Finally took the 80 out today
Well, I got to paddle it myself today. The only thing running around here is the Grey's River, which is not the best test, but it was what was available. My impression is that this is NOT the boat that's going to be replacing my Nomad 8.5, by any stretch of the imagination. Nowhere near as stable, definitely doesn't have as crisp of an edge in the bow, and doesn't seem to know what kind of boat it wants to be. It's a little faster than the Nomad (carries hull speed better, and reaches full speed quicker), but doesn't hold a line nearly as well, and for the few small boofs that were available to try, it was a disappointment. That being said, I am sure there are paddlers out there who will like the hull, it just doesn't instill a great deal of confidence for me. The Nomad just keeps getting better and better, the tougher the run gets, and I couldn't see the Habitat coming close. I was hoping it was going to act like a larger LL Jefe, but the Jefe is a lot more responsive in the bow, and more stable. It was interesting to paddle, but will have to stick with the Nomad or look again at the Mystic. Maybe just getting a new Nomad with the new generation seat is an idea, since the seat is the same in both boats: low back for gear access; storage under the front, more adjustability, etc. Anyway, that's my two cents worth after a full afternoon of paddling it. It is a confused little boat that doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be. The Nomad has no such identity crisis.
So many rivers, so little time..........