Most Recent Reviews
When I bought the boat about a year and a half ago I weighed 215#. It was like sitting in a bathtub half full of water. With all that water, and the extra weight, I actually found it sluggish. I am a SOT guy and I don't expect a dry ride, but that was too much water. Especially for early season in the Sierras when the water is cold. I don't believe in scupper plugs. Scupper Frank, who is also about 215#, albeit about six inches taller than me, came to the same conclusion.
I have lost about 30# and down to 185#. I am really liking it much better now. It actually has become my preferred ride lately. The foot wells still fill with water. I wear knee high boots to keep feet and legs warm. It does have a slight rocker to it, I think.
It is very quiet. I just can not stand a loud boat. I sold a fiberglass Heritage Nomad because the hull slap drove me crazy.
It is a convenient size and weight. Its pretty well balanced and easy to rack. Its got very good glide for a 14' boat, and the low profile is very good for paddling into the wind.
RTM used to make Ocean Kayak boats for Europe. I think they still use the OK plastic, which I have found to be very durable. As far as the rigging, I don't really know. Like most plastic boats I buy, I immediately took a rivet gun to it and re-rigged the whole thing. I replaced the steel rings with nylon eyes, just because I know the eyes work! I never did install the front hatch. I just don't like hatches.
I have even heard complaints from very light paddlers it is tippy. Maybe in comparison to the typical 32" wide SOT, but not at all compared to most sit in boats. I does have a very round displacement hull.
I will stick by my original review. I Don't think its well suited to paddlers much over 190#. But I do think it really is all that, IF you are the right size, and weight for it.
I finally got the Disco out on the water this weekend. I agree with the rave reviews. This boat really is different than the typical American SOT fishing platform. It would be perfect for a smaller, athletic, paddler in demanding conditions. I think SantaCruzMidwife would love this boat! Its been all the rage for the SOT crowd. It had rave reviews from Cap’t Jimbo in South Florida.
They are made in France by RTM and shipped via container to the Port of Miami. They are selling so fast in South Florida that they are hard to get elsewhere in the country. I think there are only a couple on the West Coast, so far, but I expect to see lots more! I paid $190 to ship a $580 boat from Florida via FedEx.
I do have a basis from comparison. I have years of experience in different SOTs from my 18' Kevlar Shearwater to my 9' Ocean Kayak Frenzy.
It is honestly around 50#. Its significantly lighter than most plastic SOTs. I do not think it will overtake a Tarpon, Prowler, or even a Scupper that is paddled by a guy strong enough to propel one of these boats at hull speed, but not very many guys can really do that for any distance. If speed is that important to you, you probably aren’t paddling a plastic SOT, anyway.
It is more efficient than any of the above mentioned boats. That is, it takes less effort to maintain a nice easy 3-4 MPH cruising speed. Depending on the group, the boater in the Disco might easily find himself at the head of a pack of longer SOTs after a couple hours on the water. At 26' wide it is narrower that most plastic SOTs. It has a finer entry and exit. The “V” hull is faster than the typical flat hull on most America SOTs. It really does handle well. Comparing it to the typical fishing yak is like comparing a sports car to a pickup truck.
I will add some Caveats. I think its important because many will be in a position to buy this boat sight unseen, or not at all: I will admit to being well over 200#. I think the initial concerns that this might not be the best boat for someone over 200# may be justified. I tested it without scuppers. One plug was lost in transit, and besides I never use scupper plugs on the ocean anyway, so I wanted to see what it was like without them. There was a lot of water in the footwells, and it slopped up into the seat. The seat also took on water if I was not careful getting into the boat, and even in small 1-2 swells.
Once water gets into the seat, it does not drain out. There are no scuppers in the seat. A good sponge is going to be required equipment. I think even paddlers under 200# may have a problem with this. The seat is so snug that its not going to hold a lot of water, but enough to keep your butt wet. I admit to be overweight, but its mostly beer belly (Well, Jack Daniels, actually) I do not have a wide butt. Some people are just not going to fit into the seat. A wet seat is not really a problem on the Pacific off NORCAL because you will probably be wearing a wet suit anyway, and its often not calm enough to sit still for very long. It does get very uncomfortable to sit still for long period if you are fishing wearing just trucks.
It may not be the new "follow the Pungo around the lake" boat just because it is so wet, but I will try again with scupper plugs. I was concerned the boat might be too overloaded to perform, but once I got into 20-25 MPH head winds with 1-2 swells and chop it handled like a dream! It felt really solid. I will need to try it in bigger conditions to really know if it’s a safe ride for a 200# Plus boater. It lacks the total stability of the flat bottomed 28" wide SOT fishing platform. It may make some people a little nervous at first. Some minor details. Keep in mind this boat retails for only $580:
The color scheme makes me want to take a can of spray paint to it. I might really do that. Deck rigging needs to be replaced with bungees. Not so crazy about the fittings. On the other hand I really do like the recessed grab handles. Very good idea.. I don’t know about the hatch. I had the dealer send a hatch cover, but I didn’t have it installed. Hatches make me nervous.
Watch out for rear quartering winds. In a 25 knot wind it will weathercock even with the small skeg. I haven't had it out in big waves, but even a very exprienced friend said he could probably not stay on it on a big wave. And he can handle an 18' boat in big water better than anyone I know.
The former owner raced it fairly sucessfully on San Francisco Bay. He replaced it with a racing surf ski. He warned me off of using in really rough conditions like off the Mendocino Coast in winter. On the other hand. It is a beautiful, rugged, and very well made boat. It was designed by a boat architect and it is very well designed. The only SOT I know with bulheads.
Did I mention it is over 18' long and 24" wide? I guess it holds a ton inside, and that might improve intial stability. I don't know. I travel light. It is also very fast. It can run with the big boys. Sit on top, or sit inside. Just a few sit insides like the Seda Glider have an edge for speed, and not a big one.
If you do not do open ocean trips it should do just great. If you do open water, then buy the Shearwater for speed AND get another boat for the rough stuff! Bottom line is: mine is not for sale.
I paddled the Mars along with the Necky Dolphin and Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro at Moneterey Bay Kayaks on Moneterey Bay. I am 5'9" tall and weigh 180#. I have a bad shoulder and I need an lightweight boat that is easy to paddle. I launched all three boats into small 1-2 foot knee high surf. A 1-2 foot chop on the bay. After the demo I preordered the Mars even though I could have bought used Dolphins or Scupper Pros cheaper.
The Scupper Pro was faster and had more cargo capacity. The Mars just has a cargo well and small 6" center hatch. The Mars was more maneuverable, more comfortable, and more stable on the water. The Mars did accelerate quicker, and maintained an easy 3-4 MPH pace with less effort. It also seems like it is much more than just 5# lighter than the Scupper Pro.
I have a bad shoulder and the lightweight and easy paddling is most important to me. I seek my thrills in surf and whitewater and the Mars is for easy trips with friends. It is all about personal preference. If ease of use is more important than performance, this may be a very good boat for you, too.
BUT it does one thing pretty well. It surfs. It surfs better than the Scrambler. It is very stable in the surf, and catchs waves other surf boats can't. The displacment hull does not allow advanced trix, but for just surfing for fun it is a great starter surf boat. Not a lot of control so don't try it at Steamer Lane or other crowded breaks. It gets no respect in the lineup. BUT when no one is watching, I would rather just kick it and surf the Frenzy.
The other thing it can do is fish the small Sierra Nevada lakes for trout. The high country lakes are so small even the Frenzy can cover them is short time. Plenty of stabilty for light fresh water fishing.
No, This is NOT a good touring paddle. If you want a touring paddle look at an Aquabound Seaclude in 220+ Still heavy, but smaller blades.
My Stearns Mad Dog tracks much better and is faster. Probably because It has a fin. More comfortable, too. But my Stearns is not self bailing and conversly doesn't do white water well. I got the River X just for whitewater.
I took my new River X down the upper American River last weekend. I was with a guy who had an Aire Force so it was a one one one comparision.
The River X is shorter and narrower than the Force and not as stable. I did get dumped but I think I had more fun than the other guy. It is very maurverable. It is rated for class IV, but you better be a real good ww paddler, or a real good swimmer.