'm 48 yo, 6'1, 210 lbs. 31" inseam, size 10.5 feet. I enjoy park 'n play on waves (not really into 'holes') and running III - IV.
I currently have a Riot Nitro that I've been paddling since December, mostly river play or park 'n play on high CFS runs / locations.
Sadly, I've just been diagnosed with a number of neck problems (herniated discs, pressure on spinal cord and the like) turning my head to look in the direction of a move is painful, performing a head dink while rolling is also painful ... I've been told that there is good chance the surgeons will want to fuse my neck ... not at all sure how that will impact my ability to paddle but I have a pretty good suspicion that hitting my head on rocks isn't going to be advisable.
I moved to the Nitro from my Air 55 & Booster 55 hoping it would be something of a cross. So far, I find that the Nitro is not really a cross between the two boats, but an animal with its own set of pros and cons.
Pros: Comfortable, Relatively easy to roll, excellent surfing (if you lean forward and drive the boat), loose for initiating flat spins, floats my weight well.
Cons: Edgy in swirling waters (e.g. boils and whirlpools on eddylines). Paddling in such conditions requires aggressive posture and techniques. Stern volume makes pivot turns and stern squirts very difficult. Edginess also makes the boat less than confidence inspiring when dealing with the currents associated with low CFS creek-like runs.
I'm looking for feedback on other boats that I should consider ... Given their low weight and performance specs, I've been attracted to the Pyranha Seven-O and Stretch. I'm also considering the Booster 60, EZG 60, and CR 250 ... or should I just save my money and master the Nitro?
My priorities are comfort, boating through high CFS conditions (think Snake River at 10 - 12K CFS) while keeping my head dry and having fun with stern squirts, surfing and flat-spins (I have enjoyed Riot boats for many years because they are sooooo loose on a wave.) While it would be great to learn to do blunts and all the other cool aerial moves, from a practical standpoint, it looks as if my body will not be able to handle those stresses.
"Never attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Anon.