This Product Has Been Discontinued

Riot Description

The Riot is a kayak brought to you by Wilderness Systems. Read Riot 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!

Wilderness Systems
Riot Reviews

Read reviews for the Riot by Wilderness Systems 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!

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This is the best Kayaks and…

Submitted by: paddler456967 on 7/31/2018

This is the best Kayaks and colors that I have ever seen. Looking forward to wining and to mastering the waters.


While I rate this SOT at only…

Submitted by: paddler234400 on 1/8/2012
While I rate this SOT at only a 7, that should not be interpreted as a bad thing. I've had a Riot for 8 years and will not sell it or otherwise get rid of it. Reason? Versatility.

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!


Have used much longer and…

Submitted by: paddler231937 on 2/21/2007
Have used much longer and narrower yak's and while they are faster and track slightly better, the Riot is easy to handle in and out of the water. It also holds it's shape much better than most models in it's price range. Would rate it as one of the best SOT models I have been on.

The Wilderness Systems Riot…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/1/2006
The Wilderness Systems Riot is a nice utility kayak. It tracks reasonably well and has pretty good speed and handling. I borrowed one from a friend to try out and liked it well enough that I tried to find a used one. Unfortunately there weren't any for sale in my area, so I ended up buying a new Bic Sport Bilbao instead (a really fun boat!). Despite not buying one myself, I'd still recommend it to anyone looking for a small kayak.

I have had my WS RIOT for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/7/2006
I have had my WS RIOT for years... would not trade it for anything, it is a classic and should not have been discontinued. A nearly perfect boat for it's size tracks well, has a bit of speed, turns on a dime when you want it to. Great storage and cargo.

I bought this boat new 7…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/18/2005
I bought this boat new 7 years ago -- it was discontinued a few years back. Too bad, because it is an excellent small (9.5') kayak. It is the boat my children learned to paddle on. We've had it on lakes, rivers, ocean surf, and have never been disappointed. Now remember, it is a small boat, so it would not be an efficient choice for a long paddle. But it is an excellent surfer and is as sturdy and attractive as they come. Has much more rocker than other small boats that are less versatile. Turns well, has a useful small tankwell, nice little storage hatch, very comfortable seating. Light and easy to carry. Wilderness Systems quality -- excellent fixtures, solid as a rock, and still looks good years later. My daughter, who is now off to college, won't let me sell it - she and her buds still like to toss it into the van on occasion for an afternoon of easy paddling....

I've used a Riot for almost 3…

Submitted by: paddler229485 on 10/2/2001
I've used a Riot for almost 3 years (157 trips) on the West Coast of Florida for fishing on the flats and in the Gulf. It is light enough for me to carry across a hundred yards of beach by myself, or to launch off the steep side of a rock breakwater. It fits in the bed of my Frontier pickup, and has survived several encounters with oyster beds. I'm 6'2" and weigh 210 pounds, and feel comfortable in it. The tankwell behind the seat and the small dry storage compartment behind the tankwell are accessable and adaquate for my water, anchor, flats boots, etc. (I wear a vest for all my fishing tackle). I made a great choice when I bought the Riot, and will never get rid of it and would recommend it to anyone.

I bought this little boat a…

Submitted by: paddler228528 on 4/8/2000
I bought this little boat a year ago now after spending a pleasant half-hour explaining to another kayak customer that he would really rather have a "real" kayak. He had rented a sit-on-top in Florida; I had already bought four kayaks of various purposes, then I had two thoughts: one, that a s-o-t is not really a kayak, but our plastic civilization's version of a dugout canoe; two, that a little s-o-t would be great fun for exploring swampy cypress holes and tiny creeks during warm weather. So, because I already had one andy singer boat that I really liked, I bought a riot (it was also cheap). I was soon hooked, finding that it was great for just drifting and reading on quite lakes, and that with a wetsuit it was fine for winter, too. Not fast, but nimble and in an odd way elegant. Not much material for such fun. (I'm always surprised that non-paddlers seeing me in my little Riot seem to think that it's made for speed). The downside for me has been primarily that the storage space is designed for a small cooler, so my dry bags and thermos don't fit perfectly.

Intitially purchased the boat…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/17/1999
Intitially purchased the boat as a wave rider. I have board surfed since the mid-50's and recently took up kayak touring in a 16 1/2 foot Sealution by Wilderness Systems.

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.


The Riot is a fine sit-on-top…

Submitted by: paddler227950 on 10/27/1998
The Riot is a fine sit-on-top boat for casual flatwater cruising, wave surfing, and fishing. It is small and light (40 lbs.) so I can easily load it in my powerboat and haul it to shallow parts of a nearby lake for flat fishing. I'm still negotiating with my wife on whether I can leave it tied to the top of a car for use on a river at lunchhour. It tracks well despite its small size and handles this 200 lb., 53 year old male without effort (i.e., lots of manueverability without the feeling I'll be dumped) even when leaning out to untangle fishing line from waterplants or low hanging bushes. Although it has a slightly elevated seat platform, I noticed no real loss of stability from sitting up an inch or two higher than I would in most other sit-on-top cruisers, and the benefit (a slightly drier posterior on cool days) is a real plus. The Riot comes in some reasonable colors as well as the outrageous Easter Egg green/blue/yellow I got (which "they" call maize and sapphire), which powerboat friends of mine say is quite visible to them on foggy mornings!

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.