:shock: So in the several years I have now been creeking I have paddled many boats (overflow x, phat, micro 240, java, cfs, huck, blunt, sniper, currently Salto). Boats of note I have not tried are (Gus, M3, nohmad, big gun, diesel) but I do have a reason why I did not get into these boats. I didn't get into the big gun and m3 because I was looking for a semi displacement hull and both of these are definitely planning. I didn't bother with the gus because I wanted a boat with a little give in the seat plus it weighs about fifty lbs. And I never liked any of daggers stuff in the past so I figure why bother now plus I question their plastic as well as wavesports. Now back to the boats I have paddled, I am currently a fan of the salto. Yes it has its down falls but so does every boat, but what I like I really like. First it fits me very well, it has the right volume for a guy about 165lbs. Secondly I really like the plastic I have run mine down some scratchy stuff and it has held up well. The best thing about this boat though is its rocker in the bow and its speed. It boofs like a champ and is impressively fast for its length. The boat is also great for storage since it has no pillars. If you ask me the only thing I would improve upon with the design would be some new outfitting. Otherwise thumbs up on this design.
Pluses: big water, pushy lines, impossible to pignose bow, crosslink plastic was bomber, carved into eddys. able to make the hairy ferry.
Minuses: small cockpit, hard to get out of, flat hull hurts boofing big waterfalls, chines get hung up on rocks in low volume creeks, legs fall asleep in it, sharp flat stern catches water.
Run: North Fork of the Payette. Meat line in Gore at high flows. Poudre Narrows.
Pluses: huge cockpit easy to get out of, slow, so your not speeding down steep drops. floats over holes without subbing out, feels super safe. just bounces down tight techincal drops, fits like a glove, rounded top of hull sheds water.
minuses: hole bait in big water, not as easy to hold a line, bow pignoses
Runs: SSV, Popo Agie
plusses: same as CFS as far as river feel goes. stout nose, good rescue points.
minuses: small cockpit difficult to get out of for 6 footer. crayon plastic,
Runs: Same as CFS
pluses: tough plastic
minuses: bow goes deep in drops, easily pitoned, wierd step in cockpit rim causes skirts to blow off, too fast in steep drops.
Runs: I guess if you were looking to go deep and don't mind your skirt popping while your down there. Suicidal run on Niagra maybe??
Aside from the whole disintegration factor, the M3 is my favorite creeker that I'ver ever had. The problem, however, is that there are some sharp right-angle lines starting at the bow that can't deflect much impact force. So basically, you end up with a nice pair of straight line cracks running down the hull. 3-4 days (SSV, USB, Big T) pretty much finished this boat off in quick order.
That said, Pyranha is super good about replacing the hulls...so you can go out and break it again.
I have been discussing the whole planning hull vs. diplacement hull thing a lot lately. I have paddled both (embudo, gradient, overflow x, micro, CFS, hukka, MAC-1) I paddled a BIg Gun for about 2.5 years and loved it. For reference....check out http://www.kayaking.peak.org/ and look at runs like the upper upper cispus, the Truss, the Little White, Wind river...etc. WE have A LOT of big waterfalls here in the NW. Landing flatt off of a really big waterfall hurst....period. Boofing semi-huge falls and landing flat in a planning hull is usually not a problem either because of the aerated water at the base. Vertebrae have been cracked in just as many rounded hull boats as flat hulls. The Big Gun was semiplanning and now I paddle a MAC-1.....I was a little worried about the flatter hull but now I love it....here are two more boats: Mac-1
PROS: Volume distribution lends to speed when busting through big holes and stable resurfacing after drops. SPEED, 8' boat that is fast and turns on a dime. Just as at home in low volume steep stuff as it is in the big gnar. Not an autoboofer but very easy to boof. You can really adjust your entry angle off of a drop with this boat...even after throwing a huge boof stroke......good for not landing flat when you want to boof over a manky hole at the base of a drop. Tracks really well, holds a line even in pushy water. Clip-in points are large. Planning hull really smashes the foam pile if you boof over big holes. Bow pierces holes but there is enough up-turn so as not to pin. Surfs really well...good for must make ferries or just for surfing waves on your favorite creek run Doesn't have the tendency to back ender...like the huck, hukka, micro.
CONS: Cockpit not as easy to get out of as the Big Gun (most aren't) . they had some problems with the hukka plastic but they changed it with the 2005 boats...I think. If you don't install rubber washers on all the bolts, the boat has a tendency to take in some water. The edges are a little ....welll....edgier than the Big Gun but I haven't noticed any reprecussions yet. Seat and thighooks are a little hard to adjust.
This boat would be good for low and high water runs like Bailey, Escalante, crystal gorge, Big South, S. St. vrain, Lake creek, Vijacito (sp?), Oh-be etc...I lived in the front range for 5 years Big Gun
PROS: Lots of volume to keep you dry in the big stuff. Volume distribution leads to speed after drops/holes. Easy to turn. Sealed bulkhead is cool....great for storage...the new ones stay REALLY dry. Cockpit allows me to get both of my knees out and stand up on the seat while still in the water. Punches holes great. Boofs like a champ.
Cockpit is so HUGE that most skirts implode (even Mt. Surf) without an implosion bar. Sidewalls are VERY high. This boat is a pig as far as speed goes and very unruly in low volume stuff. Hard to change the entry angle off drops mid-air. Gets knocked-off course too easily.
Good for Big water runs through and stuff like Oh-be, Bailey, Big south, Viacito (sp?) and Big water here in the NW, BC, N cali. Basically a great Big Water boat although there are better....see the MAC-1
The choice of your first creek-boat is an experience that you can only learn so much about through research. By this I mean there will never be the perfect "creek boat" for any particular boater no matter what anyone sez. That is why the get better every year. You should however take every step to make sure that the boat you chose will be something that you will feel comfortable carrying for miles and also a boat that will mitigate the fear and apprehension you will inevitably be feeling while using it. Long story short chose well and do not rush to decisions without trying the boat first.
Well.. just as a follow up, I've had a Salto for 2 seaons now, my prior boat(s) were also Eskimo's (Diablo and a DIablo Evolution). One could probably say that I fall into the "aspiring creeker". I like the idea of creeking more then the idea of play boating, I just don't have the full self-confidence to really tackle the full gnar.
As for the Salto, I suspect that I'm on the big side for it (6'1" - 210 lbs), but I do feel comfortable in the Salto, however without any real comparision I cannot really make any sort of judgement call on exactly how it performs in relation to other modern creekers.
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