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ZWO Description

The ZWO is a kayak brought to you by Eskimo USA. Read ZWO reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Eskimo USA
ZWO Reviews

Read reviews for the ZWO by Eskimo USA as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

I bought my ZWO used, it...

I bought my ZWO used, it was 2 years old and I paid $325. I'm 5'6" and 150 lbs and I can fit in it comfortably as long as I wear river socks, but my tevas or river boots won't fit. It is a good playboat, surfs well and I hear it is good for tricks, but my skills aren't there yet. I've been running class II and III water in it without problems. Strong construction, no bulkheads, no drainplug. The original backband has problems, get the second generation one.

For this review- I'll break it down into several parts.Construction and Outfitting-…

For this review- I'll break it down into several parts.
Construction and Outfitting- Solid construction- good plastic, yet the outfitting is on the very weak side. The original plastic seat cut my hand, so I took it out and replaced it with their older seat. the thighbraces aren't worth crap, and there's no footpegs- either use foam or install them yourself- which was a pain. I also noticed that it was terribly difficult to customize- foam did not stick to the plastic- even when it was roughed up.
Performance- I would consider it decent. It's edgy in holes and the stern catches on sharp eddylines. It's difficult to take down a class 3 stretch of whitewater- it was meant for 1-2 mile stretches, as well as park and play. The flat spin-disk never really worked that great, but the flat stern was great for squirts. I found too much volume in the bow, so it was impossible to scoop water like a spoon- designed on higher end rodeo boats.
Overall performance- I highly recommend rethinking your purchase- there are better boats out there.

I must say that this...

I must say that this little boat really surprised me on its agility, this thing really moves, amazing stern squirts, surfs in any position, smooth controled rides in & around the holes. The only thing I didn't like about this kayak was my right foot just couldn't get into a position that it could stand for more than an hour at a time, It's not my boat...or it would be made to fit...don't think Bob would like me messing up his boat. Did notice the seat seemed to be a bit on the weak side, it's not the same seat that they have in the Topo. This would certainly be the boat for a smaller paddler, it wouldn't take much to set it up for a great fit. Definitely an excellent Rodeo kayak.

Pure rodeo. At 195#,...

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.