Incredibly stable in flat moderately choppy water due to pontoon style hull. When the hull gets sideways, however, in heavy surf the pontoons actually seem to work against you, there is definately a point of no return.
The boat is very easy to turn, but does not track tremendously well. The low profile keeps it out of the wind.
The unique hull design is not as much of a speed detriment as one would think and the boat is capable of comfortably making trips of 10 miles or more. When sprinting the flat hull between the sponsons actually planes a bit.
Some unexpected drawbacks are that anyone over about 140-150 pds will be sitting in water. Also, the deck around the scupper raises due to flex in the plastic trapping water in the deck. Other wise the scupper will completely and efficiently drain the cockpit when the boat is moving.
(A tennis ball makes a perfect plug for the oversized scupper.)
The manufacturers capacity estimates are , if anything conservative. I have had 400 pounds in it with out any problem.Fred, 240lb, and I, 220lb, tested many kayaks yesterday. Current was in the opposite direction of the wind.
Fred disliked the Tarpon 120 a lot. The Tarpon 160 didn't seem especially fast to either of us but was very difficult to turn. The Drifter and Prowler 13 both dumped me unexpectedly during paddle strokes. Both almost dumped me several times, perhaps the center bottoms had been deformed by stacking or by hauling in and out with people in them.
The Ride was just fantastic. Very stable even leaning out over the side. It was easy to move around in and easy to turn. The Ride kept up with the Tarpon 160 unless Fred paddled really hard in the 160. Acceleration was much better in the Ride than in the other boats. Tracking without rudder was good in the wind and current. We both thought the Ride was far superior to the other single seaters.
Then we both tested a used Malibu 2, paddling solo. The Malibu 2 is also a superb kayak. Solo from the rear seat left the nose very high, solo from the center seat was excellent. The Malibu 2 was almost as stable as the Ride and seemed to be about as fast. Tracking without a rudder was the best of any of the boats tested and turning from a stop was also the best. This Malibu 2 did not have any hatches so there is no possibility of flooding the interior. All storage would be on deck on the front and rear seat positions and there is a lot of storage area. The Malibu 2 can carry two people but it is heavier than the Ride. Seating is dry in the Malibu 2.
In summary, both the Ride and the Malibu 2 are excellent boats. They don't look alike but do perform alike in many ways. They were pretty much tied for the best kayak we paddled yesterday and they were vastly superior to the other boats.I bought a used Ride from a guy in Burbank back in January and finally got a chance to take it out on the water today. I'll have to admit that while it has a rather strange looking bottom profile, it handles very well. Mine did not come with a rudder that I gather is available, and as such, I find that it doesn't track so great with a little bit of breeze. This boat has a higher out of water profile than many other SOTs and as such is easier to get influenced by the wind/breeze. I'll be definitely looking for the rudder option soon. Needless to say, we had a great time with my 3yo son sitting between my legs (he weighs about 35lbs) and the boat handled great and is VERY stable. Even when my son decided to stand up, no change in stability at all.
Just to give you an idea of my size, I'm about 6' 2" and weigh in at around 285 (yeah yeah -- trying to get rid of a bit of that now!).
I'd also like to add that this kayak, while it's not the lightest thing in the world, is fairly easy to move around with the nice handles on the sides. Much easier than my brothers Aquaterra he's got. (8->I know this is my second post but I just wanted to let people know that the hull slap is not a problem to chase spooky fish. The hull slap is commensurate to the water's chop and thus, the ride remains unnoticeable to even the spookiest fish such as permits and bones.
The ride is so stable that I put a 2' poling platform on it and I pole it more than I paddle it. I am planning to add a sail and two outriggers at the front to be able to extend the poling platform to 3 or 4 feet. The highest you are, the easiest, you will be able to spot fish in fairly deep water with a sun not at its zenithal position.
The ride is the best kayak ever made for fly fishing and the flat deck is really important as it allows the fly fisherman to store his fly line easily.
The ratio stability/speed is the best one can have. Off course, it will be slower than a scupper pro or another kayak with slick curves that does not allow you to stand. So, if speed is your concern, this is not the kayak to chose. On a flat, you want to move slowly and look around carefully for any shadow that might be a fish. I paddle the yak 5 km an hour and this is enough.
This kayak is primarily good to fish the shallows while standing on it for a better sight fishing. You guys will love it for that specific purpose. I labored over what brand and model kayak to purchase for several months and finally chose to purchase The Ride. Even though I am a veteran of the water,sailing, and boating, this was my first venture in to kayaking.
I am extremely pleased with the stability, ease of paddling, and comfort of The Ride. I do not have a rudder and find the boat to track very well in light to moderate chop. The boats handles easily and is much dryer than I would expected from a sit-on-top kayak. Everyone of my friends who have tried it out are hooked. I look forward to the years to come and cannot imagine replacing it anytime soon. I highly recommend The Ride.