Flying Squirrel 95... my full rambling review
I technically have had the boat since May, but I have been holding out on a review until I had some quality gore laps in the boat.
Purchase Time- I bought this boat on a whim.... a 30 minute demo actually. It was a practically brand new boat I found at a swap this spring. I had asked several reliable people what they thought and none of them had even gotten into the boat. "Mixed reviews," was the only thing they could tell me. So I asked the people selling the boat if I could take it for a quick spin.
When I demo'ed the boat I didn't really dial in the outfitting. I was mainly looking to test the speed and turn-ability, as these were my two biggest concerns. After a bit of ferrying and eddy moves I knew I could get to like the boat and purchased it.
My personal LL experiences- My first creekboat 10 years ago was a LL Jefe(70gal), and I absolutely loved it as a first creeker. I liked the boofing and maneuverability, I learned to want more speed in my creeker though and the Jefe did not have that. I would later get into a remix 79 for a bit and just never got into it. I wasn't too keen on the spoony stern squirt deck, and I was unable to control the speed/maneuver ratio.
Other Boats I've owned- I paddled a burn for the better part of 3 seasons, a karnali for one season, and still have a diesel 80 I've paddled for years on just about everything. The edgy boats took precedent to me for a few years due to the thought that if I'm playboating a bunch I should stick with a planing hull.
LL Squirrel 95 feedback- For the first week or two of owning this boat I had a really fast learning curve. This boat does everything you would expect and want out of it. Boofs easier than any boat I have paddled, 3 strokes to cruising speed, awesome secondary stability, snappy into eddies as a displacement, and great durability. It is a great boat from the start but will grow on you the more you paddle it.
I was able to get this boat on a lot of runs this year from super low volume to big water, I had no concerns on any type of water and if anything had more confidence in my paddling. Going from 80 gallons to 95 was a great decision for me as I'm 5'10 200lbs. Going from planing hull back to a displacement reminded me how much more fun and stylistic a paddler can be in a boat with secondary stability. Additionally, paddling CO mank in a displacement feels more comfortable to me.
I heard the squirrel didn't have the easy stern access, but I find it pretty easy to undo the ratchet and pull up the back band. There is a lot of space in this boat, but you sit at a great level where your paddle shaft isn't hitting the deck. Outfitting is very comfy, my only negative feedback is on the slider seat screws, not a big fan.
A note on durability- As a CO boater I find durability a big selling point. This boat had 10 laps down OBJ this season as well as other mishaps(severe pin in Vallecito and a flying squirrel moment off a car going 75 down the highway), while I battered the boat to death it has no oil canning or cracks(just one bent grab bar).
I wanted to get the squirrel on Gore around 1-2k cfs before I wrote this review and I can honestly say it paddles great in there. The raft line to left of indecision in gore rapid is really fun to make, and I think I finally figured out a drier line down tunnel. I went off toilet bowl without a stroke last week and the boat still floated the hole.
I know it is hard for anyone to test this boat out and I hope this gives a little insight into the squirrel, feel free to ask any further questions.