Creek boat for small paddler - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-03-2007   #1
Steamboat/Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 36
Creek boat for small paddler

I loved my Micro 230, and dont know why I got rid of it. I now have an H3 235, but its been a while since I paddled it. I am getting ready to get my creekin game back on after a brief hiatus, but I am unsure that the H3 is the best boat for me. I am 5'3'', 120lb. I am going to start trying some boats. My husband has a Java, that I might commandeer. I have also been thinking about the diesel. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The main trouble is that I am very comfortable in my playboat (project 45), and its a hard transition to the big creek boat.


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Old 04-03-2007   #2
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 120
I'm just about exactly your size and have paddled a java for 5 or so years. It's great for our size, and just a fine creek boat. It may feel big (high deck, etc) but I never notice once I get it moving and in some gradient. Downside... I think it's tracking could be better, and boy is it HEAVY!! Other than that, I've been really happy paddling it both in technical high gradient creeks and big water. I'll be interested in reading the responses you get from those with more info on recent model boats b/c I'd like a new creeker, too!

oh yeah.. a note on outfitting the java... I've got a big wedge of flat foam pasted on each thighbrace that is about 2 inches wide towards the inside (inner thigh) side of the brace and tapers to become thinner towards the outside (got these nifty pieces of foam from wildwasser some time back, they were to some sort of fit kit). Anyways, I definitely need this extra foam to get snugged into the java, bigger folks get a laugh when they see that much foam in a boat
"Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart..." Confucius
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Old 04-03-2007   #3
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
I'm 5'1" and 130. I haven't paddled the Diesel or the Java but I thought the deck on the Java felt way to high when I sat in it.

I love the Small Pyranha Burn. A great boat for big water (I know, it's not a true creeker) and I really like how it maneuvers after being accustomed to my playboat (Pyranha S6 190). The edges are awesome for turning and tracking, it's got decent speed and boofs well. Ultimately however, I decided this was not the creeker for me because I didn't like the tendency of the edges to catch in low-volume manky creek runs. If I had enough money to have a whole quiver of boats, this would be my class V big water boat. You might want to consider this one, depending on what kind of boating you do.

The Jefe is a great boat. Although it is very big (too big for someone of my size, according to some) I still love how it paddles. Fast, not too difficult to maneuver, autoboofs, surfaces well. My biggest gripe was that on the older models, there was a lip on the deck of the boat (kind of where the side meets the top) and I had issues with this lip catching on rocks when I was leaning into them. But they fixed that in this year's model.

The Small Nomad is currently my creeker of choice. In my opinion, it does everything the Jefe does but is just a little smaller, lighter, and easier to maneuver. It's fast, has amazing tracking, autoboofs, turns well, and surfaces really well. That combined with the awesome new seat with easy stern access in the 07's makes it an awesome boat. Super sturdy, too.

The only boat that I could potentially like more than the Nomad is the new Punk Rocker from Jackson (not the old Rocker, I didn't like that one). It's smaller and lighter than the Nomad and it turns quicker, but still tracks well. My only problem is that I'm having trouble with the balance of the boat right now (the Nomad feels like one of the most stable boats I have ever paddled). I haven't paddled the Punk on anything difficult yet, so I'm not sure how it boofs (but it has a ton of rocker, so it should be easy) and maneuvers in pushy water.

Hope this helps.

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Old 04-03-2007   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 186
Hey Jaime! I am going to check out the new Punk Rocker, hopefully this weekend if the demo is in at RMA. I've heard great things about it for people our size, and it is much lighter than a lot of creekers out there. I asked about it on Anna's forum and got a review from a gal who took one out recently. Sounds pretty nice!

Also, Craw can give you all the details on that one and who is carrying them.

Gotcher email...I'll call soon about plans!

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Old 04-06-2007   #5
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 170
Jefe is great, so is Nomad

Hi Jamie,

I am your same size exactly and have paddled the Jefe for the past year. I don't have a single complaint about it. I did put a 1/4 inch butt pad in, but the boat has a farily high seat and low side rails, so it doesn't feel huge on us smaller paddlers.
I had a Java before the Jefe, which I loved, but the Jefe really blows it out of the water (sorry for the pun).

I've also paddled the Nomad 8.1 which is a great boat as well and does feel slightly smaller.

I'd say you really can't go wrong with either.

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Old 04-06-2007   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2
I had a Micro 230 too, and loved it for a while. I am also looking to expand my quiver. (I have an old Stubby which is great for small creeks, but a little lacking in bigger water). I am pre-sold on a Punk Rocker, without even paddling it. I am loving Jackson boats (light, dry, and seemingly made for us smaller people). I have heard good feedback about the bigger sizes, and anticipate Jackson coming through for us once again.
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Old 04-06-2007   #7
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 316
I will be looking very seriously at the Ammo this year. Playboat hull with a creekboat deck. The short length will hurt for tracking and may want to backender in big waterish conditions. I just like the idea of playboat responsiveness in a creek boat, using edges to turn rather than sweeps and draws.
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Old 04-07-2007   #8
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 9


First of all, I am a sponsored Dagger athlete, so I have of course paddled mostly Dagger boats over the years... And of course my view is a bit colored in that regard, though I still would suggest you take a look at the small mamba as well. I personally got a lot better after I paddled it for a little while, with some soft edges, though edges (I love edges!) that made it respond super well to us with less power. It is also not a full-on creekboat, which I think is a plus, and I have used it all over the world in everything from big water to waterfalls, steep stuff in Norway, extreme racing.. It is simply a great kayak.

I think the best thing to do is to get out there and demo as many boats as you can, and then you will for sure find one that fits you the best.

Good luck!

Mariann Sæther
Team Dagger
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Old 04-07-2007   #9
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 846
Jaime -

If there isn't something that you dislike about your H3, I would say that you might want to consider hanging onto it and getting used to it again. Lots of people run the hardest water out there in H3's and if you are coming from a playboat most of the time, it seems like it will take less adjustments to your paddling than a displacement hulled creeker like a java or jefe.

I have a burn now which I think is great. It definitely has some creek-friendly improvements over the H3, but the H3 is more than capable. The only area where the H3 may not be ideal is low-water steep mank--like the source at low water--where the edges may catch more than say a Jefe.

Anyway, to me it seems that all the current creekers out there are solid designs--including your H3--and it is more a matter of paddling the boat enough to know it well and get used to how it handles steep and pushy water. Just don't land too flat from 20+

edit - oh yeah, and I definitely would hold on to the H3 over a diesel. They are really similar designs so why go through the hassle of selling/buying?
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Old 04-07-2007   #10
yoga teacher
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
I have to agree with ACC...

If you are already comfortable in a playboat, you will love the H3 on anything. I paddled an H3 for years and I ran everything possible--big water to manky creeks, including NSV. I don't agree with the idea that it cannot handle manky creeks. Its can carve and keep you out of trouble--its a boat that you have to sit up and paddle--its high performance. And its awesome for girls our size because we can move it around easily. It handles hitting rocks just fine--you will figure that out quickly because you are a playboater. You will probably find the Java unresponsive and frustrating. Not to say its not a great creek boat--its just not as edgy as an H3 and therefore not as responsive. Some people do not like responsive creekboats because it feels too whippy and edgy--they are not used to the playboat feel, which you are. I say get out there in it and carve around the creek and you will love it. Its kind of like paddling a snowboard. I am currently in a Burn and its awesome too, but it has a bit more volume and you have to lean more to engage the edges. Remember too, that everyone has their thing that they like in a boat and each boat company has a different feel. Each boat comapany has their style and you may find a boat that fits your style and you will know it when you do. Andria (team pyranha)
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