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Old 06-09-2014   #1
paulie's Avatar
Rotorua, NZ
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 165
New Mamba vs Nomad Fill me in

Any Nomad lovers out there made the switch or even tried out the new Mamba? Recently put a nice gash in the old 8.5 red rocket and considering my options. Given that you guys have way more options than I have down here, can anyone fill me in on the merits of the Mamba? I paddled an old one ages ago and it sucked. Is the new one the tits or should I stick with the tried and true?

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Old 06-13-2014   #2
Enfield, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 332
Mamba vs Nomad

Since no one else is chimming in on this, here's my 2 cents worth. Bear in mind that I am talking of up to cl 3 stuff only.

I had the older 8.5 Mamba and I really liked it. It was comfy, stable rolled easy and also surfed great on glassy waves. It had the creek outfitting and its only con if you can call it that was it was really heavy.After about 4 years it cracked, and I got the new 8.6 that had just come out. I found that this boat was really big on me as compared to the 8.5.My stats:205-210 lbs, 32 inseam. It was harder to paddle, harder to roll and a real beast to carry, even though it was the rr outfitting which is lighter. Its one great pro was that it was incredibly stable, more so than any other boat I have tried. I wish that I had just gotten another old 8.5 Mamba. The long and short is that I got an offer to trade my new Mamba for a Nomad 8.5 and I jumped at it and am very happy.

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Old 06-13-2014   #3
tango's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 690
Well paulie maybe you oughta try putting that red rocket into some gashes, doubt it's 8.5" though. Must be river scum math.

Benny boy paddled the new mamba for a hot minute in chile, and gordon has one now. Errebody seems to love them. I would buy one, but now i have 2 nomads.

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Old 06-13-2014   #4
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Everybody in the PNW seems to have one and loves it. I would probably get one if I wasn't mostly on Front Range mank. Would be nice for high water CC this year. I think it's just basic advantages of a boat with more edge - ala just about every new creek-type boat these days.
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Old 06-14-2014   #5
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Paulie, you should get a Karma.

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Old 06-14-2014   #6
Sumas, Chilliwack, BC
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 120
Karma isn't all it's cracked up to be, had a MD liked it but it was slow with my weight 225#. Didn't care for the large either as it is friggin' massive. Now I have a mamba 8.6 and it is way faster than the karma. Doesn't roll like a Jackson but the outfitting and speed makes up for it by a long shot.
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Old 06-14-2014   #7
Sumas, Chilliwack, BC
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 120
Haven't tried a Nomad but the difference is going to just be the hull design. The question you should be asking is do you want a planing hull or displacement hull? A hull for big flow creeks/rivers or tight rocky low water?
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Old 06-15-2014   #8
Miller Time's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 288
Took the new mamba out for a spin in Oregon and loved it ! Quick, makes every move I wanted to make, moderate edge that was helpful. I normally paddle a burn and felt it very comparable. I also used to make fun of the old mamba paddlers but never again.

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Old 06-20-2014   #9
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
I just took the new Mamba 8.6 for a spin today. I found that it was super easy to control, the edge profile was exactly where you needed it and everywhere you didn't.

Compared to my old Nomad, the bow was absolutely massive; but not in a bad way. I found the edge made ferries easier (typical of having an edge vs not...) it boofed about the same, the lack of a gigantic ass end was noticeable (less super wheelie through good sized holes).

I liked it, and as a bigger paddler (6'3" and 200lbs) I would consider getting this as my creek boat/teaching boat, if I didn't run Front Range mank most of the year.

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Old 06-20-2014   #10
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
Karma is the best choice


Karma! Dave Frank's right. Do yourself a favor and get a Karma.

I've owned a Karma M, Karma S, and a Villain S. The Villain had been the best boat (now second best) prior to the Karma. You'll find the Karma is more responsive (crisp), the ultimate in stability, is light, very fast, carves beautiful arcing eddy turns, tracks perfectly, punches through and pushes out and away from holes and drops like a dream come true, is very fast, rolls up effortlessly, boofs like a champ. rides up and over things, fends off weird seams and currents, and is incredibly stable and predictable.

They are large volume boats, but they drive like they are smaller. Anyone that hasn't fallen in love with one just hasn't dialed in the seat position and outfitted it to fit them. Once dialed in the Karma is the absolute best performing boat ever made. The Mamba, Nomad, Shiva, Burn, Stomper, and Recon are all good boats, but the Karma is truly better. It is the complete package. Don't let anyone talk you out of one.

I don't know your size, but at 155 I most loved the Karma M when hauling lots of gear. I now love the Karma S (14 gallons smaller though and I'm already at the top weight limit, so can't add a bunch of gear weight. I have my Villain S for that, though.). The Karma L looks huge to me, but I know it should perform the same as the other two sizes. It will be unshakably stable and paddle like it smaller if you outfit it properly. I add and glue custom sculpted thigh hooks into my boats to compensate for the large volumes. Jackson athletes use added Happy Seats to secure their fit. Once dialed in the Karma is as stable as a battleship with the performance of a formula one race car.

I'm not sponsored or work for Jackson or any store. Just have 34 years of experience with boating class III-V+. I buy my boats from Four Corners River Sports. Give them a call. Those guys are true gnar boaters and have an awesome store.

Best Wishes!

No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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