by Mark Basso
After one of the most personally extensive paddling seasons in years, it feels unjust not to include the ZET Director as another reason why a fine summer adventure spent on the rivers of Norway, Siberia and British Columbia went off with some better than expected paddling enjoyment. Most paddlers in Europe are now aware of the amazing build quality that ZET kayaks are bringing to the whitewater paddling market, so when news came of a new bigger ZET design I was admittedly very interested in a boat I presumed would be true to the growing reputation that ZET is already known for.
The new Director is all that and more – lightness, speed, edging, simple outfitting, bomber plastic and true performance ready to take on class V and multiday river paddling with ease. Within minutes of first getting into this design I was taken back by some very different characteristics not found in my previous kayak. The Director is big yes, but still not anything that advanced paddlers in the 75+ kilogram weight range wouldn’t enjoy on all types of water. Size in the cockpit is easy to get used to. Even with my short legs I am comfortable, having slightly more knee room than in the ZET Raptor, yet not with an overcompensating boat width that many bigger sized kayaks have.
The Director’s volume in the bow translates to incredible acceleration over holes and most notably, a consistent desire to stay on the surface of all types of river water and reactions. Staying on the surface means speed and with aggressive edges, the hefty Director is still very much race ready, providing immediate response to paddle placement as well as body posture. Even though I once had 6 separate dry bags stuffed into this beast, the Director is far more than just a cavernous hole to pack your multiday gear. Paddlers of all sizes and abilities are discovering what volume and size advantages can provide you with in terms of boat performance and skill improvement.
These days curious looks at ZET kayaks are coming from people who are breaking boats after very short seasons or struggling to pick up a heavy creeker outfitted with too much plastic devices. Just when will ZET be dropping in North America ? This past summer a lucky few of us managed to get our ZET’s on some of the most beautiful and remote rivers of BC, including the multiday classics of the Dean, Clore and Stikine. Without a doubt we’ll be seeing more of these impressive boats frequenting Canada and USA in the very near future.