Review of Riot Boogie Surf Kayak
I still own a Riot Boogie in lime green. It is a rigid polyethylene surf kayak. I surfed this kayak in a variety of Lake Michigan surf conditions from very mild 1 1/2 foot waves, to monster 12 foot waves with thirty knot winds.
Riot Boogie Stats:
Weight: 35 lbs
Cockpit Dimensions: 32″ x 17″
Volume: 50 US gallons
tri fin set up, (fins not included with new boat purchase)
C1 Style Thigh grips.
molded end toggles for rescues
Conditions under which kayak was tested
Lake Michigan Surf, short period swell with high wind break outs. Highest waves 12 feet, lowest foot and a half.
When and how tested
I first tested the Riot Boogie on Lake Michigan summer 2005. Demo from Riverside Kayak Connection. Purchased and surfed for over a year in spring, summer, fall, and winter surf conditions. This was the first surf specific craft that I tried.
Me-Height/Weight: 5’7”/175 lbs
Fit and Finish of the Kayak
The Riot Boogie is probably one of the nicest surf kayaks I’ve paddled from an outfitting perspective. It has keepers style foot braces, c1 thigh straps, and a decent backband. It also has a drainplug from the factory. It also has nice end toggles with rubber molded hand grips. Mega should take note of these simple, but value added refinements. I didn’t have to spend a dime on outfitting this kayak. Versus the sixty dollars in foam for a Maverick, rope, and drainplug kit. I’ve heard from other surfers that this is standard for all surf boats. I guess I’m not sure why.
When flat the kayak is very stable. The rails on this particular surf kayak are not so sharp that a capsize is imminent when edged. I found this to be a very useful trait when learning to kayak surf.
Speed and Maneuverability
This kayak seemed to have decent hull speed and bow rocker for take offs. I could perform some nearly suicidal take offs. The seat position is higher than a white water boat which puts the kayaker’s weight a little more forward for take off. This works to the kayak’s advantage. The maneuverability was excellent, I could carve very sharp bottom turns, and was beginning to get a few top turns with the boogie. The tri-fin set up allowed me to get some great days in very big waves.
I found this kayak to have excellent performance for an inexpensive surf specific craft. It has adequate hull speed, and sharp enough rails to grab green water. It is not a high performance carving machine like a composite Mega Neutron, or a Valley Rush, but it is forgiving and kind where needed for those trying to learn their way in the surf. With correct wave selection and takeoff you can really get some sweet rides in this kayak. The tail could probably use a little more volume for take off, and to hang in the pocket.
I would highly recommend this kayak to the occasional or beginner kayak surfer. It is fast enough to catch swift moving Great Lakes surf, and very easy to roll, great fun to carve turns, and has sufficient volume for a paddler up to 200 pounds.