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Submitted: 11-05-2001 by Dean Juntunen
I am a paraplegic and wanted a boat that would allow me to safely paddle large waves on Lake Superior and carry a ton of gear, but still get decent speed. The Manta is the answer. I had to fashion my own backrest because I need a very high and stiff one. I use half-inch closed cell foam for seat and backrest padding.
Anyway, I've tested many boats in waves and own five of them (various lengths and purposes), but the first time I rode some 2-footers in the Manta, I was in love. It is a substantial boat and rides waves like a dream. Somehow, it minimizes them. Since I'm not getting thrown around at all, the Manta allows me to hold decent speed in waves, too.
I need a wide boat for stability since I lack trunk control, and the Manta offers plenty of it. Any other boat this wide tends to toss me around in waves so that I can't paddle very effectively. Also, I can't figure out why the Manta glides so easily for its width, but my hat is off to Ocean Kayak. I was greatly disappointed to hear that they're not making the Manta in 2002.
The boat turns remarkably well for a sixteen footer, but if you'll be using it in a 30 mph crosswind, I recommend a rudder. I'm going to skeg mine since I can't use foot pedals. I have the coaming to turn it into a sit-inside, and I love it. I put in the scupper plugs and stay dry and toasty in 40 degree weather. The only reason I don't give this boat a 10 is because it's a heavy tub when it comes to loading. Due to the weight, it also doesn't accelerate fast, but who cares about acceleration on a long trip? As a bonus, the boat just looks great!
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