by Sam Ovett
“Hey Chris! Hey Bryan! What boat is that on the truck? It looks new.”
“This is the newest Wave Sport design. We just came out with it; actually we are planning on doing a little teaser video about it. Want to help? You’d get to paddle it.”
“Yeah Chris, I would love to paddle it, but here we are at the Nantahala, how are we going to fully test out a new creek boat on the Nantahala?”
“Ah, well you see Sam it is not the new creek boat we are taking out, but our new crossover boat!”
This was my initial conversation with WS team members Bryan Kirk and Chris Wing. And it certainly peaked my interest! I let Chris and Bryan take over to the camera so that I could paddle Wavesport’s new crossover boat. After a few laps through Nantahala Falls, a few laps on Big Wesser and a nice lake paddle. I finished up more than impressed!
Here are my initial thoughts on the new Wavesport Ethos:
Imagine a boat that has technology of any one of Wavesport’s full-on whitewater boats–including a bulk head, drastically increasing your ability to comfortably and safely run whitewater compared to most crossover boats which may sport only movable foot pegs. Then throw in a skeg neatly and securely tucked away yet ready to drop at a moment’s notice to increase your ability to track in a straight line when you’re out paddling on the lake or on a flatwater river.
The hull is truly unique for a crossover boat because it tracks nicely with good speed on flatwater allowing you to actually have fun on a lake or a flatwater river instead of just tooling around in a poorly designed hunk of plastic like many crossover boats.
For the whitewater side of things I was actually amazed at the ability of the boat to handle itself when coming through eddy lines and punching holes. What really blew my mind was the stability of the boat. Previously, when someone said “crossover” I would think either an unstable boat for whitewater, or a slow boat on the lake. Not so with the Ethos!
Michael and Hans, the Wave Sport designers, decided to use the whitewater outfitting in the new boat, so I felt like I was in a “real boat.” Rivers like the Nantahala might just be the perfect type river for the Ethos. It surfed decently well, it river ran amazingly well and it was so fun to be in. (I happened to also like the color red of the boat I was in!) Once on the lake I found it fun and fast.
I would have said that this boat is best suited for Class I-III rivers, but from what I heard from Chris and Bryan, it is no stranger to big rapids like Oceana in the Tallulah Gorge. A crossover that paddles nicely on the lake and in the right hands is able to comfortable handle Class IV whitewater? I can honestly say I am very excited to paddle the Ethos again. Oh did I mention that there is a giant dry storage area in the stern of the boat, because there is and that is pretty sweet as well!