Submitted: 02-06-2012 by Big_D
Take this review with a grain of salt because my paddling experience was so brief.
A friend brought a Riviera to a summer trip August of 2011. I thought it was an interesting looking boat and asked to borrow it. I took it for a short test paddle - about 90 minutes. I paddled upriver then came back down. In paddling upriver, I surfed it easily. Accidentally actually. At the first riffle, I had a hard time getting up against it and decided to portage. I stopped paddling to let the current take me back down and... I didn't go. The boat sat there and surfed in the tiniest little wave you ever saw just as long as I was willing to let it. That surprised me.
I did get it up stream and coming back down through the main current found that it was very easy to steer and control. It was a bit disconcerting with my 240# frame so close to the water surface, but I grew used to it quickly. As I got more bold, I found that the kayak responded well in bumpy or still water. At the end of the test, coming back into camp, I tried a few eddy turns. I've not paddled a kayak that took an eddy turn more easily - and I used to paddle a WaveSport Diesel. That surprised me - a lot.
I rate it well for how easy it is to paddle. I think novices could be trusted to take this boat out and have a good, safe time with it. I didn't rate it higher because there's no attachment points for thigh straps. I don't suppose with the molded in seat back that a back strap is necessary. Also, scuppers would have improved the rating.