Boat Review: WaveSport Ethos 10 Kayak

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

In 2013 when WaveSport released their version of a crossover we weren’t at all surprised the Ethos was crossing from one river to say, I don’t know, longer rivers with lakes in between. WaveSport calls this category river trekking. Around my neck of the woods that kind of talk used to mean a canoe trip, which is a completely different skill set, not to mention a different mindset. And so classic overnight runs were left to guys in plaid jackets, until now with the WaveSport Ethos 10.

WaveSport Ethos 10 Specs
Length: 10’3”
Width: 27”
Cockpit: 36” × 20.5”
Volume: 100 U.S. gal
Weight: 54 lbs
Weight Range: 150-260 lbs
MSRP: $1,085 USD or $1,135 CAD

The WaveSport Ethos 10 packs on the miles

WaveSport makes two different sizes of the Ethos, the Ethos 9 and 10. It struck me as funny in a way to brand them by length (all brands except Pyranha do this too), when length isn’t really the factor here. Sure, there is six more inches of plastic at both ends to swing around the river, but the big factor is just how much more volume 12 inches buys you.

Although my 170 pounds would drop into the weight ranges of both sizes, I’d never consider the smaller boat. Why? There is a 20-gallon difference in volume. That’s the difference between living and living well. We learned very quickly as soon as we had space to pack camping gear, we packed as much as we could.

Wave Sport Kayaks Ethos Ten | Photo: Rapid Staff

Quality outfitting with CORE WhiteOut

Both the Ethos 9 and 10 are available with WaveSport’s CORE WhiteOut outfitting system. On longer trips you’ll appreciate the adjustability of quality outfitting. On a few runs we ratcheted ourselves in as snuggly as we would in our creek boats and that’s great. What is even better is the ability to change my sitting position by lifting and lowering my legs and changing my back band fit for longer stretches of flat or slower moving water. I also loved that it was easy to access the storage behind the back band and that the seat very simply slid back and forth for trimming. You know what else is pretty clever? The hip pads flip up into shoulder pads for portages.

WaveSport (and Dagger too) also addresses one of my personal pet peeves. It drives me crazy when the little nuts and washers fastening the foot brace rails come loose and drop into the bottom of the boat. I hate it even more when they vibrate loose on the drive and disappear before we reach the put-in. In the Ethos they hang on rubber tabs. Thank you, WaveSport.

Wave Sport Kayaks Ethos Ten | Photo: Rapid Staff

Speedy on creeks and rivers

So how does the WaveSport Ethos 10 paddle? Like a progressively rockered, soft-chined, 10-foot-long creek boat. So, it’s pretty good. Stable, dry, not twitchy on boily eddy lines. It’s faster than you probably remember any whitewater boat being and that alone is silly fun. We didn’t have the radar gun out on the river, but it feels faster than the Katana and Rogue and not quite as fast as the Fusion. We’re splitting hairs here.

Go farther in the WaveSport Ethos 10

What do I really love about crossovers? I’m not too proud to admit it. I love the spring-loaded drop skeg. At first I didn’t use it on the WaveSport Ethos 10. I thought it was silly. Then I used it only on the windy flats. Then in swifty currents. Then in big boils. And by the end I used it pretty much anywhere that wasn’t super technical. Lazy? No way. I’m just saving my energy for a game of bocce once we reach camp.


This article first appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Rapid Magazine.

Subscribe to Paddling Magazine and get 25 years of digital magazine archives including our legacy titles: Rapid, Adventure Kayak and Canoeroots.

This content was made possible with the support of Ontario Creates.

Ontario Creates logo