Submitted: 11-15-2000 by kayakdiver
The Manta is long and sleek and the "Manta wings" (bow planes) are only large enough to provide the desired functionality without being too obtrusive - and, YES, they do work!
There is an inordinate amount of storage below the front and rear Scupper Pro type hatches. I'm sure you could put all your scuba gear and a weeks worth of camping gear below with ease! I was even able to get my fully outfitted tank/bc/reg unit into the rear hatch, although I did have to tuck the hoses and console in a bit to make it easier.
The Manta is as fast as it looks... I was moving along more than 10 feet with each light paddle stroke I made! I took the Manta out around the outer jetty at Channel Islands Harbor on a rough and windy day. The nearly three foot chop slowed the boat considerably but I felt so comfortable with the seaworthiness of the boat that it didn't bother me at all to be out there in only shorts and a T-shirt in 62 degree water temperature. I was also glad to note that the Manta did not exhibit a leeward helm characteristic (bow blowing downwind in a crosswind) that I have seen in so many other longer kayaks.
I turned the Manta toward the beach and tried my hand at catching about a dozen small waves with it. OK, so it is too long to actually make any maneuvers on the wave front, but, it is the first kayak I ever surfed on which you could catch even a small wave LONG before it ever crested or broke. The Manta "wings" helped to keep the pointed bow from diving and the Manta handled much better than expected in a broach (washing in sideways on the wave).
Did I mention how stable this kayak is? I think I leaned this kayak over farther than any other kayak to date without feeling like it was going to go over on me! Also, this kayak simply feels sturdy and durable. OK, so that is probably due to the 70+ pounds it weighs, but it is still impressive. I'm looking forward to getting a coaming for mine and trying sit-inside winter paddling for the first time!
Note: I would have subtracted a point for two possible reasons: It is on the heavy side for a single-seater, and the hatches are not as easy to access as a scuba diver as, say, the Scupper Pro, But...., there is just too much else I like about it, especially for the larger paddler. The weight isn't that bad for the 16 foot length of the Manta and the speed is excellent!. And, even though you have to reach for them, those hatches cover more cargo space than any diver is likely to ever need, so I have to give it a solid 10!