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Vibe Shearwater 125 Kayak Review – Is it any Good?

Mark Armstrong
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Have you ever been on the water and thought, wouldn’t it be great to have some pedal power to get you to your fishing hole faster? Or a motor to venture even farther?

The Vibe Shearwater 125 is designed to be the ultimate fishing kayak, with excellent speed, stability, and most importantly, customizable power options.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125Pin
  • Length: 12 foot 6 inches
  • Width: 35 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 475 pounds
  • Weight: 82 pounds (109 pounds fully rigged)

This is a super-versatile fishing kayak that gives you the option of using either paddle, pedal, or motor power – or all three. If you’re a serious kayak angler, this could be the answer to your thoughts, solving problems you didn’t even know you had.

It comes with a Vibe Summit seating system, a Base Pod, and a pre-installed Gravity rudder kit. It also features a standing deck for comfortable casting.

This is designed for kayak anglers looking for a feature-packed fishing kayak, with plenty of space for accessories and gear. It’s designed to handle a range of waters, from big lakes to rivers and coastal bays.

The Shearwater 125 Is For…

The Shearwater 125 is made for serious anglers. At 35 inches wide, it is an incredibly stable boat that’s designed to allow you to stand up for easier casting and retrieving.

This angler kayak is packed with useful fishing features to make those long hours on the water more comfortable. It has plenty of mounting points so you can install your gadgets and accessories, including gear tracks for easy no-drill installation.

One of the stand-out features of this boat is its versatile power options. It has pedal, paddle, and motor power options, giving you the chance to upgrade your kayak easily to a pedal kayak or a motorized kayak. The pedal drive and motor options give you the added power to explore new areas and larger bodies of water, as you can cover more water and travel faster than by simply paddling.

The Shearwater 125 does not include the motor or the pedal drive as standard. The pedal drive and the motor have to be purchased separately but these can be added to the package at the time of purchasing the kayak if necessary.

This can be one of the best kayaks in terms of versatility and customizability. It also has lots of space for gear. However, it’s a pretty large boat, which may not be the easiest to transport if you’re on your own. You may need a kayak cart or lift-assist device to help you move it around or load it onto your car.

If you’re looking for a kayak that can also make a good recreational kayak or touring kayak, this is probably not for you. It’s heavy and it’s not the fastest kayak if using paddle power alone. It also has a lot of angler-specific features that might be useless if you don’t plan to fish.

Top Features Of the Vibe Shearwater 125


One of the best features of the Vibe Shearwater is the standing deck. This is padded with non-slip traction mats that help to minimize noise from your deck to prevent you from scaring away fish. The deck pads also make it easier and safer to stand on, providing grip for your wet shoes.

The deck is flat and roomy enough to stand comfortably while fishing. You’ll also find traction pads on the gunwales for standing on as well as a stand-assist strap to help you get to your feet.

The Base Pod that comes as standard with the Shearwater is also covered with traction pads and sits flush against the deck, giving you even more room for standing without limiting your storage. However, this pod can also be upgraded to the Vibe Versa Pod which features watertight storage and a magnetic tackle tray to help keep loose lures and tools safe. 

Performance On The Water

This is a stable kayak that can perform well in various conditions. It has an Ultra Fast hull design, with a tapered bow, that helps you cut through the water. However, it’s technically not built for speed and is primarily built to offer maximum stability.

This can be an ideal kayak for fishing in lakes, bays, and backwaters. It can perform well in windy conditions, with the help of the built-in rudder for tracking. And it can be great in moving water such as mild to moderate rivers and coastal waters.

With the addition of the X-Drive pedal system or the Bixby Jet motor (both sold separately), you can venture into open waters, letting you find new fishing holes quicker and hands-free.

Accessorize Your Deck

The Shearwater 125 is made for customizing. It features four integrated gear tracks so you can mount your electronics and accessories without having to drill into the deck.

You’ll also find a useful watertight electronics storage pod in the center console. It has a transducer mounting point built into the bottom so you can easily install your fish finder (not included).

How to mount a transducer to a trolling motor

Video: Vibe Shearwater 125 Walkthrough

Rod And Tackle Storage

There are four flush-mounted rod holders on the Shearwater, as well as four horizontal rod holders, so you can bring all the fishing rods you need for a successful day on the water.

You’ll find four tackle tray storage slots – two on either side of your seat – which can be accessed easily with just one hand. There’s also a Vibe Versa drawer for storing additional tackle under your seat.

The rear cargo deck features bungees to keep your gear secure and there’s room for both a fishing crate and a cooler. The deck also benefits from having four snap-on bungee hooks designed specifically for the Vibe Element cooler or the Yeti Roadie cooler.

At the bow of the Vibe Shearwater, you’ll find extra space for gear with a cargo storage area with a Flex Top cover. The cover provides a safe place to stow your paddle while you’re dealing with your catch.

There are also three 6-inch sealed hull access plates (bow, center, and stern) for storage within the hull.

This kayak has a very generous capacity, allowing you to carry all your essential fishing equipment plus extra bits and pieces. It can also be an ideal boat if you’re a larger or heavier paddler.

Multi-Position Seat

The Vibe Summit seating system offers multiple positions for improved comfort whether you’re paddling, pedaling, or waiting for an all-important bite.

The elevated seat offers five different positions, including recline. One of the seat positions requires the Summit Perch to be purchased separately but this can give you additional height on the deck (16 inches off the water) for either standing or sitting.  

The seat is framed and features mesh fabric for breathability and drainage. It also has a high seatback with lumbar support for comfort and improved posture.

There are sliding foot braces that are padded for comfort and traction. These Freeflow foot braces can be used to control the rudder or locked to a fixed position for stability.

Power Options

One of the main features of this fishing kayak is its customizable power options. This gives you the choice of upgrading the kayak to have either a pedal drive or a motor.

The kayak does not include the Bixby Jet motor or the X-Drive pedal system. It also does not include a paddle.

The X-Drive pedal system can be a great optional addition if you want to increase your power over the water and get to your next fishing hole faster. The shallow-water-friendly fins can let you keep your hands free for fishing. It’s also compatible with some third-party fin-based pedal drive systems.

The optional Bixby Jet motor can let you add even more power to your kayak and transform it into a motorized vessel that can handle open water and currents. The motor is designed to be attached to the built-in rudder, which is controlled from your seat.

According to some wise words from others online, we’re not the only ones who think this is one of the best fishing kayaks out there.

Vibe Shearwater 125 Alternatives

1: Perception Showdown 11.5

Perception Showdown 11.5 KayakPin

The Perception Showdown 11.5 is a more compact kayak than the Shearwater and can be an excellent alternative for improved maneuverability in small spaces. This is an exceptionally stable kayak that comes complete with a pedal drive and a built-in rudder for added power and performance in moving and open water.

However, this pedal kayak is a little more expensive than the Shearwater.

The Showdown features a hybrid tunnel hull which can provide a high level of stability in a range of waters and can allow for comfortable standing. The spacious flat deck features silent traction pads to keep your approach stealthy. The hull is 36 inches wide, so it can feel extremely stable and roomy.

It benefits from having ample storage for tackle, with double-barrel rod holders and a bow storage pod. It also has a generous 450-pound capacity and a mesh-covered elevated seat for improved visibility and comfort.

Unlike the Shearwater, the Showdown is not a multi-powered fishing kayak. It’s primarily a pedal kayak but you may be able to install a trolling motor to the Showdown using aftermarket products.


  • Extremely stable
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Pedal drive system included


  • Not specifically tri-powered

2: Wilderness Systems Radar 135

Wilderness Systems Radar 135Pin

The Wilderness Systems Radar 135 can be a good alternative if you’re looking for more space and increased speeds. Like the Shearwater, this tri-powered kayak is compatible with paddle, pedal, and motor power, giving you the option to create a customized fishing kayak. However, neither the motor, or pedal drive is included as standard.

The Radar benefits from S.M.A.R.T hull technology to optimize stability and performance on the water. It features extensive gear tracks for accessories, plus excellent storage options for fishing tackle. It’s also rudder-ready so it does not come with a rudder pre-installed.

This kayak also benefits from having a multi-position AirPro Max seating system and a flat deck for stand-up fishing. It does not have traction pads on the deck, so you may want to purchase those separately if you want added grip and noise reduction.

This is a pretty large kayak that can be best suited to large lakes and bays. You may find that this boat is not as easy to maneuver in small bodies of water, such as narrow rivers.

The Radar is slightly more expensive than the Shearwater but is still generally within a similar price range.


  • Spacious
  • Stable and efficient hull
  • Multiple power options


  • No rudder included
  • No deck pads

3: FeelFree Lure 11.5

Feelfree Lure 11.5Pin

The FeelFree Lure 11.5 can be a great alternative to the Vibe Shearwater if you’re looking for increased comfort in a more compact package. It’s a foot shorter but just an inch narrower, so it has incredible stability. It has a wide, spacious deck with traction pads for easy and comfortable standing.

A great feature of this boat is that it can be powered by paddle, pedal, or motor, just like the Shearwater. However, it does not include the pedal drive or motor as standard.

It has excellent fishing features, including rod holders, ample storage space for gear, and gear tracks for mounting accessories. It also benefits from having a very comfortable height-adjustable padded Gravity seat which helps when sight fishing. The Wheel in the Keel feature can also be very useful to help you get it to and from the water easily.

The Lure generally offers good value at its price point. It costs a little less than the Shearwater but is within the same rough price range.


  • Comfortable seating system
  • Great for smaller lakes and rivers
  • Wheel in the Keel


  • Pedal drive and motor not included

Conclusion: What’s The Vibe?

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125Pin


  • Elevated seating system
  • Great for long fishing trips
  • Excellent capacity
  • Packed with fishing features
  • Pedal, paddle, and motor power options


  • Heavy, which will put some paddlers off

The Vibe Shearwater 125 can be a great fishing kayak if you’re a keen angler looking for a fully customizable boat. It benefits from having excellent storage options, with enough room for all your necessary fishing equipment, and the high capacity to haul it all.

It’s a stable, versatile kayak, with a comfortable standing deck, elevated seat, and a pre-installed rudder for improved tracking in currents and windy weather.

If you’re ready to check it out for yourself, click here. And don’t forget to tell us your thoughts on this multi-powered kayak.

Vibe Shearwater 125 Kayak Review - Pinterest ImagePin

1 thought on “Vibe Shearwater 125 Kayak Review – Is it any Good?”

  1. I have owned the Vibe Shearwater since they were released. It is an ok boat if you add the hobie 180+KU drive instead of the vibe drive. Even with the hobie 180+KU, you better have the turbo fins or it will be significantly slower than many high end kayaks. It paddles well, it looks sharp. The perch is damn cool…

    The rudder is poorly designed, and you will want to make that one of your first upgrades.

    I also added foam blocks under the standing area to give the floor a but more rigidity.

    A few clip broke year one, was not able to get replacements, so be it.. the seat side buckles have both broken, guess I need to lose some weight..(225).

    I feel more comfortable in the boat now, but I do not believe I would trust it on lakes like Lake St. Clair if the wind was up, as the boat rides very low to the water.

    The center pod works well for a battery, and all the transducer wires and makes a nice removable electrics pod.

    All and all, for the hype and the money spent, I feel rather disappointed in the kayak. But, the reason i purchased it was to buy the paddle version first, then save up and buy a hobie drive. ($1100 including pod).

    So after dropping $2600, I feel there are better kayaks. If you need to buy the way I did, I think the wilderness systems might just be a better boat.


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