This review is from the perspective of an intermediate paddler and represents the best outline of performance that I can offer based on 2 weeks paddling grade 4 rivers in Austria and 2 weeks play boating and surfing. It also should be remembered that I personally, love this boat.

Hull:

This boat spins! It’s really loose but forgiving enough to make spinning easy even in bouncy holes. On a wave, it’s fast and carves well, though it doesn’t feel as positive as the Riot boats. However, it’s much easier to correct and quicker to respond to changes in edge. It’s real attribute though for those that know what they’re doing, has to be the bounce. I have no ability in terms of aerial moves, but know a few people who have been in my boat that know what they’re doing. Smiles all round seem to be the response. Apparently it’s got loads of spring for loops etc.

Edges:

The edges on the ZG provide good surfing response, but are not as hard as other boats on the market. From the point of view of surfing a river wave, I’ve noticed little difference except a slight loss in positive control for carving, but this is more than made up for me, by the ease of handling. This has inevitable positive points for those wanting to use the boat for river running as well as playing. On an ocean wave however, the boat does tend to want to spin rather than carve, although, its preferred method of moving seems to be to bounce, so if you’re looking for air blunts, this boat would seem to be a good starting point.

Speed:

Surprisingly good for a short boat but not the fastest on the flat. I’ve not had any trouble making lines, ferrygliding or with downstream tracking but I wouldn’t recommend this for surf due to the fact that it’s incredibly slow to paddle out past the dump zone.

Outfitting:

This is incredible. It’s like sitting in an armchair. Wavesport have really outdone themselves here. Everyone that has been in the boat has commented on how comfortable it is. The seat is padded and really great for long river runs, the thigh braces are fully adjustable forwards, backwards and inwards and are also padded and covered with nice soft squashy fabric – luxury. The back band is ratcheted from the front and also padded. Not only does it not ride down or up during use, but there are also no bruises involved. Finally, the foot block comes pre-moulded with additional pieces to add rather than pieces that can be cut away. Personally, I put the block straight in and it fitted. No adjustment needed. Time to individually adjust fittings – approx 10minutes at the most. I can’t recommend these fittings enough and there’s plenty of foot room (I’m 5 foot 10 with size 6 feet).

Having paddled a fair few boats over the last couple of years, I have to say that this suits me by far the best. It seems to offer the best of all worlds for an intermediate looking to progress. It’s forgiving and stable, but has a fast, loose hull and loads of bounce. It’s marketed as a play boat, but I spent 2 weeks paddling on grade 3 and 4 water in Austria without finding out why the boat is not also advertised for rivers. The rocker on the front made punching holes and eddylines very comfortable, and the volume in the tail provides a stable support, which led to few tailing episodes. Surprisingly though, this is one of the easiest boats to intentionally tail squirt on eddylines that I’ve paddled. It boofs easily (when you have time to remember how) and rolls easily when it all goes pear shaped. It’s only potential problem, however, is that its loose hull tends to result in unintentional eddying out if you’re not careful. This is quickly corrected once you’ve got used to it, but a little disarming at first. There’s no problem with speed for making lines and to be honest, I found it a very confident boat to paddle.

Overall a great boat. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend it for would be ocean surf, but that’s because I like to carve, and this boat likes to spin and bounce. Plus, for me, it’s a nightmare to paddle out.

Teri Taylor