Part 1: One year and 3,400 miles with my Ride 115
I was lucky enough last year to be able to purchase one of the first runs of the new Ride 115’s hot off the presses. After a few months in the kayak I wrote this review (before I was a WS Pr0-team member): A River Guides First Impression of the Ride 115
After fishing from the Ride 115 extensively and using it in my Guided Kayak Fishing Classes, I want to revisit the topic and give you the down and dirty on this incredible fishing machine. I have traversed hundreds of miles of river in this boat and lugged it 3,400 miles to kayak fish the Devils River in Texas. I now feel a certain “zen” with this boat… as if we are now one with the kayak fishing universe. I could write a book about this boat but I’m going to spare you the oozing feel good details. This is the first in a multi-part series on the Ride 115. Today I’m going to break down the stability factor. Get ready for a great Ride!.. pun intended!
Stability is an important factor in kayak fishing. Knowing you have a stable platform under you enables you to fish confidently and traverse those pesky river obstacles such as small rapids, ledge rock, strainers and the occasional fishing buddy who insists on trying to beat you to every good looking spot on the river. Most importantly, the stand up stability offered by the Ride 115 will allow you to stand and sight cast to fish and visible structure in the low clear river water of summer. How many times have you floated over a good piece of water or big fish because you just could not see what was coming?
Is this thing stable? That’s the number one question I get asked by would be Ride 115 converts. Lets just say even this big boy at 230 lbs can stand in the boat. You will feel a little wobbly when you first stand but the initial stability is very forgiving. Most guys I know are able to stand from the first day in the boat and it only gets easier from there. If you put most of your weight on one foot while standing you will feel the secondary stability kick in on this boat and it is solid! Lets just say you don’t have to be overly athletic or a tight rope walker to stand in the Ride 115! This year Wilderness has introduced the new “AirPro Advanced Elevated Seat” making it even easier to get to the standing position. This is a god send for us middle aged guys with questionable knee cartilage! Ha!
For your viewing pleasure here is a brief video interlude of Chad Hoover standing in the Ride 115
Generally stability when in the sitting position is more than adequate for any fishing applications. You can sit side saddle with ease while on the water to access gear in your tank well. The stability will also allow you to traverse easy rapids with confidence. Nothing highlights this more than a rapid that I ran while on a kayak fishing trip to Texas. I was running a class III with a series of three drops. The first two went very well but I caught a large round boulder on the last drop at high speed. The boulder lifted the right side of the kayak at an angle approaching 90 degrees. Needless to say, I slid out of the Kayak and into the river. The Ride 115 actually righted itself and continued down river. A lot of boats would have flipped at that extreme angle. Like any kayak, the Ride 115 can be flipped but it will take a effort to make that happen!
Here’s a little video of me traversing a class III rapid (successfully this time), standing, and fishing in the Ride 115
Overall I’ve found the Ride 115 to have more than enough stability for both siting and standing fishing applications. Students who have paddled the Ride 115 during my Guided Kayak Fishing Classes have commented on it’s rock solid stability. I have found that this stability helps first time kayak anglers gain confidence quickly in the Ride 115 so that they can focus on catching fish instead of worrying about tipping over. If your looking for a small maneuverable kayak with rock solid stand up stability the Ride 115 should be at the top of your list.