Any one own a Perception Dancer ?

I have a chance to get this Kayak on a trade. I was wondering how old this boat would be,and how does it handle.

What would you use it for?
Perception Dancer is an “old school” whitewater boat. It hasn’t been made in 15 years or so, so it will be at least that old.

If you are looking for a flatwater kayak, this is definitely not the thing for you.

If you are looking to get into whitewater, newer designs will be much more forgiving. However, lots of people (myself included) learned ww in these old school boats, it’s not that they are bad, but the newer flat bottom boats have much greater initial stability.

The old school ww boats with round hulls are very easy to roll, so if you want to learn to roll the Dancer would be a good boat to learn in.

This is an old boat -as WW boat age goes
Which means, among other things, that the plastic may no longer have much integrity. Was it stored inside or outside, are there any cracks of any kind in the boat, etc.? You may end up with something to put out on the curb.

If all else fails
I saw an outfitter use an old kayak as a planter. Although it was cute as well as a conversation piece I would have preferred they used a canoe.

I dont think so!!
My wife has enough planters for me to mow around.

Thank you
I am looking into a white water class. I dont think a Kayak that old would be the place to start.

How cheap?
They are a cheap way to get started since they should cost $200 or less depending on condition. They are much faster than modern ww boats but have the same desire to spin as you are paddling them. They are still used for ww racing.

I have a 15 ft Pelican Canoe that I wanted to sell. I could have traded for the dancer.

WW boats
The Dancer has a limited scope these days… really just for slalom racing and then only by those who aren’t that serious about it.

I bought mine for shallow “fast water” rivers in the NE that were NOT for my sea kayaks (mostly glass). It tracks well enough, and can get through Class I-III. But for modern WW paddling, try a different boat!

Old School? Not so fast!
I figured some folks would say the Dancer is outdated and that the new flat-bottomed play boats are better. The question is, better for what? Unless you really ARE a playboater, I think you’d be better off in a Dancer than any of the modern WW boats I usually see. If your goal is to go down rivers that have rapids interspersed with flatwater, and you don’t spend all your time playing at the rapids, a boat that can actually make headway on the flats might be the way to go.

I paddle a solo canoe on rivers with light whitewater and am no speed demon, but having had paddling partners in all sorts of boats, my observation is that these modern little flat-bottomed play boats are slower than molasis. Those who paddle them get loads of exercise just getting out of their own way. For just cruising through Class II or III drops, I see no reason a Dancer wouldn’t do just fine, and you’d actually be able to make some respectable time when on the flats without working yourself to death.

I paddled a couple of days in the Ozarks with P-net’s ChuckIL, and in his Dancer he could cruise all day at a good brisk clip, and I got the feeling he could do just fine in rapids, not that we saw anything major on those days. Of the paddling partners I’ve had in “whitewater kayaks”, Chuck was the only one that I never had slow down for. In fact, in a strong headwind, he had to slow down for me.

Oh, and lets not forget that if you want to carry anything with you, a modern WW boat won’t let you, but something like the Dancer will.

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"Modern WW boats" come in lots of forms and sizes. They are definitely not all small playboats. I would put my Dragorossi Pintail up against the Dancer anytime. One of the great advances in modern boat design is the production of solid river running boats. Almost every major manufacturer has a river running line that is miles ahead of the Dancer.

That may be true.

– Last Updated: Jul-18-07 10:09 PM EST –

That's why, when referring to these boats, I said "any of the modern WW boats I usually see". All the whitewater boats I ever see are playboats, and my opinion of the limited overall usefulness of playboats is exactly as I stated.

It's good to know that they still make whitewater-capable kayaks that can also go long distances. I've yet to see a newer boat in this catagory, and would never have guessed that they still exist. Thanks. (I guess if I had a burning desire to know, I'd be up-to-date on current kayak options, but you can see I don't and I'm not)

The Dancer and some of its
competitors from the 80’s do make nice river runners. Granted they will never be mistaken for playboats, but if you are paddling a pool and drop WW run and have any long flat distances to cover, they don’t wear you out like the newer short and wide designs. You can usually pick one up for about $100 these days so its not a huge investment to keep around for when it would come in handy. I wish I had not sold mine a few years back.

You’d be left behind
If there was any flatwater the Dancer would leave the Pintail far behind.

Slalom racing?!? There are many
old-school boats that will way out-handle a Dancer. I had a Dancer XT, and it was even worse!

But on an easy slalom course the
Pintail would win. If someone wants a fast cruising old school kayak, a Pirouette or Animas would be as fast as a Dancer and would handle much better as well. Heck, even my Corsica outhandles a Dancer. The Dancer is just too tubular.

One note on old plastic… The original Dancers are likely to be brittle. However, Perception released a later version of the Dancer that was on the market at about the same time as the Pirouette. Those late Dancers may have good plastic.

Trade? Ya givin him a Beta Max!
You mean you gotta give up something for it? Give me this guys number, I gotta hire him!


Old boat, new boat
Is it the boat or the paddler? The challenge with an old school boat is for the paddler to make it perform closer to a new school boat . . . IMHO.

Yeah, but the Dancer is the wrong
old school boat for that project. It was truly THE people’s playboat when it appeared, but now it is the wrong old-school boat at any price.

Another problem with the older Dancers was the primitive cockpit design. Much harder for most people to enter and exit. This was improved a little in the late 80s Dancer update.

If taking a WW class…

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 3:40 PM EST –

Depends a bit on the goals of the class. If you are taking WW to get good at WW, the planing hull boats will give you more head room in terms of holding an edge w/o a lot of work on your part and sitting on standing waves easily, though it's the displacement hull boat that'll make it easier to get on top of that wave in the first place. They are also more in the family of the playboats that you may find you gravitate towards as your skills increase.

If the purpose of the WW class is for basic skills, functional in class 2 and 2 plus with a question mark about how much further you want to go, the displacement hull boats will do albeit with the above performance diff's. They are also easier to roll, but if you are just starting out and don't have a roll yet that's kind of a fine point. You can't miss what you haven't experienced, and the manufacturers have added easier rolling sides to the newest of the WW boats anyway.

A few of us long boaters have taken to WW mostly because we want waves and action, but live too far away from the ocean for a casual day trip. So the class 2, 2+ and a little 3 WW that we have within 45 minutes of home is the closest thing to that. One of us is in an older displacement hull boat, tho' newer than the Dancer, and two of us are in planing hull boats. Frankly, the guy who is doing the most aggressive moves is the one in the displacement hull boat.

That all said, the Dancer is an old boat. The above concerns about the age of the plastic and cockpit issues seem to be things to consider.