Zet Raptor

Zet are relatively new to the UK market but have gathered a loyal band of supporters. The Zet Raptor in particular has been getting quite a lot of attention since it was released.

Zet are based in the Czech Republic and are a technical and design collaboration of the production engineer/kayak producer Zelezny, extreme kayaker Honza Lasko and the Czech whitewater slalom paddler Viktor Legat.

Specification:

Length: 255cm, 8′
Width: 68cm, 27″
Volume: 303l, 80gal
Weight Range: 65-100kg, 120-220lbs
Kayak Weight: 19kg, 42lbs

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Features:

4 year warranty
Minimum number of bolts and holes in the kayak
Unique foam holder
Light and functional seat made from a ‘hybrid material’
Stable hull
Original and progressive design

On first look the Raptor looks quite basic, and although the outfitting isn’t as whizz bang as the offerings from Liquid Logic, Dagger et al it is both very easy to set up and it works. The plastic described as a “unique” foam holder in the blurb is part of the plastic that would normally be cut away when the cockpit is prepped but Zet have used this to create a system that holds the front foam pillar in place without having to introduce any additional parts (and therefore weight). It’s a pretty good idea that works but it does look rather agricultural. Where the Raptor really stands out is in the design/shape of the hull. Zet have produced a big water boat that still retains high levels of manoeuvrability and forward speed. This probably explains why so many slalom paddlers are using Raptors when they are not in their composite slalom boats.

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Through the use of “Zelezny Technology” Zet have made the Raptor both strong and light. Plastic has been directed away from low risk areas of the kayak to those areas that are more prone to direct hits and harsh punishment. I have repaired a Zet that had suffered a fair old beating and can say that the plastic was quite thin on the side wall just behind the cockpit and took a fair bit of work to weld.

The outfitting appears quite basic, but it is easy to set up and is comfortable. There is also little to go wrong. Once set up the outfitting is nice and comfortable and allows you to get a good feel for how the boat is performing/acting. Therefore it does its job well.

Primary and secondary stability is good and even when charging on edge the Raptor feels relatively stable and is easy to roll. The Raptor likes big water and feels really nice when running whitewater and falls. The hull performs really well. The boat feels responsive and tracks well, Zet seem to have the balance about right.

5 thoughts on “Zet Raptor”

  1. Zet UK and Canoe and Kayak mag website both state paddler weight as 65-120kg; as someone who has paddled at Raptor at 93kg I found it had more than enough volume to float me through stuff my Medium Burn would have struggled with (Pyranha state that the upper weight limit of a paddler for this boat would be around 105kg). So I would say that the 100kg upper weight limit for the Raptor is wrong – even though that figure is cited on the main Zet website.

    Interestingly, the specs for the Raptor and the Large Burn are almost identical; however, whereas in the L Burn I feel like Im sitting in a bath tub, the Raptor is a really good fit, without any real adjustment to the outfitting.

    I know you have to take some of the specs, particularly paddler weight ranges, that manufacturers cite with a pinch of salt, but the Raptor really is capable of meeting the needs of boaters in the 90kg region, which together with gear, would be easily be around 100kg.

    Coming from years of paddling h3-Burns and loving the responsiveness of their flat hulls and sharp rails, I really liked the Raptor, despite it being a semi-displacement hull – something I had not particularly liked in a boat’s design.

    1. I know, I’m in the sub 100kg bracket (just). You make a good point, the ranges are only recommendations and if you are to buy a boat it is best to try a couple of different sizes and match it to your paddling style.

  2. Before I paddled the Raptor, I had assumed from reading the specs that I might be too heavy for it; my experience was that this was simply not so. I now take boat specs, esp paddler’s weight ranges, with a large pinch of salt!

    1. veloc exactly the same exept smaller same hull same outfitting same shape all over exept smaller proportions

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