I had the pleasure of being the first person (probably) in the UK to paddle the new Wavesport Recon. I had seen the boat a couple of weeks ago and had arranged to hook up with Tom at the Tees Barrage for an evening paddle. The Tees Barrage has always been a great place for me to check out boats as its been my local paddle spot since the day it opened way back in the last century.
The boat I paddled is a Wavesport Recon 83 and is a final prototype, so apart from the quality of the plastic finish in a couple of areas it is the same as the final production model.
Getting the boat setup was easy, I added a couple of shims to the hip pads and raised the front end of the seat. The boat had a load of different outfitting extras that included shims for the hip pads, an additional seat pad to raise the entire seat and various other shims and blocks to customise the full plate footrest.
In the past I had a Riot Glide with a surf seat that had a seat with a raised front end. I really liked this and was able to get a very similar feeling in the Recon. The rubber bands that retain the footrest bolts (to prevent loss) were a little fiddly and did slow me down a little when I was adjusting the footrest. Not a big deal at all and I still think they are a good idea, as is having bright yellow bolts. On the negative side I’m not a big fan of using white for the outfitting exteriors and on a personal level I would prefer black or dark grey, which to be honest is a little picky. Overall I think the outfitting is great, I was able to get setup in a new boat in the carpark within around 5-10 mins.
I’m 6ft 1″ or 2″ on a good day, with size 10 (UK) feet. During the paddle I was wearing a pair of Water Tennies (UK 10.5s). The boat was setup with the seat bang in middle and I found that I had huge amounts of room for my feet and loads more scope to push the footrest forward if I desired.
On paper I should really be in the 93 however the boat sat really well with my 210lb bulk (+ kit), this did suprise me and in many of the the images that were taken you can see me looking back at the stern of the boat. I was expecting it to be under water and to find my self trying to wrestle the boat down the whitewater course. In fact the Recon was super balanced, it just looked right and definitely felt right.
From the start I found the boat incredibly fast, much faster than any other creek boat that I have paddled recently. It turns incredibly well and you can really carve the boat into eddies thanks to the really strong edges that sit below the water line.
A couple of times during my paddle I tried to lean the wrong way and attempted to catch an edge each time without success. I found that the boat handled well and was lovely to paddle. If I gave it some beans the boat really came alive. This reminded me more of a play boat, which for me is a great plus. There were a couple of times this evening that it just whipped into an eddy with very little input from its pilot.
I’ve paddled a hell of a lot of boats over the last 25 years and the Recon has to be one of the few that have really left a lasting impression (even after such a short paddle). The best way I was able to describe the Wavesport Recon this evening is that it is really FUN to paddle. I wish the Recon was sat in my garage right now as I would definitely be out again with it at first light.