Bonafide SS127 – Interview with Luther Cifers

Bonafide SS127

Luther Cifers talks about his new kayak the Bonafide SS127

The new Bonafide Kayak was unveiled at ICAST 2017 and is scheduled for release this fall.  In the first of a 3 part series, featuring the Bonafide SS127, we are going to demonstrate why it is a truly unique kayak.

To understand why it’s different from the other kayaks on the market, I believe you first have to understand the thought processes behind its design.


Bonafide SS127

Luther said that the first question they had to answer was, “’Are we building a fishing kayak or are we building something else?’ … We decided to build a fishing kayak.”

“Then the next question becomes, which application are we after? For us, we are looking for an all-around boat.  This is our first boat, and what we were hoping to do was to be able to fill as many applications as possible.”

Next, we need to talk about the design process. My understanding was that there were a couple of guys who designed a boat for Luther’s new kayak company. Apparently,  that’s not exactly true.  Luther went on to explain how the “pool of influence” is much deeper than just that of the main designer. Ideas came from the entire team.



Bonafide SS127

Photo Credit: Luther Cifers

How to design a unique kayak

A fishing kayak is a fishing kayak, right? So how do you design something unique? Luther says he didn’t want a “Me Too” boat. So what did he want?

“The challenge I gave the entire team from the beginning is, ‘We don’t want to build another Me Too boat.’  In every way possible, we want this to be unique. But at the same time, we want to respect the elements of a fishing kayak. ” 

For clarification, a “Me too” design can best be summed up this way. “You have a big screen TV on your kayak? Me too!”

The only thing on this boat that we didn’t design from the ground up” – Gear tracks, a few strap connectors, and some webbing clasp…everything else was “designed from the ground up.” (Condensed for readability)

Luther said that during the design process they didn’t analyse competition and then try to be like them or improve upon them. Instead, “We solve the application (function). That’s our job…to solve the application. So, every component on this boat has an application. And each one of those was designed to do what they are supposed to do as well as possible.”

“The focus was never…and is never…on the competition. The focus is on the customer and the application. I think that’s what leads you to better design, and keeps you from having ‘me too’ designs.”


Click here for PART 2.

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3 Responses

  1. It seems to be a pretty sweet looking rig… Do you know pricing yet?

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