River Running Kayak Recommendation - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-10-2017   #1
 
finripple's Avatar
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 76
River Running Kayak Recommendation

Hi all,

My son is getting into kayaking and I want to start taking him down some mellow stuff. Thing is, I haven't owned a kayak for 20 years and there's so many options out there today it's tough to figure out what might be best for me. I did paddle a 4 Fun recently and that was too sporty for me.

I'm looking for a river runner that has more volume, soft edges and that would be good on something like Westwater at moderate levels, 4-6k -
something I could take down The Grand on a supported trip with confidence.

I'm not a great play boater, but I do want to be able to get on the occasional wave. All the manufactures claim they have the best solution (Jackson Hero, Wave Sport Diesel, Liquidlogic Remix, etc, etc).

I'm 6'1" and fluctuate between 190-195#s. Do any of you my size have a boat you really like and could recommend?

Curious. Thanks very much.
-Fin

PS: I found this post, but it's dated (2009) and the guy is bigger than I am.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f...uys-27652.html

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Old 07-10-2017   #2
 
Hagerstown, Maryland
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Would you be opposed to inflatable?

If not, the Super Lynx might fit the bill.

Super Lynx Inflatable Kayak | AIRE

I have a Tomcat personally, and have looked into getting a Thrillseeker (ThrillSeekers | Custom Inflatables, Inc.).
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Old 07-10-2017   #3
 
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 4
It's hard to find a boat that will do it all, but based on your interests, I would get a newer river runner and pick up a play boat later if you want to go that route.

Both my daughters paddle the Jackson Zen and they love them, as does everyone I know that owns one. It looks like there are 2 good deals for Large Zens in the classifieds, you could save yourself some time and $ by checking out one of these. If I had not just bought my daughter one this spring, I would be upgrading to one of these boats from my Diesel.
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Old 07-10-2017   #4
 
SW, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 31
I wouldn't get too worked up over individual models. IME most of the river runners perform the same. My background is as high level competitor and ITE, so I've been under the watchful eye of a few national coaches and technique is mostly dialed.

The Zen would be a good boat, as would the Diesel. A Diesel is my work boat. Great boat that does a number of things OK and hauls a lot of gear. It is, however, like my 4Runner. It gets the job done, but is uninspiring. Of course unless you locate a prototype in composite most rotomolded boats will be like that. Braaaap would be another. Axoim.... Note that many of these boats mimic the lines of the Dagger RPM / RPM max / Outburst. A good option would be an RPM Max if you can find one used.

Overall, look for boats in the 9+ foot category. A short boat is going to inhibit your ability to develop any kind of torso rotation. Longer boats will allow some degree of glide and tracking ability. That will allow you to properly execute a forward stroke and encourage you to develop proper mechanics for turning strokes.

Good luck with your journey.
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Old 07-11-2017   #5
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by finripple View Post
Hi all,

My son is getting into kayaking and I want to start taking him down some mellow stuff. Thing is, I haven't owned a kayak for 20 years and there's so many options out there today it's tough to figure out what might be best for me. I did paddle a 4 Fun recently and that was too sporty for me.

I'm looking for a river runner that has more volume, soft edges and that would be good on something like Westwater at moderate levels, 4-6k -
something I could take down The Grand on a supported trip with confidence.

I'm not a great play boater, but I do want to be able to get on the occasional wave. All the manufactures claim they have the best solution (Jackson Hero, Wave Sport Diesel, Liquidlogic Remix, etc, etc).

I'm 6'1" and fluctuate between 190-195#s. Do any of you my size have a boat you really like and could recommend?

Curious. Thanks very much.
-Fin

PS: I found this post, but it's dated (2009) and the guy is bigger than I am.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f...uys-27652.html
Of course, there are many boats that you could consider. However, IMO you will be wise to buy any of three Jackson boats: 1) Karma (M or L), Zen (L), or Traverse 10. When you do, and if you want to contact me, I would happily share some photos of how to accomplish some custom outfitting that may provide you the best performance, stability, confidence, and enjoyment.
Cheers!
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Old 07-11-2017   #6
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 491
Youth size

Also, if needed, I would recommend for your son (youth), depending on his size, either the Jackson Sidekick or Karma S.
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Old 07-11-2017   #7
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,708
Remix 79 or smaller depending on person's size

easy to paddle, easy to roll, stable and a good surf boat

should be cheap on the used market
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Old 07-11-2017   #8
 
SW, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okieboater View Post
Remix 79 or smaller depending on person's size

easy to paddle, easy to roll, stable and a good surf boat

should be cheap on the used market
X2 on he Remix. Tons of used ones out there. Very solid and forgiving general river runner. Not big on the "play" side of things, so be aware of that. Axiom, Braaap, RPM, etc. will be more playful, but a bit less forgiving.

You might want to consider lessons. Efficient movement patterns will be much more important than equipment. Many of the instructor candidates who come to me for certification don't make it - simple because they cannot properly execute and model strokes on Class II - and these are guys & gals running (surviving) Class V.

Look for a school that provides daily video analysis. If they don't provide that service it may be that the instructors don't understand movement analysis.

Also... The boat that you are in love with now may change as your skill evolves. Taking a course will shorten the learning curve and provide greater understanding of paddling mechanics.

Enjoy your journey.
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Old 07-11-2017   #9
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,708
Finding a good kayak for a beginner is important I think.

On the other hand, the recommendation for a quality beginner instruction clinic is just as important maybe even more so.

As a retired ACA kayak instructor, I can say from personal experience, starting a beginner out by just giving them a kayak and taking them out on the water, often times creates bad paddle stoke "grooved in" that are almost impossible to correct later on.

The key thing on instruction is quality of instruction. I advise that you check with your local paddle club for references or even the Buzz for references.
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Old 07-11-2017   #10
KSC
 
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Posts: 2,096
Recommendations above all seem solid. Doesn't sounds like your requirements are too strict so almost any larger boat made in the last 10 years would probably suffice. Probably something with a full planing hull would be preferable.
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