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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I WANT a play boat for day class 3/4. Now for me that equal one class four rapid not entire river/s. I have a aire ocelot and it's perfectly capable and yada yada but it's really heavy. The bad - I have a really bad back and I just need everything to be as easy as can be so I have a chance in a swim. I was going to do a small round boat (storm /mini max) but iam worried about climbing on and in. I have gone with a great crew in a phat cat and I absolutely love it but I worry about getting back on or in. I wanna go as much as possible before iam crippled but I can't leave my wife with all the bills just yet. This weekend i decided that I'd get a 12 foot wave destroyer but the boys say phat cat ? I need to be in control and right side up as much as possible because I may only have a couple swims in me . Just as an example after my run Saturday, iam hurtn real bad. I ain't gonna quit but I carried heavy boats and stacked heavy boats and it all adds up. So whataya think? I'll probably never see real big water. Would rather have a 13 footer but the tubes are smaller. Phat cats 11 feet with 24 inch tubes? W.d. 12 foot with 22? Or 13 with 21? Or mini max and get worked and have surgery? I dunno lol but I have the wrong boat now and I wanna dial in so its more fun. I have the multi day covered. I would love to r1/2 but it may be next life for that.
 

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Can't go wrong with a minimax, quality and I'm told they are a lot more stable than they look, ride pretty close to the water too. If getting back in is an issue you NEED a rapid rung.. cheap insurance, and really function well!

@zbaird makes and sells them, he posts here a lot, is a sponsoring vendor as well, helping to make this forum available for us all.
 

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I’d say a smaller play cat would be best for you. Certainly is easier to get into a overturned cat than a round boat and is no doubt easier to flip back. WD would be my choice, but I am an AIRE guy.
 

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I think one of these would be a perfect fit for you... GoLight Expedition Cataraft: Products

VERY lightweight....very fun to paddle...and fun and stable. I have several friends that have them and love them. Just about the lightest overall raft/cataraft you can buy that is still worth a damn. The frames are made by Whitewater Machine Works and the cat tubes are made by Jacks Plastic to Neil's spec.

Light enough to pack in to places or move around easily by yourself. Golight specializes in expedition setups that you can pack into a few bags that are within the size and weight of standard checked baggage (no oversize or overweight fees). Pretty cool.

A Mini-Max with a Welfelt Fab 14lb frame would be pretty neat too. Welfelt custom raft frames
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Huh never even seen one of those before!? Last honest sentiment-iam really am not very good. So I should have the best chances of punching or flailing sideways into something that could be expected from a boat lol. Of course I know any boat can get flipped or a guy can get flung out but you know what I mean. So I see small as a potential? But have no real experience? I guess though with 19 inch tubes it would be easy to climb on lol. Hell you'd be in the water up right!?? Struggling....
 

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If you're concerned about flipping, personally, and for my experience, catarafts being a lot lighter tend to be a lot flippier than rafts. But that's just my anecdotal experience. I have no empirical evidence to back that statement up with lol. They are also marginally easier to get back over after they've flipped
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just love how easy they are to pilot. I feel like they are a bit flippy too but are easier for ME to get straightened up lol. I hear ya though especially a short one with big tubes. I only weight 135lbs so it could just fling me in space! I can crawl onto a frame easy enough but man it's hard to crawl over tubes for me.
 

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I have had the opposite experience from Marshall. I find Cats to be a lot more stable then an equivalent size raft. They don't carry as much gear and have their limitations...but stability and maneuverability are not one of them. At least with my 14' Cat...I've never felt like it takes a lot of the drama out of taking big lines. I can hit a way bigger hole in it and still feel stable. If you can get one decent stroke as you hit the top of the hole it nearly always punches through. If you are talking huge water then I'd say go with the biggest raft you can manage...but for most stuff...I'll take the Cat.

I love my Aire raft too...but if I'm gonna go run something I'm a bit uncomfortable with...I'll definitely take the Cat. I have a Hyside Thundercat (high rocker 14' Cat tubes sorta similar to Sotar Legend or Aire Wave Destroyer tubes) and a Nexus Cat frame that is made by Welfelt Fabrication and was designed in conjunction with a bunch of the Hyside guys. Super stable, easy to stay in and has a ton of clearance under the frame so you can split the tubes over a rock and not smack the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You think a 12 footers to small? Our runs are like big creeks . Biggest ill go is maybe 4-5k on gallatin and maybe 12k on clark fork (for now). Iam a bit bummed my backs so bad cause I'd really like to learn to flip and re flip so it's just natural. I don't think I'll really get better till I learn anyway
 

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I don't know those rivers...but if you are worried get the 13' tubes. Should be fine for most III/IV use. I think the GoLight tubes are a bit larger diameter then the Ocelot tubes you have already and have more rocker so they'll ride over stuff. They make a slightly longer and higher rocker version too. You could maybe think about the Hyside Thundercat, Aire WD 14', or something like that...but 12-13' tubes should be fine too.
 

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For what its worth... I had a Mini-Max and its a great boat...but I'm much happier with my Cataraft. I ran Brown's Canyon at 4000cfs (high water for that run) in the Mini-Max and was white knuckling and unstable. It was just me and a soft cooler though...so not much weight. I came back later in the year with my Cat and ran Royal Gorge and Numbers at like 3k and felt super comfortable and stable.

I will say that once you load the Mini-Max up a bit with some gear...its much more stable. You can also R2 it with people. Perhaps another reason to consider a paddle cat. Phatcat is nice for the price and the NRS Star Slice is another option. Might be nice to be able to paddle raft it...something that is kinda hard in a framed Cataraft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mines 14 now and it's kinda a pig but I hear ya. I have a 156r for my someday big water trips and camping. I can keep the ocelot too. It has a 3 bay frame so could do light multi-day too. I just want to not get hurt unloading the damn things. I'd rather get swimmed for that (well not hurt but use that energy) sucks to cause its way more fun getting buried in the phat cat and I'd love to r1 but I gotta live to fight at this point. Think iam tossing a coin between a 12 foot wave destroyer and a 12 foot nimbus. I actually found them and they are the same price. I can pick up a storm or phat cat later if my back heals magically.
 

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Sabertooth sounds like a good fit. You can put on a frame and row it or R2. And the rapid rung seems like a no brainier. Also invest in a trailer. Save your back and get in the water more since you are rigged and ready. Also John Welfelt is an amazing fabricator and friend to the boating community.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Love to have a sabertooth honestly but those guys are spendy and impossible to find used. 4k and iam not sure I could r1 it anyway? Yeah...tough one. My wife doesn't think I should have three boats. Have the trailer but our ins and outs are carry so....boo hoo iam old and weak lol. Maybe a river board and flippers!!!!
 

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After my experience with the Thundercat...I'd say the Nimbus is a great option. I like the rocker profile and that its Hypalon compared to a Wave Destroyer. Way less maintenance not having to deal with the bladder. I love my Aire 146DD...but if Hyside made something like it I'd jump to that just for the Hypalon. The Aire warranty is nice though. Might be able to find a used Wave Destroyer more easily though. If I had the cash...I'd seriously consider a set of 12.5' Sotar Legend tubes too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'd feel like to big a poser on a legend lol. They have a 11 foot for sale but ill pass on that I think. Well think I'll mull it over and buy some tubes. I emailed hyside to see if they had any and I have a pair of wave destroyers available locally so just have to shite or get off the groove now. Hysides are 50lbs add a small frame and have a sub 100 lb rig. That's manageable enough I'd think? Sure I'd get tossed at lochsa falls but that's life. Hard to have it all!!
 
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