type material. Longevity will probably be good but I think a similar diameter steel cable would better serve. The lines can be a touch spongy and feels like there is a couple of inches of slack even when there isnít because of the stretch. This would be a fairly simple swap out for the paddler if thy so desired.
Stability is good when in the seat. When you stand up, it takes a little bit to get used to. I would estimate about 50% of the people who will try to stand in it will be able to but it is by no means a hop up and fish platform. This is more of a fish all day in the seat type kayak.
I still firmly believe there is not one perfect kayak for every kayak angler out there. The Vibe Sea Ghost 130 is a step in the right direction though. Itís absolutely loaded with features that werenít price accessible to a lot of folks previously. Getting a paddle, a rudder, a frame seat and a good performing kayak with good storage options at $899 is going to make a lot of people happy.
If youíd like to check out the walk through video I did on the first testing day you can see that below. The wind was whipping so the audio isnít the best but I do think that windy days are the best time to really test a kayak. There are a few preorders left on this kayak with a couple of dealers and the expected availability online is around May 1 currently.https://www.facebook.com/KayakFishingBlog/videos/1045279548825434/