My interest in kayaking is fairly recent. My initial foray into the pastime was with an inflatable Intex Challenger K1 (the original Green Hornet), which served me well for a couple of years and still gets an occasional outing. When it was time to upgrade to a hard shell kayak I was faced with a daunting choice before finally settling upon a Quest 10 by the Canadian company, Riot Kayaks.
I was after something that was reasonably priced, well made, roomy, stable, comfortable with adequate storage compartments, space for my camera gear, and brightly coloured. The latter feature was mainly for safety, as Lake Burley Griffin is home to all manner of craft such as sailing boats, stand-up-paddle boards, commercial tour operators, rowing sculls and dragon boats to name a few. And of course, kayaks. Thankfully not all at once, but the thought of being cut in half by a rowing eight is not a pleasant one. Anyhow the Riot ticked all the boxes. And at just 15kg it is light enough to get on and off the car's roof racks on my own.
I've used it about 100 times since January (it's my exercise machine) and it has performed admirably. On the water it's quite versatile for a short (3m/10ft) boat. Thanks to is multi-chine hull and Greenland bow it maintains course quite well and turns and leans effortlessly, though if the wind picks up and the waves build it can become a bit of a challenge, but that's part of the fun. Nevertheless, in relatively calm waters it is very enjoyable and I can maintain a relaxing 4-6kmr + with little effort. As I like to take a camera and photograph everything from sunrises to rowers and sailing boats I was surprised at how stable it is. The last thing I want is to capsize and watch my camera and lenses sink out of sight.
The Riot Quest 10 is made from rotomolded polyethylene by Riot's Cross-Max process. It combines by-design reinforcement with the natural mechanical qualities of HDPE to provide the right balance between stiffness, weight, durability, and quality of finish. The Quest 10 has a number of features that make it a worthwhile purchase (or gift, in my case :)). It has a roomy cockpit, molded thigh braces and adjustable foot pegs, a comfortable padded seat with adjustable back rest, and a storage net in the foot-well for personal items. There is a foam buoyancy pad in the bow, and a sealed watertight rear storage compartment so the craft will float if capsized. It's rated at 148kgs. I weigh 80kgs so there is ample reserve for gear and supplies. There are two drain plugs to get rid of any water at the end of a day's paddling. Another nice touch is a flush mounted fishing rod holder. Carry handles and deck rigging finish off the package.
It is quite possible to spend $thousands on kayaks if you have the means and inclination but for a beginner like me, the Riot Quest 10 has been a quality introduction to the sport and I would recommend it to anyone. Mine was $570 from C-Kayak Canberra (in January this year) and it came with a free paddle.
Having lived in Canberra for decades, I've only recently discovered the joys of kayaking. My craft of choice, the trusty Green Hornet (in fact a "Quest 10" manufactured by Canadian company, Riot) provides an ideal platform to photograph lake landscapes, the occasional event on the water and other items of interest.