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At OBECO we decided that although there were lots of different designs of plastic boats for freestyle paddling, they were characterized by a common feature. If you had to pack them any distance, they were heavy, even the short ones, which had to have a lot of volume in the cockpit area.

It was also noted that in order to achieve optimum performance with many of these plastic designs, the paddlers weight had to be closely matched to the volume of the kayak. If the ends of the boat were a little voluminous, then “cartwheels” in the kayak, a popular freestyle past time, would be difficult if not impossible, particularly on flat water to achieve. And flatwater is where the skill should be learned before venturing on to moving water. Still other boats, with small ends that could be “wheeled more easily, were quite uncomfortable for the feet.

Several stages of “design and test” were carried out to achieve a “cartwheeling machine” which also flat spins for exciting “360s” on the front of waves. The “Manta” as the boat was named, weighing in at 11 kgs, was not difficult to pack into those hard to get to, but oh-so-worth-it spots. It surfs backwards and frontward with ease, spins and can be easily cartwheeled in flat water. It also has enough length to provide some measure of tracking when paddled downstream.

The interest in this design led to the idea of making a smaller version for women or kids. The “Manta” design was “down-sized” to produce a “Mini-Manta”. Mini-Mantas weigh around 8 kgs. Ten year old kids find them easy to handle and responsive on the water. The kayak is suitable for up-to 16 year olds and smaller women, who easily learn to flip them end-to-end.



A composite freestyle boat with a length of 175 cm that will take a paddler up to 85 kg comfortably. The kayak comes equipped with front and back pillars held in place by an integral adjustable seat system and track, a large cockpit that will take any standard size freestyle spraydeck, special foot-room that can brace against a foam footrest in the bow. All of the internal components can be easily removed to facilitate inside repairs.

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Mini Manta (view action shots)

This is a scaled down version of the Manta at 152 cm long, which is suitable for kids 10-16 yrs who can enjoy this highly responsive little boat. The boat can be made with an integral seat and track system as above, or installed with a conventional “bucket-type” seat. A standard slalom kayak spraydecks fits on the cockpit rim.  
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For more information about Composite boats:

- Edmonton Whitewater Paddlers
- Whitewater Kayaking Association of BC
- Canadian Canoe Association
- American Whitewater Association
- International Canoe Federation
OBECO Whitewater Products 10385 - 60 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 1H1
Dale at (780)982-1315 or Darryl at (780)982-1250   Fax: (780)463-0612
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