Have been paddling a squirrel 95 in the SE for the past few weeks. Still a little early to make in depth assessment but so far so good. I came from paddling a stomper 90 and despite some similarities, they paddle totally different. It's a super fast creek boat with serious rocker profile, especially in the bow. It's 8'11 but doesn't paddle like a barge. It's bow driven, requires edging with your strokes. Very stable, with excellent secondary stability. It's a definite driver rather than a floater like the Stomper and other like creekers. A characteristic that stands out to me is when you're catching eddies, you really have to drive into them. Put it way over on edge to get in there. It also doesn't lend itself to making last minute corrections on a rapid, it really locks onto a line. When deciding on a line you have to pick it and stick it. I'm also unsure of this but it feels like the deck height is slightly lower than the stomper. After my first day or two paddling it, I was furiously looking for a buyer and going back to a stomper for that security on the water but after taking some time to dial it in and mess with the outfitting some, I have no complaints. Really safe, really fun boat. Fast = fun.
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I have an 85. It is very nice. I paddled some steep creeks in the SE in a final prototype last spring and was amazed at how easy the transition was from a Remix (straight off the couch to the Raven's Fork in a new boat can be scary but it was no worries!). It has the same speed with a more stable creek boat feel. As mentioned it is a driver not a floater. Last minute corrections can be done but take a little more ooomph than say a Stomper. It is best put on line and kept there at high speed, which suits my style of paddling well. Point it and go.
It accelerates out of drops like a dream. So fast. Boofs well and doesn't feel too long even though it has a nice almost 9 foot length. This will be a great CO boat. CO is tricky because we have the steep manky creeks but you don't really want to be in a floater when spring run-off hits and the creeks are raging and not manky, just HIGH. This boat will do both well. Speed for big water and creek dimensions for low flow creeking. I'm pretty sure that part of the reason Pat Keller went to LL is because he was jealous of my prototype on the Raven's Fork that day It's a good lookin boat with the smooth lines to achieve smooth lines. It's a great boat to refine your paddling style with.
Coming from two years of paddling a Liquid Logic Stomper 90 it didn’t take long to notice the immediate difference after pushing into the water. This boat is tippy, comparatively. Initial stability is good but not Stomper good. I realize now that over the past couple of years I have become a lazy paddler. I also had the feeling of leaning/falling back in the boat and having to fight to get forward. That was where the negatives ended.
This boat is fast. I was able to attain waves and ferry across areas I would never have had the chance to make in my Stomper…and it was easy.
Snap! That’s how this boat whips into eddies. I felt like I was in a slalom boat the way this boat reacted to strokes. I’m sure I doubled the number of eddies I caught as I was able to get into just about everything I shot for. About halfway down I was still feeling that I was leaning backwards so I made a few adjustments by moving the seat forward by about 1.5 inches and pushed the bulkhead forward one more notch. Let me tell you, 1.5 inches makes a difference. The boat felt faster and had even more snap into eddies. The adjustment made the boat feel balanced and the initial stability improved greatly.
I had a chance to get in to big water a few days later and it shines. Fast yet nimble and still rides dry. I hear people commenting about having to drive this boat into eddies and get it on edge. I didn't find that at all. It seems to want to auto-park in eddies for you. I was catching eddies just for the hell of it because it was putting such a huge smile on my face to be whipping in there like that once again. I also found the boat to be very easy to move around in both the creek setting and big water. 4 inches longer than my Stomper and I can't say I noticed any difference. When I wanted to go somewhere it turned on a dime and then as fast as can be it gets you there.
I'm very impressed and very happy to have made the switch. I can't imagine how good it's going to feel in a month when I have it dialled in and outfitted to perfection.
I've had the 95 for a few days now, every time I'm in it I like it even more.
I agree that this boat needs to be driven, but that doesn't mean full speed at all times. If you are moving with the current in tight stuff it doesn't need to be set at warp speed, but if you come around a turn and need to drive at something it goes. The 95 is fun because all you need to do is get it to cruising speed, then decide when to speed it up. There is more than enough speed in this boat, the trick is knowing how to use it.
It is a displacement hull which means you don't sit flat or have cheat mode knuckle drag turns. Duffeks, draws, and other tweaking strokes are what work well, back stokes will not turn the boat.
What everyone tells me is this boat was meant as a mix of remix/stomper, I believe it is actually more of jefe/remix. A manchild jefe with two extra gears and better rocker.
The only other thing I will say is your technique will improve paddling this boat. You will enjoy making correction strokes , leaning forward, and being aggressive.
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