Italy’s known for making some of the most luxurious and high quality products in the world. Fine cars, food, wine, and fashion are just a few of the hallmarks of a people who figured out la dolce vita is the only way to live. Now there’s another product proud to be Italian made. The world’s first Italian made pedal kayak, the Big Mama Triken.
Just a mere 45 minutes from the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the heart of Frosinone, Italy sits one of Europe’s premier kayak manufacturers; Big Mama Kayaks. Named after the legendary surf brake in Nazare, Big Mama has been producing high quality recreational and fishing kayaks for Italian pescatori and European anglers alike. In 2020 Big Mama set a new milestone in the world of fishing kayaks with the debut of the Big Mama Triken 405, the world’s first pedal kayak designed and made in Italy.
There’s an old Italian saying;
Chi Dorme Non Piglia Pesci
which literally means you won’t catch a fish if you sleep; but more colloquially means, you snooze, you lose. Luigi Bottini, the founder of Big Mama Kayaks, certainly wasn’t snoozing when he decided to undertake the Triken project in May of 2019. Luigi and his partner and chief designer Claudio Campioni decided to develop a kayak fitting for Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country of Italy) after witnessing the burgeoning popularity of kayak fishing around Sicily, Rome, and Sardinia.
Less than a year later Luigi and Claudio debuted the Triken; named by Luigi’s wife after it’s striking hull design (similar to Italian Trimarano’s). The Triken measures 405 cm long, or roughly 13’3″ long with a beam of 89cm or 35″. One of the standout features (literally) is the Triken’s ultra-stable hull design. The Trimaran style hull enables seamless sit-to-stand transitions and rock-solid stability for stand-up casting and sight fishing. The sharp entry bow allows the Triken to cut through chop for speedy human powered voyages on the coasts of Italy.
The Triken’s propeller pedal drive is built with a 2 pinion shaft and 1:10 gearing. Meaning one rotation of the pedals will turn the prop 10 times. In front of the drive is a 16.5 liter hatch with a bungee secured lid. The front hatch was designed with Italian fishermen in mind. And can be configured as a live-well with the addition of a small air pump. While the livewell does limit in-hull storage for gear and rods it’s perfect for keeping bait fresh for target species such as branzino (sea bass) or dusky grouper (cernia).
On the stern side of the Triken is a voluminous rear tankwell accompanied by a separate built in container perfect for tackle storage. Hand controls on the left hand side steers the rudder. And on both sides of the seat are molded in storage cavities for tools, tackle, and the occasional biscotti. Hand controls on the left side of the cockpit control the rudder for seamless steering while underway. The lawn chair style seat adjusts trims forward and back to compensate for varying paddler heights, but lacks any sort of vertical adjustment. The low set seat provides a great angle for pedaling and maintaining balance; but could prove challenging for larger paddlers.
Angler’s on the Triken won’t be wanting when it comes to rod storage. Two flush mount rod holders positioned behind the seat are angled out for easy trolling. And two Railblaza mounts on each gunwale up front provide adjustable and removable rod holders for added flexibility. Transportation over-land is a breeze with a gratuitous amount of handles, two aft, two mid, and one at the bow. Reinforced scupper plugs behind the cockpit are perfect for plug in carts.
One of the most impressive aspects of Big Mama’s Triken is its price point. 1,790 euros puts the Triken well within reach of the average kayak angler. And its price competitive with many US made pedal yaks. Over the last 20 years the Euro to USD exchange rate has ranged from .9 to 1.47. At the time of this article is 1.19, which puts the Triken at around $2,100 before taxes. This price is well below the average price of many American made pedal kayaks. It also puts the Triken on par with most 10′ pedal yaks and a few of the mid-range 12′ pedal yaks like the Old Town Sportsman PDL 120 or Old Town Topwater 120 PDL.
Luigi and Claudio knew they had something special when they designed the Triken. And they bet big with 5 molds to produce plenty of boats for eager Italian fishermen. The response has been incredible to say the least. Anglers flocked to the Triken and supplies were quickly exhausted. At the time of this article Big Mama is taking reservations for delivery at the beginning of 2021.
The Triken landed with a splash in Italy and is making waves across Europe. While it’s not available in the US right now we wouldn’t be surprised to see it gracing American coasts in the near future. The Triken is currently available in a colorful array of designs. If it ever does make it to the US we’ve got our fingers crossed for a green-white-red variant. Till then be sure to check out Big Mama Kayak‘s full lineup and buona pesca!
Be sure to check out Big Mama’s full fishing lineup and other awesome boats made outside the US at our guide to foreign kayaks.