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Old 04-13-2007   #1
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 254
Strong Playboat Opinions?

so i'm in the market for my first real playboat.

i know i should go demo a bunch and see what i like the most, but this is too much work for me, so i thought i'd see what kind of strong opinions people might have out there, if you'd share them.

normal size dude looking for class IV fun and at some point geting beyond my awsome front surfing...(5 10, 170)...thinking of flirt, rad, or agent. i don't like the jackson outfitting, and worried about WS plastic.

anyone know why bliss stick is only 700 new, while others are 1000? makes me think of the old jackson classics, which i think are cheaper in part becasue of the weaker plastic.

do any of you think that WS and Dagger boats are really better than the others, and that's why they seem to pretty much dominate the market out here? what about the LL playboat? i don't seem to see or hear much of those.

Thanks in advance - S

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Old 04-13-2007   #2
KVBA TV8 Vail weatherman/Colorado Kayaker, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 847
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The Agent was designed for great play and equally awesome river running ability. We also made sure it is the most comfortable boat possible. All the boats you mention are solid as well from LL, Jackson, etc.. They are all good boats. I like the Agent because we hit the nail on the head. Paddlers (not team guys) asked us for a boat that was comfortable, good at playing and still get down class IV, dry (new cockpit rim), loop big, be stable and easy to roll. We were also asked to keep the price down. The Agent is all that. And it is very affordable for a new boat. To my knowledge it is the least expensive new player on the market available from a retailer (not mail order direct). People are digging the Agent. For sure give it a try. I also like the All-Star, Ronin, and the Project. Each has something to offer.

Dagger Kayaks

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Old 04-13-2007   #3
craven_morhead's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 747
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To answer your question about Bliss Stick, it's my understanding that Bliss Stick sells all of their boats through "agents," boaters who get cheap boats (and maybe paid, not sure about that though) and sell boats. They don't sell through brick and mortar stores, and I think that's the main way that they keep their prices down. Who knows, the exchange rate may have something to do with it to.

In regards to plastic, I feel like bliss stick's is a little on the softer end of the scale, sort of like dagger's. LL seems to be on the harder end, making it more prone to crack but less prone to oilcan than bliss stick or dagger. your mileage may vary.

I playboat in a kingpin because I could get one cheap (i'm a poor student) and it still allows me to pull all of the moves that I'm able to do.
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Old 04-13-2007   #4
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Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
I would add the M/L 420 to your list. For your size it will be comfortable, good to go on class IV, and very playable. I paddle the M/L at 5'6'' 160# and I enjoy the extra speed and float while river running. The 420 has one of the faster (while planning) hulls out there, comparable to the Project, faster than the Agent (I paddled the 6.2 back to back with my 420 on a nice wave). That speed means that you can catch and surf more waves than the other rodeo boats. I also enjoy how the edges on the 420 work, they don't slide out on you while making a hard carve, but they aren't super grabby either. In a hole the 420 loops great (nice tapered bow volume for the watermellon seed effect) and likes to cartwheel close to vert. The stern looks big, but it is remarkably slicey when you edge it.

I would recommend adding some foam to the seat for better leverage over the ends. Also, be careful with the drain plug, the fish-shaped tab is prone to breaking off. My biggest gripe with the 420 is that the factory hip pads do not sit in a position that is comfortable and helpful for me. I ended up spending about an hour foaming out the seat. The rest of the outfitting is light and functional after a full season of use/abuse.

"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 04-13-2007   #5
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 19
Im a little bigger than you(6'0", 190), but for what its worth i paddle a Disco and i LOVE it. Swaps ends no prob, plenty of pop for the ariel play, well balanced for running rapids, and comfy as all get out. And, it has a knack for catching waves that newer model spud boats are too slow for. Ill probably hear it from Riot haters, but this boat kicks ass.
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Old 04-13-2007   #6
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
I have been happy with my kingpin and just bought another. I think they are 700 bucks new maybe 800 so still cheap by boating standards. They are super comfy and they play well enough for me and my buddy who just bought his second and throws loops in them no problem. They are also a little slicer for cartwheels which would be your next step in playing than the newer arial boats. I have know problems taking it down Gore and the poudre narrows as well. I think the 6.2 would be your best bet but you will be topping it out, the max is 180lbs. Just my 2
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Old 04-13-2007   #7
Len's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 99
Here's a strong opinion... Plastic is plastic.

Have you ever scratched a boat before?
Me too, it happens when you hit rocks.

Have you ever broken a boat before?
Me too (3 of them), it happens when you hit rocks.

In my experience, the only boats that have held up over the years without oil canning/cracking/excessive gouges are those that I babied (didn't paddle in colorado).

Colorado will eat plastic and not discriminate between manufactures.

My opinion... There are lots of great designs out there. Go with what feels good -- don't sweat the plastic.

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Old 04-13-2007   #8
GWS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 486
I think you should get a boat that you feel comfortable in. I am a firm believer that it is the carpenter and not the hammer. My unscientific, unproven belief is that all the current (last couple years) playboats are sick. They all seem to do most of the tricks well. It seems to me that you have to be a very high level paddler to notice the subtle differences between playboats. There are some very good deals on 1-2 year old playboats out there. Boats that will cartwheel, spin, loop, mcnasty, helix, etc.. just fine.

As for the wavesport plastic issue. I have a deisel and zg. I am generally a hack and slam my boats on rocks all the time. I have not had a problem with either of them and they are both 3 seasons old (and well used).

In short, go with comfort because all the boats will do any trick.
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Old 04-13-2007   #9
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 316
Maybe Hobie can comment on this but... I am pretty sure that Wavesport plastic and Dagger plastic are the same as Perception plastic. I have had a couple of Wavesport boats and I am happy with them. I agree with the other comment that Colorado is hard on boats reguardless of composition. Aswell the performance of one boat may not be as noticable to you as stated in another post, get something that is comfortable, and that you can roll well. IMHO I think you will grow into the other aspects of the boat.

Also I would consider going to CKS paddle fest 5/18-5/20. I went last year and nearly every manufacturer had their boats right there at the river. In three hours I tried 4 different boats and made a decision with no money out of my pocket for rental/demo fee. As well representatives from the manufacturers will be there to answer questions. Plus they will more than likely offer 10% off on boats and 20% on gear. I was also able to sell one of my old boats at the swap and used it as full credit toward the purchase of a new boat. Or you can just buy a boat from the swap.... (to any CKS employees i expect some form of remuneration for this shameless endorsement)

Lastly Confluence Kayaks will more than likely start doing free demos at Golden soon or Union so you could try that. They will have all of their boats at the river and you can trade out to see what you like the most... I am just not sure where you live as you did not list that on your profile so these options may not be viable.

Grace and Peace,

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Old 04-13-2007   #10
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 567
Most manufactures use pretty much the same plastic. The difference comes in the way that they cook them which will vary somewhat from boat to boat. I have never broken a boat and have paddle nothing but Liquid logic playboats since the Session +. I like their out fitting a ton. I find them very comfortable. My favorite of the older boats is the Big Wheel because it is faster and more forgiving and bounces higher on South Canyon than any boat that I have seen out there. The vision cartwheels and moves around in a hole really well, but you need a lot of overthruster to get good loops. As far as waves, it is fast but I could catch more air in the Big Wheel. I have not paddled a Ronin yet. It is being shipped as we speak. It looks like it will go big.
LL has bigger following in other markets. Colorado still has a great deal of loyalty to Wave Sport even though they left the state and Dagger cause Hobie kicks ass. I am hoping to fix that a bit over the next couple of years.

Disclaimer - the designer is my brother.

friend of the fork, knife, and spoon
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