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Old 09-11-2015   #1
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1959
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 4
New Scadden raft a big disappointment

I saw the new Dave Scadden raft video for the 14' Assault Dragonfly XL. The paddle board floor intrigued me. It was claimed to row very easily and quickly. I liked the boat and bought one at the fly fishing show. After making a rowing frame and seats for it as a fishing rig I started using it on the Colorado River.
I found the raft did indeed row very quickly skimming along the surface of the water with ease. The paddle board floor is very stiff making it a great platform to fish from. The floor fits below the tubes of the raft and the boat rides mostly on the floor with the tubes even with the surface of the water.
The problem is that the boat will not track at all. It goes sideways as easily as it goes forward or backward. It is very difficult to set up a ferry and when you pull into an eddy it doesn't grab the back water it just slides across and slams into the rocks. In upstream winds it is particularly bad.
Has anyone found a way to get these boats to track?
They are rated Class V but with the bad handling characteristics anything over Class II would be dangerous. The manufacturer has not answered my email or phone calls.
I also have a Scadden 12' Challenger that is a great one man boat and can get by as a 2 man boat. It is rated to also handle 3 people but that would definitely overload it. Since the Challenger has been a good boat I hoped the big Assault would be good as well.
I see NRS makes a similar raft and they state that it does not track well. Their floor does not sit as low allowing the tubes to have contact with the water and hopefully they track a little so they might be usable. The Assault Dragonfly XL is hardly usable and makes for a very disappointing rafting experience.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-11-2015   #2
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
Scadden is the biggest scammer in the white water market. The boats are made out of thin dry bag material. A lot of glitter wrapped around a lemon. Condolences to you and your very sub par raft purchase. Best bet to talk to him will be at the next fly fishing show in Denver.

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Old 09-11-2015   #3
zbaird's Avatar
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 884
Scaddens don't have the best rep. A quick search here would lead you to that opinion. I have worked on some of his boats that were alright but man, he has some wacky designs that somehow made it past prototype. His testing department could have been drunk and stoned when they took some of the boats out and brought them back saying that the boat was great.

Next courses of action, shooting from the hip.....

1. Get Scadden to take it back or sell it to a lake fisherman.

2 Try loading it down with tons of booze to drown your sorrows and see if the tubes get more purchase on the water.

3. Let some air out of the floor, compromise the whole reason you bought it and maybe gain some tracking.

4. Take her out to the back 40 and rapid fire a mag into it, that always makes me feel a little better about gear betraying me.
zach baird
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Old 09-11-2015   #4
Monte Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 46

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Old 09-12-2015   #5
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Craigslist is your friend- cut your losses and buy a real boat. DAMHIK

P.S. Dave Scadden's ability to return calls and emails is in direct proportion to upcoming trade shows. If he knows you intend to park outside his booth and chat with potential customers he becomes really motivated to return your call.

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Old 09-13-2015   #6
SpeyCatr's Avatar
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 267
Did you get tunnel vision when you looked at this boat - were you considering other boats as well or?
Future owner of AIRE Wave Destroyer w/MadCatr Frame
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Old 09-13-2015   #7
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1959
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 4
The concept of the paddle board floor allowing the boat to skim across the water like a drift boat intrigued me. The paddle board floor also takes 6-8 psi as opposed to most other floors at 2-3 psi. This does give you a very solid base to stand on. In retrospect the floor sitting below the tubes makes it obvious that the boat would float high on the floor and not have any edges to track efficiently with.
The NRS Outlaw is similar, less expensive and uses better material and valves. I wasn't aware of it until after my purchase. The Outlaw floor sits higher allowing the tubes to be in the water more and would allow the boat to track better but I have no first hand knowledge.
I have a Scadden Challenger XXX which has proven to be an excellent one man boat for me. My buddies have Scadden one man boats that have worked out well. Class V claims for these boats seems excessive. The 1800 lb capacity listed for the Challenger is double what it should be. We use our boats for fishing so rough water and heavy loads are not an issue.
I hope Scadden will stand behind his boat and redesign it so it works well.
If I am able to get to him I may find out. In the mean time it's back to the river for another week and maybe this can be resolved after the season winds up.
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Old 09-13-2015   #8
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
You are far from the first, and you won't be the last...

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Old 09-14-2015   #9
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 111
Cut the floor out and use it as a paddle board.
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Old 09-14-2015   #10
azpowell's Avatar
page, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 134
maybe try gluing on some small sup skags.....or some sort of a rib down the floor

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