Nathan Eades Reviews The Mutant

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    Yet another high performance wave machine has joined the line-up and yet again Ride surf kayaks are responsible. The Mutant is the raw, untamed cousin of the Zenith slipping into the Ride range to serve those seeking a surf craft which will dominate in the pocket of a steep, critical wave. Due to its short length, the Mutant does not feel as though it will excel in all waves and conditions, but thanks to its rocker profile it hops onto the plane quickly and flies across steep walls.

    For the thrill seeking, hard-core surf kayakers who want to surf shore break, steep reef and stick critical drops on high performance waves…Ride have designed a great toy for you!

    The first thing I noticed when I collected the Mutant from Ride HQ was the lack of rocker from the cockpit backwards and the short length of the kayak. The other feature which stands out when you look at this surf craft is the increased volume around the mid-section of the deck. The volume, combined with the oversized cockpit rim, enables large (and small) paddlers to enter the kayak and surf this short, high performance surf kayak. Ride have invested a lot of time when designing the outfitting of the Mutant which not only has plenty of foot room and a padded seat, but also features ergonomically formed thigh braces. As with all kayaks in the range, the Mutant has a built-in cockpit rim guaranteeing a watertight seal with your deck and adding to the overall high quality finish of the kayaks.

    The Mutant’s hull is really quite unique and very different to any other surf vessel I have seen. Along the centre of the kayak, the hull has a V which channels the water into a very aggressively pronounced double concave running along the back third and finishes with a tail shaped into a
    batwing. During testing this hull and tail shape, combined with the quad fin set up, seemed to
    generate a lot of speed for such a short boat – at times I felt the Mutant was generating as much speed as a boat carrying a foot more length. The reason for the reduced length is due to the shortened tail enabling you to perform tight bottom turns sending the kayak back up the face of thewave more vertically.

    The deck shares some similarities with the Zenith such as: the concaved side walls and low volume nose. These features enable the surfer to switch rails and flick the kayak around quickly, throwing up lots of spray in the process…Ride seem to have nailed this formula and, as a result, are sending designs into the market place which match the speed of competitor models, yet enable the user to execute turns and manoeuvres effortlessly.

    So does the Mutant have a place in my quiver? Obsoletely! It is a super fun, rip-able kayak which is perfect for steep-wave- days. For surfers looking for an all-round surf kayak which will carry its speed along mushy waves, I do not think the Mutant is a good choice as Ride has other options for you in their range. If you are searching for a comfortable boat to surf in vertical, powerful waves, then the Mutant should be on your Christmas list this year!

    Pros
    Fast on steep, critical waves
    Highly manoeuvrable
    Comfortable
    Dynamic
    Suitable for a wide range of paddler size and weight

    Cons
    Lacks versatility for a range of conditions
    Requires a larger spray deck

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