Real Feedback on Creek Boats needed. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-09-2013   #1
 
erdvm1's Avatar
 
Lyons, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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Real Feedback on Creek Boats needed.

I would like real life feedback on the
Karma
Shiva
Recon
I really am not interested in the "I dont want to hurt anyones feelings" feedback
I would like the real deal about what you do and dont like about the boats. What it does well and what it sucks at. And we all know every boat sucks at something.

Thanks. If anyone wants feedback on the Villan S I have paddled it for at least two years possibly three now and I can give honest feedback on that boat design (With the understanding that I gravitate towards a modified displacement hull for creeking).

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Old 12-10-2013   #2
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Shiva is awesome. Boat is fast and boofs like a dream, but it's heavy as a lead weight....
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Old 12-10-2013   #3
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
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I paddled the Karma M some this past summer and loved it. Despite my being on the bottom end of it's recommended weight range, once I custom outfitted thigh hooks and hip pads to make me fit snug ... it handled like a dream and was easily responsive. The boat is super stable through anything. I expected to get pummeled in some drops, but instead pushed through upright with amazement. I too paddle the Villain S and the only thing the Karma doesn't outperform in is it does not quite make as tight of micro eddy turns sometimes. As indicated, though, I felt the M was a bit big for my 5'5" 150 lb stature. Perhaps I wasn't as effective in it as someone in the 170-200 lb range will be. So I'm looking forward to getting the Karma S for the next season.
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Old 12-10-2013   #4
 
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Where ever the water is...., Colorado
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I've loved my Karma M! I'm 6 foot, 200 lbs and feel like it fits great. It hovers through boils and weird water in a way I have never seen in other boats making funky water much easier. It is really fast and has great secondary stability. I feel like it boofs well but I know a few folks that liked the Villains better in this regard.

I originally had a Karma Large and liked it OK but when I went down to the Med size it really became more fun and manageable while keeping all the good qualities. This might be what you will experience with the med. to small swap.
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Old 12-10-2013   #5
KSC
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Dude, just demo.

Here's my opinion for what's it's worth, but I've only paddled the Karma on your list.

I assume you're looking at the Karma M. I've not paddled the Recon or Shiva, but have paddled the Villain (not the S), Karma M, and Karma L (but the Karma L only on low water runs). I'm sure I'm considered way underweight for the large versions, but I'm still not convinced large boats are so bad, but the M is probably more appropriate overall. Anyway, I preferred the Karma over the Villain, though I liked them both the Karma excels in a wider variety of conditions.

Two of the most notable changes were to the side/edge profile and progression of the rocker. This has resulted in enhanced maneuverable and I found the Karma M a bit easier to boof than the Villain. It was less prone to being affected by squirrely water and I think the higher parting lines really work in this regard.

On the flip side, the edge balance on the Karma is a little trickier and it took some time for me to figure out where it responded best on edge and where the proper balance point was. Initially it felt less forgiving, but that reversed once I learned how to use it better. Compared to the Villain, when I edged the Villain the resistance felt similar from 0-90 degrees. The Karma has points of more resistance and less and as such requires more active feedback to keep it edged where you want it. I was also surprised that it didn't snap into eddies the way I'd expected it to and it required a bit more effort to make that transition than I like.

Although the L was a different story, with the M, my least favorite quality was it did not hold a line as well as I've become accustomed to (with say the Nomad), and sometimes when I'd move through a feature like a reactionary wave or a hole I'd find myself frustrated by my bow being unexpectedly pointed off line and having to correct, whereas in other boats I feel like I can keep it directed where I want it even through a large feature. It did feel extremely maneuverabl and would excel on tight steep runs like SSV - at least the old SSV, but in this classic engineering tradeoff, I've come to prefer boats that you can set and drive rather than make fast last minute corrections with.

Lastly, I noticed a tendency to get stern squirted going through holes if you don't stay aggressively forward. That has some advantage of pushing you out of the hole, so I wouldn't necessarily call that all bad.

With all that said though, I like the hull design and the main thing that continues to hold me back from being as excited about Jackson creek boats is I don't find their outfitting as comfortable and functional. Nor does the hull design strike me as obviously better or worse all around than other good creekboat designs.

I'm annoyed that the Shiva is so heavy, and I'm annoyed that Wavesport and Dagger made their outfitting heavier with more moving parts, although theirs is by far the most comfortable for me. I'm also annoyed Dagger declined my warranty which is the main thing making me disinclined to buy another. If you still get enough SSV runs in to crack your boat, you might consider warranty reliability. If you get out and hike your boat further than the roadside put-in, you might consider the unnecessary weight that's going into the Shiva & Recon.
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Old 12-10-2013   #6
 
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Nampa, Idaho
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I love my large Karma. Nobody my size paddles the large but it's a killer boat. I am 6'1 and 180 lbs. I like that is has plenty of volume, length, SPEED, and great edges, not too hard or soft. Hard enough to ferry and destroy eddies but soft enough to be really forgiving.
I know some people don't like the outfitting. With a new foam seat that is as comfortable as anything else, unishock bulkhead (awesome), and their newer backband (larger, thicker, more comfortable), I don't know of anything better. Cozy, awesome boat that is great for overnighters.

-Micah
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Old 12-10-2013   #7
 
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The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
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The two best boats: JK Superhero and new Dagger Mamba. You need both. The Shiva is cool, but the Mamba is same same but different.
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Old 12-10-2013   #8
 
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The Bitterroot, Montana
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Shiva was fun to spin in circles but found it wobbly on ferries and surfing. many will say surfing is not important for a creek boat but I think it is VERY important unless you are just running park and huck massive falls.
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Old 12-11-2013   #9
-k-
 
Denver via GJ, Colorado
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I demoed the Recon medium on Lower Clear Creek at 650 and I was impressed. I was also surprised how the published reviews were spot on on its description. It picks up speed in a few strokes, turns can be initiated quickly, but it will hold a line tight. The boat does not get distracted by micro currents or laterals and it rides up and over holes as opposed to some boats designs that run through them. It also does a good job of rock bashing without getting knocked off course. I definitely bumped down some lines in screaming 1/4 that I would not have gotten away with in my playboat. Move at the top was easy in this boat and goal post an afterthought, although I did run the right shoulder and didn't T it up.

It's boof and speed were two things that really surprised me. I felt like I came into elbow slow and was a little right off line from where I hoped to be. I took my next stroke and the boat launched and I feel it launched big, so big that It caught me by surprise and blew right through the second ledge and past my eddy of choice. Dang it was fun and I don't think I will ever forget the feel of that boof, but with that kind of speed in more technical sections you would need to be on top of and on time with your paddle strokes. Eddy turns can be made on the glide or on a snap if you engage the rail. I felt sound in the boat immediately, outfitting was great and I stayed dry.

The big downer for to me: I just had a leg day and swim day workout the night before, but seriously this thing feels ridiculous heavy. To the point you will start thinking about ways to avoid carrying it. I portage the dam and it turns the 10-15 feet after thought of a bank climb into questioning your footing on every step. I am no physical specimen at 5'8" 155 but I stay in shape and the weight just feels too heavy to maintain good balance on a grade. It's just right at that weight where if you have it shouldered on a climb and get your weight back a bit to far it's going to want to take you with it and your fighting to bring it back in.

I really, really liked this boat and only felt I could get better in it. The weight is what is keeping me away so far, which is a little embarrassing as I have seen lady's carting this thing around on a regular basis, but maybe they can enlist more help on the portage. If wave sport cuts the weight in the future I would be on board.

Other boats I paddled this summer are the zen, nano, karma and salto. To me the recon felt like a sports car on the water but not out of it. The karma performed great for me too with no complaints and I now like Jackson's outfitting (still would like more thigh hook though), although the bow design made me feel a bit like I was in a river battle cruiser unobstructed by the forces of nature.
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Old 12-11-2013   #10
-k-
 
Denver via GJ, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -k- View Post
I demoed the Recon medium on Lower Clear Creek at 650 and I was impressed. I was also surprised how the published reviews were spot on on its description. It picks up speed in a few strokes, turns can be initiated quickly, but it will hold a line tight. The boat does not get distracted by micro currents or laterals and it rides up and over holes as opposed to some boats designs that run through them. It also does a good job of rock bashing without getting knocked off course. I definitely bumped down some lines in screaming 1/4 that I would not have gotten away with in my playboat. Move at the top was easy in this boat and goal post an afterthought, although I did run the right shoulder and didn't T it up. It's boof and speed were two things that really surprised me. I felt like I came into elbow slow and was a little right off line from where I hoped to be. I took my next stroke and the boat launched and I feel it launched big, so big that It caught me by surprise and blew right through the second ledge and past my eddy of choice. Dang it was fun and I don't think I will ever forget the feel of that boof, but with that kind of speed in more technical sections you would need to be on top of and on time with your paddle strokes. Eddy turns can be made on the glide or on a snap if you engage the rail. I felt sound in the boat immediately, outfitting was great and I stayed dry. The big downer for to me: I just had a leg day and swim day workout the night before, but seriously this thing feels ridiculous heavy. To the point you will start thinking about ways to avoid carrying it. I portage the dam and it turns the 10-15 feet after thought of a bank climb into questioning your footing on every step. I am no physical specimen at 5'8" 155 but I stay in shape and the weight just feels too heavy to maintain good balance on a grade. It's just right at that weight where if you have it shouldered on a climb and get your weight back a bit to far it's going to want to take you with it and your fighting to bring it back in. I really, really liked this boat and only felt I could get better in it. The weight is what is keeping me away so far, which is a little embarrassing as I have seen lady's carting this thing around on a regular basis, but maybe they can enlist more help on the portage. If wave sport cuts the weight in the future I would be on board. Other boats I paddled this summer are the zen, nano, karma and salto. To me the recon felt like a sports car on the water but not out of it. The karma performed great for me too with no complaints and I now like Jackson's outfitting (still would like more thigh hook though), although the bow design made me feel a bit like I was in a river battle cruiser unobstructed by the forces of nature.
Also meant to add that one struggle I had in the recon was holding my fairy angle. I think this was something I just needed to adapt to, but wanted to pass it on.
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