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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!
I've been hard shell kayaking for about 8 years now in my dagger mamba. I'm comfy in class 3 and some class 4 water. I'm thinking of getting an IK to run class 3/4 water and to run flatter water with my dog in tow. I think I want something with foot pegs and knee straps and am wondering if anyone has suggestions. I'm a 5'2" lady who weighs 125lb. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Performance oriented and I'd like to hear your opinion on the upper and lower end of price. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Performance oriented and I'd like to hear your opinion on the upper and lower end of price range. Thanks!
 

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The force ($2k retail) has been the go to performance IK. Its not going to let you haul your dog around though unless its a little lap dog.

The lynx ($1600) is the next best thing performance wise from AIRE. Its made to haul some weight but not sacrifice all performance and is probably my favorite IK as an all around boat. I like it because you can move it around quickly empty, you don't have to get soaked by every little wave if you don't want to and it can haul some shit.

AIRE Outfitter is the most stable, biggest tubes, not what you are after.

The Trib tomcat ($700) seems to paddle almost like the lynx performance wise. It is a good all around boat, especially for the price. If you want to keep on a budget, it may be the answer.

Another option for a sportier ride and a smaller woman may be the Tributary SPUD ($420). It is made as a kids boat but I bet you'd be in the weight limits assuming your dog isn't 100lbs. I think you could really move it around. Its not quite as tough material as any of the others.

The RMR Animas ($1k) is a bit sportier and less stable than the lynx (very tapered tubes), comes with thigh straps and does not use the bladder system which you may or may not like. I only paddled the prototype that had too thin of a floor so I was sitting in water, which is my first thumbs down on a ducky, but that has changed. It may just be the ticket for 125# and a dog if you wanna lean on the sportier side but the SPUD is too small.


I think RMR is coming out with a new IK this year so you may wait it out. The pic I saw looked like it was sportier yet. Maybe I wasn't supposed to talk about it yet.

Another option is to hit the classifieds on here or go to some of the spring swaps like Raftopia at DRE (first weekend in April this year I think) and see whats there. People seem to get rid of duckies pretty often and you can snag a good deal. They are wet and miserable, but you like that! They also have most of the boats I mentioned and you could look them over.
Im not sure what Wet Dreams in GJ has ducky wise or what is available in GS to go look at and see for yourself. You know what a sporty unstable kayak looks like compared to a more stable one. Look at a few duckies and you'll get the idea. There are definitely rentals out there from some of the outfitters. I wanna say Wet Dreams rents.


Thigh straps and foot pegs can be added to any IK.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for your extensive review, it's much appreciated! I'll look into the ones you highlighted and see if I can try a few out. I had started looking at the Sotars but I couldn't find any information on them except for the expensive price tag. They looked nice with the foot pegs and straps but it's good to know I can get those with any sucky. Thanks again!
 

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One to steer clear of for performance are the Hyside IKs. Durable, long lasting ,well made but turn like barges. Mine has been relegated to a backup, loaner now and bought a Lynx II as my main IKy ride.
 

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zach pretty much nailed it, the dog is a tricky bit because it can throw off the stability and the amount of space needed. I paddle an old force XL ( I am 6'2" 225) and love it, it is flatter and tracks well BUT it does "weathervane" and get knocked about a bit in waves, the newer forces have more rocker, so spin better, but are a little bit slower. The big bummer of the forces is absolutely no storage (I use a sea kayak deck bag on the back deck for a throwbag, firstaid kit and snacks) and it can drain slowly after a big surf.
There is a plot twist too, once upon a time aire also made the force expedition, which is a force without the front and rear aire bags so less displacement of water, more room for stuff. I am not sure how many expeditions aire made, but they are darn near impossible to find. BUT the aire tributary strike is the same pattern as the original force expedition. The bummer is that it is slightly thinner/lower quality fabric than the current force/lynx, but it is a fast, capable boat, and with footpegs and thigh straps it is pretty amazing.
I think it depends a bunch on the type of water you want to paddle, steeper techy stuff and lynx 1, or current force will be better, bigger waves, longer days, a strike may be good too.
 

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My wife had a lot of the same questions when she wanted to buy a new IK so I asked her to reply (she's not on MB):
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Hi,
I am a female, almost exactly your size. I had a Thrillseeker custom made for me about 5 years ago and it cost $1300. See Custom Inflatables, Inc. | Ready to give you the ride of your life!. Attila has been building these boats for a LONG time. I believe he originally designed the Sotar you mentioned. He takes your height, weight, hip width, leg length, etc. and will talk to you about what you like and don’t like in a boat, what type of water you want to run, and then helps you design the perfect boat. The only drawback is it can take up to 6 months to get the boat. I wanted a decent amount of rocker to punch through waves better than my old Sevylor River XS (crappy boat from a construction standpoint, but it really handled well and let me run Shoshone, all of Lodore, and some other pretty good Class III, IV- runs). I wanted a boat that drained faster than the Sevylor, but was still maneuverable and could handle bigger waves. My Thrillseeker is a fabulous boat and meets all of my criteria in an IK, and I tried a lot of different IKs before having Attila design this boat. The floor is actually adjustable front to back, so you can vary the leg length in case someone wants to borrow it. It has room behind the seat for a small cooler and dry bag. I added plenty of D rings and put them exactly where I wanted them. The front has a foot block that has a hole in the middle that can be a perfect drink holder. I have a ton of drain holes. It’s pretty narrow, but that’s because it was designed to fit me. So I can get good control with my hips for steering. The tubes are 10”, so pretty decent flotation. I sit a bit higher than I did in the Sevylor, but I still feel like it’s low enough to get good contact with the water and don’t feel like I’ll fly out if it very easily. The floor is inflatable, so you can sit as high or low in the boat as you want. Attila included thigh straps but I chose to not have him install them. The only thing I can’t say for sure is how you’d like it for your dog. Depends on the size of the dog and where he/she would sit. You could put a small cooler in front and put the dog behind you maybe? Anyway, I see you live in Glenwood. You are welcome to try my boat any time (as long as I’m not already using it). It does great on Shoshone, Cemetery, South Canyon, Upper C/Yarmony.

She would be happy to let you try it! Send a PM if interested.
 

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Plus one for Gremlin's post and Thrillseeker as a very good IK.

After my GC accident, I had Attila make me a Thrillseeker. Takes a while but if youi want IK performance the wait is worth it. Investigate with Attila now before he gets busy with commercial stuff.

Thrillseeker is not a RPM Max (one of my favorite hard shell designs) but is the closest performance to a hard shell kayak I have found. Lots of smiles on your face if you paddle a ThrillSeeker. And, Thrillseekers keep up with most of the hard shells in between play spots.

Thrill Seeker will surf and is responsive as an IK can be in my opinion. I have not boated a Force so cannot compare that boat.

The Thrill Seeker is a West VA steep Creeker design that the Snyder Brothers boat.

There is a old video out there that shows various ThrillSeekers doing the real deal steep creeks stuff. At one time I had the link but due to a computer lightning strike death, lost it.
 

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The Vanguard ik is a great kayak. It's shorter length (9.5') than most other solo kayaks. It is super maneuverable and performs more like a hard shell. Also it has the ability to punch through waves where my friends other kayaks ( tributary tomcat) deflect, deform and partially submerge. It recovers/drains almost instantly and is super stable in whitewater.

Used IKs have been slim pickings the last couple seasons. A friend wanted to get into the sport and couldn't find anything recently. NRS purchased Star and updated the Sprite 1 this year. It has heaps of factory D- rings, seat, and comes with a pump, protective case/pack and a drop stich floor. The transition ones (last year) have drain issues or so I've heard but they are on sale too at local outfitters.

Haven't gotten it out yet or inflated it but the price was right for their misprint units. I have only SUP experience with drop stich. However it seems that the floor will keep your but out of the water and be a stable and level platform for a dog.

From my experience a tandem is better if you have a big dog or plan to camp overnight. However I got a Hyside mini Max to fit that need. It's also fun to R2 when the run off is big.

I have no experience with the thrill seeker, but my Eastern friends highly recommend it. AIRE force looks like a great whitewater kayak too.

Thigh straps are a must. I use a stuffed dry bag in the front instead of foot pegs but that might not work for you...I have longer legs.

Vanguard is a front range company. Holly was super helpful and I received mine the day after ordering if that makes a difference.
 

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Thanks jerseyjeff that is the video

Goes to show that these West VA boaters get it done in Thrillseeker IK's.

The video also shows Jeff leading the way in future play boating in a Squirt boat.

Great video, probably not the hi res we now see in videos but for the time this video was created probably state of the art.

Thanks again for the link.
 
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