Creek boats - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-28-2013   #1
Turtle4amy's Avatar
Southern, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 16
Creek boats

What's your favorite creek boat and why? I currently paddle a medium Burn (1st generation). I would like something different and not sure I'll have the opportunity to demo other styles. I would love to hear some feedback positive and negative

Everything helps! Thanks

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Old 09-02-2013   #2
ednaout's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
Hey Amy,

I paddled a small burn when I first started creeking and loved it. I hadn't been in many (if any) creek boats before I bought it - I pretty much heard it was a good boat and found a deal that fit my budget - it was a nice stroke of luck, because it was a great boat to "test the waters" in. I really liked being able to lean on my edges and whip into and peel out of eddies. After paddling it for two seasons, I thought I might like something with more volume, so I bought a Stomper.

I really, really like the Stomper 80... I don't think the edges are as hard, but it still turns like a dream. Before getting this boat, I didn't have much of a boof, but this boat's boofability is amazing and I think has helped my boofing progression. It has a lot of rocker, which is what makes it so booftastic, I think it has really helped me transfer what I've learned in that other boats.

The one big critique I have for this boat has to do with the outfitting. In theory, the the way the back band pivots forward is brilliant - easy packing accessibility and just plain clever. However, the metal cups which are supposed to house the arms/rails, that attach to the back band, don't stay in their little homes (cups), once it's ratcheted forward all the way - I'm about 5'6 and felt most comf ( as far as feeling like I was solid in my boat), with the ratchets as forward as possible. This was something that I came to accept and don't really think that it hurt my boating. That being said, it did strike me as a flaw in the design to not accommodate for the back band being as tight as possible.

Unfortunately, I cracked the shit out of it this season (my fault, not some flimsy plastic problem), and have been in about a million boats since...

This weekend I test drove the Nomad 8.1 which was pretty awesome. It has a more rounded hull but I feel like it had enough edge to feel pretty zippy coming in and out of eddies. I didn't feel like I was able to boof it was well as the stomper, but I was only in it for a day - I wish I had had longer with it....I urge you to try to demo the Nomad with the new outfitting, when it's available - I sat in one this weekend and my mind was blown! Unfortunately, they didn't have the newest boat, with this amazing system, ready for demo (the boat design is the exact same), but I was ready to buy this boat (minus having the actual cash do so...), right there on the spot. It has a sweet seat system that has the ability to ratchet up, molding to the back of your thighs making for THE MOST SOLID feeling being in the boat EVER!! Granted, I was on the floor hip snapping the shit out of the class 1 carpet, but I am certain this outfitting is going to make
an already good boat, an even better one!!! It's going to be a top contender, for me, when I pull the trigger again - the outfitting being a HUGE reason!

I also tried out a medium karma this weekend. I chose the medium because I thought I was going to paddle it on some bigger water, but ended up on something creekier and think the medium was too big me (5'6"/~125), BUT, I think highly of this boat. It's FAST! As someone that has always felt like I was paddling hard to keep up, it was fun to be in a boat that felt like it accelerated with just a few strokes. It rolled easy and has Jackson's standard outfitting, which some don't trust, but I think it's pretty genius.

Also, as soon as the new Burn is available, I want to demo it. I have a feel ing it will be unbelievable - can't wait to see!

So, what is this about not having the opportunity to try many boats? Is it a matter of shelling out the cash? If so, see if your outfitter might be willing to put the demo fees from the boats you try toward a new boat purchase. If a new boat purchase isn't an option, I would suggest getting in as many of your friends boats as possible - taking time to outfit them to your liking when possible, so you get a real feel for how the boat responds to your style of paddling.

I have paddled a few other boats this season, but these are the ones that I found were the most remarkable. Good Luck!
"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 09-03-2013   #3
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 499

Have no doubt that the Karma S (72 gal) is the best choice for smaller people (<155 lbs).

The M can be outfitted to fit and boat very well for a smaller person, performing like it is not actually as big as it is (86 gal), but probably will feel just a tad big and heavier, but also as stable as an aircraft carrier through anything. However, I think it's best suited for persons in the 170-200 range. Whereas, the S will feel lighter and more agile, and yet rock solid, predictable, and super fun.

The other best option is the Villain S. Which is an in-between size (79 gal), has a smaller semi-planning pad and more rocker than the Karma, but is an equal contender for the title of "best boat ever".

Also, the Jackson warranty and customer service is tops.

Regarding the Stomper ... it is a fine boat (Frankly, I don't think there are many bad boats made in recent years). I am provided one to paddle at work, but I don't enjoy it nearly as much as the Karma or Villain. The Jacksons really are more stable and better performing and their plastic is better (the Stomper is soft).

Let me know if you want ideas on how to super custom outfit the Jacksons. Depending on size, it is sometimes necessary for making the fit super perfect, which will maximize confidence. Also, seat position is key in them (Further back due to the asymmetric shape with wide stabilizing sterns. Once dialed in, you may never lust for a new boat ever again. Hope that helps you.

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 09-03-2013   #4
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 55
Just so you know...Jackson is no longer making the Villain S.
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Old 09-03-2013   #5
The Fort, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by Ken Vanatta View Post

and their plastic is better (the Stomper is soft).

Shenanigans. i've yet to see a Karma that wasn't oil canned.
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Old 09-03-2013   #6
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 248
loving my Karma.
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Old 09-03-2013   #7
Turtle4amy's Avatar
Southern, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 16
Thanks everyone! This is great info. And helpful. Truly appreciated

Ednaout- I live in southern Oregon and there is no place to demo boats in or around my town. I agree trying out friends boats is about the only chance I have to try other creekers. It's difficult to try one that is my size. Plus- I like to hear others thoughts about their favorite kayak. It helps me narrow down what boat to try and it gets me crazy excited to hear likes and dislikes about boats! Thank you for being so detailed with your response. I wish I could get in and run a river in every creek boat out there, alas it's just not in my cards.
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Old 09-04-2013   #8
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 325
My two cents:
The boats I have paddled are as follows- I am 5'5" 128lbs
Jackson Little Hero: didn't like it
Dagger Mamba - quite nice
Dagger Nomad - Nice for boofing but a bugger to keep straight in easier water.
Pyranha Burn sm - love, love everything about this boat.
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