The Ride series of kayaks by Wilderness Systems has recently won Canoe & Kayak’s 2012 Fishing Kayak of the Year award.
With such an accolade, I decided to ask Brad Dicker, our kayak fishing guru, to take it through its paces and test out its standing capabilities.
First impressions of the Ride 115 is that it ticks most of the boxes of the kayak fishing criteria. I’ve been anxious to test the Ride, so it’s off with the bubble wrap and onto the roof of the car.
The Ride’s big feature is its ability to accommodate stand-up fishing. The elevated position essentially makes casting easier and more accurate.
The Ride also possesses a massive load-baring capacity of 227kg. You can take plenty of provisions on your next fishing expedition.
This 3.5m kayak is quite heavy, coming in at 35kg, and I struggled to unload it by myself. However, once on the water I quickly recognised that the weight gain is a trade-off for a robust stable platform.
The Ride’s stability is due to the pontoon-type hull design, which is becoming popular in the new generation of stand-up kayaks. The Ride is definitely not flimsy!
This solid kayak is fitted with the Wilderness Systems usual features, like large Orbix bow hatch, midship hatch, sliding Freedom Elite Seating, and replaceable keel skid plate. It also comes with a lifetime warranty on the hull.
On the test day, there was a 10-15 knot breeze and the usual boat traffic but the ride was very dry even though there weren’t any scupper plugs in.
Being a fan of the Tarpon models, I found the ride slower through the water, although it is a small compromise for the superior stability. Even with the pontoon-style hull, the Ride tracked well into a blustery head wind.
The seating was very comfortable in paddling position. Everything was easily accessible including the storage behind the seat, which could easily fit a couple of tackle boxes. The kayak has a slide trax seating system that enables you to slide the seat right back so you can stand up in a centred position on the flat reinforced platform.
One of the features of The Wilderness Systems unique midship hatch is that it provides in-hull rod storage from a seated position.
Although the ride is different to what I have been paddling of late, by the end of the test I felt right at home.
This is one serious fishing kayak and would make a great fishing platform for any angler. The only down side is one person will struggle loading and unloading it without loading aids, such as a trolley and load bar on roof racks.
It’s not the fastest kayak on the water either but that’s the compromise for sturdiness and stability that will definitely be of benefit to the bigger guys.
Decking the Ride out with a few rod holders on the flush mount trax system, an anchor system and a sounder would make this rig complete!
The Wilderness Systems Ride 115 retails for $1,249. An angler version is available for an extra $150 that includes two rear flush rod holders, one Scotty adjustable rod holder, anchor kit and a paddle/rod leash.
For Wilderness Systems dealers in Australia, visit www.wildernesssystems.com.au
|Max Load Capacity:||227kg|
Freedom Elite seating system; recessed no-snag deck fittings; Orbix bow and midship hatches; cup holder with drain; flat-mount deck/console surfaces; drain plug; self-bailing scupper holes; skid plate; keepers foot brace system; slide trax accessory system; rudder ready; tankwell with bungee; and, lifetime hull warranty.Reads: 1738