I find this kayak to be without a doubt the best SOT kayak on the market.. I have owned 4 SOT over a period of about 9 years but this one is the one that is certainly the only one that you could really surf and carve through the waves... Others I owned were RTM Loko.. (not bad surfer) - Feelfree Nomad (not a good surfer) - Ocean Kayak Mysto (not a brilliant surfer considering its marketed as a surfer))... I was advised to go for the 85. Which is brilliant as its more agile and lighter than other comparable kayaks. Tootega are very approachable and I have called them on a few occasions for advice and opinion.
Apart from the surf this boat can cruise along close coastal very comfortably. I love the deep seat position as you don't need padded seat at all. This kayak can surf incredibly well. Run along the face or carve up and down the face or rebound off the lip. It's a dream to surf, I love it.
I would highly recommend this boat for people living or using it near the coast.. Also if you like to surf this is the only boat out there......
The only downside is after over 2 years the hatch failed , but not expensive to replace. I actually replaced it with one with a rubber seal under great seal. Having to replace these every few years is par the course when using it solely at beaches. The build quality of the kayak itself is incredibly strong.
I like the high back seat position. You don't need a backrest at all.
I never lean back at all so its not a problem, you're supposed to lean forward when punching through a wave throwing your weight forward.
If you lean when trying to get past waves your like to tip the kayak.
When surfing a wave this kayak likes to run along and carve up and down the face of a wave, so no need to lean back either.
Read more: http://www.sitons.com/kayaks/pulse-85/#ixzz3faPm4uQx
What is positive: The kayak is stable in small to medium surf. It tracks pretty well on flat water for such a short craft. It is generally predictable on the wave face in the sense that it goes where you point it and turns on a sixpence without losing stability.
What is negative: The seat pan is quite small and the back is relatively high and angled at 90%- this makes it impossible to lean backwards to rise over a steep waves when punching out through the surf or when flying down a steep wave. As a consequence, the kayak ploughs into the wave rather than over it. This is a serious design flaw and really limits the kayak's pretention to be a serious contender in surf. The second issue is that for a smaller paddler like myself (10 stone and 5'7") I have to sit with my legs out like a bull frog in order to get sufficient purchase on the thigh straps, which are necessary for serious stuff in the surf. The third issue was that one the metal clips fell out of the decking fittings the first time I tried to roll the Tootega, though the basic fittings seems robust enough. The fourth issue is that the non-slip plastic finish is very hard on the bare skin, but OK if you are using neoprene boots. The manufacturer would do well to look at the finish employed on the Perception 5-0 (though in fairness that it so comfortable and smooth I end up having to apply wax for traction).
In summary, the Tootega Pulse 85 is a good, light sit-on top that provides a fun, stable platform for someone new to kayaking in the surf. The overall quality of finish is good, but it is let down by a couple of serious design flaws that limit its functionality in the surf.