Submitted: 06-28-2006 by redmond
Understand here that Iím not a fisherman. This boat just seemed to fit my interest in a kayak the could handle flatwater to Class 2+.
Initial flatwater assessment of the Manta Ray 14. Fit and finish are excellent. Needs thigh straps. Any boat thatís touted as being able to handle whitewater needs thigh straps. Itís a very deep boat, compared to my Tarpon 160 and Hobie Mirage Classic. Almost didnít fit in my Malone Autoloader XvĒs. Like the cat bag just in front of the seat. Would be cool if it was bigger. Lots of flat spots for mounting stuff. The forward hatch space is huge. Like the paddle parks on both sides, very handy. It looks like the hull design should be better in whitewater than my other SOTís. My other SOTís have an edge that gets caught by the current when theyíre edged and it can flip you very quickly. The MR has rounded hull sides with some tumblehome which should be harder for the current to get a grip on. In a couple of weeks Iím gonna take it on some Class 1-2 stuff and give it the acid test. But not until I install thigh straps. Did you hear that LL? Thigh straps, thigh straps, thigh straps! Hehe.
In the water, initial stability is lower than the Tarpon 160 but the secondary comes on very quickly. (For reference, Iím 5í4Ē and 200 lbs.) I really like the feel, more like one of my sea kayaks than like one of the SOTís. Itís a very dry ride. Good glide and maneuverability. How they did both, Iím not sure, but its pretty amazing. The bow seems to ride a little high, but that might be normal. Iím 5í4 with a 29Ē inseam and the hooks that hold the paddle park on either side inside the cockpit are right where my knee is. Aggravatiní. Tryiní to figure out how to cover them up and still be able to use them, theyíre real handy. Seatbacks are a very personal thing. This one is good, but I still might replace it with my Surf to Summit one. But everyoneís different, your mileage may differ.