Hercules on Big Water
I had been on team Prijon in the US from 99-2003 and loved the Embudo for creek boating. I work for Paddler Magazine and Kayak magazine in Colorado. Since I have just taken whatever boats we need reviewing but I am the ad rep for prijon and know the guys there super well. This is a much less biased opinion that what I would have written 3 years ago.
After 4 months of snowboarding and lounging on the couch, the crew at Paddler had a chance to take a trip to Oregon/Washington to test some new boats. Last week we went up there and everything was too flooded. We decided to meet up with young ripper Eric Boomer from Idaho and take this new boat down the Wind River. Usually class 4+ the river had about 2X the normal CFS usually paddled. 1,200 -1,500 the guide book claimed was its class V range. It was more like 3,000 cfs.
Kudos to Prijon for finally putting a sweet foot system in a boat that fits me very easily (even at 6feet 4 inches in height). The new thigh braces are a little more cushioned in the right places too. Same seat as the creeker 225 or newer boats like the cross. I guess the new foot brace system was also in the Cross. I thought the float bag behind the foot rest was also an innovative new design on the outfitting side but Steve with Prijon indicated that he put that in there custom for my safety (or the safety of the boat they had lent me). I got this thing out of the wrap and was able to adjust everything from the sitting position in the boat, not something prijon boats were known for in the past. The new track system on the seat is pretty sweet, no more wrestling with nuts and bolts like prijon used to have (now a pyranha feature almost exclusively). Not being a big water expert (Colorado creek boater) this did not seem to keep me off this run? But I was happy I went when this boats chines really helped me cross a swollen river in a boat I just was getting used to. It is really fast for a semi-planing hull design and tracks pretty well with the recessed chine and longer hull. We measured this baby at 8'9" at the Shed in Hood River Oregon but they claimed in the write-up it was 8'7"and guessed it had some volume. It did not seem too big to turn at all and really was stable in very pushy situations. A few times I had large waves or holes crashing on the deck and had no problems. If I would have flipped while trying to avoid a few holes in this situation, it would have been very nasty.
Conclusion, I need some time with this boat on low volume shallow rocky Colorado stuff to tell its full capabilities. But on big water, for anyone over 155 pounds this thing might be a gem. Self support room was never larger in a newer design. It did not have the nose rocker or volume that my Jefe has, but it is a different design. That design only took 2 or 3 rapids to start to feel and understand. It is a sweet boat! Thank god they did not use the Embudo cockpit rim, this one has something a lot better than that (similar to the creeker 225). Another something they stole of the creeker 225 was the mild bow chine in the center of the hull, just in the first 1.5 ft. of the boat. I saw a wanna be knowledgeable boater questioning this feature with the Creeker 225 on a prior review. He may even have mentioned he thought this slows the boat down. Get a clue my man, ever seen a keel in a sea kayak? This helps you carry speed since it helps you go straight. You can focus a bit more on forward strokes instead of correction strokes. This boat is going to be a Gus like hole punching machine! But the rocker is not as extreme in the front as the Gus, look for a little different resurfacing characteristic off falls than the Gus. I cried after about an hour in the Embudo and I could sit all day in this couch without a peep. Solid plastic, solid design, solid outfitting, finally they got all three to line up. If your big then check this thing out.
Cons, I think in very tight low volume creeks the length could be an issue. I did not have the opportunity to get it on anything of this nature since the little white salmon was 2' higher than the highest ever descent. Maybe it would be fine? I will keep my Jefe for the boney stuff and consider picking one of these up, or a large Mamba or a Gus for the absolutely flooded water we are going to want hull speed for this year.
My thoughts. I am sure I am opening up a can of worms but thought you buzz goes would want an opinion. Pretty sure I am the only one in the country who has paddled this thing so far. Pictures posted too.