Playboater looking for a creekboat - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-18-2017   #1
Ann Arbor, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 6
Playboater looking for a creekboat

Hello, I'm hoping that people can help me with buying a creekboat. I have been exclusively using a playboat the past few years as that is what I bought initially. I have paddled up to some class V in it and need a creekboat for some of the rivers I want to run.

I am 6'2" 165 pounds, and looking at something like a jefe grande right now. I like the displacement hull, and there is a good deal on an used one right now. I am worried I am too light for this boat as I am right on the bottom of the weight range, but I have a friend who paddles it and loves it. I am not sure exactly what I want in a creekboat and unfortunately do not have the ability to demo like I would want to do. I am aiming to run primarily creeks out in the West Virginia area with a decent amount of waterfalls. Does anyone have any advice on other boats I should look at like? There is also a stomper for sale, but I do not know anyone that has used one.

Follow up question, how does the jefe grande do in big water like say the grand canyon for example? Also, is it easy to use the grande for multi day trips or is packing it hard?

Hopefully someone feels generous enough to answer as I asked a lot of questions, so thank you!

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Old 01-18-2017   #2
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 46
I'm thinking a planing hull is going to be better maybe a hybrid but something with edges like a Burn. I like how quick a playboat turns. The boats with edges turn better IMHO. Id try before you buy. If your running class V in a playboat maybe try a inner tube?
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Old 01-19-2017   #3
Ann Arbor, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 6
Haha, well I haven't run any hard class V stuff in the playboat. I'm just sick of being tossed around and bracing everywhere while my friends float through stuff. My worry with a planing hull is for landing waterfalls. A big factor in getting a creekboat is my desire to get a little more vertical.
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Old 01-19-2017   #4
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,034
Being at the lower end of the weight range should not be an issue, just play with the seat position. Plus add in all the paddling and safety gear for day boating let alone overnights. Plenty of room for multiday out of the grande, pretty sure the back band moves out of the way depending on the year to make packing easier.

Big water discussion everyone has an opinion. I find I like edges in bigger water like the grand, but haven't paddled a displacement hull since the gus. Might take a look dagger nomad or pyranha shiva if you like the displacement hull, maybe prijon boats as well. If you start looking at hybrids that opens up to almost every company making creek boats these days
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Old 01-19-2017   #5
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2016
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 11
A medium Jackson Karma or large Jackson Zen might be good options. I paddle a medium Karma at 5'10" and 170 lbs. It feels a little big on me but I like that I can pack it up for overnights and it doesn't feel overloaded. The Zen might be a little sportier with more edge control, but you would probably have to go up a size to the large. I also like the fact that my Karma is a really dry boat because of Jackson's outfitting. I'm a beginner-intermediate and have only been in Class III so far on the Arkansas. The Karma has been an easy boat to learn in, almost too forgiving at times. Watch YouTube videos on different boats to get an idea of how they handle big water, particularly large drops. Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-20-2017   #6
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,500
You're right to be looking at a displacement hull or at least partially planing hull boat for creeking. It will be a transition from planing hull, but you'll figure it out real fast. Jefe Grande is a somewhat old design, but if it's in good shape and a good deal, what the hell.

For the Grand, if you're self support, you'll just want as much carrying capacity as possible. If you'll have raft support, bring something fast and fun, like an RPM max or modern equivalent. The Grand isn't hard whitewater, just big. Frankly, a higher volume boat is probably more of a liability on the Grand - it's nice to be melty in the big fluff.
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Old 01-20-2017   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1901
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 143
For being supposedly an expedition creek boat, the Jefe / Grande is the biggest pain in the ass to pack for self support trips. The back band sucks, the seat sucks, the bad ass outfitting sucks and falls apart. It all seems like a good idea until you actually try to use it. Can it be done? Of course. Will you be sweating in your drysuit wrestling your drybags in and out of the stern while all your friends with Nomads and Karnalis and Karmas are laughing at you? Definitely.
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Old 01-22-2017   #8
Revelstoke, BC
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 11
If its primary use is steep low volume creeks with lots of drops, the Stomper is a great option. Very confidence inspiring creek boat that has saved my ass a few times. But its not a boat I would choose for anything high volume and pushy. Sure it can handle it but its not my first choice. The full rocker that makes it great on the steep stuff makes it more difficult to hold a line. But I loved how manoeuvrable it was on creeks and it boofs like a dream. It also has a semi plaining haul and reacts surprisingly similar to play boats, easy to spin around and make last minuet corrections. I just sold mine, replaced it with a raptor, but I'm on the lookout for another good used one for the quiver. I paddled the 80 at 155/160 lbs but only 5'6 and it worked great.
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Old 01-22-2017   #9
Revelstoke, BC
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 11
I also Paddled a Jefe for two weeks this summer in Quebec, so plenty of high volume and also some steep creeks. the boat preformed well in everything. It also boofs really well, not as good as the stomper I feel. I did find it a little funny to roll and that caught me off guard at first, but other than that it was a great boat. Cant really give any advice on sizing though but at 6'2 you should be comfortable in the Grande and the extra volume will be welcomed.
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Old 01-23-2017   #10
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Poundtown, Wokastan
Paddling Since: 420
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,610
If the rivers your'e running are deep and you rarely hit rocks then lean zen burn planning hulls type (lochsa). If you will be battling rocks and sliding over stuff (lolo, deadwood) then Karma or displacement hull is your ticket.
I saw someone do it on youtube.
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