Submitted by: Bryce Shaw | October, 2016.
I've been paddling the ZET Toro for several months now and I am happy to report that my level of stoke is steadily increasing as I paddle more rivers with this boat.
All boats have their happy place, and the Toro really holds its own in big, pushy water. The nicely rockered bow does very well to keep the deck dry, while the speedy hull really keeps the boat moving and tracking through unstable water. In less roomier situations, this speed can be a bit of a curse as the boat tends to drive up into nearby stuff pretty quickly. But if you make a point of knowing where you want to be heading slightly in advance, this momentum becomes less of an issue. In the case of making tight lines, the Toro is a noticeably good performer due to its quick and predictable maneuverability.
On the other hand, the Toro is by no means a lily dipper. If you aren't driving this boat, then it will be driving you. I feel that if you are not already a strong paddler, you might want to consider one of ZET’s other models, in particular the ZET Raptor, which feels effortless to paddle. But if you are precise and have the strength to keep the Toro on line, it's a very rewarding design. And if you have spent considerable time in a slalom boat (like me), then the Toro will feel even more natural.
When it comes to larger drops, the Toro likes to land fairly softly. In addition to its rocker profile, the bow has a nice displacement shape so landing any taller stuff feels soft. I even managed to finally nail the line on a pretty tall and notorious local waterfall. Perhaps the longer, bigger shape of the Toro is an advantage for paddlers my size?
In terms of construction, the Toro (like all ZET boats) is put together pretty well. The molded foam seat and knee braces help keep the boat light and very comfortable. From what I’ve seen, ZETs hold up exceptionally well. To further this fact, ZET’s are backed by a 2 year warranty which is almost unheard of!
Having paddling ZET’s other models and feeling just as impressed, I’m finding the new Toro to be the boat that works best for me. Your experience however may vary. The Director is their biggest boat and easily smashes through everything. The Raptor is edgy and really fun to zip around in, but can feel a bit small for some. The Veloc is even smaller so sadly, I could never get used to that.
Disclaimer: Yes I am part of the ZET Canada team and received this boat at a slightly discounted price. But regardless of this, I will continue to paddle the Toro because it's a really good kayak meaning my opinions are valid.
Bryce Shaw, ZET Canada Team Paddler.