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Old 10-22-2014   #11
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
I agree with all these guys too; try out a boat, if it works great, if not move along.

As for the boats listed, here are my 2 cents on the ones I have paddled.

Remix 79: Amazing boat, super fast, makes ferries and eddy hopping easy with just enough edge. I have paddled this primarily over the past 3 seasons for personal boating and teaching, and have to say I'd buy another one tomorrow.

Stomper 90: Have had one since they came on the market. Like JMack said, if you can't boof the stomper you can't boof. The continuous rocker profile does make it spin out if you aren't paying attention, but can be managed if you balance your seat position. The edge has a tendency to "mushy" if you aren't right on top of it when making moves.

Mamba 8.1: Be a big boy and just paddle the 8.6. I have been using one for teaching the last 2 months, and it's a completely different boat compared to the original Mamba. The hardest thing I have run in it has only been Shoshone (IIIish) but I was making the hardest moves available and was not disappointed in the boats performance. The edge goes from your ankle to just behind your hip allowing you to really drive it towards what you are wanting to do, ferry, peel out etc. It boofs super easy and is almost as fast as the Remix.

Fluid Bazooka: A good friend is one of their team paddlers and I was able to very briefly demo his Large. Super comfy, once you learn the edges they are crazy stable (secondary stability through the roof) it boofed pretty well and resurfaced very predictably. Can't really offer much more than that however.

Dagger Nomad 8.5: This is the creek boat that I grew up in. Stable, predictable, forgiving and just the right amount of edge to make it super snappy but not tripping over it. The nature of this boat was the confidence booster I needed 7 years ago as I was delving into running class V. My only complaint on the boat was the seat was uncomfortable, and their warranty sucked ass (a $140 shell turned into a $600 boat with no warning or second option after I turned in my old shell).

Hope this helps and just to clarify I do not paddle for any manufacturer; I am an instructor with access to multitudes of boats from several companies.


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Old 10-22-2014   #12
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
What I've learned, being here in Boise, being exposed to a large paddling scene who paddle pretty every type of river/creek you can think of...

There is no consensus opinion about a boat.

I'd say the Remix has long been the favorite boat, and the standard by which all other boats are measured. But a lot of really good boaters don't like it. The Jackson Karma has gained a lot of popularity, and again, a lot of really good boaters don't like it. Same with the Mamba. Same with the Stomper, the Burn, and the Villain. A lot of raves for Prijon too.

What you don't see a lot of out here are Fluids, Bliss Sticks, and Wavesports.

One boat that is starting to get a lot of hype, and which people are trading in their LL's and Jacksons for, is the Zet. I find that boat is for whatever reason getting a lot of people saying good things about it.

Point being... if you take 20 kayakers and have them paddle the same 5-10 boats, they will all have different impressions about that boat, often contradictory.

So just go paddle them and see what you like. You can't shortcut that step, no matter what people and/or the internet tells you about a boat.

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Old 10-22-2014   #13
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
Karma M is what you want

BoozeJockey, you should read my Karma boat review published on the 4CRS blog.

There are no terrible boats amongst your choices these days, but you likely do want the best performance your money can buy. That, no doubt, would be the Karma M for you. Read my review. It qualifies this opinion. I firmly believe that most of the competing designs of recent have attempted to incorporate some of the design that the Karma debuted when it revolutionized the market, but none of the others pull a total design together like the Karma does. In my opinion, it provides the best total performance. With that said, you may or may not need to customize the outfitting to accomplish your ultimate fit. If you do, let me know and I can supply some photos of what I did to the M. BTW, I am not sponsored by anyone. I've have just been around a long while to know about boat designs and performance. Best wishes for your boating enjoyment.
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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Old 10-22-2014   #14
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Edwards, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 262
I haven't paddled many boats but I currently own a Fluid Bazooka. Its a great creeking boat with nice bow rocker. It also has a somewhat shorter bow which makes boofing very easy and fun. This also makes it a less optimal big water boat. I haven't taken it down a ton of big water yet but I would prefer to have a Mamba or Burn III if I paddled a lot of big water.
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Old 10-22-2014   #15
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 18
Thanks again for the additional replies. I am very appreciative of the input everyone has provided.

I have another question, not about a specific boat, but more about boat design in general: Why are boats with edges supposed to be better in big water?

I can see how edges would be beneficial for catching eddies, but I feel like they could be a hindrance in big pushy water for everything else. For example, when peeling out and performing a critical upstream ferry where you want to keep your ferry angle, I feel like edges would give something for the pushy current to grab onto and blow your bow downstream and ruin the ferry angle. Additionally, just in general I would think edges would be something for pushy water to grab onto and trip someone up on in big water where there can be funny cross currents and boils that occur unexpectedly.
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Old 10-22-2014   #16
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Good questions. A boat designer can probably give a more proper answer, but I'll take a quick stab.

Edges tend to be talked about in the same context as planing vs displacement hulls, i.e. boats with sharper edges tend to have more of a planing hull shape. A planing hull shape tends to ride more on top of the water and have less hull to push through the water when making moves.

For ferries, think about surfing a wave. It's the same principles that make planing hull boats with more edge able to ferry easier. You can carve on the edges to maneuver and planing out on the oncoming water actually reduces the tendency of the bow of the boat to get blown downstream.

In terms of boils & cross currents, to some extend I think you're right, however I think other characteristics such as the parting line and shape of the sidewalls have more to do with the boat's ability to be forgiving in these features than degree of edge. The edge and planing features allow for easier maneuverability in big pushy features. I.e. the edge allows you to use your hips to manipulate the direction of the boat more and the planing feature has less drag through the water and therefore is easier to adjust and move.

One more thought. If/when you end up in a hole, edges help you get out.
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Old 10-22-2014   #17
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Big water doesn't have as much rock to trip up on. Getting a little sideways over some mank can be pinny or flippy for hard edged boats. Most modern creek boats have found a way to slid water and rocks slip off the side of the boat easier so this is less of an issue than it used to be.

The thing about an edge is you can engage it to get the benefits of a hard rail. This can help carving or even just locking into a line. You can also disengage the edge and let the boat wash out and spin easily. With less distinct edges you will tend to be closer to a washout all the time. It's why boats like the Jefe are terrible at holding a line and boats like the burn are great at it. It's also why the Jefe is probably the easiest creek boat to turn.
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Old 10-31-2014   #18
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 161
Lots of good stuff on this thread. You'd be hard pushed to find a really bad creeker these days. It is often down to your paddling style, the water you paddle on on and your preference of outfitting that may be the deciding factor.

I've paddled pretty much everything that is available and have owned a Stomper, Recon and now a Squirrel.

A few thoughts on the Squirrel - Liquidlogic Flying Squirrel 95 Vs Wavesport Recon 93 | Unsponsored
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Old 10-31-2014   #19
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Originally Posted by tango View Post
You're overthinking it. Paddle the boats you might want to buy. Chances are your skills aren't yet developed enough to be so picky and specific about what you want in creek boat.

Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
You will learn to paddle whatever you get. Just like each car drives differently, so does each boat. I suggest just sitting in each to see which fits best. A good fit goes a long way to good boat control, confidence and happy paddling.

Since you live in Denver, you're go-to Class IV/V will be Clear Creek. If you really plan on paddling a lot consider a used boat since you'll end up breaking whatever you get within a year or two.
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Old 10-31-2014   #20
OTR, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 224
Unless you buy a prijon! So far I have three full seasons of front range IV-V mankin' and it's still going strong. Knock on wood!

I love my Pure XL. It is very responsive to paddler input so if you have it dialed you can make it do anything you want but if you are a beginner you may find it twitchy as it doesn't just plow down the river the way my nomad used to.

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