'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

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banzer
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'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by banzer »

OK so I know I've done similar posts to this before - just trying to get my head round it, as I am in the market for a new creek boat.

My issue at the moment is that most new creekers are marketed as 'super fast'..... 'winning extreme races'... etc etc. Yet surely the longer a boat is, the less manoeuvrable it is? Hence a sea kayak will be faster than a WW kayak, but won't turn corners so well.

So why is it becoming more common to have faster, longer boats- whatever happened to manoeuvrability? Is the idea that you 'speed' away from trouble, rather than manoeuver away from it? Let's say you're halfway down a rapid, approaching the crux move, and you realise you're a metre or so off line. Is it the case that (a) you want a long boat so that, after a corrective stroke, you can power away in the right direction, or (b) you want a shorter boat so that the corrective stroke turns the boat more quickly and you're pointing the right way sooner?!

I can understand that if you are on a bigger, US or Norway style creek, or extreme racing, then you would want a bigger boat, but is that advantage really the case in the UK where, on the whole, we paddle lower volume, narrower creeks that require tight and technical manoeuvering? Why in the UK would an average sized chap paddle a Jefe Grande over the normal Jefe?

I know you can have a longer boat with lots of rocker that still has a short waterline, I don't think that's the issue here.

Please help me to understand what I'm missing before I go out and buy another shorter boat!
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Tiny Dancer »

I am on you on this one Banzer..

I paddle a Small Nano (I am 5'5' 70kg) the benefit that I would receive from paddling a larger boat for all off two week abroad vs a potential 50 in the UK, is not worth it for me..

I'd be interested to hear the views from the other side of the fence..

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Simon »

I wonder if what's going on here is a tension between two different styles of paddling white water, and in particular two different ways of getting excitement out of paddling white water.

The predominant UK style is mainly to work your way down a river playing and manoeuvering on the way, with lots of break outs for inspection, and also to enjoy performing all the skills of moving your boat, on the water, under control. And the excitement comes from doing this on a river close to the limit of your technical ability.

A different way, and a way to add excitement to a river you have paddled a lot before, is to blast at high speed straight down the middle, reading it on the way. Don't stop, don't break out, just blast down the middle as fast as you can go. And if the river is difficult enough, but not so difficult as to be unsafe to run it "blind" then that method of paddling is an adrenaline fuelled hit of pleasure.

The first style of boating matches a lot of UK rivers, whilst the second works best abroad on the bigger volume stuff abroad, where boaters who have paddled a lot, and have grown a bit stale of the standard rivers, are adding excitement by speeding down those rivers. And a new style of boat has been marketed to match that new fashion.

Whether that longer faster boat has any advantages when you want to paddle with a more UK base style of manoeuvering and playing (even when paddling abroad with that style) is a very good question.

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Simon Westgarth »

My new boat is 9 foot long. See ya....

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by k.shark »

I have been considering a creek boat also . The only reason is everyone I paddle with paddle creek boats and just run straight down river's , I can't keep up in my preferred craft ( dagger kingpin /pyrahna jed ) . I prefer to play down river , I ran orchy in November on a busy day ( I have seen smaller container ships ) . I would like a shortish fast manoeuvrable boat that won't crack or burst after a few runs . Not many choices . ( I was looking through Scottish white water 2nd edition only one long boat, times have changed )

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by kayak1 »

Most modern long river/creekboats still have the rails that enable you to move pretty quickly if you need to...together with the higher rocker that these modern boats have, make them still pretty nimble..not to mention if you are using these boats on upper grade rivers you assume you know what you are doing..

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by buck197 »

So I'm really interested as an engineer what defines the difference between fast and slow when WW kayaks are fairly pedestrian craft? A fast creeker can go at 5 knots and a slow one 4.5 ? Is it a trendy term that helps sell boats and people will tell us lesser boaters this is a faster, more dynamic or more responsive boat. On any given day conditions vary and if you paddle a fast creeker how do you determine it goes faster through a rapid than a slow creeker as you are only in one boat at that time. Therefore does it just feel faster or nippier but actually not necessarily faster across the water? I understand planing and displacement hulls but this fast and slow jargon seems something to sell boats. Maybe for the pro kayakers makes a difference but for us average Joes does it make a huge difference if I paddle a 9R, Burn 2, Burn3 or a Mamba?
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by DaveBland »

Blimey, loads of points...

The UK does have , not unique, but a distinct style of ditches available. These require, slower progress, more manoeuvrability, more micro eddying etc. Sure, not all rivers, but a big chunk percentage-wise.
If I do come back, I'd head for a Nano or Jefe/Stomper style boat. Not fast, but can react on a dime.

Maybe because I grew up paddling UK style, I still paddle like that on the bigger volume staff in Canada – much to my Bud's amusement. The amount of times I hear "Paddle!!" yelled at me... **
I paddle a Stomper here and I spend a lot of time wishing I had more speed. I did have a Karma before that, and spent a lot of time wishing I had more manoeuvrability.

In terms of speed, it does make a huge difference. It's not about top speed, but acceleration and carrying speed through a drop.

** A good example at 2:03 --
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Whitey1 »

Banzer wrote
My issue at the moment is that most new creekers are marketed as 'super fast'..... 'winning extreme races'... etc etc. Yet surely the longer a boat is, the less manoeuvrable it is?
Just wondering is this the whole picture?
Surely the other factor to take into account re speed is the weight, and does this not affect both speed and manoeuvrability? I mean, all these specialised short boat 'racers' are within maybe about 4" in length of each other, so about maybe 4% difference as a rough estimate. Now how much difference 4% makes to the co-efficient of drag in water I don't know, and of course there is the huge old question of planing vs. displacement and all intermediaries on that sliding scale. I look forward to some engineering input from the fluid-dynamicists on the forum. On the other hand there can be as much as 15%+ weight difference in similar dimension boats (and that's only the official figures, we have found when we weighed some boats their weights quoted were innacurate and they were in fact a fair deal heavier) From my basic memory understanding of inertia and moment (torque) this difference, especially as it's 'unsprung' weight will make a significant difference. Engineers, we need your help.....is this nonsense? I hear a lot talked about weight of boats on this forum and how it doesn't really matter except on portages, but there must be more to this.

All I really know is that I switched from a very heavy boat I really liked (Recon) to a lighter but similar dimension boat due to recurring back problems, but the big surprise and added bonus is that acceleration, speed and definitely manoeuvrability are significantly better. Funny thing is though, I took the lighter boat to Pinkston and didn't really like it, felt a bit awkward and sort of sluggish to turn until it dawned on me......it needed that speed to make it work.

But to get back to the original thread on choosing a new boat.........everybody knows the answer is demo anyway, but hey, not always so easy. Good luck getting your perfect boat Banzer, whatever it may be.

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Jim »

banzer wrote: 'winning extreme races'...
I think this has a lot to do with it, all of a sudden there is a buzz about extreme racing, the manufacturers are cashing in by targetting their latest boats at this new fad (not a new activity, but only recently become a fad) and lots of impressionable paddlers who have seen videos of their heros doing stuff like the Green Race, or closer to home the Moriston Race are now aspiring to do river racing and boaterx and stuff. To be fair, a fair few do seem to be running the Moriston race, and to be fairer still the first 9' race boats had only just made it over here for last years event so there was a lot of interest in them for a while.

So a lot of the current hype about fast boats is probably just aimed at cashing in on on the current interest in extreme racing.

On the other hand, as a long term spud paddler I can confirm that there are many times when manoeuvring down narrow rocky burns that it would be nice to have an extra turn of speed with rapid acceleration to get to it. At least with the spud you only needed about 5 paddle strokes to hit top speed (often not enough to clear the hole), my burn goes a bit faster but takes more paddling to get there and really slows down rapidly if you miss/delay a stroke for timing....

As for the science about boat speeds, it really is far to complex to state simple rules that always work. However; a lot of people are aware of the relationship between Froude number and wavemaking resistance for displacement hulls which shows that all other parameters being equivalent longer boats are faster. Basically as you drive a boat forward it creates waves, you will be aware of the wake which spreads out diagonally from the bow, but there is also a wave along the length of the hull. At low speeds there will be several wave crests along the hull, as you go faster the wave length increases with relatively little effect on the resistance until the wave length matches the waterline length of the boat. As you try to go faster than this speed the wave crest behind you moves back beyond the boat so the stern will squat and the bow, which is always on a crest, will rise so you are effectively trying to drive the boat uphill - the speed power curve becomes exponential and you need to apply increasingly more power to get the same increase in speed. The speed at which the wave length = hull length is often called the hull speed, this is not the maximum speed but an indication of the speed at which it starts to become too costly to go faster. In kayak terms of course you have very limited scope for increase power.
Planing hulls complicate things a little. Planing hulls operate in displacement mode until they get up onto the plane. When fully planing wave making is irrelevant the only resistance you have is dynamic drag, but in semi-displacement mode where the boat is partly supported by planing and partly supported by buoyancy there is still a wave making resistance component. Very few kayaks can get fully planing (who has a link to the hydrofoil kayak?) so wave making is kind of important, although when you are in white water you might not think it would make any difference. But now think again, if on flat water waves shorter than the boat have much less effect than waves as long or longer than the boat, then in WW a longer boat will be able to span more waves and/or adopt a shallower inclination on longer waves so you don't waste as much energy going up and down waves because the boat rides more levelly, of course you can help yourself by being proactive and paddling the shoulder lines instead of bobbing down the middle of wave trains - an essential tactic on big volume, but also worthwhile and often ignored on typical British ditches....

Of course changing other parameters of the hull shape may cancel out any benefit from going longer, like I said there is no easy foolproof rule.

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Neptune »

Banzer/k.shark,

The answer to your question is to get yourself a Topo (Spud), short manoeuvrable, very robust and cheap. I got one of the internet for £40, so much fun, really.

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by k.shark »

I have been paddling 30 odd years had big boats, long boats, s**t boats paddled topo and a couple other eskimo/prijon boats . I loved my topo but when play boats came around it made enjoyment level 10 fold . Kayak prices are mental now the quality and design haven't improved that much . The problem I find is being 97 kilo and shaped like an upside down triangle , they seem to base there kayak design on joe average ( 5'9" 10 stone size 8 feet ) .Surely someone could blow mould a modern legend of a kayak . What we need is a Lidl or Aldi of the kayak world to pressure the big 4 ,better product choice ,better prices .

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by banzer »

Simon Westgarth wrote:My new boat is 9 foot long. See ya....
Out of interest Simon, what boat would you take down the Gamlan? Or the Egua?
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by EoinK »

Wow, it's been a while since I logged in here. But I've thought about this a bit and have some opinions, which may be right or may be utter horse shite, you can decide that for yourselves.

Anyway, I think creek boat speed is a far more complex situation than the classic displacement hull theory of longer waterline = faster.

For a creek boat being paddled at a slow speed over flat water then I think this theory will apply, but that's not really relevant to whitewater.

On whitewater, particularly when racing I think a boat will exceed the hull speed (enter a semi-planing mode) for a significant amount of time. I think the key to fast times in a race is designing a boat and deliberatly paddling to maximise the time that a boat is travelling in excess of it's theoretical maximum hull speed. I think a few things come into play such as how fast a boat has to be moving to get it planing or semi-planing (I think a boat with more rocker will start to plane earlier), how long it holds it's speed and stays planing before it returns to displacement mode (a boat with less rocker will probably carry speed for longer), as will as a boat's speed when in displacement mode for a given level of power input from the paddler (less rocker usually = faster).

I think on whitewater the style of river will have a big influence on which boat is fastest. For example, on a full on, continuous river such as the Oetz, a big volume boat with lots of rocker such as the Tuna will be brilliant because it's most likely to stay on top of the water, stay in control and keep moving quickly. Boats with less rocker are more likely to get bogged down in a hole of something and lose speed. There are no flatwater sections on the course so it doesn't really matter that the Tuna looses virtually all it's speed very soon after hitting flatwater. (I've never been to Sickline so I'm just talking about what I've seen in videos of the finals course, I've never seen the qualifications course.)

However races back in Ireland generally have sections of flatwater on them where the Tuna's rocker will cause it to lose speed quickly and be slower to to paddle. A boat with less rocker will be tougher to keep on the surface on whitewater sections, but will hold it's speed for longer after rapids and be faster over the flat sections.

Saying all that, I think it's a bit ridiculus that people are buying boats that are designed solely with speed and forgiveness in mind for a couple of races a year, rather than the boat that's going to be more fun for the other 360 days in the year. That's where I think the other aspects of boat design come in, mainly the hull shape. The 'best' boat is going to depend on your favourite style of paddling and for me, boats like the Tuna and Karma that are designed to get over rapids like they're not even there are no craic at all. I much prefer paddling something that lets me zip in and out of eddies, trying to hit them clean enough that I can carve back into the flow having barely taken a stroke. That the style of paddling that I find most fun, and the most suitable boat I've found is the Exo XT300. And surprise surprise it goes respectably well on steep creeks and in races too. Maybe not as well as something that was specifically designed for those things but it's the right boat to have 99% of the times I'm on the water.

...the one 'racing' boat that's off on a bit of a tangent from the others is the 9r. It's got decent rails the full length of the hull, and it's pretty narrow so it should flick from edge to edge nicely without having to jack the seat up really high like in most boats. It's got flat-ish hull with fairly gradual rocker so it should hold speed well and be nice and quick over flat sections, while the nose seems to stay on the surface fairly easily (I'd question the effectivness of those wave deflector yokes, I think it's more of a rocker thing). It looks like it would be a blast to paddle and carve around a river with lots of decent eddies in, as well as being quick in races. If I was in the market for a boat at the moment, that's the one I'd be demoing first. Although if it turned out it was too long and cumbersome for Irish rivers I'd be straight back into the Exo in a heartbeat.

...people can reminisce about the manouverability of the Spud all day long, but I don't think it's going to handle anywhere near as nicely as anything that was designed after the concepts of rocker and rails were invented!

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by banzer »

Eoin, I like the look of the Exo boats too but we have no dealers here in the UK unfortunately. Anyone know otherwise?
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Jim »

EoinK wrote:Wow, it's been a while since I logged in here. But I've thought about this a bit and have some opinions, which may be right or may be utter horse shite, you can decide that for yourselves.
I wouldn't go that far, some of the details of your assertions are wrong but I think we pretty much agree overall...

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by EoinK »

banzer wrote:We have no dealers here in the UK unfortunately. Anyone know otherwise?
Great deals on them in Ireland at the moment. Might be economical to buy one and ship it over? http://www.saoruisce.ie/index.php?id_pr ... er=product

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by banzer »

Yes I spotted that! I just have to choose between a Raptor at £799 that I can demo, a Tutea at £799 that I can't demo just yet, or an Exo bought 'blind' for a less than £700 delivered!
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by nick 16 »

Banzer robinhood watersports in leeds has a demo tutea i believe as they are stocking boats from waka now!
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by SwamP »

Woh woh woh, hold on a cotton picking (non-racist) minute!!!

Banzer, did your cheese boat break?

(otherwise, K Shark has said it; face it you might all be paddling iPhone 6's, but in terms of making a call, all we ever needed was a 3310!!!!!)
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by banzer »

SwamP wrote: Banzer, did your cheese boat break?
To be fair I've had it since '08 I think, been to Italy twice, Norway, a fair few ditches... it's done pretty well.

Two things might have contributed to its demise: 1) on a WWSR course in the summer it got wedged in a siphon for us to rescue and came out slightly bent, it popped back but this may have stressed the plastic; 2) Cabbage and I went a bit higher up the An Teallach burn this time to a slide that was really a bit too bony even by my standards! There's vid evidence somewhere that I will no doubt put together when the kids leave home...
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by SwamP »

Ah I'm just jesting bro. That awesome boat has served you well!!!

Always wondered how the Sales of Goods Act would work with boats breaking; or controversially should I say, being designed to break.

I only own a Topo now so I guess I'll never know :)
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Poke »

SwamP wrote:I only own a Topo now so I guess I'll never know :)
Topos break too, paddle it and you might find out! ;-)
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by SPL »

I remember when we all (westgarth included) ran the upper dart in playboats but times change, the creek boat was born and then then after probably after a visit to Mc D manufacturers went large which I don't think was ever designed with uk rivers in mind.
My current boat is a medium 09 Burn (6ft 1 and 90kg) and its great but I am interested in a new boat and have narrowed my choice to 2 which are at opposite ends of the speed spectrum, namely a nano or new zen? The only common theme is the planning hull!

A nano on the Brendon/Lyn would be sublime but might get me the odd unintendo rodeo ride in the alps!

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by a boy named sue »

Been trying out the Pyranha 9R, have written a little piece on my blog, worth a read. Was it good or a flop!

https://chasinggravity.wordpress.com

Rich

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Mark Dixon »

I have had a 9R for a couple months and also own a Burn 3, I have learned that I need to use the boat that best suits the conditions on the day. Most 9R vids are in good flowing conditions and IMO its superior to a lot of boats and I love it in good conditions, but as soon as the river slows down and gets a bit more technical with rocks its a bit lost. The Burn is excellent at those lower conditions and I'd choose it over the 9R every time. When acquiring a new boat paddlers need to consider their paddling before considering which boat to go for.
As for me you only live once so I'm keeping both :)
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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by Simon Westgarth »

banzer wrote:
Simon Westgarth wrote:My new boat is 9 foot long. See ya....
Out of interest Simon, what boat would you take down the Gamlan? Or the Egua?
These days I am in the Mamba 8.6, an all round river runner come creeker. It is servicing me well, fast and easy to paddle. Although I do like to try all the other boats too, but nothing too amazing out there, its all in the lines you choose.

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by sinkorswim »

but quite why is this relevant anyway ? .......

...... if you'z wants to go fast, get a white water racer. Sure, it won't turn a corner, but its fast. If your running a river, the river does the work and speed shouldn't matter - you want a boat that will turn well and cut through "wet stuff" in your way. I admire that paddlers so well in tune with the river that they barely paddle - just using the odd correcting stroke here and there.

Although the rocker helps a boat to ride over stuff, the biggest impact is that it presents a "banana shape" to the water once the boat is on edge and thereby making the turn happen. white water racer's (like sea kayak's) have next to no rocker and don't turn when edged - actually, they put a reverse edge on when turning - horrible sensation.

Now what I don't know is ...... will a boat with lots of rocker surf well when "ferry gliding" on the face of a wave ? I had an old Ammo with a flat bottom which excelled at ferry gliding etc once enough edge was set. Will a creeker be as good ?

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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by sundaykayaker »

"Surfing with a rocker"
Here we have three different boats surfing a wave.
Jackson Fun. Mamba 8.1 & Tuna. See foe ur self


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Re: 'Fast' and 'slow' creek boats

Post by DaveBland »

Watching few of the N. American finest at the Cheakamus Race yesterday, to my untrained eye, it seemed that the Tunas, Zens and Raptors were noticeably quicker off the falls than the other boats. May have been the paddlers too though.

No 9Rs there, but sat in one the other day and really keen to give one a go.
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