The Toro came hot on the heels of the successful Raptor and Director kayaks. Aimed at a wide cross section of paddlers and water conditions, the Toro promised stability with a racing pedigree. The boat I have had for review for the last few months was kindly supplied by North East Kayaks and Paddles.
The backrest is one of the best I have used – it’s a great shape with a good balance of support and give. The seat itself is pretty comfy although it doesn’t look like it would be. Rather than being plastic it’s made from closed cell foam that has a textured surface that helps your backside stay put and the fact that it is foam also has the advantage of being nice and warm. Once set up, the outfitting comfortable and allows you to get a good feel for how the boat is performing/acting and therefore it does its job well. It is really important to try the outfitting out and spend some time with it, rather than dismissing it as being too primitive.
On this particular boat a previous user must have knocked one of the foam pillar retainer watcha-cha-me-bobs out of place. A couple of zip ties took care of it.
What I have found with the Toro is that the rails used to adjust the reach of the footrest are quite short. I’m 6ft 2 with not the longest of legs (32″ inseam) but found myself with the footrest rails set almost at the end of their reach – I had one bolt hole spare! If I were much taller or had a longer inseam then the footrest system as it is would not accommodate me. A couple of guys I know who are much taller are relying solely on some foam for a footrest.
On the water the hull felt really stable, probably one of the best hulls I have tried for some time and can understand why so many people like them. It has a good amount of rocker, edges in all the right places and none in the wrong places, resulting in a fast boat that loves to be driven.
Despite being 200lbs (near the top end of the suggested weight range), geared up the boat sat nicely in the water. The ‘from the factory’ fore/aft seating position was spot on. The Toro has more rocker than the other kayaks in the Zet range, but not too much and as a result the Toro does boof pretty well.
Speed is pretty good, enough to give the slalom boys and girls a run for their money. I am sure that we’ll see plenty of Toros gracing the podium of a number of boater cross events this year.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with the Zet Toro. However after spending many hours in the boat and the outfitting being simple/effective, I couldn’t get my seating position the way I wanted. I prefer my knees to be raised slightly higher, which is not possible due to the thickness of the seat or the profile of the deck depending on the way you look at it. This is a personal preference and would be the only thing stopping me from getting a Toro.
Weight range 65-95kg