River runner suggestions for a small paddler

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Wadhamite
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River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Wadhamite » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:17 pm

Hello UKRGB hive mind,

Any suggestions on a river runner for a small paddler (sub 65kg, 160cm)? I'm considering getting my own boat so I can do more grade III and IV water. I tried a small Wavesport Diesel out last year and bloody hated it - too heavy for me to move by myself. I paddle a Dagger GT currently, borrowed from my club, which weighs 17kg and is as much as I can cope with. Are there any other boats with newer specs or more volume I could look at? Otherwise I'm just going to have to get into playboating, because I don't have the time/inclination to get hench just to carry a creeker about!
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Wadhamite » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:38 pm

I mean, something like this would be just grand ;)

http://static1.jacksonkayak.com//home/j ... g_3212.jpg
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hun
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by hun » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:48 pm

Pyranha Nano s/m could be a good choice. Decent boat.
Jackson Kayak also do several good boats for smaller paddlers Hero/Little Hero, or the Zen.
Stay away from Mamba (Dagger) it's crap.

Don't become a playboater. It's good but rivers are immensely more diverse and exciting.
River running takes you to places you never imagined...
Have Fun!
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by LucyLou19 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:55 pm

My suggestion... coming from someone who brought a boat soley on the weight of it (Jackson Punk Rocker) is don't buy a boat based on the weight. I did, because I'd broken my back and wanted to get kayaking again quickly, however in hindsight, id have been much better spending longer on Physio/ strength training, and buying the boat I actually wanted. The Punk Rocker, while a good boat probably for people who want to go really steep in America, was a rubbish boat for me to learn how to paddle grade 3 in the UK.

The more you carry a boat, the easier it gets. Try as many boats as you can, and buy the boat you actually like paddling. You get stronger for carrying boats, by carrying boats more. You can also reduce the amount you have to carry a boat, by carefully picking the sections of river you want to paddle (for example avoiding grade III rivers with big portages/ needing to man up and paddle grade V such as the middle conwy) And paddle with nice people who don't mind you taking a break as you walk in :). Most people will be happy to help here and there as well.

Id say you wouldn't go far wrong paddling a Mamba, Burn or similar river runner. Inazone or something would be great if you fancied something a wee bit more playable. And buy all means, buy a playboat, it will take you as far as you dare/ value your ankles... just remember If/When you get in a creeker/ long river runner it won't turn on an eddyline like your playboat will. :)

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by 66quinny66 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:57 pm

hun wrote:Pyranha Nano s/m could be a good choice. Decent boat.
Jackson Kayak also do several good boats for smaller paddlers Hero/Little Hero, or the Zen.
Stay away from Mamba (Dagger) it's crap.

Don't become a playboater. It's good but rivers are immensely more diverse and exciting.
River running takes you to places you never imagined...
Have Fun!
Nano is a great boat (I have the large) but it doesn't meet the "light" criteria. The large is 21kg and I think the medium is 19.5kg

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by LucyLou19 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:00 pm

As well, outfitting a boat for carrying makes it insanely easier to carry. This (for me) involves putting a webbing strap around the bulkhead, keeping your arm straight (skeletal link) while you are carrying, and paddling the shoulder so the boat is not digging on bone.

Have someone show you how to lift your boat up without straining your back, get a good pair of shoes (so you don't slip over), but at your height and weight I am fine lifting my dagger nomad (or at least I will be once a webbing strap goes on the cockpit to enable me to carry the boat with a straight arm). However this has also partially been a result of doing a lot of sport this year as I am in an outdoor job :), and doing lots of strength training after I fractured lots of vertabrae in my back :)

Thing is, is the more you carry boats, the better you get at carrying them. Just learn to carry it on both sides!!

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:13 pm

Small Burn, surely? Double up with people to carry boats; I do and I'm massive....
LucyLou19 wrote:As well, outfitting a boat for carrying makes it insanely easier to carry. This (for me) involves putting a webbing strap around the bulkhead, keeping your arm straight (skeletal link) while you are carrying, and paddling the shoulder so the boat is not digging on bone.
What an excellent idea! Any photos?
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:05 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:Small Burn, surely?
A Small burn is a massive boat compared to Wavesport Diesel 60 / 65. The small Diesel would be my recommendation, but I note "Wadhamite" hated that. I would look at Jackson kayaks they always seem lighter to me.
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by icklepaddler » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:15 pm

Could I ask what is wrong with the GT?

I know the fashion at the moment is for HUGE boats, but for me I have far more fun and control on G3 / not too big G4+s in my Inazone 220.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Wadhamite » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:25 pm

icklepaddler wrote:Could I ask what is wrong with the GT?

I know the fashion at the moment is for HUGE boats, but for me I have far more fun and control on G3 / not too big G4+s in my Inazone 220.

Ickle
I have a bit of a tendency to get munched on drops and stuck in stoppers that my (male) mates in bigger boats punch through. Some of the problem may be just that I need to commit a bit more to the drops, but I know my experience with the small Diesel was that you just glide over things a bit more. The GT is great when I want to play, but if I want to get less buried on drops, I feel a higher volume boat would help. I would borrow the bigger club boats, but I have a tendency to fall out of them while trying to roll (big of a hazard in even my boyfriend's Wavesport Project 45 or a Jackson Star I tried). Seriously considering looking for a child's creeker! I miss Brookbank so much at times like this, my boyfriend demo'd 3-4 of their playboats before finding his one, and we bought two or three ex-demo boats over the years for the club.

And I won't be getting a huge boat cos I'll never be able to carry it :p
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by JustMatt » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:41 pm

I'm a similar size to you ~60kg and I love my Veloc and I'd recomend it to anyone. I also have a female friend who is in a similar situation to you she said its the only boat she's able to carry for a longish distance and she loves paddling it. Somone above said don't go near the mamba but ignore that and demo them both. I couldn't comment on anything Jackson have to offer having avoided them after having to replace the backband in my playboat because it just kept coming loose all the time.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by SimonMW » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:13 pm

The Diesel isn't really heavier than most. It's about the same as the other options of similar boats.

The GT is a light boat, but I think you are going to limit yourself quite a bit if you want something a lot lighter than the Diesel 60. Other great river runners include the Jackson Fun Runner and the Dagger Axiom. Maybe the Axiom 8.0 is worth looking at (17kg)?

Mind you, if the reason you want to change boat is due to things like stoppers, you haven't said which ones (I'm presuming Lee Valley?) It is probably worth taking decent coaching* and discover whether it is the boat that is causing you to get munched, or your technique.

I paddled a GT recently and hated it. It kept digging in on stoppers and pearling big time when I tried to surf it. My kayaking technique went to crap that day and I was doing all sorts of useless pannicky style paddling until I regained my mojo after lunch and proverbially slapped myself around the head a few times! The reason it performed that way and the reason I hated it was because it wasn't trimmed properly as I was only using a mates boat for the day. I found out that he had set it all the way forward because he was concerned about the tail catching in stoppers.

So it seems to me that the trim in that boat makes quite a difference to the handling. So before you go out and spend a load of money it is well worth finding whether it is your technique is at fault, the setup of your boat, if it really is the boat itself that just isn't performing. If you find that it is the former and you can correct it you'll be all the better a paddler for it.

*And by getting some decent coaching I really do mean decent coaching. Not asking a mate whether he/she thinks you are doing the right thing or not. Coaching from people like Ross Montandon, Chris Eastabrook, and Simon Westgarth etc are far more worthy an investment than a new boat.
Last edited by SimonMW on Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Michael.J.H » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:16 pm

[quote="TechnoEngineer"]Small Burn, surely? Double up with people to carry boats; I do and I'm massive...



I wouldn't worry about the weight to much. I'm quite strong but my wife isn't so We carry two kayaks, one at each end. It works well and your stuff doesn't fall out the boat either. Also if the ground isn't to rough pick it up by the front handle and drag it, You havn't even got to lift it then. And shame on your friends if they were not to offer to help with lifts.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by mountain_bikerider » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:38 pm

Others above have already said what I would. Assess your load before carrying and get help if necessary. So based on that (getting someone to help you carry or drag it) I would always suggest looking at the Jackson boats and speaking to Aaron at Squarerock for a demo. I love my superhero and am on my second one after upgrading to the latest model. They appear to be about the same weight as other boats. They do the little hero for up to 135 lbs and the hero for 115 - 190 lbs suggested weights. They both have plaining hulls so will feel similar in style to the GT. The little hero only weighs 15.5kg. The other plus point for Jackson boats is the carry handle they put halfway down the foam bulkhead in the front of the boat. Slide your arm in grab the handle and carry, makes it a much easier job.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by LucyLou19 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:47 pm

Wadhamite wrote:
icklepaddler wrote:Could I ask what is wrong with the GT?

I know the fashion at the moment is for HUGE boats, but for me I have far more fun and control on G3 / not too big G4+s in my Inazone 220.

Ickle
I have a bit of a tendency to get munched on drops and stuck in stoppers that my (male) mates in bigger boats punch through. Some of the problem may be just that I need to commit a bit more to the drops, but I know my experience with the small Diesel was that you just glide over things a bit more. The GT is great when I want to play, but if I want to get less buried on drops, I feel a higher volume boat would help. I would borrow the bigger club boats, but I have a tendency to fall out of them while trying to roll (big of a hazard in even my boyfriend's Wavesport Project 45 or a Jackson Star I tried). Seriously considering looking for a child's creeker! I miss Brookbank so much at times like this, my boyfriend demo'd 3-4 of their playboats before finding his one, and we bought two or three ex-demo boats over the years for the club.

And I won't be getting a huge boat cos I'll never be able to carry it :p
Your problem is, is at 65kg you are too big for most kids boats. Sure I fit in the dagger dynamo (its really comfy) but Im just below the waterline on it, so I'd just get squirted everywhere! To be honest, I weigh 60-62 kg dependant on how much cake ive been nabbing from work, and I reckon im near the top end of the weight range on my star, 55kg would be a much better weight for it!

I think the suggestion of coaching is a better one perhaps than changing the boat. And seriously, Id just get paddling more as well.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Wadhamite » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:40 pm

Thank you all for the suggestions. The situation isn't that I currently own a GT and want to upgrade, I just use club boats and a GT is the smallest thing we have; when I leave uni at the end of the summer, I will probably need to own my own boat if I wish to continue to paddle. If I'm going to splash some cash, I want to look at all the options. Looks like I need to go to Cardiff to demo some boats!
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by SimonMW » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:14 pm

I missed the fact that were using a club boat. Although I still think coaching is a good option, if you are buying a boat, best to buy used or a good deal on an ex demo or a factory second. Some retailers like HB Canoe & Kayak will source cosmetic seconds if you ask.

I am very light. Weighed myself today and I'm just hitting 62kg without kit. Prob more like 64 with all gear on. It's an awkward size as it often falls at the top of the small versions and bottom of the medium ones. Go with the boat you prefer on the water. If you pick up the boat right and balance it, it shouldn't be a problem to carry. You can get stronger. 19kg isn't heavy for a boat. Try carrying a Riot Magnum of the later Chinese batches. Now that's a heavy boat!

Only you can decide though. There are a finite number of models of boat on the market, but it's a personal thing. The Mamba for example comes highly recommended from a large number of people, but I absolutely hated every moment of sitting in one! Most retailers have a similar range of demo boats. Cardiff is good because if you are going to buy new you can try the boat on actual white water, and Ronnie at shop is brilliant at sorting out the right gear for you.

Shame you didn't go up to the Tryweryn festival the other week (or I assume you didn't) as you could have demoed pretty much every boat out there on decent white water, plus a carry to the top to try the weight! ;-)

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by jennym » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:45 am

Heya,

I'm a pretty small and lightweight paddler too - around 55 kg ish (as others have said depending on how much cake/ pie I've eaten).
I have my own Dagger GT which I find more than sufficient for most stuff grade III-IV - some bigger holes I have to power through where others seem to bob through but I think it's really taught me a lot about my technique.

I've really padded out my GT to fit me snug around the hips & thighs (with a whole carrimat and a lot of duct tape) and that's really helped my control of the boat and therefore ability to boof/ punch through stuff.

There's a smaller GTS which you could also give a go - I actually liked that better as a club boat but the GT was going cheap on ebay.

I also really liked our club's eskimo lupo and method air as small person boats. They're pretty low volume again so won't help with punching through holes as such but maybe you might find you have better control over it?

In terms of the carrying, I found just improving my carrying technique massively helped me - making sure it was balanced right on my shoulder and hip. Other than that I just power on, take breaks if I have to, and ask for help if I really need it (though that's normally only for long walk ins/outs).

Hope that's helpful,

Jenny
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by Kayak-Bloke » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:51 pm

hun wrote:Pyranha Nano s/m could be a good choice. Decent boat.
Jackson Kayak also do several good boats for smaller paddlers Hero/Little Hero, or the Zen.
Stay away from Mamba (Dagger) it's crap.

Don't become a playboater. It's good but rivers are immensely more diverse and exciting.
River running takes you to places you never imagined...
Have Fun!
This made me smile. It outlines the reason why posts like this are not incredibly helpful. Opinions are like ass holes...everyone's got one.
I have the new Mamba as my big boat and it's the best boat I've ever had. But then I'm me and not you...
Small river runner. Jackson Fun. Job done, small, comfy, stable, easy to roll, will handle grade 3 without much drama if paddled correctly.

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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by janet brown » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:49 pm

Another vote for the Zet Veloc. I'm 5'0" and around 55k (without kit) and absolutely love it. Stepped up from a L'il Joe for the same reasons that you find the GT a problem. Its also quite light for a creeker :-)
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Re: River runner suggestions for a small paddler

Post by DaveBland » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:41 am

If you want light and small, but a proper creeker - maybe the new small Jackson Karma? My medium is nice and light. The small is quite a small boat. And yes, the Veloc would be similarly light too.
dave

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