The Reveal is an expedition sea kayak from Estonian based Tahe Marine. I spent a happy few weeks reviewing the Tahe Marine Reveal last year for the excellent Ocean Paddler Magazine. (Thanks to Rich – the Editor – for kindly letting me republish my review here).
Marketed as a “pureblooded sea-kayak from bow until stern”, the review kayak certainly generated a lot of interest in the paddlers that saw her. Jet-black and glossy from tip to tail, this could be the perfect sea kayak for Freya Hoffmeister – that or an ideal purchase for the SBS for covert operations. The build quality and overall finish is certainly impressive. The Reveal has a thinner lay-up than British manufacturers tend to use, although Tahe Marine do offer a Heavy Duty lay-up version. However, I was more interested in what lies beneath the pretty exterior, in terms of handling and outfitting.
At 18’2” the Reval is a touring / expedition boat. It features a typical three-hatch set-up for storage, providing 140 litres of space. The rear hatch is oval shaped, the day and front hatch round. The deck is well-equipped with thick bungees and decklines and a compass recess is provided forward of the front hatch, although some additions would be needed to stow split paddles on the front or rear deck.
There are, however, plenty of spare attachment points to allow for personalisation of the decklines.
On the left-hand side a skeg slider sits in an easy-to-reach position and has a very smooth action. At either end of the kayak a moulded rubber handgrip for easy carrying can be found. Finally, the sliding footrests have reasonably sized pegs and can be easily adjusted when seated in the kayak due using long ‘arms’ that click the pegs up and down the settings.The Reval feels big and roomy. I would not class myself as a small paddler by any means; although the cockpit opening itself is not huge, I would certainly be adding the optional hip pads to ensure a snug fit.
The seat and backrest combination are, however, very comfortable with good padding fixed to a GRP seat. The cockpit coaming itself is on the thinner, sharper side and did get chipped carrying the kayak on my shoulder after the first paddle. I would be happy to see a slightly ‘beefier’ coaming utilised.
On The water
Once on the move, you feel the speed provided by the length and associated waterline. The Reval is a fast boat and tracked very well. When the wind did pick up, it did tend to weathercock when paddled empty. Applying a quarter/half- skeg was sufficient to bring the Reval back on course, however, and there she stuck despite some very choppy swell and gusty wind conditions. The initial stability is good, thanks to a wide, shallow v-shaped hull. Put the Reval up on its edge and there is also a reassuring amount of secondary stability, allowing for good edge control.
Despite its length and size, it can be turned easily when edging is applied. In fact, I was very pleasantly surprised at just how quickly it could be turned when a hard edge and a braced handbrake or bow rudder turn was used. It was possible to carve nice tight turns around a figure- of-eight course between buoys.
Running with the wind and tide the Reval surfed the waves nicely and, for a long kayak, was fun to paddle and play with. Paddling into the swell, it coped admirably. In a confused sea on a paddle across to the Isle of Wight, the Reval held a good course and was easy to keep under control.
The height of the deck and space within the cockpit allows for a range of leg positions to be utilised. I could happily adopt more of a K1 paddling position on long straight runs, yet brace my legs well for more controlled handling. At times, I found the skeg control moulding to be a little intrusive within the cockpit area, but not to a great extent. The lower back did allow easy rolling and recovery strokes.
I had two minor issues with the Reval. Firstly, the skeg control ‘handle’ extends out beyond the edge of the boat to provide an easy grip. Despite its relatively small size, I caught it with the paddle on a few occasions when manoeuvring on a medium to hard edge where the paddle shaft came close to the kayak. This would suddenly deploy the skeg fully mid-stroke. I would prefer to see a control that is flush with the side of the kayak. I was also a little disappointed with the amount of water ingress through the hatches. Researching the Reval online, I read some very positive comments regarding the hatch covers, so it may be an issue with this particular boat. Whether a 1 mm hole drilled in the bulkheads would help reduce this, as some manufacturers are beginning to do, I’m not sure.
Overall, the Reval is an interesting and enjoyable boat to paddle. Tahe Marine are a lesser known manufacturer here in the UK. However, they can certainly produce well-finished and equipped kayaks. Would I would choose the ‘stealth’ gloss black were I to purchase one? I don’t think so – one beach landing left me wishing for a white hull. Would I consider a Tahe Marine Kayak per se? It would definitely be on my short list and, retailing at just £1299.99 it presents compelling value for money at £700 cheaper than many of similar sized/spec sea kayaks.
We at Tahe Marine very much appreciate the review of the tester. It is very rewarding to us that the test paddler found the quality and overall finish of the kayak impressive. Of course we are tremendously happy that the Reval’s good initial and secondary stability and the positive response on tracking and speed showed that the hull design receives excellent feedback. We appreciate also that some details like rubber handgrips and sliding footrests were positively noted, which were among the improvements already for season 2009. We have noted the minor issues to improve and we can guarantee that we will continue to listen to paddlers so we can develop the best value for money kayaks. Thank You!
Marek Pohla R&D Manager, Tahe Marine Team
Length: 555 cm (18’2” )
Width: 54 cm (21” )
Approx. capacity: 155 kg (340 lbs)
Fiberglass: 23-25 kg (51-55 Ibs)
Carbon/aramide: 21-23 kg (46-51 Ibs)
Front: 60L, hatch: 25 cm (10”)
Rear: 60L, hatch: 43×26 cm (17×10” )
Small:20L, hatch: 15 cm (6”)
Retractable skeg / rudder / skeg + rudder / Heavy duty lay-up
Website: Tahe Marine Reveal