Originally Posted by Wang
I am a kayaker but my wife just can't get into it. We love being on the river and would like to share the expirence. I want to get a raft like a mini me or a shredder so we can hit some class III+ water together. Any suggestions or advice on boat selection?
I know a lot of people have posted but I have some comments as well. I have owned a Culebra, paddled a shredder a bunch, paddled a mini-me a bunch and own a Hyside Paddle Cat (nearly the same as a shredder). I am rather opinionated about the subject and hope it helps you.
I sold my Culebra because frankly it is a poor design. It sits very high out of the water (hard to get back in), the thwarts are laced into the boat and rise above the side tubes, making very unstable when upside down and too high for most to get on top of (which sometimes is a must). it is nearly impossible to flip back over. With the thwarts being laced into the boat it tourques/twists as you go down the river. The floor is also laced in a creates a gap in the front, this will stall you in the rapids especially when you have a lot of water coming at you. I ran a lot of big water in my Culebra and swam a lot out of it. I am a strong female paddler and I like pushing my boat and myself, so I have taken a swim or 2 and I have never had a harder time getting in a boat than I did a Culebra. I do have the typical female upper body weakness but I am no wimp. My extremely strong husband had no problems getting back in. When the boat was upside down he did struggle gettting on top of it and/or flipping it. Oh, and the foot cups are terrible. The boat is wide and short compared to a shredder or Hyside paddle cat.
The Shredder is fast, nimble and extremely responsive. I love that boat. It is made out of neoprene and is a great design. It comes in a few different sizes. It is black and that does have a down side. Although great to lay on when you are cold, you do need to be careful in the heat. I have burnt my legs/butt several times. I find it much easier to get back into when swimming. It flips back over easy too.
The Hyside paddle cat is a good boat too. it is a few inches wider than the Shredder and just as long (depending on the Shredder model), it is hypalon and that alone makes possible repairs easier. Design is nearly the same as the shredder. It is not black. Price is similar too. It is just as easy to get into and flip back over as the shredder.
I know people who love the mini me but I feel the shredder type design is much better when you want to paddle with just one other person. That is my personal opinion.
Any time you paddle a two person craft like a Shredder is is pretty easy to over power the other person and get sideways. I paddle a lot bettter with one of my female friends in the rapids than with my husband becuase of strength similarities. Adreniline does play a role and men with that great upper body strength easly over power a woman.
Hope this helps and you enjoy what ever you choose to buy.