Sit On Top kayaking has become one of the most popular and fastest growing watersport activities in the UK. Its a cheap, healthy, fun, activity and relativly safe compaired to sit in Kayaks when used with a little common sense. There are many brands and models of Kayak available. This review deals with a specific model but visit the Storm-riders website for a full guide and technical specifications of the two current most popular brands in the UK, Ocean Kayak, and Bic Sports Kayaks' best selling models.
The Bic Sport sit on top kayak range is one of the most popular choices of brand for recreational paddling in Europe. Have spent decades creating Windsurf and Surfboards in advanced plastic materials they have successfully applied their skills to kayaks. BIC has a small but well designed range of Kayaks available to suit a variety of purposes.
This guide deals with Ouassou model which is the cheapest but in our opinion the most versatile single man model within the range. I'll make specific comparisons in this review with Ocean Kayak and Bic models to illustrate points. Ocean Kayak are the worlds most popular range of sit on's, and for good reason. The OK range has more models than any other we know and are well designed and constructed.
I've regulary used this model for the last 4 years and despite its low price point of about £300 in the UK it has a very broad appeal to users. It's performed reasonably well on small surf up to about waist height, its been fun on rivers in all conditions other than serious white water [above grade 2] and its not taken too much effort to paddle on inshore costal water and lake day trips. Its stable enough to give confidence to inexperienced paddlers but loose enough in small surf to have some serious fun on waves.
If you purely want to play on small surf and not really paddle flat water or do day trips or carry another passenger, then the Ocean Kayak Yak which has a flatter bottom and turns very easily would probably be better [and its £10 cheaper]. The Yak is also lighter and easier to handle and transport. But as an all round playboat the Ouassou wins against the Yak.
The Ouassou turns effortlessly compaired to say a Bic Bilbao or the Ocean Kayak Frenzy, however, it doesnt track as well as some , so if going in a straight line over very long distances quickly is your sole aim then this probably isnt the model for you. For longer trips the Bic Bilbao, Bic Scappa, Ocean Kayak Frenzy, Scrambler, Caper and Prowler are all better. They are also all far more expensive, so if your looking for a great versatile kayak at a budget pricepoint then you cant go far wrong with the Ouassou.
This boat has the unique feature of having large cut away handles moulded into the nose and tail which make carrying and handling the boat extremly easy. They are big enough to get an adults hand through and also make a securing chain easy to put through the whole boat if you ever need to chain it up on a splipway, caravan vehicle etc. Anyone stealing this kayak will need to cut a large section of boat off to remove a security chain, making the boat useless if stolen. The handles are also great for towing mates through the water or for getting back onto the boat if you are in the water.
It's stable enough to accomodate a very large adult or adult plus smaller front passenger with a combined weight of up to 110Kg which is adequate for most people. I would say that I've perched a much larger passenger at the front occassionally for fun but the boats become nose heavy and dont paddle easily, allthough they wont sink.
The rider position in the cockpit is set up to allow comfortable paddling for most adults and teenagers. The width of the seat makes it comfortable for wider hips of bigger blokes and women. For woman specific use, the OK Venus is a better choice due to the seating position and lower weight and volume, but its quite a lot more money and the rest of the family wont be able to use it comfortably. The footrests on the Ouassou allow a comfortable knee position for all but small children who's feet dont generally reach the footrests. I've personally found this far more comfortable to paddle than the Ocean Kayak Frenzy which is OK's model at this price which is a bit narrow for my 14.5 stone frame. The use of kneestraps makes it far more controlable as conditions get tough. That applies to any sit on kayak.
One great thing about the Bic Kayaks is that they dont have the hidden extra cost of the backrest to make them useable. Most brands require a backrest to be fitted to allow a basic level of comfort. That will drive up your cost by about £25 to £60 depending on your model chosen. This model offers acceptable comfort even without a backrest due to the shape of the deck behind the seating position. However, for extended use we'd still recommend one being fitted for ultimate comfort.
In all, the Ouassou offer a great compromise of all round performance against cost. It not going to be the best at everything but you're unlikely to be dissapointed doing anything in this. It wont break the bank. Its great as a family plaything, Kids, Mum, Dad should all be able to enjoy this versatile kayak.
Length : 8'6" - 260.0 cm Width : 31" - 78.0 cm Weigth : 18.0 kgs - 18.0 kgs Max. Load : 242 lbs - 110 kgs Material : Thermoformed polyethylene Suitable Conditions for use : Fun kayak, beach, wave, rescue