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News

Zet Kayaks Sri Lanka

Zet Kayakers discover Sri Lanka

posted 28 Nov 2011

A group of 6 kayakers from the UK recently returned from a successful expedition to explore the whitewater in Sri Lanka.

There have been a couple of previous trips to Sri Lanka before, but this one was the first to be held in August, during the heart of the monsoon.

The expedition, lead by Dave Burne, saw the team searching out rivers in the Southern Central mountain range. Some rivers, such as the world class Kokmole Oya, have had previous descents. However, there is still so much to discover on the island and the expedition claimed numerous first descents.

There was another major aim to the expedition though - to leave a lasting legacy in Sri Lanka. This was achieved with the help of Borderlands, a Rafting and Outdoor Education company.

Amongst other things, the team ran coaching and safety sessions for the raft guides and safety kayakers. These sessions helped change the attitudes of staff from that of kayaking being a job, to playing the river and enjoying kayaking as a hobby. The training also raised their awareness of current safety and rescue techniques.

The highlight of the expedition for the team was paddling the Goorook Oya, a probable first descent, with Thilack, one of the Borderlands staff. Not only was this the first time any of the team had completed a first descent with a kayaker from the host nation, but it also turned out to be an amazingly clean grade 5 steep creek which (aside from the green rainforest scenery) wouldn't be out of place in California. And the best thing? Thilack nailed it. His third ever river and his first taste of waterfalls - this guy has got bottle!

The team would like to thank ZET Kayaks UK and of course, Borderlands for their support.

To find out how Dave, Tom, Niamh, Sean, Nick and Will got on, check out www.kayaksrilanka.co.uk


Marcus Olivant's Zet Raptor Review

posted 16 March 2011

Marcus Olivant has been kind enough to write a full review of his Zet Raptor, here it is:

I got the Raptor several weeks ago now and I have paddled it numerous times in North Wales and Devon. Class 4/5. I am just over 6 foot and 13.2 stone.

To me boat design is about compromise, nothing can do everything well, can it? (If something tracks a line well it generally cannot turn so easily.)

I like a creek boat which has no surprises. Well the Zet Raptor has one big surprise it’s THE best boat I have ever paddled. It does all the things you want really well. I have paddled boats from all the mainstream manufacturers and this boat suits my style better than anything else I’ve tried.

The reason I tried it and then bought it was I think a fast stable boat is the most important quality in creek boat. Good technique will help you turn quickly, boof and roll, but you cannot make something unstable and slow become stable and fast, even with perfect balance and huge arms. The Raptor must be the fastest boat on the market. I love having a fast and stable boat to make difficult ferries and drive through holes and piles. These traits inspire more confidence in the boat than anything else for me.

Its turns quick and is stable while doing so. Many modern boats do this but where these boats struggle is the ability to track a line really well (the opposite is true as well). The designer has got this spot on. The displacement hull tracks really well and the slight edges allow you to carve and turn quickly without catching and tripping you up.

The displacement hull and speed means excellent boofing, perhaps not the best out there as the rocker is a little less than other creekers on the market but it’s still as good as the competition and you will fly from the extra speed you can carry to the lip.

The construction is very solid and the outfitting is clever in its simplicity. Throw line and water bottle are stowed up front between the paddlers’ knees. There is a loop of rope in the stern to clip equipment to for longer days on the river. Everything a creek boater needs. Even free air bags.

It’s not a beginner’s boat and its not a boat for everyone. The boat does need to be driven hard from the front quarters. If you are person who floats their way downstream I don’t think you will get the best out of the boat as it may not suit you. If you charge at lines and trust its abilities it will serve you very well indeed.

If I split it tomorrow I would buy another without hesitation. Though I might not have to as there’s an unprecedented (to my knowledge), 4 year hull and two year outfitting warranty.

Try it, paddle it hard, edge it hard and you’ll probably buy it, you will not be disappointed.