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Old 09-23-2011   #1
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 276
Yeah, sorry, but another "what boat" post

Background- I've paddled some off and on over the years, recently picked up a tsunami 145, which I love- did Labyrinth/Stillwater for my honeymoon this summer. Have paddled a little WW in old school boats. Currently live in Green River, WY, where we have a play-park. Got the itch to play with WW stuff again, so picked up a WS Big EZ off Craigs list for cheap. I'm 6', 195ish with lots of weight in my legs (fairly serious cyclist). Have been playing with the boat in our smaller feature, and it is fun- surfs easy, I can roll it fairly reliably in flatwater, less frequently in current. Only problem- the thing is killing my ankles.

So I am thinking I'll have to pick up a different boat, and I'm not sure a playboat is what I want. I'll spend time there, but really don't see myself doing much for tricks- I'm just not a "trick" kind of guy. I'd like do some river running, probably not anything over III for quite a while. I don't really like the feel of the low volume ends, but I guess I could get used to them. Is there a river runner that surfs well? Thinking maybe a Diesel. At least for the next 5 years or so, I'm probably a one WW boat guy- I barely have room for my bike and ski quivers, more than 2 boats (not counting my wife's stuff) isn't going to work.

So a river runner that will function in the playpark, without a need for tricks. Comfy, because I'm getting old (or at least high mileage). Probably something a couple years old, because I have more hobbies than money.

Thanks for any input!


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Old 09-23-2011   #2
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,327
Jackson Super Hero?? Maybe do the pre 2011 model used. Thats my first thought. Maybe even a WS Y boat. The Y boat actually surfs it up. I always recommend the 30 minute butt test. Put your butt in the boat for 30 minutes and you will get a real good idea of how the fits. good luck

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Old 09-23-2011   #3
RandyP's Avatar
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 152
I would suggest the Jackson 4fun it will do any trick you want and it surfs great! Plus you can run anything up to class IV. The super hero has plenty of room and surfs pretty decent but the fun will let you do so much more. Or try some other river runner/play boats if the jacksons don't fit you.
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Old 09-23-2011   #4
Columbus, Indiana
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 135
I'd try everything I could get my hands on that had a planing or semi-planing hull that is relatively modern if I were you. That way you can really find out what you like/dislike.

Some options:
Dagger: Mamba, Axiom
Pyranha: Varun, Loki, Burn
Fluid: Spice, Detox
Jackson: Fun, Hero
Liquid Logic: Freeride, Remix
Wavesport: Fuse, Diesel

Some of those listed are more river running oriented and some are more play oriented. But that should be a good list of things for you to try so that you can figure out what you really like. That pretty much fills the spectrum between river running and not full-on playboat, and all will handle a bit differently. You really just have to find what YOU like. Everyone here has different preferences.
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Old 09-23-2011   #5
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I am about your size or I was. The Big Ez was a fun boat but killed my ankles. It was like a torture test to stay in it for long. I think the Jackson fun series have really owned this class of boats for a while but I havent tried the new Varun. Boat designs have come a long way and my new WS playboat is extremely comfy. If you have any possibility to demo then do so. Its worth the time to find the boat that works for you.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 09-23-2011   #6
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The High Ground, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,325
If you liked the EZ try a Wave Sport Fuse. Very similar with more volume up front for larger feet. Fun boat and it comes with much better outfitting IMO than the Fun series. I traded my 4Fun in for the Fuse and it's been a great boat.
"Let us cross the river to the other side and rest beneath the shade of the trees." ~ Last words of Thomas Jonathan ''Stonewall' Jackson
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Old 09-24-2011   #7
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 339
i agree with the fuse ive tried a 4fun and was sadly disappointed the fuse has great foot room and awesome outfitting!
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Old 09-24-2011   #8
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
And I forgot about that one, try the fuse as well. I am not a fan of the jackson outfitting either. Try it though, I think its a love/hate thing.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 09-25-2011   #9
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240

If you have a whitewater park in town and you don't intend on running whitewater above class 3 (or 4) for a bit, I highly recommend getting a playful boat. There are two types..

FREESTYLE-SPECIFIC PLAYBOATS: This boat can run easier whitewater and rapids, however, it's specialty is tricks that you can do at your whitewater park. The ability to cartwheel, flip, etc. will all be much easier in a modern playboat. You will learn all sorts of cool things and this boat will be especially awesome if you intend on doing much of your kayaking at the whitewater park. I might recommend this option most.

The best new playboats include the Jackson Rock Star L or Super Star, the Wave Sport Project X 56, or the Pyranha Molan. A great used playboat you can find for under 500 dollars would be the Jackson Super Star.

HYBRID RIVER-RUNNING PLAYBOATS: These boats are a bit longer (much like the Big EZ) but are meant for paddlers trying to do some playboating, some river running. These boats can spin and cartwheel, but will have limitations at your whitewater park. The upside is that when it comes times to progress in your downriver and consider class 4, this boat can get you there.

The best of these new include the Jackson 4Fun, the Liquidlogic FreeRide, the Pyranha Varun, the Wave Sport Fuse. You can find used designs too (like an older 4Fun.)

You might look at some of these boats and wonder how you can fit. Evolution in designs have generally made for more space for your feet. Sit in the boat for a while, and more importantly, I highly recommend you demo several different types of boats. Do not make a purchase without trying it first.

I personally prefer Jackson boats because they make comfortable, high performance, easily adjustable kayaks for people of all sizes. No other brand of kayaks rolls as easy. If you buy one new they are warrantied.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 09-25-2011   #10
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 276
Lots of good info, thanks for that. The thing that makes me worry about fit, especially with foot room where there isn't much room for making changes, is that in the Big EZ, it doesn't ever really feel like its uncomfortable or hurt while I'm paddling it- I notice it the next morning. I can paddle for an hour or more and feel fine the whole time, then the next morning or even later I can barely walk. It actually took me a while to figure out what was causing it.


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