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.
Length: 255cm, 8′
Width: 68cm, 27″
Volume: 303l, 80gal
Weight Range: 65-100kg, 120-220lbs
Kayak Weight: 19kg, 42lbs
4 year warranty
Minimum number of bolts and holes in the kayak
Unique foam holder
Light and functional seat made from a ‘hybrid material’
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.
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.