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Old 08-02-2016   #1
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 61
What size Mamba?

I just got into kayaking a couple months ago. i currently have a LL Stomper 90. Seems like a fine boat to learn in, but definitely too big for me, so I'm looking for a new creekboat. I also have a Wavesport project 52 for a playboat and I love it. I'll mostly paddle in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.

I know someone who has a Mamba 7.6 for sale in decent condition for $600. I'm a 5'8", 135-140 lbs woman. Is the 7.6 too small? I don't really plan on doing anything too crazy, but would eventually like to dabble in some class 4 and self support trips. I paddled the 7.6 my very first day kayaking on the Animas and I liked it, although I had absolutely nothing to compare it to. I was able to roll easily in the pool, on the river, and even pulled off a good combat roll in Smelter during the lesson.

I also have someone who's interested in trading the stomper 90 for an 80. But after paddling the Project, I think I might like edges...? Hard to tell at this point in my very short paddling career, but the stomper feels like a bit of a pig.

Is there another boat I should be looking into?

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Old 08-03-2016   #2
White R. BC
ag3dw's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 316
Hey Cookie, I would recommend u demo, demo, demo. If u can borrow others' boats, that can work too. Best way to do that is to take lessons so u can try a lot of different boats. Good way to ramp up the skills also. Maybe with MT state?

That being said, I only know if a boat is really going to work for me if I buy it and get the outfitting dialed in and boat it on runs I want to do. Remember u can take harder lines on easier water that u already know.

I like a plaining hull river play boat if the waters not too hard. A lot of your play skills will carry over to that style of boat. But u will catch edges and get flipped if the water is big and pushy. I have an old Necky Mission and a Diesel 65 if I don't feel comfortable taking a play boat.

Oh yea, Mamba. I am about your size and I thought the small mamba fit pretty good. U can tell a lot about a boat by just sitting in it if the outfitting and general size will work for u (but u can also do a lot w outfitting). I didn't demo it tho. I went with a small Karma for a creeky river runner, v stable lots of rocker in front. Feels big enough and rides up over squirrely water, holes. Try it.

Displacement hulls will boat differently. Hold a line more, less turney. For harder sections of the Lochsa at higher water, House rock at higher water, Bitch Ck, anything a little iffy? I would take the Karma. Not sure of your goals but a confidence inspiring boat will help. If its too easy with the big boat, take harder lines or a smaller boat next time. Have fun!

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Old 08-03-2016   #3
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,323
All the current river runners are fine boats. (Mamba, Remix, Burn, Zen, Diesel, and more).
Buy a boat according to DBK.

First the boat needs to be comfy to you. You need to be able to sit in the boat for 3 hour without your ass/legs/feet killing ya. Some times the boat can just be too big in the cock pit and you have a hard time with reach and lifting your butt. So if you are comfy that's number 1.

Next, you have to love the boat. Maybe its the sexy lines, right color combo, band??? For whats its worth, the more you like the boat the more you will boat and the better you'll get. So, your opinions matter, Buy a boat for your own reasons and don't tell other push you in an uncomfortable direct.

When buying used boat, bring a flash light and really look all around. As far under the seat and outfitting as you can. Look for cracks where the outfitting/pillars/seat makes contact with the hull. Make sure all screws will loosen and tighten. Make sure drain plug is in good shape. Look for discoloration and sun fading in the plastic.

Once your find a boat that meets your needs, don't be afraid to pull the trigger. Good boat don't stay for sale long. 90% on the boat on CL a garbage.

As to over nites camp, if you go lite (less then 30lbs) then most boat will go. Over 30lbs and you'll need a boat on the bigger side of things.

Good Luck
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