Pulse rate: Tootega Pulse 85 review
Although only a small part of what makes up sit on kayaking, riding waves is super fun and can grab paddlers in a choke hold and become extremely addictive. Kayak surfing doesn’t need particularly big swell or ‘epic’ conditions. In fact, the beauty of sit on tops is even the lumpiest and bumpiest of conditions that surfers sniff at is game for SOT paddlers. And yet, if you’re a wave head you’ll need the right tools for the job. We’ve published a few surf related articles in the past but when Tootega delivered the Pulse 85 the green light went off again for yet more frothy brine action.
OUT OF THE BOX
Straight out of the packaging the Tootega Pulse 85 delivers familiar Tootega attention to detail, level of quality manufacturing and is an overall well engineered product – just like we found with the Kinetic 100. A relatively high nose scoop (rocker) has been cleverly blended into the cockpit’s foredeck. For wave riding it’s important kick is built into the nose, otherwise you’ll be submarining (pearling as it’s known). With certain performance wave craft, however, you sometimes find levels of rocker are to the detriment of other features – such as stability – not so here. Tootega’s Pulse 85 offers a wide platform that should remain super composed, even when conditions get hectic. Moving aft Tootega’s unique moulded carry handles are extremely comfortable when humping the Pulse. Footrests are well designed (although you may have to adjust your paddling position to find the most comfortable foothold), and the correct paddling posture induced seating area is in place, again, just as with the Kinetic 100.
OUT IN THE FROTH
Tootega’s website states the Pulse max load capacity is 90kg. In the name of pushing limits, however, we had paddlers from various weight spectrums (some over the allotted number) take the Pulse for a spin. You can tell a lot when pushing the envelope a little.
Climbing on board the Tootega Pulse 85 is super stable, even if you’re a bigger boned individual. It may sit lower in the water but there’s no denying its composure and balance. At 259cm it’s a short boat – obvious when you consider the Pulse 85 is built for agility – meaning effort is required when covering distance. Sitons HQ’s wave spot lies a few hundred yards offshore and requires a jaunt to access. This meant sweating a little when heading out for a session – the Tootega Pulse 85 tends to pivot with each stroke and correction paddling needs to be applied. After all, it’s designed to turn more than most sit on tops, so this trait fits with its surf pedigree. Out at the peak the Pulse prowls the break looking for liquid walls to drop into. Having lined one up you’ll need to give it some oomph to pick up a swell. The in-built nose rocker of the Pulse needs to rise and get up to speed. If you’ve built enough momentum, however, the incoming surge will do the rest – accelerating all the time as you’re boosted down the face.
CARVE IT UP
We’ll be honest: the first few waves taken ended unceremoniously with us taking a swim. The Pulse differs slightly to other sit ons where paddlers can simply glide into a wave and turn down the line at a leisurely pace. Tootega’s offering wants to be set on a rail (turn along the wave) almost instantly, much like a surfboard. If this doesn’t happen a nose dive is the usual outcome. On particularly sucky beachbreak waves this is even more prevalent. Learning how to lean and set a rail is therefore a key skill to have. Having dropped in successfully the Pulse’s real personality suddenly comes to the fore. Whereas many sit on kayaks meander back towards the lip, paddlers fighting for control, the Pulse 85 reacts when and how you want it to. This allows for proper wave riding, where paddlers can carve up and down (if they choose to), and even in some cases rebound off the lip.
The Pulse is super reactive, having generated momentum on a wave. With a flick of the hips it’s possible to alter trajectory without having to put too much effort in. If you engage the paddle as well, which should always be the case, then you’ve got a real rip machine. Climbing white water and broken swells while navigating back to the peak is super easy (if very wet). The Pulse handles oncoming flotsam with ease and pops out the back of waves like a playful dolphin. It’s then simply a case of lining yourself up for another ride.
Ending your session it’s welcome to load the Pulse 85 onto vehicle roof bars – an act made all the more easy with its light 17kgs. Weary muscles humping big unwieldy kayaks won’t thank you – fortunately this isn’t a problem here. Storing, once back at base, is also simple with the Pulse’s short length.
Tootega’s Pulse 85 is the everyman surf sit on top for mid-weight paddlers. With a decent level of wave performance it will open up the act of kayak surfing to a wide audience. Easy to paddle, with zero stability issues, it’ll get riders out to the peak with efficiency and in readiness for wave shredding. Putting the hammer down as you drop in will reward riders with a nimble and manoeuvrable sled that makes the most of gutless conditions. If the waves turn on then the fun factor ramps up.
Although we used the Tootega Pulse 85 without a seat (fitting isn’t a necessity) the option of attaching one is offered. Thigh straps, however, would make a good addition if you’re serious about surf. Being able to engage the boat’s rail with increased precision will give an even more rewarding ride and allow it to be chucked about like a yoyo. Easy to transport, store, carry and with superb attention to detail, Tootega’s Pulse 85 spans the gap between high performance waveski and fair weather beach toy with ease. Bigger boned individuals should consider the brand’s Pulse 95.
TOOTEGA PULSE 85 FEATURES
- Drinks Holder
- Fittings for Backrest
- Fittings for Knee Straps
- Integrated Carry Handles
- Storage Hatch
- Stowing Mesh
TOOTEGA PULSE 85 DETAILS
|Manufacturer||Hull Type||Length||Width||Weight||Max Load||Seating|
WANT THIS KAYAK?
RRP:£499 – BUY FOR £334
- Stability 100%
- Straightline 65%
- Maneuverability 100%
- Comfort 95%
- Build 100%