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Reviews for Manta Kayak by Ocean Kayak


Rated: 8.86/10 Based On: 7 Reviews

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11-24-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I tried to buy Dean Juntunen's Manta, as well as three or four others, but it didn't work out. I finally found one close enough to drive to pick up (11.5 hr round trip!)

So far the yak is everything I have read about it. With one exception. For a big man, the coaming is totally useless. In fact it was too confining for even my wife.

Also, what Oaarsman said about the footwells being VERY tight is an understatement. Somehow OK missed the obvious... bigger people usually have bigger feet. Kind of a dumb oversight.

Not only do the actual foot holes, themselves, grow smaller as they go forward from the seat, but the front part of the cockpit also narrows extremely abruptly, truly cramming bigger feet into about half the space needed. I'm learning to live with it, but it seems that this design fault was completely unnecessary.

The honest room, front to back, is fantastic. With my 36" inseam, I can lay my legs completely flat on the floor of the cockpit, and there's still a few inches left. (If only there was someplace to put my feet way up there.)

All in all, I give it a 7 also, and it is all due to the lack of foot room. Otherwise, it would be at least a 9.

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Win a Kayak or Canoe
06-24-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     A definite 10+ sit-on-top expedition boat except if you have feet of any size you must literally cram your feet down into the foot wells on a ruddered boat. That and the resultant pain after a while cuts her down to a 7 in my book. I don't mean to sound negative though, she is an excellent boat, especially for a heavier and taller individual. She tracks well, maneuvers almost better than a boat as small as the scrambler, handles chop, wind and heavy seas admirably. She has great initial and secondary stability and as you load her this only increases.

I had full expedition gear: tent, sleeping pad and bag, stove, lantern, fuel, cooking gear, 8 gallons of water (carried in dormedaries) and food for two weeks with room to spare and still extremely stable. With a Primex sailing rig mounted on the center hump between my knees she did a great beam reach and run. Rudder works easily and effectively. As mentioned earlier, foot wells and pedals stink. Hope that is remedies in her re-design. I highly recommend her.

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11-05-2001
Submitted by: Dean JuntunenSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am a paraplegic and wanted a boat that would allow me to safely paddle large waves on Lake Superior and carry a ton of gear, but still get decent speed. The Manta is the answer. I had to fashion my own backrest because I need a very high and stiff one. I use half-inch closed cell foam for seat and backrest padding.

Anyway, I've tested many boats in waves and own five of them (various lengths and purposes), but the first time I rode some 2-footers in the Manta, I was in love. It is a substantial boat and rides waves like a dream. Somehow, it minimizes them. Since I'm not getting thrown around at all, the Manta allows me to hold decent speed in waves, too.

I need a wide boat for stability since I lack trunk control, and the Manta offers plenty of it. Any other boat this wide tends to toss me around in waves so that I can't paddle very effectively. Also, I can't figure out why the Manta glides so easily for its width, but my hat is off to Ocean Kayak. I was greatly disappointed to hear that they're not making the Manta in 2002.

The boat turns remarkably well for a sixteen footer, but if you'll be using it in a 30 mph crosswind, I recommend a rudder. I'm going to skeg mine since I can't use foot pedals. I have the coaming to turn it into a sit-inside, and I love it. I put in the scupper plugs and stay dry and toasty in 40 degree weather. The only reason I don't give this boat a 10 is because it's a heavy tub when it comes to loading. Due to the weight, it also doesn't accelerate fast, but who cares about acceleration on a long trip? As a bonus, the boat just looks great!

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03-20-2001
Submitted by: mike silberSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Manta is a reliable kayak in rougher water. I was kayaking in the Queen Charlotte Strait (B.C. near Bowen Island, Howe Sound)with swells of over 6.5 feet and had no problem handling the Manta. The rudder works great in wind and keeps you on course. The only disadvantage with this boat is the weight but look what you gain: stability, alot of storage and great handling in waves and swells. The Manta is ideal for camping and has no problem handling moderate ocean swells and wind. Highly recommended!
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11-15-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Manta is long and sleek and the "Manta wings" (bow planes) are only large enough to provide the desired functionality without being too obtrusive - and, YES, they do work!

There is an inordinate amount of storage below the front and rear Scupper Pro type hatches. I'm sure you could put all your scuba gear and a weeks worth of camping gear below with ease! I was even able to get my fully outfitted tank/bc/reg unit into the rear hatch, although I did have to tuck the hoses and console in a bit to make it easier.

The Manta is as fast as it looks... I was moving along more than 10 feet with each light paddle stroke I made! I took the Manta out around the outer jetty at Channel Islands Harbor on a rough and windy day. The nearly three foot chop slowed the boat considerably but I felt so comfortable with the seaworthiness of the boat that it didn't bother me at all to be out there in only shorts and a T-shirt in 62 degree water temperature. I was also glad to note that the Manta did not exhibit a leeward helm characteristic (bow blowing downwind in a crosswind) that I have seen in so many other longer kayaks.

I turned the Manta toward the beach and tried my hand at catching about a dozen small waves with it. OK, so it is too long to actually make any maneuvers on the wave front, but, it is the first kayak I ever surfed on which you could catch even a small wave LONG before it ever crested or broke. The Manta "wings" helped to keep the pointed bow from diving and the Manta handled much better than expected in a broach (washing in sideways on the wave).

Did I mention how stable this kayak is? I think I leaned this kayak over farther than any other kayak to date without feeling like it was going to go over on me! Also, this kayak simply feels sturdy and durable. OK, so that is probably due to the 70+ pounds it weighs, but it is still impressive. I'm looking forward to getting a coaming for mine and trying sit-inside winter paddling for the first time!

Note: I would have subtracted a point for two possible reasons: It is on the heavy side for a single-seater, and the hatches are not as easy to access as a scuba diver as, say, the Scupper Pro, But...., there is just too much else I like about it, especially for the larger paddler. The weight isn't that bad for the 16 foot length of the Manta and the speed is excellent!. And, even though you have to reach for them, those hatches cover more cargo space than any diver is likely to ever need, so I have to give it a solid 10!

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08-20-2000
Submitted by: Big OakSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Looks like OK struck a winner for the larger paddler .I'm 300# and 6'2" and love the way this kayak glides .It leans good and is super stable . I've had it for 3 months now and have been using it under different conditions.The best comfort in seating for this yak is the Surf-to Summit tallback for sure.I was lucky this yak went into production right when I was doing demos.Great boat for exploring the springs as well as using in the Gulf here in Fl!
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08-08-2000
Submitted by: Andy ShirkSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Positively the best kayak for a big man. I run 6'5" and 300 lbs. and wouldn't be able to enjoy kayaking as much without this great yak. Tracks great and is an extra stable platform for fishing/diving. Plenty of capacity for long distance touring, too. If you're a big person there is no better kayak made!
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