Paddle class: V, mostly creeking
It all started late 2009, when i broke my 3rd creekboat in a row, after just 5 months of use. Jumped on the net, and in an act of desperation checked out the prijon page (bomber plastic, but not a huge reputation for innovative design). What i did really piqued my interest. They were in the final stages of preparation for a soon-to-hit-the market creekboat that looked REAL interesting... my prayers answered???
Long story short, it's real hard to get the boat you want in Costa Rica, so it took me about a year to finally get it down (thanks wildnet.com for making it happen!). In the meantime i paddled a Nomad 8.5 (a fantastic boat, i must say, but a bit oversized for me). This i mention because i think it's interesting to make a comparison of the 2 boats, since they have exactly the same specs for size and volume...
So what's it like?
When i first saw the specs for the boat, my greatest concern was that it might be too big for me. Some emails to Prijon and the fact that i weigh the same as the guy who designed it, helped appease my fears. Another thing that intrigued me was the unusual volume distribution. Most boats have their widest point right behind the seat, whereas the Pure seems to have it right around the knees. I had no idea what this would do in terms of handling, but was definitely willing to go out on a limb and try it.
If you put a Pure and a Nomad 8.5 side by side, they are clearly the same size. If you jump in them, the story is quite different. The Pure definitely feels like a smaller boat. I've been paddling it almost daily for about 2 months now, on everything from easy class 3 runs to the V/V+ bouldery chaos of Río Macho, and now feel it's safe to give an accurate verdict on the boat. So here's my impressions:
Turning/steering: The Pure is one of the (if not THE) easiest turning boats i've ever paddled! turning is lightning quick, precise, effortless. edge control is awesome and the boat just likes to catch eddies. real easy to adjust your entry angle when catching eddies, too. That volume around the knees may have something to do with it... hmmm
Holes/Resurfacing: Awesome! the boat resurfaces quickly and in control from meltdowns and big holes. One point where the buoyancy is evident. Speaking of holes, the boat seems to think it's a playboat
when stuck in one. it's surprisingly easy to move the boat around and use playboating moves to get yourself out...
Boofing: Boof machine. Period.
Stability: This is one point where the Pure feels smaller than the Nomad. it does feel slightly less stable than the 8.5 (In primary stability. secondary feels about the same). Still great, though...
Speed/Tracking: It's a fast boat, but not quite as fast as the 8.5. i'd say 95% of the speed. As for tracking, it definitely likes to turn more than it tracks, but IMO, that's a desirable quality in a creeker...
Outfitting: This is relatively secondary, but if i want to get finicky, here would be the one area where i feel improvements can be made. I love the thigh braces, and the footbraces are rad. As easy to adjust as Jackson outfitting, but way more solid. No flimsy ropes and knots here! The part i like less is the seat. The hip pads / system used to keep them in place are unnecesarily complicated and have slipped around a few times on me. Another thing is the fact that there are no gear attachment loops behind the seat, and i think this is important in a creekboat (I easily retrofitted some, and it took about 5 minutes, but it should be thought of). The bottle holder seems to be an afterthought as well. The backrest is fine...
Material: Speechless. Absolutely, vastly superior to rotomolded, linear, superlinear or crosslinked whatever! I've trashed it around pretty good for 2 months of daily abuse, and the hull shows no gouges, all scratches are superficial! Boat abusers this one is for you. In fact, i know of at least a couple 20 year old Topolinos that are still in service!
Pure vs. Nomad 8.5
: As i said, i paddled an 8.5 for a year while trying to get the Pure, and was very happy with it, apart from finding it a little big. However, people comfortable with the Nomad may find the Pure somewhat unstable for their weight, and should give the larger Pure XL a try for something their size instead. That said, and considering the fact that the 8.5 is a tad big for me, here is my personal, subjective, biased comparison of the 2 boats:
Pure Nomad 8.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10)
All in all, i'm happy to have gone out on a limb and bought the boat without a prior test. It looked right on paper and pics, and definitely looks right on the water. And judging from the known performance of Prijon material, this looks like the beginning of a very fun and rewarding, long time
see you on the water!
(i'm an independent paddler, not sponsored, and was not asked, rewarded or encouraged in any way to write this review)