Am I good, or is my boat just good? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-13-2015   #1
Cave Creek, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 60
Am I good, or is my boat just good?

I got into back into kayaking last year after taking 16 years off (I did one short season of Class III in the late 90's). I have only paddled two boats since my 'resurrection': the LL XP10 and Bazooka; I have been amazed at how much easier Class 3 seems in both of them.

I have an opportunity to do an overnight wilderness run in Bulgaria in which my rental boat selection appears to be very limited. If the only boat I can get a hold off is significantly different design than my boat, how concerned should I be? For example the only option rt. now is the Recon 83, which has a high, continuous rocker and displacement hull, as opposed to the low rocker and planning hull on my Bazooka. I would also be 10 lbs over the recommended paddler weight, how big of an issue would that be?

I know a good boater should be able to do class III in any modern creek boat, but I'm not that good yet and the locals consider the run class 3/4. I have yet to pop my class IV cherry, but I did do the Rio Grande racecourse last year with ease to my surprise; I'm thinking it was due to the great new modern boat I have and not my skill.

It would be surreal to float under a medieval bridge to me. Video of the run for those curious:

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Old 01-13-2015   #2
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
I'm not sure running class IV the first time in a small and unfamiliar boat while doing an overnighter in Bulgaria is a good idea.
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Old 01-13-2015   #3
Cave Creek, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 60
I know, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do... I would have to get a Class IV run in before then and take a rescue class. I would also have a 'certified' safety kayaker with me, familiar with the run, and family and car nearby halfway.

The point of the thread to see how insecure an unfamiliar boat makes others feel, and how long it takes to get used to the new boat. I would play in an eddy or lake the day before put-in.
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Old 01-13-2015   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,770
The Racecourse is class 3 unless you ran it at 2000+ cfs. I don't think the boat is going to make a huge difference for you, but I would suggest running some class 4 water stateside before you leave the country to go paddle...
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Old 01-13-2015   #5
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 421
A Solid class IV paddler should be able to get in any modern boat and navigate III-IV safely. Curious if you're ten lbs over weight with overnight gear or without? From what you've shared my guess is you'll be gripped on a Class IV run with a loaded boat that is too small for you. Not that you'll die, or even get seriously hurt, but having to constantly fish someone out and chase their gear will definitely detract from the experience of you paddling partners. Maybe your "safety kayaker" is up for that kind of a trip, but they should know exactly what level you're at before hand.
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Old 01-13-2015   #6
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 185
As long as you can hit eddies and roll go for it.
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Old 01-13-2015   #7
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,493
Be in shape. Go to a bunch of roll sessions. Try to get on some CL IV here but it looks like a great river a trip to remember for a lifetime. I would have a hard time not doing it. I would definitely try to shop around and see if you can find a properly sized boat. Get any creeker made in the past 5 years sized correctly for you and you will be fine.
The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 01-13-2015   #8
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
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So you're > 200# with no gear & loading the boat with overnight gear and pushing above your skill level. Seems like a legit concern. Creekboats don't perform as designed when grossly exceeding the capacity they're designed for.
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Old 01-13-2015   #9
Cave Creek, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 60
Thanks for the input guys. I'm in the infancy stage of planning for this June trip. I hope to get a lot more river time stateside this spring.
I have been shopping around and already got an email saying I could probably get a Habitat 80, which puts me within weight range. I've also discovered that I can do a day trip on a nearby river (the Struma) which is Class 3; 4 only at very high water. The run parallels a road and easy to portage the one rapid that maybe 4. So it looks like I'll be warming up on that and then doing the Arda, if I feel good in the boat and the flow is good.
LMyers, I know the racecourse is 3; if you look at the video I posted, there's only a few of spots that have anything more than the racecourse in my opinion, and no keeper hydraulics. Feel free to tell me if you think the video is much more difficult than the racecourse. I know the view is different from the cockpit than a desk...My 'concierge' says the Arda is "4 max".
He also wants 50 euros a day for just the safety kayaker. They may sound reasonable to us, but no one in Bulgaria makes 50 euros a day (legally anyway); so if he has to wait on me to recover, and chase down my boat of couple times, that will be the least of my worries. If I do have to wet exit, I'm confident I can self-rescue, as I did many times in the 90's, haven't had to in my 2nd career, again the modern boat thing.
Anyway, what I wanted out of the thread was how I might feel in a different boat (displacement hull vs. planning hull effecting stability, maneuverability, etc.) Sounds like I got my answer, don't think about it while on the river, just think where you need to put the boat.
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Old 01-13-2015   #10
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 166
Can you rent a Recon 83 and fill it with gear to see how it paddles?
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