Excuse the mistakes, I want to get out to the Confluence party...
For size reference, I'm 6'2" tall with a 34" inseam and size 10 feet.
Prijon: For those of you who like the Delirious, but are too big, the are making a Delirious XL. Same hull, but a different deck with footbumps and new outfitting. If you want a smaller boat, they have the Delirium. It's about 7' and is supposed to have ample foot room. There is a stern groove to enhance tracking, which they see as a problem with smaller boats. Prijon's new creeker is the Embudo. It was build to shed water quickly much like the Rocket did. It's 8'3" and about 70 gallons. It's following the lead of most of the other creekers (including the Java and Mutant) in that it combines the benefits of a planing hull with a displacement displacement. Softer landing and fast turning. The boat is meant to feel a bit more like a playboat than a traditional creeker. It should be ready by the end of the year. Other Prijon entries include the Performance, which is a general river runner, and the Compression, which is a more extreme creeker from the German design school.
Pyranha had some nice stuff, as usual. They are replacing the Prozones with the new S:8 in two sizes and are also coming out with the S:6 in two sizes with it's destinctive swallow tail. These boats, as well as the rest of the Pyranha line, will have a new system to support their ratcheting backband system. The new bracket system will be available as a retrofit on the Inazone 2s and Sub 7s. Contact your dealer for details. The Micros and H2s now have a space in the stern to hold 1200 size Pelican cases. Pretty cool if I do say so myself. The Inazone Sport series is the regular Inazone with slightly less sophisticated outfitting and it comes at a value, in following with many other manufacturer's pricepoint models. New to Pyranha is the Spanish Fly, which is a familar looking OC-1 in keeping with Savage's and Sauvage's OC-1s. It's the OC-1 that just wouldn't die. :-)
I checked out Rough Stuff paddles and I'm glad I did. The are doing some nice stuff. They are currently offering a titanium and plastic composite bent shaft paddle that can take abuse for around $200. The shaft into the blades and up to the bends are all titanium. Between the two titanium peices is a glass section to privide flex. It looks like a quality stick and a good price, but there are a lot of those this year.
I checked out Big Spoons paddles as well. They only make straight shaft paddles, but what they make look really nice, really light, and very strong. They have an all kevlar model called the 450 which took a really heavy loading without any issues. The 550 is new this year and is lighter and also very strong due to some interesting engineering. Their paddles come with a lifetime warrenty and are priced in the mid $300s.
Kokatat has a Gore-tex XCR paddle jacket which is 25% more breathable than standard Gore-tex. Stohlquist now has Gore-tex drydecks with Snap Dragon skirts that look really nice. The ESBE line is really happening too. Brent T. the fashion plate. Who would have thought it?
Necky had one new entry called the Witch. It's a smaller Switch, but it accomodates the same size paddler. There was just some volume taken out to make it easier to throw around. I fit in it fine.
Dagger surprised me. They have the smallest boat on the martket today. It's a 5'11" boat in the G-Force line. I fit in it, but I wouldn't paddle it for long. I may have to adjust my rule of never paddling a boat that I'm taller than. The larger G-Force, which is only 6'4" has so much room, it's like a cadillac. How did they get some much room into such a small space? Mark Lyle wasn't going to tell. There was an ID prototype there. The lessons learned from the Egos and the G-Forces have gone into the two sizes of the ID. It will be tamed just a bit to allow for more possibilities. On the more general end, the GT and larger GTX are boats I consider the death of the RPM. They are general friendly designs that are up to date. If you want to have more fun than you do in your RPM, but are still weary of those crazy playboats, you should check them out. I can tell from this year's new boats from Dagger that they are putting a lot more thought into what they are doing than they may have in the past. I enjoy seeing that.
Clay had a busy day today, and I wanted to get the low down from him personally because I know he will give me all the info straight as an arrow and he has a huge amount of experience, so he knows exactly what he is talking about. I managed to get enough time with him to talk about most of the boats. I'll try to get the rest tomorrow. Starting off was the Sonic and Sonic XT. They fit into the category with Dagger's GT and GTX. I like these designs MUCH better than the ARC and SPARC. They look like solid boats for beginners and less agressive paddlers who want to run rivers. I'm sure they will be a hit with kayak schools, as will the GT and GTX. Next we looked at Clay's boat, the Java. It's a creekboat that is loads of fun to paddle. I got the complete runthrough and it looks very well designed from the hull and deck features down to the broach loops and center pillar. I could easily get out of the boat in a verticle pin, which is essential in a creeker. The center pillar is plastic and can be used as a step to help your quick exit. The boat comes with Thighmaster 2s and I had no problems exiting with them in place. The hull was in keeping with the Prijon Embudo and the WS Mutant. It's rockered fairly continuously and has a crown to provide for softer landing on big drops. Clay has done a ton of creeking and had definite ideas about what a creek boat needs. He attempted to have all the bases covered with the Java. I think he may just have succeeded. The next boat we looked at was the Full Tilt. It's a 6'9" boat with a bit more volume in the ends to help with the aerial and "bouncy" moves. I fit in it fine. It has a plastic pillar which is quite strong and allows for more foot room. The Lucid is a slightly bigger Amp. It has HUGE knee area and no Thighmaster. Again, I fit comfortably. The boat is noted for the holes in the bow and stern and the fact that the deck and seat combine to form the pillar. It's a very interesting boat to see from an often conservative company like Perception. Again, I like seeing that kind of thing.
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