With clinic less than 24 hours old in my long term memory, I think I've finally reached the point at which I'm gonna need my own boat. I was wondering if any of you might be able to offer some guidance or suggestions as I start looking around.
I paddled an Eskimo Salto for a while when my roll and boat control was trash (was? let's just say worse than now ) before transitioning to the only other boat I've been able to squeeze my awkward gangly, 33" inseam legs into, a CR125. It could just be the club outfitting on some of SLU's boats, but I just haven't found anything else I can fit into comfortably.
I'm fine not squeezing into a tiny play boat like a star, but I'd like something with agility that I can play in at least a little. A few I've been thinking about taking a look at have been the 4Fun, Ammo, and the Biscuit/CR. Basically any oversized play boats or creeking boats. Am I on the right track? I'm 6'1" and just under 150lbs.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
PS - I don't spend much time on forums in general, but if this should be posted somewhere else or something like that just let me know.
Help Picking a First Boat
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|02 May 2011 - 16:38||20435|
Help Picking a First Boat
|02 May 2011 - 23:42||20451|
|Lee Harmon|| |
For what it's worth
The club has been an invaluable resource for me in this area. Bilbo was a wealth of knowledge and was very willing to share advice on boat design, intended use, hull characteristics, etc. I was loaned boats for a full day to test them on the river, too. Todd, Tim, & Dan each did that, plus (because of the club) the Alpine shop let me run the river twice in demo boats. MWAers get discounts from Appomattox as well. I guess I'm saying, posting here was a great first move.
If you make the SE trip, NOC will let you demo down the Nantahala for just $25, and I'm sure there are members willing to help you out with advice or loan boats for you to test drive.
...some who wander really are lost.
|03 May 2011 - 17:40||20464|
Since I paddled with you over the clinic weekend I will give some suggestions. You looked really compfortable in the cr which is a downriver play boat. There are alot of that type out there: wavesport fuse, jackson fun, pyranha varun, ect, ect. I would go right in the middle for sizing with your weight. Iv seen guys taller than you climb into a fun and the lighter you are in the boat the more it becomes a river runner than a play. Good luck and have fun demoing.
|04 May 2011 - 07:27||20473|
It is hard to know this up front, but a lot of times I consider the intention, both short term and long term. How many times a year are you going to want to do this? Are you OK just running the river, or do you get out on features and play? Do you feel you want to do progressively more difficult water, and where does your head want to stop? All of this really drills down a boat choice, and understanding that it very well may be more than one boat eventually to do all that you want to do.
The safe bet has often been a river runner or a river/play boat. They can stay with you no matter what. The question based on the factors above is how aggressive and performance oriented the lower chines are and how you will learn to use them as tools. For a first boat, I would not have too much volume in a boat that is less than 7 foot long unless you are firmly committed to this sport. The extremely high decks without the length to go with it will be both harder to roll and harder to control in squirrely current. Large volume creek boats are meant to "fall down a hill", and developing a skill in them, especially ferrying high contrast currents, can be difficult. Starting out in full on play boats will also tend to lengthen the initial learning curve, given most of them are so short that you get discouraged because you cannot get anywhere fast, and the edges catch on everything when you have not yet developed a holdable J lean.
Boats to consider from my company would be a Recoil, Zone-1, or Varun for all around, and a Karnali for a person wanting to progress in river difficulty. As for most everyone else, Dagger Rx, Axiom, and Mamba. Jackson Fun and Hero. Wavesport Fuse and Diesel, Riot Thunder, Fluid Spice and Detox, Prijon Soca, and for Liquid Logic I will endorse a Freeride over a Biscuit or CR, and just say that for some, the Remix has done very well.
|04 May 2011 - 07:59||20476|
Lee, Josh, Bilbo, thanks for the help. The feed back is extremely helpful. After my first post I realized I left out a lot in terms of specifics in terms of intentions. I do feel pretty comfortable in the CR, but it can be a beast to roll sometimes - I think I need to perfect my roll (mostly remember to keep my head down and use my hips).
Bilbo, thanks for the poignant questions. In terms of long term intentions, I don't think I'll be going anywhere soon I've put off getting gear this long to see just that - how far I wanted to take this. Recently I feel like I've got my head in a much better spot out on the water, and I'm really excited to push it further. In the real long term, I think I'd really like to push myself as far as low to mid Class IV. In terms of the type of boating I'd really like to do, I know it's early, and I might still have a poorly formed idea, but I really find myself enjoying picking apart a river, catching eddies, and trying to get tighter lines and better boat control. I'd feel much more happy knowing I can boat like some of you pros out there, going through long rapids at a dizzyingly slow pace, catching every eddie, hanging out in in the middle of rapids, and having clear, intent lines when ferrying etc. The one creeking experience I have with Curtis on the Telico is still one of my fondest experiences (despite my sheer terror at the time). I think some surfing here and there is the extent of my play boating aspirations.
I hope this helps. Again, I'm not sure if I'm in one vein of boating style here, or if I'm all over the board, but those are some thoughts.
|04 May 2011 - 13:15||20483|
Kodak, give me a call one evening this week.
|04 Nov 2011 - 08:36||22370|
Way Delayed Varun Review
First of, a great thanks to everyone who helped and provided input over the last few months. I ended up getting a Varun after some extensive looking. I was hoping to pick up a nice used one from GAF, but the only medium walked away right in front of me as I crossed the bridge that morning - should have woken up earlier I settled on a discounted new one that was about the same price as the only used one I could find online + shipping.
I think I saw another great Varun review posted on the boards, and I know far too little to offer an in depth and detailed review, so I'll forgo that. I can however offer my perspective for beginners, so I thought it might be helpful to someone in the future to post some thoughts:
It should be noted this is entirely relative to the CR125 that I've paddled over the last 2 years, but this thing kicks some serious butt, I feel like a completely different boater in this thing. So far I've taken it down the Nanty twice, and the Russell Fork twice.
PROS: It turns on a dime, is fast, and easy to roll. It's agility, thus far, has greatly enhanced my ability to grab small eddies and navigate tight lines, which is precisely the skill set I was hoping to advance. Surfing feels much more manageable too. It's also pretty fast. While trying to out run the drop in water level on a late run on the Nanty (or so we though), I found myself keeping pace with an LL Remix, while another boater, poor Mr. Deangelo, found himself in the CR about 100 yards behind.
CONS: It's has some serious volume, especially in the stern. Again, this is probably a relativity thing, the CR125 had a pretty flat stern. Regardless, it took getting some used to, especially when plugging holes. On my first two I inadvertently stern squirted and wound up upside down. A thanks to Raymond for some good pointers in that area. I've only just started toying around with some play boating, but I'd have to assume there are better play boats out there, so if that's what you're looking for, I might pass on this.
All in all, I think I'd agree with the notion of "good at everything, great at none." Check back with me in another year or two, but at this point I can see this boat being great for learning a great basic to intermediate skill set before "specializing" with a few other boats.
Anyway, just a few first impressions, thanks again to everyone here for the help. Much appreciated.
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