Review: Ocean Kayak Tetra 12

A smaller sit-on-top with a low profile design

2016-06-08-18-29-44-3

L: 12'1"; W: 28"; 53 LBS.; Rotomolded Polyethylene. $850, OCEANKAYAK.COM

Ocean Kayak has a long history in the sit-on-top arena, going back to 1971. Many people's first kayaking experiences were on Ocean Kayak Scuppers, the first mass-produced rotomolded SOT made popular at beach resorts all around the world.

If I had any previous complaints about the Ocean Kayak line, is was that their boats came it two categories; large, and huge. The Tetra 12 is neither. It's a nice, smaller-sized kayak, which means it's lighter, and lighter is better.

The construction is typical Ocean Kayak, which is to say it's robust. The molding is clean and there's no evidence of deformities or molding mistakes, and the hull is true. The front hatch is a large oval, featuring a super-dry gasketed hatch borrowed from sister company Old Town kayaks. It opens with a twist from a lever in the center of the hatch. Water testing revealed no leakage.

The seat is simple and nice; my only complaint is that it is not easily removed. It snaps into place on the bottom and the webbing terminates in a captive buckle. Yes, you could remove the seat, but you have to basically disassemble it. Now that can be a good thing if you're the forgetful sort, or it can be a bad thing because it leaves the seat exposed to UV rays and critters who like to chew on seats. It happens.

Performance-wise, the Tetra 12 is a low-profile boat that doesn't catch the wind, and moves through the water quite nicely. We took it out on a day with an occasional gust and the Tetra 12 per- formed admirably. One of the smaller paddlers liked it better than the longer boats, feeling it was easier to paddle. I felt like my 200 pounds was weighing it down a little too much, but then I looked over the side and there was plenty of freeboard—it was the slope from the top of the cockpit to the water that made Tetra seem shallower than it actually is.

The Tetra 12 is $850 retail, but a quick Google search shows the "street price" to be as much as a hundred dollars lower. The Tetra 12 is a good value at $850, so any discount above that is a bonus. It can be upgraded to an angler model if you want to paddle with the fishes.

 

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