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Old 05-19-2011   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5
grand canyon kayak selection

Anyone have an opinion on what boat to take down the grand at 23,000 cfs; trying to decide between a wave sports EZG or a creek boat. Boating level: experienced but old. Also any beta on any of the big rapids at this level.

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Old 05-19-2011   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Been down the grand canyon twice, trip one in a kayak, trip two rowing a cataraft.

Also being experienced but old, my advice is to go for comfort. Granted there are lots of big rapids to run, but there is a lot of flat but moving water in between. You are going to be in your boat many hours a day for a long time. I would not go for a big blunt nosed slow creeker but one of the river runner / creek designs would work well. Boats like Hero, Diesel, Burn, Remix etc are comfortable but reasonably fast. It is also nice to have some storage space for extra gear, snacks etc to have in your boat.

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Old 05-19-2011   #3
kikii875's Avatar
Orem, Utah
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 207
Hance will be much bigger on the right side, but the duck pond on the left side will be available. Or you can take the middle v and make a move left. Hermit washes out a little above 20k so it should just be fun. Crystal is just an easy walk down the right shore . Lava will be much bigger, but at that level the left run opens up nicely. Grapevine, Sock, Horn, Granite will all have bigger waves but nothing to worry about. Dubendorf is a fun ride down the left side at that water level. Totally different than the lower water runs that we are used to. The higher water also travels faster so the farther down the canyon you get expect the tide-time table to change if you or someone with you is used to a certain tide-time table from the flows we have had for the last decade. I am a rower so I can't help you out on the boat.
I am jealous, our trip is not until the end of August and they will probably not have this high of a flow still going then.
Have fun.
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Old 05-19-2011   #4
Ryanrugger's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 248
I took a superstar hit all the meat lines and loved every minute of it. I am super comfy in my boat, which is key. Go with the smallest boat that is comfortable to you. You won't be disappointed. Lava is a kick in the pants in a playboat! I ran the grand and it was at 21000. Lots of the holes flush but the wave trains are huge! The hole in crystal center right was nonexistent but the left wave train was rocking! You have to be careful not to get pushed into the left wall in a smaller boat. Have fun!
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Old 05-19-2011   #5
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 44
I debated long and hard on whether to take the creeker or playboat. Ended up taking the playboat and loved it. On the other hand a friend just did it at that level in a green boat and had no complaints. I say meet in the middle and take a river runner like an inazone. Small, fun and fast. Enjoy, its an amazing experience
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Old 05-19-2011   #6
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
Did a September OtterBar trip with a range of folks. I paddled a Necky Jive and it was uncomfortable as hell but paddled ok. My son had the Hero, was comfortable and ran great lines. One woman was in a Big EZ and did fine, one guy hand-paddled an EZG (he was tired!), one young guide paddled a tiny LL boat and flatwater cartwheeled his way for 200 miles. The rest of the crew were older and or Swiss and paddled bigger/longer/comfortabler stuff like Diesels/Mambas/Hercules. I didn't really notice a big range in speed/number of waves caught/thrashings; maybe that was just the overall skill level. Comfort is is #1 as I just wanted to get to the next hike and be able to stand up!
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Old 05-20-2011   #7
Beaverton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 569
Take something with a long waterline, like a Necky Jive. At 23k, the boil lines will have you all over the place in the EZG and you'll spend your day getting your ass kicked. If you can't find one of those, a Diesel or Mamba would be a good choice.

As for the rapids, the middle of Hance will be there, neatly avoiding everything. Just run about 10' to the right of the rock that is 50' off the left shore and you'll plunk straight into the duckpond, no move required.

The left side of Lava will be open, and the right will be seriously entertaining.

Most of the holes mentioned in the guide books just aren't going to be there. The classic places to flip in House, Hance, Sock, Upset, 209 and others will be wave-holes that are more of a wave.
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Old 05-20-2011   #8
Bugtussle, Kentucky
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 161
Got off the GC 3 weeks ago, had a constant 16K. I hand paddled a Jefe for 220 of the 280 miles, its the only boat I have right now but I was very comfortable...hand paddling made the boils and crazy eddy lines more manageable, but I traded that for power. Not much surf at that level, but I'm not much of a playboater. I was just trying to stay upright.
My buddy paddled a Nomad, he loved it. Our c-1'er paddled a Cascade, styled every rapid.
Comfy is the key. And wear a wig.
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Old 05-20-2011   #9
Preston H.'s Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 94
This is a really common question here, so look around for some more opinions.

That said, I have done four trips and took my prijon athlete every time. I really think a long, fast boat is the way to go. A good friend of mine even took his slalom boat and he had a blast. There are so many more playable features for long boats than for play boats. You can have some truly epic surfs that are just unattainable in a short boat.
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Old 05-20-2011   #10
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 176
Necky jive or rip. Length with a planning hull. Also runs rivers well enough to get you through the difficult sections.

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