Fly Life Magazine

H Craft: A one man skiff. An SUP on steroids.

Two maxed out H Craft skiffs. Image by Hayaari Marine. There’s no mention of performance effect on a fully outfitted H Craft.

I like how it looks. Did they figure out what I wanted?

By Skip Clement

Disclaimer: I’m not a boat builder. I understand only certain things about small, personal watercraft, but not what would be the best dead rise, create the least hull slap, or anything pertaining to the design features of or build of a motorized skiff. 

What is H Craft?

It has names, several – HCraft, Hcraft, H Craft, H:Craft, and H: Craft. The source – where it’s made requires a search. Where to get one is a little confusing. The sole U. S. distributor of H: Craft is in Pembroke Pines, Florida.  They are a mercury engine dealer and skiff modifier called the South Florida Boat Center (954) 993-3268). Chris Burke owns it.

In an interview, Chris Burke was strangely hesitant to come forward with information, any information. The whole endeavor seemed cloaked in secrecy. He asked for my credentials before he’d answer questions about H Craft, saying he had to be careful about who was receiving the data. He explained that he makes sure he knows who is getting an H Craft shipped to them for final assembly, adding that your extras requires accepting unknowables?

Burke had promised to provide more information and shop pictures of H Crafts being worked on or showroom displayed but this never came to fruition.

Photo taken in 2017 by Hayaari Marine – across the bay from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Who is Hayaari Marine?

The H: Craft skiff is made by Hayaari Marine in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf dependent on oil exports and commerce. The UAE is known worldwide for its skyline’s modern towers and shopping megacenters such as Abu Dhabi and Marina malls. Mega-wealth abounds in UAE. Tennis great Roger Federer and family live there several months a year.

The inconsistencies we mention about H: Craft and inconsistencies of reportage about it from other sources, it’s good looks, and seemingly great performance has created a lot of online chatter in forums and the socials – both seedbeds of misinformation.

Building out an H Craft in the UAE. Image by Hayaari Marine.

The folks at Skiff Life, a website with credibility and history, have this to say:

“If you’ve been in the skiff game or follow inshore fishing boats, you’ve seen the emergence of the Micro skiff (rated for low horsepower and have a narrow beam) as a top choice for fishing in the backcountry where silently stalking fish in shallow water is required.  The HCraft is a relative newcomer that has taken the fit & finish of a premium skiff builder to the micro skiff trend.

The HCraft Skiff’s hull is based from the old Pelican Ambush molds but with modern improvements and fit & finish that you’d expect from a $60,000 boat builder.  They’ve developed a unique system of hand-crafted hand-laid fiberglass and vacuum infused construction to make the best of both construction methods.

This HCraft Skiff boasts a 45″ beam (width) and 13′ long which makes it ideal for paddleboarding but with a power option to get you places usually impossible by pure paddle power.  There are a dizzying array of options and features that further add comfort to the angler.  Closed cell foam adds buoyancy and makes this boat unsinkable even if you cut it in half.”

To a Georgia boy the HCraft looks like a warm climate only skiff, calm water performer as well as being a one person only watercraft that’s perfect for fly fishing the flats, marshes, estuaries, nonthreatening shallow water outflows of rivers, select lake shorelines, and some rivers. It reminds me entirely of the class of boat in which you’d find the similar Solo Skiff.

I guess you could add cold weather usage if you wore at least hip boots and took extra safety precautions for “man overboard”. More closely examined, it’s a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) on steroids.

Specifications sheet:

Featured image is from a screenshot of following video shot in Australia.


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