I surfed the Enigma for about 90 minutes in fairly small, 3 to 4 ft, bumpy surf at Ocean Beach, SF.
Carrying the boat down to the water I immediately noticed how light it was, yet the hull and deck showed no sign of flex. The fit was surprising. I could only just get my butt into the cockpit opening, but once in the boat there was plenty of room for my hips, legs (31" inseam) and feet (US size 9). At 5'8 and 190lbs I know I am at the top end weight wise for this design, but it feels much more comfortable than the Ride Zenith and once on the water, floated me fine, if a little stern down!
Paddling out was easy enough, but I did notice it was quite a bit tippier than the Mega Halo I have been using recently. I got back looped a couple of times, but I was able to bunny hop over some decent sized walls of soup.
The surf was not great, with few fast sections, so i can't really comment on the boat's speed yet, but it was extremely maneuverable on the wave and not surprisingly for a Jem Howe design, felt very waveski-like. It was easy to slash the tail and carve a tight bottom turn. It may have felt tippy to paddle (in comparison to the Halo), but it felt very forgiving when surfing and I didn't catch a rail once.
It felt like I got a little bit of air on a couple of re-entries, and that was surprising because I'm definitely a bit rusty and it was my first time in the boat.
So in summary, I was really impressed with the Enigma, sufficiently so that I bought the boat and look forward to trying it in bigger and cleaner surf real soon!
Spot on! Great comments.
ok so here's a review from a complete novice/regular swimmer!....my last boat was a high spec zenith which i loved and had every faith in so most of the comparisons i make here are measured against that.
Comfort in the enigma is superb .... in the zenith after an hour of paddling i regularly got out and had 'old man syndrome' , ie i could hardly walk . Having sat for ages with pointy feet the blood used to disappear , not so with the enigma . Although it's a slightly tighter squeeze to get into the boat , one hip in before the other , there's more space once inside . Knees are up higher so you sit more 'ski like' which allows your feet to be in a more natural position .... so far no 'old man syndrome ' for me!
Like all short boats it likes to be in that steep point on the wave for a take off and it loves it , you just need to look along the wave and the boat follows ..... but it also copes with the fatter waves of my local... the south coast....which isn't in the same league as waves in Devon or cornwall , they are fat and slow and messy in comparison , but i still come out of the water smiling .
It's quicker down the line than the Zenith , i'm guessing that's down to the ski like hull designed by Jem....it definately flies , and it turns on a sixpence straight back up to the top of the wave!
Rolling is not my forte , i struggle . All i can say is this is no harder to roll than the zenith and maybe due to the seating position with high knees i think a little more energy from the hip flick goes into pulling the boat back to the surface so maybe a little easier due to the seating position.
So to sum it all up what a cracking boat , fun to paddle in all kinds of wave topped with a first class service from hobson kayaks and a build quality second to none . If you like short boats i don't think you'll beat the enigma just watch the results of the up coming competitions when the 'bigger boys' paddle and you'll see!