I have always rated the Wavesport Habitat as one of my top five creek boats of all time after paddling one for three weeks on the top runs of the American Southwest.
In 2013 Wavesport released the Ethos, a crossover boat designed for flat water touring and easy- to moderate-grade white water. In the design process they took the pedigree Habitat hull, stretched it by 2 feet, redesigned the deck and added features such as a drop down skeg and rear hatch compartment. Two models are available - the Ethos 9 and Ethos 10.
Length: 9'7" / 291cm
Length: 10'3" / 312cm
Upon looking at the hull, it is obvious that this boat will perform well on moving water. Unlike other manufacturers’ crossover boats there is a noticeable absence of tracking grooves on the hull making it more manoeuvrable. It also has edges, otherwise known as chines, running along the sides, meaning it will carve into turns, giving a greater degree of control and performance.
We were fortunate to lay our hands on a demo Ethos 10, and so decided to put it through its paces and find out firsthand if it would be our moving water crossover boat of choice. On a grey/drizzly (normal) Sunday in North Wales we decided to try the Ethos on the mighty Tryweryn - a classic section of river that would allow us to push the boat on a variety of grade 2-4 rapids.
Firstly I had to adjust the pedal style footrests for my leg length. For white water I would definitely upgrade to a full plate footrest. And news just in, is from 2014 all Ethos boats will come with a full plate footrest as standard.☺
Once on the water I spent some time warming up on the calm sections at the top of the river. Instantly the forward speed potential of this boat was evident. With the extra two feet of waterline length over conventional creek boats this was a fast boat. After warming up, the first major rapid ‘The Graveyard’ emerged around the corner. The Ethos literally flew into the Graveyard. Utilising its incredible forward speed, this boat boofs a treat and makes ferry gliding easier than in shorter boats. Making breakouts was really nice. Despite its length, the hull carved across eddylines with ease.
Halfway down the top section, I swapped with Jon and he tested the Ethos’ play potential on the Cafe and NRA waves. He was impressed and surprised by how well it surfed waves and stoppers.
After the busyness of the top section, we decided to cruise on down to Bala and check out the bottom section of river. This section is a more mellow and relaxed affair than the top, mainly grade two with the Grade four Bala Mill Falls sting in the tail to finish.
Jon paddled the Ethos down this section, negotiating some of the tight technical lines with ease with the Ethos demonstrating its manoeuvrability around the many rocks that make up this section. The Ethos styled down Bala Mill’s main line, and Jon engaged the skeg for the flat paddle out to the road bridge.
In summary we thought the Ethos is an exceptionally good all-round kayak. Maybe not so good on harder white water as a creek boat, maybe not so good as a touring boat on flat water. But as an all-round river boat, this would be our choice. Its forward speed made the calmer sections easier, and the rapids lots of fun. Combined with the outstanding quality of Wavesport and some exciting colour schemes on offer, this is set to be a very popular boat.
Reviewed by Jim & Jon at Manchester Canoes for:
The Canoe Shops (Group) Ltd.
Review by Duffer for The Canoe Shops Group
What on earth is a Crossover kayak you might ask (but don't ask Duffer – he calls them polymorphic kayaks). A Crossover kayak covers more than one paddling discipline - in this case White Water, flat water and Touring. The Ethos also introduced paddlers to River Trekking.
There are two sizes and two specifications available. The Ethos RC (River Cruise) is designed for more cruise than white water and the Ethos Core WW is designed for more white water than River Cruise. Same hulls on all, but the Core has upgraded seat and fittings for more prolonged white water use.
This YouTube Video shows Ethos doing its White water stuff
It’s only 1 minute 17 secs long but is good info.
This YouTube Video shows the flat water side as well
Lots and lots of words but unusual for the marketing man “useful words”.
6 minutes well spent.
Sit a while in an Ethos - feel the plastic and examine the excellent build quality. Try the sizes and it might just be that a Wavesport Ethos is the Crossover (polymorphic) kayak you have been looking for.