Paddling the Ride 115 with Some New Toys

I recently had the chance to take out my Ride 115 on the Colorado River (Little Webberville, Texas). It’s always a pleasure to take this kayak out, I truly love it. First off, at only 11.5’, it doesn’t stick out the back of my truck far enough to need a bed extender, which makes it a lot more practical for me personally. And I truly don’t find too much of a difference between paddling this and its big brother, the Ride 135. Sure, I might lose a little speed and it might not track quite as well, but it is negligible and not enough for me to take notice. It’s stable enough for me stand in easily, paddles plenty fast and tracks well, plus it can handle my 245 lbs. and any amount of gear I want to take with no problems whatsoever.

As it’s often said, the motor of the kayak is the paddle. Some people choose to skimp in regards to this item, but my recommendation is to spend as much as you can afford. For me, I’m very happy with the Camano FG (Fiberglass) paddle. It’s very light for times when I’m paddling long distances and has plenty of rigidity in the blades so I’m not wasting energy. I would recommend this blade to anybody!

For my recent birthday, my family got me some new toys and I got to put them the test for the first time on this outing. The first of which was the Malone Express Scupper Cart, which I have decided is a must-have! I don’t know how I made it so long without one. It’s easy to use and I can take all my gear in one trip. In the event I get another sit on top, it will adjust to fit nearly any kayak.  And most importantly, it has foam filled tires so I don’t have to worry about flats.

The next item I got that has made life a lot more comfortable is the Skwoosh Classic Kayak Cushion. At less than $50, this is money well spent if you find yourself getting sore after a short time in your kayak seat. Let’s face it, the most important part of any kayak seat is the support it provides, but a close second is some cushioning to sit on. The gel in this is great and makes for a more comfortable paddling.

Lastly, I got to use the Eco Extreme Speaker for the first time. Not only does it do a great job of keeping my cell phone dry, but puts out a decent amount of volume via Pandora or whatever player you choose to use. The fact that the unit floats is a major plus in the event that you knock it out of the boat.

This particular day was right after a cold front blew in, so the fishing was non-existent. This allowed me to fully appreciate my surroundings with its abundant wildlife and crystal clear water (at least on this day). I would always prefer to be catching fish one after another, but I’ve learned over time that nature sometimes pitches a shutout…..AND a bad day of fishing is far better than a good day of working!
Scott @ACK Austin

Product Review: 2012 Wilderness Systems Ride 135

Note: Thanks to ACK customer and kayak angler Paul Davis, President – Palmetto Kayak Fishing, for a great product review and allowing us to republish and share with our readers.

The redesigned 2012 Wilderness Systems Ride 135 delivers a remarkable fishing platform in a well thought out package. Mine came in on Tuesday from Austin Canoe & Kayak and I spent the afternoon rigging it up for fishing. I added a few basic items like an anchor trolley, Scotty mount rod holders, fish finder, custom transducer arm and some homemade Slidetrax accessory plates. Rigging a new kayak from the ground up is one of my favorite hobbies and each time I seem to find a better way to do a few things.

The center hatch was damaged during shipping, but Austin Canoe & Kayak took care of it immediately. Thirty minutes after the call, I had a FedEx tracking number and the new hatch was on its way. The sense of urgency that that the ACK customer service reps took with this issue was impeccable. Accidents happen – it’s all about how a company responds to a problem. I’ll be the first to say that ACK embodies true customer service.

Other companies/industries in our weak economy should definitely take note. In the meantime, I “borrowed” the center hatch from my girlfriend’s Tarpon 140 and replaced my broken unit with it until the new one is delivered.

On Wednesday I loaded up the Ride and took it out to a local pond for the first test paddle. I was amazed – literally amazed by how well this kayak performed. I’m 6’8”, 240lbs and not only is the 2012 Ride 135 incredibly comfortable, there is room to spare. It is dry, gets up to speed quite easily and tracks well. For its large stature, it is surprisingly easy to paddle and control. So well in fact, that I don’t think it should be categorized as just another “big guy’s kayak”. I have no doubt that my much smaller girlfriend could paddle this yak with ease. In addition, the fly fishing crowd is probably going to appreciate a lot of the styling cues that this yak has to offer.

Granted, the new Ride 135 is a little on the heavy side but so are the majority of other fishing kayaks in this class.  When loading the kayak on the roof rack or carting it down to the water using my Bulletproof DIY Cart, I don’t notice any significant weight difference from that of my previous big man’s fishing kayak that the Ride 135 is replacing.

The seating system coupled with the floor layout is genius. In other kayaks I have owned, I run into a common problem – there never seems to be enough legroom for me from the seat to the foot pegs. I have historically had to modify the design of the foot pegs to make my legs more comfortable, but the Ride’s configuration worked perfectly right out of the box.

The amount of flat floor space on the deck of the new Ride 135 just begs the kayak angler to stand up and fish. Combine this feature with the super stable pontoon-style hull design and a whole new standard in fishing kayaks is born. Even with the wind blowing at a good clip, I wasn’t even remotely concerned about stability while standing for the first time. Transitioning from a standing position back into the seat – a topic that is rarely discussed yet is equally as important- was effortless.

Another nice touch is the sliding seat system. The robust seat is very comfortable and has multiple adjustment points that allow for a tailored fit. Back support is also more than sufficient. Changing the position of the seat works much like a manually adjustable seat in a car and is surprisingly smooth. This arrangement allows the paddler to adjust his weight over the deck of the kayak, giving the user control over how the yak sits in the water. I tend to carry quite a bit of gear in my kayak crate so having this option will be a welcomed change when I am out fishing.  It is also worthy to note that the seat can be removed completely which opens up a lot of doors for custom configurations. Given the stability of this kayak, an aftermarket “high seat” would be very feasible.

So in a nutshell, I couldn’t be more pleased with the new 2012 Ride 135. A lot more details and how-to rigging ideas coming soon!

– Paul

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