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This is our second outrigger canoe review, and will serve as a direct comparison to the Draco model that we reviewed here www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/outrigger-gear-review-kai-wa-a-draco-pro-ozone

Currently we have Canoe Specs, Measurements, Boat Comfort/Quality of Life, Flatwater Testing, and Surfability.


I am 5ft 6 (167cm) and 140lbs (63.5kg) slightly above the intermediate skill level as a reviewer. I typically fit in all canoes without issue but have a good general idea of a paddler being too big for a given vessel based on club members using boats.


The Ares has served as the flagship boat from the Kai Wa'a lineup with major success in big downwind races around the world. With a very elegant rocker line and hull outline this boat finds success in all conditions. As with all Ozone models these boats come in very light and very stiff so the performance output is top notch. The volume in the boat is much appreciated when the water gets turbulent but it still glides very well overall in the flatwater context. Our test revolves primarily around the flatwater ability, which we will discuss compared to the Draco and give some final thoughts on pros and cons at the end.

Ares Specs

20ft9in long x 15.875 inches wide (6.325m x 40.3cm)

Seat Depth- 4 inches/10cm (To Velcro)

Seat Depth with Seat - 3 inches/7.5cm

Seat Width - 15.25in/38.5cm

Footplate Leg Distance (Longest setting) 45 inches/112cm

Footplate Leg Distance (Shortest setting) 18 inches/46cm

Heel Depth 10 inches/25.4cm

Ama Distance (inside setting) 30.5in/77.5cm (Hull edge to Ama Edge)

Ama Distance (outside setting) 32.5in/82.5cm

Boat weight for testing - 17.2lb/8kg hull

Rudder 4 Inch/10.2cm Ozone Flatwater


Outline Measurements from nose

15 inches from nose - 3.5 inches wide 38cm/8.9cm

30 inches from nose - 5.5 inches wide 76cm/14cm

45 inches from nose - 7.25 inches wide 114cm/18.4cm

60 inches from nose - 8.5 inches wide 152cm/21.6cm

75 inches from nose - 11.25 inches wide 190cm/28.6cm


Outline Measurements from tail

75 inches from tail - 11.5 inches wide 190cm/29.2cm

60 inches from tail - 9.5 inches wide152cm/24.3cm

45 inches from tail - 8 inches wide 114cm/20.3cm

30 inches from tail - 6.25 inches wide 76cm/15.9cm

15 inches from tail - 3.25 inches wide 38cm/8.25cm




Cockpit/Seated Area

The Kai Wa'a boats are very comfortable in their seating arrangements. The seat pad, depth of the heels and position of the pedals make this a very nice fit for myself. Every sit bone and seated comfort will be different user to user, but overall these have been my favorite so far. The leg lengths an be adjusted from 18 inches to 45 inches (46cm-118cm) which fits a wide array of heights. Its an easy boat to lean back in when keeping the nose up in big surf. The cockpit area helps keep you connected to the water.



Quality of Life Details

The larger shaped pedals allow for mid foot leg drive without interacting with the steering. This means you dont need to master heel drive exclusively to get good leg drive or being punished too much with the boat steering around each stroke. The rope for the leg leash is in a nice spot out of the way, but I usually attach it to the iako personally. Bungees are nice and tight for stowing gear. The self centering rudder within the Ozone manufactured boat will spoil you quickly! I have a hard time going back to boats without the spring loaded rudder.


Boat Overview: Looking at the outline of this boat compared to the more flatwater oriented Draco, you can immediately see the nose profile is much sleeker on the Draco. But you may be surprised to know the tail of the Ares is very slightly more narrow at some of the measurment points! There is more stability coming from the thickness of the hull overall, so the tail does not need to be bulky to stay high on swells or keep the boat stable. This helps a lot with its flatwater ability having this very nice outline front to back. There is more rocker in this hull, and being a lighter paddler means theres more boat in the air comparatively. Total waterline is closer to 19ft being a lightweight. In total flatwater, it changes how the boat can glide and maintain speed... but on a wave you dont have to do much and the nose will stay high and dry gliding on swell. The volume of the boat can definitely handle wind chop and swell, and you wont feel those turbulent waters so much like a lower volume canoe.


(With all canoes your height, weight, age, current skill level and paddling environment will influence how each boat feels and that dynamic will continue to move back and forth on a spectrum forever)





Flatwater Testing Overview: For all tests ongoing we will be using the format of 3 miles 4827m at a specific stroke rate. This lake has the same water depth annually for consistency, and the course is marked by 4 buoys that do not change position making it easy to run different boats on the course for cross analysis. The Stroke Rate goal is a submaximal 55SPM with a margin of error for 1SPM 54-56spm. Noting boat weights and rudder sizes as potential future differences amongst similar shaped boats. This serves as a good general guide on boats that vary dramatically in shape, but will also be fun to see how boats compare and factoring in the outline measurements towards that.




Flatwater Testing - Compared to the Draco on the flatwater test, it accounts for 10 seconds per mile slower at the same stroke rate. You can feel the difference in glide between the two boats with the Draco responding to lower stroke rates better. That being said the Ares feels most efficient with a higher stroke rate, with easier effort per stroke. That constant input of energy helps the boat stay on its glide. Seeing 10.89ft is a good metric but the Draco getting 0.3ft per stroke further is a big advantage. Overall its not a huge difference in performance for flatwater but it can be the difference in finish positions. That all being said, the bigger the water and more difficult the conditions, the Ares will likely close that gap depending on the riders skill level. For an all round versatile boat its very close to its more specialized counterpart.

Surf/Downwind Overview: This will be an opinion piece more so than a factually based one since there are many factors to consider. Rider ability being the most variable aspect. The Ares in the surf is only limited to your imagination and confidence. There aren't many conditions that overwhelm the boat, only the rider. It has won every prestigious downwind event in the world it seems! The rocker line and rudder position make it easy to put the boat exactly where you want and get the most out of the swell. It punches into swell easily and makes it simple to maintain high boat speed. When looking at where you paddle and your intended uses with the boat, losing a little flatwater time to surf easier may be a great trade off. If your course racing takes you into big water, this boat is built to be succesful!



Thank you all for checking out the article. If you have any questions about boats or our online coaching feel free to message anytime via Live Chat or my email Robertnorman142@yahoo.com

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This is our first plastic surfski review and we hope to add in more varied models in the future. All input is appreciated so we can continue to structure these better! Currently we have Boat Specs, Measurements, Quality of Life, Stability Rating, Remount Rating, Flatwater Testing and Final Thoughts


I am 5ft 6 (167cm) and 140lbs (63.5kg) slightly above the intermediate skill level as a reviewer. I typically fit in all boats without issue but have a good general idea of a paddler being too big for a given vessel based on club members using boats.


The Spirit PRS 570 is a plastic composite surfski. These layups are nearly indestructible with a very high durability exterior that also flexes tremendously while retaining its original shape.

The trade off in this durability is the boats weight which comes in around 55lbs. This weight and added boat flex will impact its overall speed which we will discuss in the Flatwater Testing. This model is used primarily as an "adventure" boat within our club setting and will be our first benchmark in assessing the performance differences from a similar width carbon surfski (Epic V8Pro) which we reviewed before. The factory pop up rudder allows this boat to traverse any treacherous river conditions and survive shorebreak with ease.

Spirit PRS 570 Specs

18.7 feet long x 19.6 inches wide (5.70m×50cm)

Bucket Depth 8inches 21cm

Bucket Width(Highest point) 17 inches wide 43cm

Bucket Width (Lowest point) 12.5 inches wide 31.75cm

Footplate length (Longest setting) 42.5 inches 108cm

Footplate length (Shortest setting) 30 inches 76cm

Heel Depth 8.5 inches 21.6cm

Hump Height (highest point in cockpit) 3.5inches 8.9cm

Boat weight for testing - 54 pounds 24.5kg

Spirit Overstern 6 Inch 15.25cm


Outline Measurements from nose

15 inches from nose - 4.5 inches wide 38cm/11.4cm

30 inches from nose - 8 inches wide 76cm/20.3m

45 inches from nose - 11.5 inches wide 114cm/29.2cm

60 inches from nose - 12.5 inches wide 152cm/31.75cm

75 inches from nose - 15 inches wide 190cm/38.1cm


Outline Measurements from tail

75 inches from tail - 18.5 inches wide 190cm/47cm

60 inches from tail - 16.5 inches wide152cm/41.9cm

45 inches from tail - 14.5 inches wide 114cm/36.8cm

30 inches from tail - 11 inches wide 76cm/27.9cm

15 inches from tail - 6.5 inches wide 38cm/16.5cm


Cockpit/Bucket Area

The footplate starts around 30inches/76cm and adjusts to 42.5in/110cm which fits a wide array of paddlers. The "hump" height is fairly high comparatively to more modern surfskis with the single footwell for the legs. Looking at our measurements for heel depth and hump height puts a portion of the boat in contact with your calves. For myself this makes the footplates a few inches further away so 30in/76cm is too far away when it would typically work in a boat without this high point in the cockpit. The bucket has a lot of space and is easy to rotate in. The rails on the side of the boat are only 1 inch / 2.5cm as the bucket is 19inches/48.25cm wide leaving 17 inches/43cm for sitting which is extra spacious as most boats have 16inches/40.5cm.


Quality of Life Details

There are carry handles on the bow/stern/center of the boat which are rubber+fabric fastened by two screws. These degrade over time but are simple to re-install. The bailer system uses a suction system powered by heel drive to drive water from the footwell out through tubes. This can be irritating if excessive sounds bother you with the constant squishing the sections make. The footplate adjusts very easily similar to the Epic system pull pins. To give proper tension to the pedals you need to use a screwdriver to loosen a clamp on the steel cable and move it to match the new plate position. This is simple but can be tedious if changing the footplate constantly since it involves tools. The factory pop up rudder has held up well over time only needing to be tightened to the hull every few months. Photos below showing everything described above.





Stability Rating: This model is a sporty beginner boat in terms of primary stability. With the higher seat position this will give many paddlers an immediate challenge since the higher position moves the hull side to side quicker. This is counteracted slightly with the extra weight of the boat as well as its larger tail size. This boats tail outline matches other models 2in/5cm wider which makes it slightly disproportionate to its widest point and it's outline widths. This isn't quite in the realm of an intermediate surfski but it's close. The secondary stability is a little more forgiving but the high seat position can help you find water for a swim quickly.


As we have more boats to compare and create a numeric stability rating we can come back and assign a value to the stability, but for now this boat is "more tippy" than the 20inch 51.5cm V8Pro we have reviewed.


(With all surfski your height, weight, age, current skill level and paddling environment will influence how each boat feels and that dynamic will continue to move back and forth on a spectrum forever. These ratings will give some insight into what the boats shape will do for rating as we begin comparing them to other similar model widths with different outline measurements. We will work towards numerical ratings as more reviews are completed to compare boat to boat on stability.)



Remount Rating: Thin rails and a high seat means this is a very forgiving boat to remount into! Reminiscent of a spec surfski which are designed to easily jump in and out of. The center handles don't seem to impede access to the bucket as you are transitioning into the boat. The extra weight of the hull means the boat is less twitchy as you throw your weight around. More hull weight takes longer to move essentially, and those twitchy boat movements during remount are the typical culprits for falling again!


(Like Stability Ratings, we will rate remount ratings boat to boat as we complete more reviews. For now this boat is "easier to remount" than the reviewed Epic V8Pro.)




Flatwater Testing Overview: For all tests ongoing we will be using the format of 3 miles 4827m at a specific stroke rate. This lake has the same water depth annually for consistency, and the course is marked by 4 buoys that do not change position making it easy to run different boats on the course for cross analysis. The Stroke Rate goal is a submaximal 45SPM(This denotes double strokes, so 90SPM single strokes) with a margin of error for 1SPM 44-46spm. Noting boat weights and rudder sizes as potential future differences amongst similar shaped boats. This serves as a good general guide on boats that vary dramatically in width, but will also be fun to see how similar width boats compare and factoring in the outline measurements towards that.




Flatwater Testing - Speeds with the plastic surfskis will always suffer comparatively to the fiberglass/carbon counterparts. The extra weight of the boat is one factor but the amount of flex within the hull itself is the other contributor. The energy transfer from the paddle stroke is lost through the hull as it flexes. Compared to the recently tested V8Pro in the carbon layup which is a little wider of a boat, it ends up being 33s/mile difference. Testing more plastic boats will give better boats to review against but for now we have a good gauge of performance difference from a 27lb/13kg carbon boat to this 54lb/23.5kg model. The narrow outline of the nose is definitely efficient in the flatwater setting. That extra tail width can be felt as the boat struggles to find its glide comparatively to its widest point. The higher seat position is great for additional leverages on the forward stroke, very ergonomic. The overstern rudder doesn't have the same control as the understern and as a result the sharper turns take longer to navigate.


Final Thoughts: Part of the purpose of this article is to demonstrate some major differences between carbon and plastic boats. Each have tremendous strengths over the other to consider and ultimately your paddling skill level, environment, goals and seriousness are all contributing factors. Dealing with a lighter vessel off the water is nice, but slamming into a rock at full speed with zero damage is also nice! 33s/mile is a lot but it's also not a lot depending on your point of view. As we progress with reviews we can look at plastics vs plastics more closely but this serves as a cross over comparing different layups to get started.



Thank you all for checking out the article. If you have any questions about boats or our online coaching feel free to message anytime via Live Chat or my email Robertnorman142@yahoo.com

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This is our first outrigger review and will act as an outline on what we are trying to achieve. All input is appreciated so we can continue to structure these better! Currently we have Canoe Specs, Measurements, Boat Comfort/Quality of Life, Flatwater Testing, and Surfability.


I am 5ft 6 (167cm) and 140lbs (63.5kg) slightly above the intermediate skill level as a reviewer. I typically fit in all canoes without issue but have a good general idea of a paddler being too big for a given vessel based on club members using boats.


The Draco is the latest and greatest boat in the Kai Wa'a line up designed to excel in the flatwater-mid conditions. This canoe by design has a tremendous amount of glide with its low volume outline, and tends to be an excellent course racing boat. With all Ozone manufactured boats they are ultra stiff and incredibly light, with this Pro Model hull coming in at 15.9lbs. The Pro Models are usually a few pounds lighter, and they come with some extra perks like extra rudders and an upgraded canvas bag. I've had this boat for around 6 months now and have a bit of experience with it, so far I am a huge fan!

Draco Pro Specs

20.5ft feet long x 15.75 inches wide (6.25m x 40cm)

Seat Depth- 4 inches/10cm (To Velcro)

Seat Depth with Seat - 3 inches/7.5cm

Seat Width - 15.25in/38.5cm

Footplate Leg Distance (Longest setting) 45 inches/112cm

Footplate Leg Distance (Shortest setting) 18 inches/46cm

Heel Depth 12 inches/30.5cm

Ama Distance (inside setting) 32.5in/82.5cm (Hull edge to Ama Edge)

Ama Distance (outside setting) 33.5in/85cm

Boat weight for testing - 16lb/7.3kg hull

Rudder 4 Inch/10.2cm Ozone Flatwater


Outline Measurements from nose

15 inches from nose - 2 inches wide 38cm/5cm

30 inches from nose - 4.5 inches wide 76cm/11.4cm

45 inches from nose - 7 inches wide 114cm/17.8cm

60 inches from nose - 8.5 inches wide 152cm/21.6cm

75 inches from nose - 11 inches wide 190cm/27.9cm


Outline Measurements from tail

75 inches from tail - 12 inches wide 190cm/30.5cm

60 inches from tail - 10.5 inches wide152cm/26.7cm

45 inches from tail - 8 inches wide 114cm/20.3cm

30 inches from tail - 6 inches wide 76cm/15.25cm

15 inches from tail - 4 inches wide 38cm/10.1cm




Cockpit/Seated Area

This has a distinct feel to the Ares and Gemini models of boat if you are familiar. The 1inch/2.5cm foam pad is very ergonomic but every sit bone is different so comfort is a moving target. I'm personally very fond of this sit pad. There is a huge leg length range from 18inches to 45 inches (46 cm- 114cm) which fits a large variety of leg lengths. There is also a foot plate extender for shorter paddlers to keep them near the center of the boat without going too far forward. The Heel to Sit Bone Ratio is very nice in these more modern OC making that ongoing comfort better as well as allowing for better leverages in leg drive.



Quality of Life Details

The larger shaped pedals allow for mid foot leg drive without interacting with the steering. This means you dont need to master heel drive exclusively to get good leg drive or being punished too much with the boat steering around each stroke. The rope for the leg leash is in a nice spot out of the way, but I usually attach it to the iako personally. Bungees are nice and tight for stowing gear. The self centering rudder within the Ozone manufactured boat will spoil you quickly! I have a hard time going back to boats without the spring loaded rudder.


Boat Overview: The outline of this boat is absolutely crazy! It is so narrow in the nose and tail its almost unbelievable. As you take strokes you can see and feel the efficiency of that nose interacting with the water. It has minimal nose rocker but a little tail rocker. The tail rocker helps with sprinting this boat and for surfing capabilities. In the time trial format this boat will quickly get up to speed thanks to that rocker line and over a long distance it will easily sustain its own glide. As we compare more boat outlines it will be easy to see how narrow this boat is in the front and back. There is not a lot of volume in the boat because of this which can make conditions more difficult to navigate than something with more "beef." That is indicative of the riders ability more so, but is something to keep in mind that you will "feel" that adverse swell/wind chop more.


(With all canoes your height, weight, age, current skill level and paddling environment will influence how each boat feels and that dynamic will continue to move back and forth on a spectrum forever)





Flatwater Testing Overview: For all tests ongoing we will be using the format of 3 miles 4827m at a specific stroke rate. This lake has the same water depth annually for consistency, and the course is marked by 4 buoys that do not change position making it easy to run different boats on the course for cross analysis. The Stroke Rate goal is a submaximal 55SPM with a margin of error for 1SPM 54-56spm. Noting boat weights and rudder sizes as potential future differences amongst similar shaped boats. This serves as a good general guide on boats that vary dramatically in shape, but will also be fun to see how boats compare and factoring in the outline measurements towards that.




Flatwater Testing - This boat can glide very well with proper energy input. Once the boat is at speed maintaining that speed is effortless. Its easy to feel like youre constantly working to keep that glide, so its refreshing to get the boat cruising at 7.2mph/11.5kmph without really pushing. Seeing over 11ft is a pretty good mark, I would need to be 50-52spm to see 12ft per stroke. A maximal effort for me would be 60+spm in this distance. So far in my general usage the input of power whether its coming from longer powerful strokes or shorter quick strokes will yield boat speed. This means mixing up how you are taking strokes to match the situation is possible. With the 4 inch rudder the turn radius is fairly wide in the flatwater test as expected so keep in mind that rudder change makes a huge difference in the turn radius. It cuts right through this water like a knife! You can really tell it was created to be efficient out on the flatwaters.

Surf/Downwind Overview: This will be an opinion piece more so than a factually based one since there are many factors to consider. Rider ability being the most variable aspect. This boat seems to slot into 3ft/1M bump excellent, and really punches through smaller surf with ease. That being said it can be quickly overwhelming in those moderate/extreme conditions of swells closing in on 6ft/2M. With the nose rocker being minimal and the low nose volume you have to work a little extra on leaning back to keep that nose up and dry. If you dont manage that nose it will point downward and easily pearl. In more higher volume boats they naturally sit higher on swells and will have the buoyancy to keep that nose pointed upwards. Depending on where you live and your primary usage, 3ft of swell may not be something you ever encounter or it that may be a tiny day for you! The boat can definitely surf, I've had the pleasure of keeping tempo with some local surfski racers in that 3ft size swell, but I can see the shape designs of more ocean specific boats coming into play beyond that threshold. If you look on the internet youll find this boat surfing HUGE swell... rider ability the biggest influence.



Thank you all for checking out the article. This is mostly a test article to give us our first point of reference in outrigger canoes going forward and to get some feedback on how to continue to make them better in the future. If you have any questions about boats or our online coaching feel free to message anytime via Live Chat or my email Robertnorman142@yahoo.com

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