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Submitted: 11-15-1999 by Drupa

Pure rodeo. At 195#, 5'11", 32" inseam, 9.5 feet, this little boat fits like a glove. This boat is phenomenally light and agile. It is also very squirty. The ZWO is the missing link between a squirt boat and a traditional play boat. The bow can be fully submerged to vertical on flatwater by taking a couple forward strokes while leaning forward. There is very little effort involved in getting this boat vertical - it was quite a surprise. Stern squirts are as easy and can be initiated on the smallest eddy line. The ZWO spins freely and plays hard on smaller features. The boat front, back, and side surfs very well and is so light that things happen very quickly. Shuvits are lightning quick and require little muscle, spins are sometimes almost too fast to follow with your head, and every visit to the wave ends with the boat vertical. It's a fun ride.

On the down side, the boat is slightly harder to roll than other boats I've paddled. Also, my roll had to be modified to avoid initiating the stern. On several occasions, I found myself rolling up and into a stern squirt (with the seat fully forward). The seat itself is well formed and contoured for control, however, it is somewhat flimsy and does break on some boats. Most owners (and Eskimo USA) advise that the purchaser remove the seat and add minicell foam reinforcement under the unit. I found this odd but performed the operation and have had no troubles with my seat. Also, the bulkhead provided is a cheap piece of triangular styrofoam that you literally chop to size and force into the bow. I don't know how long it will last, but it actually works pretty well (it tends to compress, so it's best to trim it to include a "little extra"). Most hardcore boaters will want to fully customize their outfitting anyway and won't be put off by the work necessary to get the ZWO up to speed.

On the up side, the backband is a heavy duty rubber piece which gives great, firm support - I like the indestructible feel of this thing. Eskimo plastic also feels indestructible. I have hit more than a few things and it still looks almost new. The boat is undeniably tough - more so than my Wave Sport crosslink boat.

All in all, I like this boat! It has taken many hours to figure out what it is capable of - and it amazes! It's not a boat for beginners or for people who want to cruise. It's a great second boat for someone who wants a pure unadulterated hard core rodeo monster.

If you aren't interested in following the herds in their Cleans, Midievals, and Xs but you want a world class ride capable of world class action - the ZWO may be for you.

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