Advice on big boy boats?

Inland paddling
Post Reply
CreekingCreepers
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:23 pm

Advice on big boy boats?

Post by CreekingCreepers » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:59 pm

Hi,

I currently paddle a GTX, which suits most of my paddling fine but i'm on the come up and i fear that it might not be adequate on harder rivers. Recently i've been paddling more intermediate rivers and whilst i get down everything okay, i do find that it turns in to a bit of a submarine and i definitely get slowed down too much on certain features. So i'm thinking about purchasing a boat with more volume. I assume this would be away from river runners and more towards creekers?

Does anyone have any recommendations? Or any hot tips on what to look for/avoid?
I'm 6 foot 1 and weigh about 85-86Kg without paddling kit.


Thanks for the advice

User avatar
John K
Posts: 555
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:23 am
Location: Brighton
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by John K » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:38 pm

You're only medium sized! I haven't got any particularly helpful advice, but you should have plenty of choice. :)

Dave Garratt
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:59 am

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Dave Garratt » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Absolutely as above your more a medium. I would think your bigger issue will be ensuring foot space in boots.

Im 5'11" and weighed in at 106kg last year without kit. I have a Large Shiva which has been fantastic, I grew up with displacement hulls so have stuck with them. Dont rule out the Burn or Everest, or for that matter anything else.

Everyone will recommend what they paddle you really need to get out and try stuff.

One thing I will say is that a lot of people seem to go for the biggest they feel in full control of. Ive dropped down to 95kg now and it does change the way the boat behaves but I think for the best on bigger water.

Dave
portages are always a grade higher than the rapid.

CreekingCreepers
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by CreekingCreepers » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:34 pm

By no means do i think i'm the biggest person out there. Big boy boats was referring to big boys toys. Whilst looking around at boats, i see that i should get a medium or a large, depending on the boat.


Cheers Dave. I'm fully aware that people will have biased opinions. I've been looking for some unbiased reviews online but i haven't come across any yet. So i was thinking that if i could get opinions (biased or unbiased) that was more about design features of boats, i could then have a think and decide what sort of boats i'd prefer and then demo a few. Obviously i would discard opinions that basically state... 'get this boat because it's awesome'.

And why do you like displacement hulls? And why aspects of the Shiva do you like?

Dave Garratt
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:59 am

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Dave Garratt » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:21 pm

Well, displacement hulls dont catch water quite so much in really messy soup. They also feel more kinda chilled out (to me). I come from a big spud background and it took me ages to get into longer creek boats. I would consider the change to rails in the future but if it aint broke dont fix it.

The Shiva just works, you have to push it about and take control but the bigger the water the better it gets. As an example, if you know Lee Valley at all, on the legacy it kinda skids across eddy lines and feels comfy but not dialled, like a Harley. Stick it on the Olympic course and its like a GP bike. It carves and goes with your hips almost at a subconscious level!

It does have a couple of chines on the rear half underside which engage really well in big water. Ive also found on the lip of a drop they are engaged and give you last minute control. They have a massive arse! It feels like a giant boot kicking you through holes.

Ive paddled it in Scotland, Dartmoor, yorkshire and lakes. The bigger the water the better it is so if your into technical empty runs it may not be a good option. Having said that itll clatter down most things with a style all of its own!

Cons
The nose isnt as buoyant as I expected, now ive dropped weight its much improved but im well down the weight limits now.
Theres no-where near as much foot space as you would expect, I just fit in with canyoneer size 11's.

Things ive found
Seat is either all the way forwards or all the way back. The balance works one or other for everyone, dunno why.
Its a squash getting peli cases in the back.
Its far better than I am!
Splits just and I mean just fit either side of the seat.

Please feel free to ask other questions. It is a great boat, if I didnt get on with it I would get rid.

Dave
portages are always a grade higher than the rapid.

User avatar
adpal
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:21 pm
Location: Coventry , West Mids.

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by adpal » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:32 pm

Hi

I'm about the same size and weight as you and the boat I use is a large karnali. Not sure what level I'm classed at as most of what I do is on flat water with a few river trips but I definitely don't feel like it's submarining except when launching.

Adam

User avatar
Pyro
Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 4:32 pm
Location: Leeds
Contact:

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Pyro » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:00 am

Was this new thinking after the Tees at the weekend, lad? ;)

If you're going for a bigger volume boat, the split more-or-less comes down to planing or displacement hull, and most of that comes down to preference. Like Dave above, I've never really got on with planing hull boats like the Burn or Mamba, they just didn't feel right to me, too skiddy and awkward. Strangely though, I also hated paddling a couple of displacement hulled boats, the Jefe and the Nomad as well, both felt like you had to crank them over much further than I was comfortable with to get them to turn.


For reference:

Boats I loved paddling:
Pyranha M3, Eskimo Salto mk2, Fluid Solo, Dagger GTX

Boats I hated paddling:
Pyranha Burn mk1, Pyranha Nano, LiquidLogic Jefe, Dagger Nomad

Boats I was kind of ambivalent about:
Wavesport Diesel 75, Zet Raptor, Pyranha Karnali M

Part of the 'ambivalence' with those boats was maybe that they weren't really set up for me, or I had problems with them on the day - having to empty the Karnali after every run at Teesside due to a bad deck fit, for example.

The only issue I have with my Solo is that it's heavy and relatively slow to accelerate, but the flip-side to that is that it'll punch through just about anything once you've got it up to speed - that speed just comes at a higher energy cost, though. The Salto was a good amount faster, but the foot area was very cramped for me

The big tip will always be to demo whatever you can, so much of it is personal feel - either nab the club boats for a trip (though you know how difficult that can be sometimes!) or ask to try someone's out on a river. If we get a day where we can get up to the Tees Barrage, see what NS Watersports have got in, or ask the boys at RoHo and we can sort picking one up from there for you. Fit will always be a very personal thing so it's worth keeping that in mind when you demo - seat position, foot room and hip padding all make a massive difference, so keep that in mind when you're trying stuff. If you ever want to try my Solo, just give me a yell. You'll bitch and moan about the weight of it (as you have done already!) but on the water it makes more sense.
-------
Pyro's Yard - Random Wafflings

Sambo1988
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:59 pm

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Sambo1988 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:28 am

Hi I am the same weight and height as you 85kg 6'2" size 12-13 feet. I paddle a large karnali and I love it I also like paddling my mates mamba 8.5 I paddle the likes of washburn, tryweryn and HPP and the karnali feels great on them all.
And it's also nice to paddle on gentle river runs

Sam

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13849
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 36 times

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Jim » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:08 pm

On paper and from what I've seen of other people paddling GT/GTX it should be a great boat for harder rivers, if it suits your preferred paddling style, and Dagger say you are right in the middle of the weight range so it should be a good fit for you.

You need to decide what it is that you are looking for with your own paddling style, something responsive that you can play a bit in and need to paddle to negotiate features, or a big volume 'creek' boat that will float over features without any effort because you don't like to play anyway.

The GTX is nowhere near as extreme as the playboats I still sometimes run rivers in, but will need a similar degree of 3-dimensional paddling, which you may not yet have learned, and if all the people you are learning from are in creekers you probably won't be able to learn. If you lean forward with the hull flat and paddle flat out, the bow might bury, instead you have to find a more neutral body position (don't lean back, that will compromise your stability) and roll the boat from edge (paddling downstream or still water) so that each paddle stroke slices the bow up to the surface instead of digging in. Don't run the line through the middle of the wave train with the lazy boys, move to one shoulder or the other, it gives you better line of sight down the rapid and you are hitting smaller waves on the diagonal, if necessary rolling slightly onto the midstream edge and using a paddle stroke on the same side to lift the bow as you hit each wave. Then when you can see a hazard you need to miss (from further away than if you were bouncing down the middle) you won't be bogged down so will be able to quickly turn and make a ferry (hold the edge hard to help you ferry quickly), or surf accross, or if you are passing on the same side you will be able to punch out through the diagonals onto your line. And when you can see that it safe downstream you can cut into the middle of the wave train to throw some wavewheels and really enjoy yourself :-)

If that's the kind of paddling you enjoy, stick with the GTX, if it sounds like too much hard work (it can be tiring on harder or longer river trips), then get a creek boat and stick with a more 2D paddling style, but be aware that the best paddlers are paddling their creek boats in 3D too, just not quite the same as playboaters. I'll probably take flak now for suggesting all creek boaters paddle lazy which isn't what I'm saying, a significant proportion of people paddling creek boats (rather than actual creek boaters), i.e. when paddling them on intermediate rivers, do seem to paddle lazy though.

User avatar
Neptune
Posts: 720
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Doncaster
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Neptune » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:22 pm

CreekingCreepers,

At your weight and height make sure that you demo a Nomad 8.5, a fantastic boat and then demo, demo, demo all the other boats that you are thinking of buying so that you can contrast and compare before choosing what you find most suits you not what we all like to paddle.

Peter

User avatar
StillNewish
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:31 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by StillNewish » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:22 pm

Not sure that I can point you to a specific boat (other than to recommend the Zet Raptor!), but in the end, you need to demo, and buy what YOU like, though this can obviously be tricky to do on higher grade water. Club trips can be a good way of borrowing a range of different kit and trying things back to back.

That said, (until around a year ago) I had a GTX, and it was great. While I was starting learning (flat water, grade 2/3, then grade 3, 3+ etc) it was brilliant. As I started to move from gd 3 to 4, though, I found that I was coming out of every stopper at about 45 degrees, which soon gets old. I moved to the Raptor, and haven't had any problems like that since.

However, don't expect a creek boat to handle the same as your GTX (with it's planing hull) does.

Be prepared (as in, expect) to spend a good length of time 'unlearning' some of your paddling technique, and adapting it to your new boat.

Don't give up though, the change has been massively worthwhile for me, in fact I wish I'd done it sooner :)

Demo, demo, demo :)

Let us know what you end up with.

Cheers,
Colin

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13849
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 36 times

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by Jim » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:17 pm

StillNewish wrote:As I started to move from gd 3 to 4, though, I found that I was coming out of every stopper at about 45 degrees, which soon gets old.
Presume you mean bow 45 degrees in the air rather than heeled over 45 degrees?

If so, you probably just needed to roll the boat onto an edge as you hit a stopper (usually not as much as 45 degrees) which stops the water piling up on the stern and pushing it down. Timing is everything, the edge needs to correspond with the key stroke over the back of the hole searching for green water to pull yourself through on....

User avatar
StillNewish
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:31 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Advice on big boy boats?

Post by StillNewish » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:40 am

Jim wrote: Presume you mean bow 45 degrees in the air rather than heeled over 45 degrees?
Yes, otherwise things had gone really wrong... ;)

The use of edge did help, (the same way that edge will reduce pearling when surfing, allowing the bow to resurface) but didn't really do quite enough; the boat just didn't have quite enough volume.

Post Reply