Gear of the Year: Kayaks

Wave Sport Project

May 15, 2006
Outside Magazine
Wave Sport Project

Wave Sport Project    Photo: Mark Wiens

Play Station
Last year, Wave Sport's designers must have taken the same trip through the wind tunnel that Lamborghini techs made recently. Gone are the rococo flourishes and hard angles, replaced by spare, fluid lines. But where the Project's predecessor, the ZG, allowed comfort and speed to compromise performance, this year's boat is a pure aerial machine. It's fast for its short six-foot-one-inch length and rockered to generate a big first bounce down a wave—the first step toward cutting-edge combo moves.

Wave Sport Project (45,52 & 62 gal) $999
1. When you're surfing, a flat hull is fast, while the rocker provides lift. The Project incorporates rocker at each end—like a twin-tip ski—to give you the best of both worlds. The design maximizes speed with a long flat surface, then converts velocity into lift to send you flying.

2. The drop chines—nautical-speak for edges—employ a subtle ridge ringing the hull to lay down a carpet of ball-bearing-like bubbles under the hull. You'll feel like you're surfing an oil slick. With a 360-degree release point, you're cleared for takeoff no matter which way you're facing.

3. Wave Sport's FAT 4.0 outfitting system features ratcheting backband, adjustable thigh hooks, molded hip pads, and closed-cell-foam risers to keep you in a snug, knees-up position. In flatwater, you should be able to balance on edge, and in rapids spin on a wave by turning your head.

4. Looping—doing an aerial somersault—requires enough forward volume to launch your boat, buried deep in the water, clear into the air. Though a lot of boats can loop, the Project's bow forms an evenly tapered wedge to give you aim and consistency.

5. Away from the big waves, you can still throw down. The Project's short, stubby ends and tapered shape make it easy to cartwheel and stall in flatwater. Lean, clean cartwheels—initiated by thrusting your elbow to the stern—are a great way to hone balance and rhythm.

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