Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

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Andy_C
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Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by Andy_C » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:48 pm

I am quite new to paddling and I am asking for help to decide on a kayak to purchase from people who are more in the know than myself. I'm 5'11'' and 87kg (191lb), I have paddled weekly at the club site for the last 4 months, been out on a few rivers and in future I see myself getting out on grade 3/4 fairly regularly. I have been paddling an inazone which has been great and has helped me to develop but I found it to lack stability in grade 3/4 at my level of experience. I want a kayak which will still enable me to develop skills, however I don't want to be capsizing every 30min! I thought of the Zet Raptor but after reading reviews I worry that I may just be on the heavier side for it (even though I'm within the official specified range) - has anyone any experience of the raptor around my weight? Could anybody help with other suggestions? Any help is much appreciated, thanks.

SPL
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by SPL » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:42 pm

Your not too heavy for a Raptor, its was a very popular boat in its day although i found the knee postion too flat and therefore uncomfortable.
You would'nt go far wrong with a burn or mamba which are similar to the Raptor, both can be found 2nd hand relatively cheap and are really good stable boats although these bigger boats particularly on lower grade rivers can be a bit too much boat and not allow you to develop your skills.
I think you would develop better technique in a more agile/responsive boat such as an Axiom as it would make G2 trips interesting and would still allow you to run G4 as you improve.

Franky
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by Franky » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:02 am

I've paddled an Axiom and owned a Mamba, and I can't say I found the Axiom to be more agile than the Mamba - rather the opposite, actually, as the Axiom is considerably longer. Perhaps it's down to my paddling style, I don't know. But I actually find the Mamba to be very agile - it turns on a dime, while still having good primary stability (i.e. it doesn't capsize too easily).

I can only say what worked for me - the Mamba gave me confidence on Grades 2 and 3, and when it ceased to offer challenges, I bought a playboat for easier stuff (and kept the Mamba for Grades 3 and 4).

The Burn is a bit easier to keep in a straight line than the Mamba, but conversely it's less fun on easier water.

I've never paddled a Raptor, so can't offer any opinions on that.

My view is that, if you feel challenged without being overwhelmed, you're improving, regardless of what boat you're paddling. It's when you start getting bored that you know it's time to go for harder water, or get a less forgiving boat.

For my first two years paddling white water, I borrowed a Dagger GT from my club - a fairly unforgiving boat, but very responsive. I capsized a lot, and it was only when I paddled a Burn that I realised paddling didn't have to be so difficult. I'm not totally convinced that paddling a tippy boat at the beginning improved my paddling in the long run, but who knows?

Rae1
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by Rae1 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:05 am

"For my first two years paddling white water, I borrowed a Dagger GT from my club - a fairly unforgiving boat, but very responsive. I capsized a lot, and it was only when I paddled a Burn that I realised paddling didn't have to be so difficult. I'm not totally convinced that paddling a tippy boat at the beginning improved my paddling in the long run, but who knows?"

Exactly. I struggled along for 2 years, in a Burn, and a Diesel. They are both decent boats but maybe not the best for some beginners (ok, some people can get into a bathtub and do Grade 3 immediately).
Eventually I tried an Axiom, which was like a bucking bronco compared to the Burn seaside donkey. I improved loads. Mainly as I had to to stay upright!

countvoncount
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by countvoncount » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:17 pm

I think if you are a relative beginner, you benefit from good primary stability and a relatively short boat, because the short length helps you to correct lines quickly (and the stability keeps you upright). High volume boats are harder to play in (you have more boat to move around, so a proper carve takes a lot more commitment); holes will hold a big boat much more strongly. On the plus side, high volume boats will flush through/over stuff that low volume boats might get stuck in.

The other thing to say here, is that there is a significant difference between Grade 3 or even 3+ and actual, continuous, Grade 4. I think up to 3/3+, the choice of boat is not all that significant: paddle something you are comfortable in. You will play more in a playboat/river runner, and probably roll a bit more, but it's also easier to point these boats in the right direction. Cardiff WW centre is a good example of 3(-) water: a big boat goes over the holes, a small boat is easier to drive into the smallish eddies.

Proper Grade 4 is pushy, potentially dangerous water; you'll want to have a good boof to tackle it, and some volume and rocker up front starts being important.

A Zet Raptor is a boat that by current standards is relatively short for a creeker. It has a bit of edge and, for your weight, a decent amount of volume. I would not opt for anything much bigger. A Burn or a Mamba will be in the same sort of universe (also a Stomper, a Zen etc). An Antix, or an Axiom, or the new Rewind will also work--different feel, but all with a lot more volume up front than the Inazone you've been paddling and a wider platform. A used boat is a good idea as is trying out other club members' boats. Two, three years down the road you will be curious about some other boats, and have more experience, so more of a sense what you are looking for at that stage of your paddling.

Franky
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by Franky » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:25 pm

Rae1 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:05 am
"For my first two years paddling white water, I borrowed a Dagger GT from my club - a fairly unforgiving boat, but very responsive. I capsized a lot, and it was only when I paddled a Burn that I realised paddling didn't have to be so difficult. I'm not totally convinced that paddling a tippy boat at the beginning improved my paddling in the long run, but who knows?"

Exactly. I struggled along for 2 years, in a Burn, and a Diesel. They are both decent boats but maybe not the best for some beginners (ok, some people can get into a bathtub and do Grade 3 immediately).
Eventually I tried an Axiom, which was like a bucking bronco compared to the Burn seaside donkey. I improved loads. Mainly as I had to to stay upright!
The best thing I can say about the GT is that I capsized so much in it that it made me determined to develop a decent roll. Though after I'd achieved that, I became rather too blasé about capsizing - not a good habit on harder water. Capsizing on Grade 4 is really something to avoid.

Franky
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by Franky » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:36 pm

countvoncount wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:17 pm
Proper Grade 4 is pushy, potentially dangerous water; you'll want to have a good boof to tackle it, and some volume and rocker up front starts being important.
This is why I recently bought a Jackson Nirvana for more difficult stuff. If you no longer have youth and stamina on your side (like I don't), then no matter how good your technique, extended Grade 4 is hard work in a low-volume boat. Some features will have you pointing skyward no matter how hard you punch through them.

Andy_C
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Re: Help choosing kayak - Zet Raptor / any other suggestions appreciated

Post by Andy_C » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:58 am

Thank you all for the advice.

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