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Discussion Starter #1
:? I have been paddling touring boats for about 5 years and recently decided to try whtewater. I was told that the Alien would be a good choice for me because I plan on progressing quickly, I paddle often, and will use it primarily on low volume rivers, not to mention I suffered from a tight budget. I found a great deal on an Alien and purchased it. I have since read both good and bad reviews on the Alien, and I am questioning my decision. Have I made a mistake? I am looking for honest feedback, but don't be too hard on me. Thanks!
 

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I found a great deal on an Alien
'Nuff said. Short answer, yes it was a mistake. That is a very unforgiving boat for a new(ish) paddler. You will either swim a lot or have a bomber roll.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:? OK. so is the Alien a bad boat, bad for a beginner, not suitable for learning, etc? Am I more likely to grow into it and enjoy it, or become frustrated with the sport? What would be a better choice for a beginner planning on river-running? Should I only look at planing or displacement hulls?
 

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I agree with Brian. The Alien is widely thought to be the most unforgiving design ever. I would sell the boat and get something else with a planing hull. Forget displacement hulls unless you have absolutely zero interest in playboating. Planing hulls not only allow much more play, they offer certain other benefits in river running. If you are advancing quickly, but are still on a budget, I'd look for one of the following:

Pyranha Inazone
Wavesport X or Z
Dagger Outlaw or Showdown
Riot Booster

Best of luck,
Steve
 

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Don’t take all of these comments too seriously. I agree that the Alien isn’t exactly a popular boat; when it hit the market, it was competing with all sorts of crap, such as the Dagger Shoebox… I mean the Vertigo. It was a bad year for boats; that is modern boats. It was boats like the Alien that gave us edgy, aggressive boats like the X & Mr. Clean. Those boats gave way to the EZ, and the list goes on and on.

Reality check: you’ll probably never be able to sell your Alien to anyone. So be it. You have a boat that will run rivers, play in holes, and probably take you far beyond the “next” level. Just go paddle; don’t sit around worrying about your gear. Be a boater; everything else will find its place in your style on the river
 

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actually spencer, the X predated the alien. a year later, the alien was almost a dead ringer for the X, but with one huge design flaw: no "release chines" making for a super boxy sidewall/hull transition that made the thing want to be upside-down & stay upside-down.

experienced guys hated that boat. maybe try to sell it in texas or missouri & then pick up something else.
 

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just get out and paddle it... but keep looking for a new one

I agree with the poster who noted to just start paddling. Ten years ago guys were paddling in boats most of us wouldn't ever think about paddling. If the boat floats and you have the gear, you can definitely practive on flatwater, practice rolling, get some strokes down and start with some really easy Class I water to get a feel for it.

I agonized over the right boat to get when I started last year. I have since been in 4 boats, and I now realize that some boats are better, but the difference is not so huge that you can't paddle one or the other. Better to get out and enjoy the water while it is here.

One thing that I will say is that I started with a perception blaze boat that was a forgiving river runner with a planing hull and a nice design that allows it to surf some, but still be good at going downriver. This boat has undoubtedly sped my progress due to the boats ease. A buddy who had expereince on whitewater, but had a dagger RPM (displacement hull, old school), had a hard time on water that I didn't have much of a problem on. The boat can make a difference in learning speed, but wn't prevent you from being able to paddle.
 

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Ok, I will play counterpoint to the 'just paddle' comments. I started in an ARC, it is a very tippy boat. I was getting severly frustrated and then moved on to something else and it was an amazing difference. I think that when you start is the most important time to have a good boat. It will help you stay out of trouble and help you grow. Later your skills can compensate for a bad design. Use the alien in play parks and you will perfect your role and thats cool but I would buy a used boat for a decent price and you will be much happier. You dont list your size and weight so I wont recommend a boat. Caspian had some good choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate all of the great feedback, and the honesty. I thought I would post my measurements so I might get more suggestions on boats. I am about 5'8", medium build, and weigh about 180# with size 10 feet. Maybe I can sell my Alien, and maybe not, but if all else fails I can keep it for a play boat for later. I've learned a great deal about buying without doing your homework, and letting the excitement of the moment get the best of you. I'm not afraid to admit it if I made a mistake, but I would like to get the most out of whitewater paddling as a sport. Most of my gear will transfer over from touring (Bomber Gear Hydrology dry top, Palm semi-dry shorty, Extrasport Vapor PFD, etc,) and I have already bought a whitewater paddle. I may still need to buy a boat, but as long as it's not a $900 WS Diesel like the shop suggested, I might be able to swing it. Please keep the advice coming--I prefer to learn from my mistake. Thanks!
 

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Are you not looking to play at all? I am going to assume that you are looking to river/play and I will suggest the inazone, big ez, outlaw. The big ez is a popular used boat but I could never get my feet comfy in them. The outlaw was extremely comfy. Check out the gear swap. I have an old Z but I am not sure about selling it. If you wanted to try one, I will loan you mine.
 

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There's an Inazone 232 for $450 that was just posted on the Gear Swap page today. That would be an excellent selection for you.

You might also look for a Big EZ. It will take a bit further than the Inazone, without being significantly more difficult to learn in. I got a used one last year for around $550, which is probably as low as you'll see the price go on one of these.
 

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Lots of good suggestions here,but i'm surprised no one mentioned dagger gt. Thats what i started with 2 years ago,and am still paddling it. I certainly do'nt regret buying it because i have learned alot in it. But if i had it to do all over again i would buy a wavesport ez. Kinda edgy for a begginer , but a great boat. When i started i did'nt have,and did'nt think i would have any interest in surfing for a long time to come until i tried it. Now thats the funnest reason to be on the river. have fun
 

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I have paddled a friends Alien. I agree, you will swim a lot or have a bomber roll. Good luck.
 

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Yo ToddG: That boat will probably catch a bid in WY too... How big is your hat these days???

Come see us on a Tuesday; the 6th is a good one.
 

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Spencer - good point! although all ten boaters up here are set with boats for this year.

as far as the hat goes, i haven't succumbed to ten-gallon temptation yet. and getting me in a pair of wranglers is about as long-shot as it gets, so don't even go there. i have found however that a good belt buckle can go a long way.

p.s. wyoming is seriously holding the goods. only reasons i've been boating in CO at all this summer are, (1), first descent in CO, & (2), wyo hadn't started to run off yet.

maybe i'll see you down there soon ...

tg
 
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