note Remix 69 review
Yesterday I demoed a Remix 69 on the Upper and Middle Ocoee. I had originally planned to demo a Mamba 8.1 again, but the demo boat was out with someone else, and the Remix 69 was the only river runner boat demo left in my size. Since I had been stoked to paddle the Mamba demo I didn't put on with the greatest expectation, though I did know the Remix has a reputation of being a forgiving boat that was easy to roll.
My stats: 5'6", 160, normally paddling a Riot Magnum 72, class III boater.
I am 'shopping' for a fast boat I would take on the Gauley and other big water runs, that also could serve as my creekboat as my Magnum is a beaten up old beast - I love the Magnum, but all boats have their strengths and weaknesses and it is fun to try something new.
The Remix outfitting is the Bad Ass Outfitting that comes in all Liquid Logic boats. It is very comfortable and cushy with a padded seat cover that comes up and over the backband and hip pads as well. The backband flips up and down to gain access to the stern. At first I found myself sitting on the backband when I climbed in, and when I flipped it up in place, it felt a bit strange, kind of like a stiff narrow band. After some time in the boat, I decided that the backband and outfitting in general, while feeling different than outfitting I am used to, was encouraging good posture, something I struggle with in all boats... my shoulders hunch forward and I have issues sitting upright on my tailbone. For whatever reason, I sat with better posture in the Remix. I also didn't feel like I was too deep in the boat, a problem I have in my Magnum that I have corrected with adding foam to the seat. The Remix thighbraces were nice and comfy. I was easily able to pull my knees out of the thighbraces to rest. The cockpit of the Remix is narrower and more similar to the Magnum than the bigger, wider cockpit of the Mamba. Bigger cockpits are a safety feature on creekboats as it makes it easier to escape the boat in a pin, as is a plastic step-out pillar, which the Mamba creeker version has and the Remix and Magnum do not have - the Remix and Magnum pillars are foam. The Remix was not a very heavy boat which was nice when carrying it to the put-in.
We started down from the Upper put-in and I immediately thought that the Remix felt like a longer boat than I am accostomed to, and it was challenging for me to turn it. I mentally had to remind myself to use sweep strokes to turn the boat; having spent the last several weekends in my playboat probably contributed some to this. We went to the little wave that everybody warms up in, in the bushes somewhere near the top. Some quick rolls in the eddy confirmed that the Remix is very easy to roll. I got out on the wave a few times and was startled at how well it surfed. Now, the only other boat I've had on the Upper Ocoee is the Magnum and while it may surf well in other hands for me it is a poor surfer, always getting deflected/blown off unless I lean way back and find a sweet spot on the stern. The Magnum is a fish-form with most of the volume forward of the seat, and I think this volume catches as I turn/carve on the wave and deflects me backward. In contrast the Remix has a symmetrical form and its smooth surfing on the wave was nice. Other than the little surf spot, my impression of the Remix in this class II section was still pretty bland. Here we were going through the bushes, and I needed to turn alot, and I was having to work to turn this long boat... that is the sort of thing I was thinking.
We proceeded to the first feature on the Upper, Alien Boof. I had a nice boof. Alien boof has a pool upstream where you basically charge in a straight line for a spot on the rock, boofing off with a stroke to turn to the right at the end to avoid a rock on the left. Then we carried up, ferried up and over and ran Mikey's. The ferry was the first glimmer I had of the Remix's true talents. It was such an easy, graceful ferry... I ran the S turn down Mikey's into the lower left eddy. Then I peeled out and ran down the rest of the hill, ahead of the others. Wheee!!!! It just... rocked.
We came to Blue Hole next. There is a slanted rock river left of an eddy that has a chute on the river right side of it. The idea is to land at the bottom of the chute with a right paddle stroke so as to begin heading left to avoid the holes and pour-over junk in the middle of the rapid. At the bottom of the chute, instead of taking that right stroke I hesitated and bounced into the water at the bottom without a stroke at all. The Remix forgave my sin; I never lost stability and was easily able to get my ferry to the left. Again I bounded down the rest of the rapid. The Remix really shines when the water gets interesting. It is fast!
Olympic section was a hoot. This is my first time on the Upper this year and I knew it was pushier than it looks. We eddy hopped down the left side, peel outs and eddy turns were crisp and clean, and then the wave train at the bottom was a blast. Without any edges to catch, the stability of the Remix in the waves and the speed was so fun... I wanted to run it again.
Roach Motel was another fun one - boofed into the left eddy, peeled out, went into a hole and thought, well now I've started the circus, but the Remix just chomped through the hole and downstream we went, really fast. That is when I thought, I have found my Gauley/big water boat.
After a rest we put on the Middle O and things got a bit interesting. While Alien boof was easy for me, I kept mis-timing the boofs on the Middle O. First was something that I wish I had on video; I mis-timed Whiteface and yes, ran it backwards. Landed in a sort of sideways surf with the stern getting grabbed by the current going river left of the rock. Miraculously kind, the Remix never came close to flipping me. I also goofed up the boof at Double Suck and the boof at Flipper (yes, I know - how can you mess up that boof but I managed to). It's a fast boat, with less rocker than I am accostomed to, and it tracks very well, so my attempts at last minute correction strokes to hit boofs meant I turned and was not able to turn back. In contrast the Magnum is easy to do last second turns.
Broken Nose, I blew eddy four, like I always do, but for the most part hitting eddys and ferries were easy. At the little hole at the bottom of Slice and Dice all the Remix seemed interested in doing was enders. I got flipped trying to simply surf there and had my only roll for the day. Double Trouble I ferried over to the top river left close to the top wave and peeled out and ran the waves without a hitch. Flipper I did the boof line that I managed to almost dry out on and plopped over without any boof. We took out at Go Forth to get the demo boats back in time.
Two things I noticed - the Mamba had given me a constant splash in the face during the demo and I think that may be due to the seat being too far back for me, but the Remix never had that 'feature' - this is important to me because I wear contacts. And the second thing I noticed is the Remix was very dry. Even with all my practice rolls (about 20) I never had to empty the boat.
I am not convinced that the Remix would replace my Magnum as my creeker. I tend to paddle easy bony SE creeks like South Sauty, Town, Daddy's, and Tellico. I missed the ease of turning and the easy boofing that the Magnum has. But I do know many people who creek in Remixes. Right now I am pondering my decision. Do I get a Remix and keep the Magnum as my beater/creeker, or do I get a Mamba and sell the Magnum. I think the Mamba is closer to what a creek boat would be for me, but the Remix was so much fun on the Ocoee that I kind of fell in love with it and I'm already missing it.