By Peter Tranter
We all like attention to detail in whatever we buy or experience – it reaffirms a level of trust between the seller and buyer. That’s exactly the feeling I felt when handed Tootega’s new Kinetic sit-on-top kayak – it oozes craftsmanship.
So on a beautiful bright sunny morning we launched into the Great Ouse at Ely for a few hours of fun and to put the Kinetic through its paces. This type of slow moving river is one of the natural environments for Tootega’s new sit-on-top, as it is primarily designed for bridging the gap between playing on the beach and touring on the river.
For touring, storage space is essential and the Kinetic has it in spades for a 10-foot long kayak. The bow hatch uses a Kajaksport seal cover to keep it secure, whist the screw top mid hatch is conveniently located close to the seat for cameras, phones etc. The stern tank well is more than large enough to carry a dry bag and completes the Kinetic’s outstanding ability to carry all your gear. The well also carries one of those details we mentioned in the opening paragraph – an embossed Kinetic logo. For capabilities it’s not needed in the slightest but it shows a certain pride and loving care for the product.
One item that does certainly affect the boat’s capabilities is the retractable skeg. Located again very conveniently in front of the seating area, you give the string a little pull and hey presto – more tracking than you care to mention and it was pretty good in the first place. Another little pull retracts the skeg back into place within the hull – it’s a beautiful and well designed answer to having to stretch to the rear of the boat to lower the skeg and requires no effort whatsoever.
The benefits of the skeg are obvious with the Kinetic and it tracks beautifully when deployed. Stability is also very important particularly with a sit-on-top as your centre of gravity is higher than a regular cockpit kayak. It’s easy to lean the Kinetic right onto its rail and still stay dry and we regularly sat side saddle with ease. The ultimate examination of its stability is of course is to stand up and the Kinetic passed with flying colours.
The stability gives the kinetic a very nice balance between manoeuvrability and tracking resulting in a very easy going kayak that is controlled with the minimum fuss and paddle strokes.
Of considerable help with all of this is the seating position, that places the kayaker from seat to footrest firmly in the middle of the boat and therefore able to control without compromise. The seating area is in a slightly elevated position, which helps to keep the seat area dry.
Which brings me back to where we started: attention to detail. Everything has been designed from scratch with the new hybrid ‘c’ hull forming the basis of the design and a well though out solid feel to the Kinetic, complimented by the custom built handles, fittings and other little flourishes.
In conclusion we are highly impressed with the build quality, craftsmanship and superb attention to detail – the Tootega Kinetic elevates the sit-on-top kayak to a whole new level and at a very affordable price when considering its UK heritage and very generous lifetime warranty.
Length: 310cm / 10.0ft
Width: 74cm / 29″
Weight: 22kg / 48lb
Max load: 140kg / 310lb
Hull: Hybrid concave
Features: Fully adjustable skeg system 24cm Kajaksport hatch Adjustable footrests 15cm day hatch New Hybrid ‘C’ hull-form Large rear tank-well.