Looking for a Creek Boat - Mountain Buzz

View Poll Results: What is best all around, first time, creek boat.
Pyranha Burn 5 21.74%
Pyranha Karnali 3 13.04%
Liquid Logic Jefe 5 21.74%
Jackson Villian 10 43.48%
Eskimo Salto (2010) 1 4.35%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-24-2010   #1
Boulder, Washington
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 9
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Looking for a Creek Boat

Here is the deal. I have been boating for a while now and I have never pulled the trigger and got a creek boat. Basically, I have been a Class IV boater for a while and have gone back and forth from being scared or having excuses on not progressing. Now I have gotten to a point in my life that I am ready to just start getting after it a bit.

So, I know that boaters really stand by their creek boats and that sometimes floods their opinions about what they own.

I am looking for something that will treat me well in the Northwest and be fast, responsive and ready to take on some vertical drops.

I hear that the Burn is the way to go., but the Karnali is a great boat if you like a displacement hull. I hear the Jefe is a great boat, but slow and tends to squirt in bigger holes. I have not heard anything about the new Villain or the new Salto (although the old one was a great boat).

Lastly, I go from 150 to 165 depending on the season. What size is best? Biggest boat I can handle mentality or smallest boat I can fit in.

Thanks for the help and I am looking forward in hearing some experienced based thoughts.

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Old 08-24-2010   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
Not many folks want the smallest creekboat they can fit in. I'm a fan of having a larger creekboat to keep you on the surface and in control.

At 150-165 you could fit fine in the small villain, one of the burns or the jefe.

I'm a big fan of the villain. Paddled it for an entire season after paddling nomads and jefe grandes for several years, and I love it. Great hull design, super stable and forgiving, very comfortable and one of the best warranties in the business.

As always, demo a couple boats to see how you like them.

If you want to step up your game and get into harder runs, a good creekboat will make it a lot easier.
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Old 08-24-2010   #3
tj@cu's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 986
I would say stay away from the jefe and salto i think the salto is too small and the jefe isn't good on anything with push. I would look at the villan, burn and nomad
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Old 08-24-2010   #4
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,888
I agree with erring on the side of more volume. I also think that, generally speaking, paddling a semi-displacement (or semi-planing?) hull requires the paddler to be more aggressive and attune to how the boat reacts in weird currents and ricocheting off rocks. Since you mentioned seeking bigger vertical drops, I'll assume you mean to focus on steep creeks.

IMO folks who are good playboaters and technically strong paddlers can really make difficult lines looks good with a planing hull on steep creeks. Displacement hulls are perhaps less maneuverable, but certainly more forgiving for paddlers that may not be the most technically sound. You'll find yourself having to rely on corrective strokes less with a round hull.

Personally, I think hull speed is overrated in a creek boat; especially if you have the bow volume to get up and over holes. I like a boat that slows the rapid down and allows me time to adjust my line. I hate creeping up on someone else's stern because I have too much hull speed.

At your weight, it's OK to think big. Don't rule out a Villain Large, Nomad 8.5 or Jefe Grande - depending on your height, these boats might feel like you can drive over anything. That'll do a lot for your confidence. You can always move to something more sporty (smaller and/or harder edges) after a season or two of steep creeks.

Now- you you are looking more towards hitting big water V, then hull speed and primary stability might be more of a concern. Then maybe some of the other boats you mentioned may be perfectly fine. Having not paddled a hard-chined creeker, I can't comment.

FWIW - I paddled a Nomad 8.5 for 5 seasons, then went to a Fluid Solo Large this past season (marketed as semi-displacement). I just didn't love the slightly harder edges on the Solo, so I just sold it and bought another Nomad. Someday I'll demo the Villain as well, but I know what I get with a Nomad.
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Old 08-24-2010   #5
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 161
I'm about 10 pounds bigger than you and just switched from a Jefe to a Villian S after 4 years in the Jefe. I like both boats a lot, but I tend to run more low volume (Black Rock, Bailey) type runs than the big water Class V.

Villian is definitely faster than the Jefe. It rolls great and has excellent secondary stability. The Jefe probably boofs a little bit better.

I can't say that I like one boat better than the other, but neither sucks.

Go demo. That's what I did.
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Old 08-24-2010   #6
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 491
I suggest you stay with the small Villain. I'm in the 160/165# range, but short, and, although I am super impressed with the Villain S, I do consider it to be a big boat for me. At almost 80 gallons it is noticably bigger feeling than the Habitat, Punk Rocker, and Diesel 65 that I have really enjoyed. Which, it is considerable more volume, and that will be of benefit sometimes. However, I do tend to feel it seems to wear big on me. Whereas, I most enjoy a boat that fits snug and that I can dominate when in battle. Nevertheless, it is an aweome design. If they do come out with a smaller version yet (XS?) I will certainly be interested to see (if they don't make it too small) whether a smaller version is more appealing to me or not. For now, though, I can strongly recommend the Villains to anyone in the market for a new creek boat/river runner. I recommend the Elite for the toughness and the three year warranty.

No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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Old 08-24-2010   #7
Mmcquillen's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 269
the mamba is a good semi- displacement one too.
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Old 08-24-2010   #8
rockinRio's Avatar
Thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 231
Throwing out some love for the Nomad 8.5. Love it, the boat simply makes me paddle better than ever before.
You ARE a soul, you HAVE a body.

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Old 08-24-2010   #9
rockinRio's Avatar
Thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 231
Now I have to ask this and I'm totally prepared to have my head handed to me...

Why is the Jefe such a popular suggestion. Every time I look at the swap there are a ton of them for sale.
I've paddled one, and I will concede it is a fast auto-boofing boat, and it is very comfortable. But I found it to be a squirly boat, almost hard to control. Also I thought the secondary stability was lacking.
Secondly I know at least two Jefes' that were less than or at a year old that cracked. When the Habitat came out and was cracking in the first year people were ripping WS apart for it.

If you look at the swap you'll see tons of all the boats listed in the poll (save the Villain). I think there are four Nomads for sale in five pages of ads, and there are four Jefes on the first page.

Just saying, if they are such good boats, why are there so many for sale?
You ARE a soul, you HAVE a body.

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Old 08-24-2010   #10
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B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 907
Because so many people paddle them? Same reason there are more used hondas out there than used Maseratis.
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eskimo salto, jefe, pyranha burn, pyranha karnali, villain

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