Riot Edge 13
L: 13'; W: 25"; 59 lbs.
Think of the Edge as a sports car at a compact price. It responded to every stroke, accelerating smoothly, turning easily and, with the help of a drop-down skeg, racing in a straight line. But performance comes with compromises. The Edge possesses little storage room, the seat tended to shift as we paddled and was hard to adjust on the water, and even small waves soaked us. The shortest boat in the test with a low-profile deck, the Edge received more than a few comparisons to a whitewater kayak, with nimble lines to navigate narrow channels and a low deck height appealing to smaller (shorter-armed) paddlers. However, the low volume limits the available space in the two storage hatches. There's just enough room for light packers to squeeze in their overnight kit. The bow nose's low sweep meant small waves washed the deck and spilled into the cockpit on one windy crossing--and the cockpit's extra wide opening and rounded combing edge didn't make skirt-sealing easy. No matter, you just put your head down and paddle harder to bring this sports car alive, the skeg keeping you on track, surging and gliding with each stroke, even latching onto a following wave for a little ride into the beach. Despite the few cons, the Edge remains the best value here, with more features for less money including a molded rod holder, a drain plug and solid self-rescue hardware.
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