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Old 05-25-2010   #11
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,096
cmack... never paddled the rocker. I demoed a proto small villain, and it felt like a sporty creekboat at my weight. Nice boat, but I definitely wanted more volume. I don't think the villain is too big at all. Its got the volume to keep you on the surface, but feels pretty damn nimble considering the size. Its easier to turn the the nomad 8.5 and less prone to spinning out than the grande. Best bet is to demo one and check it out. Don't think you would have a problem in the boat at 6'.

As for the villain increasing swim percentage... gonna have to get enough days in the boat before I can comment on that. I think my swim % will go down from el tippy grande... With that said, I have been out of the villain already. I can say that the villain wet exits like a charm, is very stable to hold on to when you are out of your boat grasping to self rescue your shit, and has a nice centered drain plug to empty all of the water out of your boat. Another check mark for the villain... does great in a swim. Ha!

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Old 05-25-2010   #12
Bay Area, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 57
Thanks for the review. Awesome info. I have been thinking about getting this boat. It's nice to hear what a regular paddler thinks of it. Now I guess I will have to demo it and see what I think of it for myself.

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Old 06-21-2010   #13
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
Ian, still liking the Villain after more time in it? How's the crosslink holding up to the manky mank?
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Old 06-21-2010   #14
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,096
Yeah, been enjoying the villain a lot.

Took it down a bunch of high water runs, and the boat does great in bigger water. The volume keeps you on the surface in big chaotic water and the soft edge helps you make moves and hold a cross current line. Ran the big T at 1000 cfs plus and thought the villain did really well in the flooded creek style bigger water. The villain doesn't get spun out by features hitting it at an angle, its just keeps on plowing through.

The villain is kick ass on the creeks too. Took her down several SSV runs. Its amazing how quickly the boat can be turned around. One good sweep or pry and I'm at the angle I want. It turns way easier than you would think for the specs (8'8" and 93 gallons). Its an easy to maneuver boat on tight steep runs. The fact that it is super forgiving has gotten me through a few near SSV beatdowns too.

As for how the crosslink is holding up... so far, so good. The crosslink seems a little more resistant to gouging after rock scrapes. Seems like the gouges are more superficial and not as deep. The crosslink also seems to be more flexible. It feels like the boat gives a little when I hit rocks, which softens the impact vs. a more stiff and brittle plastic. The true test is coming soon when SSV gets back into the super mank level.

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