mystery kayaks: Riot Aura

-- Last Updated: Feb-12-06 6:56 PM EST --

in a recent thread someone mentioned this kayak which i think may have previously been called Azul Sultan (?)

i have never heard of it before, seen one or know of a dealer. can't find one on line.

Riot is an odd company to begin with, they have a real popularity with their ww line in some places, but are also a totally rarity where i paddle.

does anyone know who deals these boats, have you ever paddled one, or seen one in a shop? any reviews? anything of any kind about this mystery boat with unknown ties to any number of other boats out there??

Try this

furthers the mystery.
where is Wicked Waters, who is Wicked Waters, why doesn’t their phone number work? why don’t they have a store, an address? this is even more confounding.

Riot Aura
I have had the opportunity to paddle the Aura for over a year now.

The boat was originally marketed as the Paradigm and I think the designers name was Scott Williams.

The boat is VERY similar to the Legend in handling although the veed keel makes it feel more stable initially. The deck layout is similar with two oval VCP hatches and a day hatch. The skeg is spring loaded and I have found it mostly unneccessary as the boat tracks well. The construction method that Riot uses is unique to the industry. It is layed up in one piece making side seams redundant and thereby reducing the boats overall weight.

The biggest drawback I have encountered is that I never found a spray skirt that prevented water from coming in the cockpit. Since the boat is a loaner I was not able to make alterations, but I think if the boat was mine I would modify the cockpit coaming to rectify this problem. With this problem solved I would consider this an excellent performance expedition boat.

You can check it out at


I doubt they are still in business.
Their website is woefully out of date. They were (are?) essentially an ordering company that kept no stock and had no “store”. If you ordered a boat they contacted the Riot factory and the factory shipped it to you.


Click on adventure

Click on pure performance

Click on Home for dealer locator but it does not appear to be up yet. You can contact them from the site.

Looks like an interesting boat.

Riot sea kayaks
Riot is a known presence in whitewater kayaks. They have been trying for about 6 years to market sea kayaks. The Riot Aura was originally called the Azul (sub division of Riot) Sultan. I’ve read the kayak was designed by Scott Williams and first called a Paradigm.

Riot (Azul) has used some innovative construction processes. I have a Azul Sultan made of “Nomax” material. It is a kevlar honeycomb like material, probably with other materials also in the layup. I have seen a material used in some models of the Current Design Adromadia that looks like what Azul called Nomax. Using this material makes a very stiff and light kayak, weighing under 50lbs for almost 18’. Later (Aura) versions are made with different materials in a one piece method.

I bought a Sultan used and have tried to contact Riot (Azul) to get some information on the kayak and the material Nomax. I experienced what everyone else has: the company doesn’t respond. There are very few dealers in the USA for this Canadian product and as stated, the company doesn’t respond to contacts. I would be concerned about buying one new because of the lack of dealer and company support. Mine is fine as to construction quality; some people have reported leaks around the combing.

Like most sea kayaks, the seat is close to the rear of the combing, so I have to lift my rear up somewhat to do layback rolls. Because I’ve been learning/practicing the layback roll, I have been using my Explorer more, even though the Explorer is slower and heavier by at least 15lbs. While the Explorer has about the same depth at the rear combing, the Explorer seat is place quite a bit forward of the combing, allowing a layback position.

The Sulton is faster than most sea kayaks, but not as fast as the QCC 700 or Epic 18’. Tracking is better than the Explorer, which was designed to be somewhat lively so it can turn in rough water. A very good design limited by extremely poor support.

All Good info
Good information conveyed in this thread.

I’ve paddled a Sultan a couple of times, most recently last summer. It is fast for a Brit style boat. According the Sea Kayaker, it has about the least drag above 4.5 knots of any Brit style boat tested. (If you are curious about the boat, it is worth tracking down the SK review.)It carves fabulously and I find it to have great secondary. It responds well to bow ruddering and bracing. It paddles as well backwards as forwards.

Unfortunately the back band is against the rear coaming which is not as low as many newer designs. This makes laybacks difficult and uncomfortable. As I recall the Legend has more space betwen the back band and coaming making it friendlier for such manuevers.

here’s what i’ve found out so far
Riot sent me a dealer list for the west coast of Canada and a few US dealers. so far none have the boat, they only have plastic, or they are not open for business at this time of year. the one shop owner i did reach said that he demo’d one and that there is a Rep in the west who has one to bring out to festivals, etc. it will probably be at the Vancouver Island Paddlefest.

one dealer near Detroit MI has one in stock and has sold one last summer. she said it is a very unique boat, and paddles very well. otherwise, she also admits it is mysterious and Riot is odd to deal with unlike the other dedicated sea kayak manufacturers she also deals with…

Quebecios, owned by Corran Addison, hmmmm, clearly unique and fittingly mysterious…

Addison is no longer a part of Riot
He left some time ago and now designs Dragorossi kayaks in Italy.

While he was at Riot it is true that it was difficult to get the company to respond. But it seems even more difficult now. I suspect that if anything Corran Addison’s influence then was to try to get the company to respond to complaints and questions. His new company is excellent in this regard.

riot kayaks
I have seen a Riot Ultima at the Paddlin Shop in Madison Wisconsin and it looks like a well made fiberglass kayak. I will find out if they are well made as I am in the process of buying a Riot Ultra. I called the phone# on the Riot web sight and had all my questions answered to my satisfaction. So I’m going out on a limb and buying the Ultra with out a test paddle. I will find out in a few weeks if I made a mistake or got the deal of a lifetime. Hope this answers soom of your questions.

Riot Aura

just saw this thread in the Archive. Couple of things–the Aura (formerly the SUltan) is NOT the same as the Paradigm. Both boats were designed by Scott Williams, and he made a few Paradigms. He eventually sold both designs to Riot. One boat, the Sultan, went into limited production. Then Riot did some organizational restructuring, changed how they made the boat, and after this the Sultan was renamed the Aura–so the Aura and the Sultan are the same boat. (I have an Aura).

The Paradigm never went into production. the Paradigm is a high performance boat, designed for incredible edging and paddles beautifully, tho definitely not for the beginner as it has little initial stability. Pretty much the only way to get one is to monitor this site and look for a used one, as far as I can tell, but if you like a lively boat it’s a good bet.

The Aura is longer and is pretty fast, harder-chined. it turns well when edged aggressively, and is fun for surfing. However, it has a very light layup, and I have to be extremely careful on Lake Superior’s rocky shores and even when taking it off the rack–i had some pretty significant leakage in the bow because the consistent 1" drop from my hully rollers to the crossbars was enough to crush the keel line after one season. that area has now been reinforced, and i ran a keelstrip the entire length of the boat, but am still very cautious. and still, after 3 years, I am continually battling leakage in all of the compartments–skeg box, hatch covers, bulkheads–all have had significant leakage problems from day one. I do some part time guiding on Lake Superior and just picked up a used Explorer as it is a much tougher boat, and easier to turn when it’s rough. THe Riot is great for speed and cruising, but is a rougher ride than the explorer in rough conditions, and is harder to bring around and turn.