Most Recent Reviews
As usual, I've got to preface this with my caveat: my experience with this product is limited to flat water, as part of our rental fleet.
After years of using Ocean Kayak products as the bulk of our rental fleet (Frenzy's, Malibu's, etc) and relying on them to be stable, easy to use and (from my own perspective, since I have to maintain them) virtually indestructible, we added 5 Tetras last season. These were purchased with the intention that they would be mostly for staff/lifeguards/instructors, and not rented to the general public. We fell in love with them almost immediately. For most of us, our kayak experience had been limited to the comparatively clunky Frenzy (which I have given its own review and mean it no disrespect here), so those of us with experience on the water discovered that this critter will fly with very little effort.
Considerably lighter, less rocker and a lot less boat beneath you -combined with a much smoother finish and this thing will move through calm water almost by mere telepathy. Using our 'any excuse to get on the water' mantra, we put these through informal head to heads with our other boats and discovered -no joke- that stroke for stroke, the Tetra moved with about 50% less effort. (One full paddle stroke would move it as far as 2 complete strokes of the other yaks.)
Even though they're lighter, with an experienced paddler, wind doesn't seem to be a problem. We attribute this to the fact that there's not a lot of boat out of the water to catch it.
The new seat, although it takes awhile to get it adjusted perfectly, is remarkably comfortable once you do. The adjustable foot rests are also a big hit among us, since they seem to give you about twice as many increments as the ones molded into the deck of the other OK models. We also love the paddle retainer on the side, since we often need to get it out of our hands to help someone (or in my case, perform maintenance on something in the water). We havnt done anything to really need the forward deck hatch, but post season we hope to take them on an over nighter.
(And if you have more than one of these -and this is true with the Frenzy's as well- if you relaxe the seat fittings, they will 'nest' very nicely for storage.)
Now, I said our experienced staff loved them immediately. Anyone new getting into one -as a first timer- has about a 50/50 chance of going into the water. These are much less forgiving than their ancestors, but that's what also makes them more agile. I don't think any of us ever unintentional ditched a Frenzy or Malibu; most of us have with the Tetra. But, oh are they fun.
I will also ramble on to say, that the smaller and bolder the paddler, the better they do. Since these do weigh less than our other boats, we've put kids on them so they don't have to move as much weight around. (Always with supervision, and starting with our own children as test dummies.). You know the fearless kids who jump in feet first, ready to go? Yeah, they tend to do really well with these.
Let me say up front that if you are looking for a performance kayak, this isn't it. Nor is it designed for white water or multi-day trips. I don't think that was ever Ocean Kayaks intention with this series.
Secondly, let me say that we use these in our rental fleet on a small lake -often for people who have never kayaked before, and range in age from 8 to 80.
You couldn't ask for a better kayak for our purposes! As stable a 'yak as you'll ever find. Fast enough, responsive, and most of all, forgiving if you tend to make a lot of mistakes.
Our original supply of 7 have been on our racks for the better part of a decade. Yes, their orange has faded in the Oklahoma summer sun, and I've started to have to replace pad eyes and bungees and handles and seat straps, but they are still solid little beasts.
We added 8 more last season, and while the basic shape hasn't changed, the newer seats are a great addition, as is the molded cup holder.
Seriously. For someone who's new to the sport, or a little reluctant, this sit-on is the way to go. Very stable (we've had people fish from them, although I would not recommend standing to cast!) and tough. We have no problem with people beaching these on our rocky shores and exploring, you're not going to hurt them. They've got a fair amount of rocker, so handle rough water remarkably well. (We get some pretty gusty conditions and often have white caps blow up - even if it's calm when you launch.)
They are, in my opinion, heavy for their size, but that's what makes them so darned stable. It also makes them easier to manage in the aforementioned wind.
Would I buy another one? Absolutely! In fact, probably 10 more next spring.
This is a really sweet board if you're looking for upper end of the entry level. Single removable skeg keeps set up/break down fast and simple, and its light (compared to other boards of same size) weight makes getting to the water easy. We ran 12 of these as rentals, starting last season, and other than people beaching on rocky shores and then walking off of the nose(!), we had very little to repair. I have to note that during a sudden storm, we had one unsecured board launch itself (from dry ground, where it was laying) 20 feet in the air, travel 50 downwind, slam into the road AND get run over by a Ford F-250. Literally. Rear wheel went right across board. Board stayed in service for the rest of season (about 6 weeks) and I fixed the crinkle in the tail (from where it had slammed into the ground) over winter. Board tracks straight, making it easy for novices to move in a straight line, and the low profile keeps it from being as affected by side wind. With experience, you can move aft on the board, get more of the nose out of the water, and haul on flat water.