New Kayak Help - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-09-2010   #1
 
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
New Kayak Help

Hi everyone - I've been watching the forums for a while now, going back months and months, reading all I could about kayaking. I still have a few questions if you would be kind enough to help answer.

I am 32yrs, 6ft 1in, 200lb, and have years of class III+ and IV experience - solely in inflatable Sevylor Tahiti style boats with some rafting as well. I have wanted to upgrade to a hardshell for a very long time. Took a three day set of personal lessons on the Payette river a few years ago and did well, but I still have not broken down and purchased a boat.

The instructor I worked with encouraged me to buy a Jackson Rocker, so naturally this is what I have been looking at. The more research I do I realize the Rocker may not be the ideal boat for me.

While I may do some destination creeking, the majority of time will be one day river runs on the Payette or finding local holes to play in. This doesn't sound like Rocker territory, but it doesn't sound like pure playboat territory either. I also wouldn't mind doing self-sufficient multi-day runs, but I can't have it all right!?

My budget isn't huge and I would like to stay sub $600 for the boat. I'll figure on another $400 for gear.

Locally someone is offering a 2006 Rocker for $600 and a 2007 MegaRocker for $500, but like I said, these may not be the boats for me. The 4Fun looks more like what I might want, but with a new and improved 2010 I almost hate to buy an earlier model. Maybe it doesn't matter?

Any guidance you can provide would be appreciated. I want to make sure I make the right decision.

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Old 04-09-2010   #2
 
kayakfreakus's Avatar
 
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,015
Sounds to me like you want more of a river runner/playboat combo than a true displacement hull like the rocker series.

Until I read the finding local play holes part I was thinking boats like:

Burn
Diesel
Remix
Villian (new so no used boats)

All of those you should be able to find in your price range used and are solid boats.


But I do not think there is a better river runner/playboat than the fun series but it is more on the play side than the above boats. From what I have heard the 2010 fun are even more play orientated than before. Might also look at a WS Fuse if you want to go down the more play route. These boats are harder to pull off gear in, while the ones above can.

I would say personally start off with a boat that handles all your requests but playing in the local hole if you are going to be running rivers mostly.

More time at the local hole I would go with the Fun or something similar.

Good luck, if your like me you will just cave and blow your budget with multiple boats.
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Old 04-09-2010   #3
 
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Thanks for the reply. Well, I think I want to find the local play holes. Be able to get in, learn how to surf, have some beginner fun. This would all be new and I imagine really playing takes a few years of practice.

So maybe a pre-2010 4Fun would be better as it is less play oriented and more balanced? The Jackson site and other reviewers talk about the Fun series as a competent river runner and play boat. Maybe they over state its river running capabilities.

I also don't want a boat that may play well, but be trickier on the river running - especially as a beginner.

As you can tell, I really don't know much about this.
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Old 04-09-2010   #4
 
kayakfreakus's Avatar
 
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,015
I have a Super Fun and love it, run class 4 in it, would have no issue recommending one for getting down runs. Going to a local hole or play park and surfing/playing/learning is one of the best ways to get comfortable on the water. You certainly learn how to role and what your edges do.

Would definitely say demo and get in a couple different boats to be able to get an opinion on what you like or dislike if possible, even if only in a pool.
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Old 04-09-2010   #5
 
Student of Life
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3
SWN,

Saw your post and thought I'd give a chime...

I have owned a Diesel since fall 05 - I purchased it as a creek/river running boat, but found it is a truly versatile craft. I feel confident in all my lines in big water and techy sections of rivers, as well as hopping on a wave or in a hole to play. Its even solid in riding the big waves of Lake Superior storms.

Having said that, I also used to own a FUN (2007 model) and It was definitely a jack of all trades as well. I guess I would swing more to the effect that it was more comfortable playing than river running. (e.g. If I was going to run something serious I'd got to the Diesel). Definitely could do all the rodeo moves, but it felt a trite limiting. I am not an everyday paddler, so I am sure any team JK paddler would put me in my place and do whatever, whenever with the FUN - but as I got more time to play I wanted more dedicated playboat (see kayakfreakus' comments).

IMHO I would test as many boats as you can, and get them in the local areas that are going to be your goto runs. You can read all the reviews you want, but until you hop in the boat, check the outfitting, how it rolls, how it handles the mank you aren't going to know for you.

I definitely give props to the advice you've gotten above and would second the Diesel and uber second the REMIX (@ your height and weight probably the 69)- that boat makes paddling FUN and the outfitting is super comfy (something that is important for sure). I am fixing to get one this year as a do everything/safety boat/trainer for river racin events etc... That one gets the double thumbs towards the sky.

Take that for what it's worth, get out there and demo, demo, demo... You'll be glad you did!

Happy boating
Cheers
-Brian
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Old 04-10-2010   #6
 
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Thanks for the info - this stuff is invaluable to a starter like me.

So would the Fun be considered a little too squirrely for a beginner? Would I be able to play in the local hole using a Diesel or Remix? Would they play better than the Rocker?

I do plan on testing boats, but it is very difficult to focus on anything other than not tipping over - I am THAT new.

I notice the Pre-2010 FUN models are going for roughly $750 new. This seems a good opportunity as most of the used ones I've seen run $500+.


Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2010   #7
 
Student of Life
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3
SWN,

For your height and weight, you may want to check into the 4Fun, (next size up) as that may be a little less squirrely than the FUN. Not having too much time in the Rocker, I am fairly confident in saying that either the Remix or Diesel will surf/play better than the Rocker.

If the 'tipping' over factor is a big concern @ present, I would look for solace in larger riverrunning boats (e.g. Diesel or Remix) - however, if you are a quick learner and don't mind getting wet at the beginning the FUN series is super easy to roll and fairly forgiving. Most likely the low volume stern will catch you off guard initially, but soon you'll evolve to it.

If you are set more towards the play aspect of boats, I would then keep steering towards the FUN. Although intimidating @ first it'll force you out of your comfort zone to be a better paddler quicker. (And with their ease of roll-a-bility (for when you start nailing that) you'll pop right back up.

Price is and isn't everything with the new boat purchase... Finding what's best for you is. That is the benefit of trying out a bunch of stuff, you may like the look of one boat, but the feel of another. Last summer during a freestyle clinic, I tried out like eight different boats and being able to do so made me understand a lot more about each one's definitive characteristics. Outfitting is huge (Jackson and Liquidlogic are fairly ahead of the game here) and all around responsiveness play huge roles in my book for solid status of boats.

IMHO I generally tend to swing folks towards a little 'larger' (longer - riverrunner) for their first boat. It just gives you additional time to define and hone your muscle memory. Things can be a little trickier in a longer boat (although nowadays things are WAY different from when I started paddling), but also aiding you in discovering the various river currents and how to pick and stay on line. Once you feel uber solid with your skills and abilities hopping in something a little shorter becomes WAY easier. I've noticed with some students having such an instantaneous reaction w/ a smaller boat becomes a bit overwhelming and at times frustrating, because that foundation of balance, bracing and overall comfort in moving water haven't fully developed.

With your river experience, I'd say you're not going into this absolutely blind and with your ambition to get out it's a major plus. I don't know if I am helping your situation, but I'd say, just get out and demo, demo, demo... Maybe you'll worry about tipping less than you think. At the end of the day if you had as much fun, or more than the next person out there, i'd say you're doing fine.

Best luck in demoville and happy boatin!
Cheers
-Brian
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