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Reviews for Riot Kayak by Wilderness Systems


Rated: 8.56/10 Based On: 9 Reviews

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01-08-2012
Submitted by: Compton,CSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     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!

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02-21-2007
Submitted by: BillSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     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.
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09-01-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     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.
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08-07-2006
Submitted by: Rick Whitehurst
Rating: 10 of 10

     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.
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07-18-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     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....
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10-02-2001
Submitted by: Steve S.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     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.
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04-08-2000
Submitted by: DaleSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     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.
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05-17-1999
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     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.

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10-27-1998
Submitted by: hjorgSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     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.

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