It’s been just over a week since the Zen arrived in the UK, and during that time I have taken it on three outings, in varying conditions. I started with a very low Upper Dart during Richard brooks 24 hour White Water Challenge (details at The upper in low levels becomes a very technical run, with lots of weaving in and out of rocks.
I then went on to some big boat play and slalom sessions at both the Lee Valley Olympic Whitewater Course and HPP White Water Course. The 3 different venues have been a very good test ground for the Zen.
I had been excited about the arrival of the Zen since seeing the original prototype at Kanumesse and I am happy to say I have not been disappointed. The first thing that struck me about the Zen is its low profile. Sitting in the boat I instantly feel like I have better reach, getting the Zen on the water and my first few strokes proved this straight away.
The boat accelerates away nicely and wow! its fast, as I head off downstream, the boat tracks perfectly and effortlessly races away. Changes in direction are easy and allow carriage of speed throughout. The speed and manoeuvrability means hitting your line is easier than ever as the boat allows you to cut through the waves and currents with ease.
Next, to try a few break outs, the boat zips in and out, crossing eddie lines as if they weren’t there. I was able to surfs holes and waves well, remaining stable without any edge catches and move around with fewer strokes than expected.
The Zen has a lot of primary stability, and punches stoppers well, the speed of the boat also aids in boofing, with the boat accelerating away on landing.
For the novice and expert alike, and the versatility of the boat means it will suit a variety of paddling styles, whether your bimbling down your local run or racing at Sickline.
The speed will defiantly make it my boater-cross and race boat for this season and leaves me with a tough decision on which boat to take out to Corsica; the all out creeker that is the Villain or the fast and capable Zen.
If the looks of approval from the bank so far are anything to go by, the Zen will prove a very popular boat!
Go try one for yourself.

Quick Surf in the Zen

Clairo enjoying a play in the Zen

Clairo Clean spinning the Zen.