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Independent Playak Review: Riot Orbit.
Last year, we brought you a pre-review by David Weber of the Riot Orbit. The pre-review was almost a real review already, but since it was called a pre-review, we decided to give you some second opinions. Instead of the USA, the test stage was Switzerland this time and instead of David Weber, who was at the top of the weight range for this boat, we had some lighter paddlers test it.
About the tester
I weigh about 60kg/133lbs and am 1.68m/5'6" tall. That and my shoe size 8 make most boats quite roomy for me, and so I rather rely on technique than on brute force.
From the Riot website: "The Orbit 47 is designed for all-out hole play and is hella easy to set up for all of today's modern playboating moves due to its flared sidewalls and silky smooth ends. Beveled edges make it forgiving while quick rocker ends make it bounce like a ball. We triple super checked every design detail to make sure you can shred in style - so fresh, so clean."
The Orbit looks a lot like a bouncing package, more compact than the competition this season, who aim more at waves than holes, which is what the Orbit is made for. It is a tipical Riot by design, so if you like that, it is there.
The outfitting of the Orbit is great. Its new pivoting thigh braces rotate on two axes, allowing for an easy entry/exit. This system is in other 2005 models too and there was quite a controversy about it - some loved it, some hated it. I found it a good solution for out of the box use and some screwing could have improved it further. Anyways, this system will be gone in 2006 models, all redesigned, another riot coming up. Same goes to most internals, like the footrest with a central ratchet adjusting, which will be replaced by simple foam blocks, which will need more work, but allow complete customizing.
The bottom has slots for two fins and a pair of rubber fins come with the boat, which i didn't use. Riot says it is a hole boat, but maybe it was their marketing guy who said it needs fins anyways?
Sitting in this 2005 model is a real great feeling. Especially the seat, which which is higher in the front, gives lots of support for your legs, and keeps you in a stable position on bumpy rides. The seat will be almost the same in 2006 models.
In short: the ride IS bumpy!
I was on the lower Bremgarten wave, at the end of the summer floods, which set most of Switzerland under water. This was good for the wave. It had more foam than ever before - good for a holeriding tool! The riot website said: "Quick rocker ends make it bounce like a ball" and that's very true!
Even with the strong foampile, the lower wave is still clearly a wave. Towards the center the foampile disappears and only boardsurfers and fast boats surf here. Surfing out into the green, it is clear that this boat isn't too fast. Where my 7-O went all over and still could spin, I had to be careful to stay on the wave. Back in the steeper part with foampile, I got all the bounce that I miss in my 7-O, plus a lot more. Front- side- backsurf, it bounces and hops around!
Surfing straight down the face, the stern sucks in, and the nose lifts up, and the bounce goes on. It's hard to say anything about carving and spinning, because the will to bounce and hop around is omnipresent. Once I gave up trying what I planned and followed the boat's nature, it was really fun and I started liking the bounce.
Then I left for the upper wave. The way there is through some flatwater. I throw some flatwater ends and the bounce is there again! Because the bow has much more volume than the stern, with the seat in a middle position, my body is high up standing on the bow, and low on a backstall. It is like that with almost all those short boats, but here it is extreme, and on linked ends it is really up and down! Happy bouncing.
At this water level, the upper wave is almost gone. It's a strange, pumping hermaphrodite between hole and wave. Again, down the face the nose gets lift, and the bouncing starts. The right shoulder is always good to carve against it and throw a nice blunt. No surprise, I don't get as far upstream as with my 7-O, but I wouldn't call it bad, it is just different, less carve, more pop. I just have to adopt the boat's style.
Normally, trying to loop here is not easy. The under current is quite fast and flushes most people. And so I flushed when I first tried in my 7-O. But with the Orbit, I stayed in 2 out of 3 times and it actually felt like a loop. The pop from all that volume in the front was very strong.
Other people's impressions
I let some other guys give the Orbit a try too. And, how was it? "Ehrm, bouncy!", "different then mine", "nervous", "hopping around all the time", said the guys with the Jackson Star, Prijon Release and Wavesport ZG. Another guy with a Riot Disco used similar words.
I smiled a LOT :-)