See Current Kayaks from Wilderness Systems
in the Buyers' Guide
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
It's a little chunky and not particularly fast in flat water but tracks well. It does just fine in fast-running rivers. In fact, it shines in class I to class III. Stable and sure through fairly rough stuff. It's a so-so surfer but not really made specifically for this purpose. I found it seemed to easily pull too hard to one side or the other when going down a wave face. It was a little hard to keep it carving exactly where you want it to go. The result of this was that you would drop in and go but easily get parallel to the wave - and over you go! Maybe I just need more practice. (But I NEVER have this problem surfing my Dimension Systems Spirit 3.1). But an all-around good boat that can do everything - but with some limitations. A keeper, though!
It seemed natural to try to blend the two. What I discovered in the Riot was a fairly fun boat that is probably better suited to calm water paddles in bays, lakes and quiet rivers. In the surf of southern California, it handled like a general utility boat...a little too high in the water and chubby around the mid-section for quick, clean turns when the surf got up over three feet. It tended to skip down the face of a wave rather than carve. This shouldn't be interpreted as a big rap because Wilderness Systems does not promote this craft as a pure surf rider. Honestly, had I not surfed for so many years, my expectations would have been met.
I have demo'd the new Kaos by W.S. and can see that it has been designed for surfing.... and thus might not be as versatile as the Riot. I no doubt will acquire a Kaos but leave the Riot in the fleet as the boat it was designed to be...a hybrid.
A mixed review...but keep in mind my needs were for a somewhat specialized application. If you would like to converse, please feel to drop me an e-mail with any questions.
It's retail cost is about $450, and it comes with premounted handles, accessory clips for a seat (or whitewater legstraps), and an 8(?) inch dry hatch as well as a behind-the-seat depression with straps for securing gear. I bought the optional ballistic cloth seat but use it only when I'm going to spend hours paddling or sitting. I have legstraps on my Perception Torrent (Andes) (AKA the BananaBoat) but I've never felt like I needed them on the Riot even on busy boating weekends when the wake waves are pretty intense (and can even be surfed a little). I'm very pleased with my purchase and the low impact exercise I'm getting while just fooling around on the water. Any drawbacks? Yeah. I like it so much I already upgraded my paddle and am starting to add extreme weather clothes to my paddling outfits so I can extend the season. This doesn't leave much room for watching extreme weather clothes to my paddling outfits so I can extend the season. This doesn't leave much room for watching daytime TV on weekends. Why 9 instead of 10? Nobody's perfect, and there might be a better boat for what I want than the Riot, but I haven't sat in it yet.
100,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!