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The Torrent is great for people who want to get into WW paddling without the learning curve and time required for doing so in a kayak and the self rescue, no entrapment risk, and the easy access and ability to stretch, etc. are a real plus. It surfs well and can punch holes with ease and turns fairly well after one gets some experience with it. It also seems pretty durable and can take a beating.
Of course, this is not a boat for tight creeks (it can be but one is really going to have to work) or Class 5 WW but I do not think anyone interested in this would buy one or is a target customer. Tie down locations on bow or stern would be a nice addition. The thigh straps and foot braces work fairly well.
Overall, a great learning boat and for those of us who cannot spend 30+ days paddling every season. I have taken people down Class 2-3 rivers who have no or very little WW experience and they have done fine. They get to experience WW without having to go through all the hassle of learning a roll, etc.
An easy 9 out of 10 for what it is intended to be.
The Torrent and the discontinued Pegasus are somewhat similar, but the Dagger does track better. After I got used to paddling the Torrent in a straight line, I prefer it to the Pegasus on moving water. It's also great fun to paddler around with rec boaters with a kayak this maneuverable just to see their jaws dropping when you start to spin on a dime. One hard stroke can make a full 360.
The Torrent becomes a lot of fun on fast class I and class II rapids. How it stays upright, I don't always know, but it's a very forgiving design which also makes it a great loaner boat for that new guy that wants to try some easy whitewater. Just hand him a paddle and enjoy watching his expressions.
For a relatively new paddler in class I through III, I think the Torrent is a great learner boat. You get the feel for paddling rapids, learn what to look for, and generally get a lot of experience without having to roll or spend time dumping water out of your boat, or worrying with your sprayskirt, etc. You just hop on and paddle.
If you want to progress into more serious whitewater or learn the playboating tricks, you'll need a smaller ww kayak, but for river running and some fun surfing, the Torrent is a blast.
I've taken out two guys that were experienced with 17 and 18 foot sea kayaks and they just loved zipping around on the Torrent -- all smiles.
The rigging and storage is very minimal and you really don't want to add much if you are doing anything over class I. For the purpose they were designed for, these are the ideal SOT whitewater boat and I hope they continue to make them for when mine wear out.
I'm used to a 14' day-touring kayak, so this was quite different. But in no time I was able to track straight and get some good speed. I loved that I could plant my paddle off the bow and do a 180 turn in seconds. That was fun compared to a straight gliding long boat. I found that it was tough to stay behind my group, mostly in SINK ww playboats. When they weren't paddling all out, I had to backpaddle once in awhile to keep from overtaking them. But I also had to keep paddling to keep it straight, like someone else stated below. This yak won't glide in a straight line for 2 seconds before it's spinning. Nothing wrong with that, as that's what it's designed to do, ie, be very maneuverable.
I ended up learning this boat within a couple of hours, stayed on it through a class 3 rapid (Surprise), and ended up swimming the last rapid again before the take out at Cunard when I got slammed between two standing waves coming together. I think lack of proper thigh straps did me in on that one. But self-rescue is easy on it, the beauty of an SOT.
I really liked this boat; enough so that I bought a used one in perfect condition for $250. Don't know that I'll ever be able to roll it like some can, but I'll at least try to learn that, and look forward to more time in it in some more technical stuff. It will never replace my longer SINK's, but has it's place.
One thing I plan to do is add some bungee lines on the bow and stern to hold dry bags, and at bare minimum, a backstrap. Although I was comfortable in this boat while paddling, sitting in one place for any time at all was murder on my back with no support. For that, lack of factory-installed bungees, and it being no real comparison to real WW playboats, I give this boat a 7. But make no mistake, for someone w/o a roll, wanting to experience some mild WW with virtually no learning curve and easy self-rescuing, this boat's a 10.
I managed to stuff about six 2 liter bottles, tent, beer etc down the small center hatch all connected on tether strings. I bungied on a waterproof cooler box onto the back deck. Fixed my thermarest camping seat in and away I went.
Not a problem! The Torrent handled this abuse like a champion. Even with the cooler box upping the center of gravity it remained stable. The Torrent seems bullet proof.
The boat runs fairly dry and tracks well for what it is...a river/surf boat. It was quite fast, not the fastest in our group but not the slowest. I managed to keep up with the sea kayaks on the second day...maybe they were just tired.
On the back deck there is a place to add another hatch and there seems to be quite a bit of room under there. This would add to the boats useability. I would also say to add a seat or back rest as my thermarest camp seat really improved the boats fit. With it and the leg straps tight I could really motor along. I ended up buying a "sit in" kayak mainly because of protection from sunburn etc, but if the Torrent is still there at the end of the season and the price is right I will buy it. It was so much fun. All in all it was a great boat.
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