Crossover Kayaks

-- Last Updated: Apr-17-14 1:17 PM EST --

My Kayak buddies and I are just getting into white water on the Potomac river. I've had a perception carolina 12 for the past two years which has been good on flat water and has worked in areas like Mathers Gorge but is just too big so I sold it. Now I'm looking at crossover kayaks because I want to be able to have fun on class 1-2 or 3 rapids but also be able to go on flat water stretches for miles while doing over night or day trips.

Anyways here's a list of kayaks I've gathered from the internet, can anyone tell me more about them or any tips in general? I'm looking to buy one soon and don't really know how to narrow down this selection:

Dagger Katana 9.7ft
Remix XP9
Fusion Connect 30 L
Jackson Rogue 9 9.4ft
Wave Sport Ethos 10

thanks for your time and also im 5'11" and 150 lbs


– Last Updated: Apr-17-14 12:18 PM EST –

I've paddled both the LL XP9 and Pyranha fusion. You really won't go wrong with either one of these. Im a small paddler weighing in at around 145 lbs so both boats were plenty of volume for me when I want to use it as a ww boat. If you're going to be doing some longer trips, I'd probably go with the Liquid Logic XP9 because the BadAss outfitting is flat out the most comfortable out there, atleast in my opinion (after a 5 hour paddle, my back was much more forgiving in the XP9 than the Pyranha). The Connect 30 outfitting is also good. I think the Pyranha is a bit faster and tracks a little bit better, too. As far as the Liquid Logic Remix you listed, it's more of a ww boat; a really awesome boat for beginning to roll, boofs great, and is really maneuverable (it will be a bit more of a tug boat compared to the XP and Fusion on your longer trips w/o drop down skeg). I'd say if you're paddling long trips and want cadillac comfort, go with the XP. Otherwise, you won't go wrong with either Fusion or XP for ww and open water. Jacskon Rogue is also a good boat, but I think that the Pyranha and LL boats are more durable. See you downstream!

Went through that evaluation/testing process and came up with the Liquidlogic due to handling, comfort and superior quality. My second choice would be the Wave Sport. But, we all have different priorities and paddling styles so test them out.

crossover kayaks
There have been some recent and not so recent threads on crossover kayaks so you might run a search.

I have paddled the Pyranha Fusion, the Liquid Logic XP 9 and the Liquid Logic XP 10. I greatly prefer the Fusion to the LL XPs for any usage that involves paddling a significant amount of flat water. The Fusion’s flat water performance is very significantly better than that of the LL XP 9 or 10 IMO, and it still has excellent whitewater capability.

I have not paddled nor closely examined the Rogue or the Katana. I have not paddled the Wave Sport Ethos either, although I have examined them pretty closely, most recently this weekend when I encountered a couple paddling a Fusion and an Ethos on the Class II-III St Francis River in Missouri. He had the Ethos and she had the Fusion. They both liked their boats but had not paddled each other’s. Based on an examination of the hull, I would expect the Ethos to perform more like the Fusion than the Liquid Logic XPs.

See and Try For Yourself at…
Luckily, you can try most of these on the water through the local shops in the area: Potomac Paddle Sports, Valley Mills Kayaks, and some others.

None of the kayaks you consider would be much fun/fast to paddle for “miles of flat water”, so just set your expectations ahead of time.

And try to get some lessons - even easy white water has dangers you just won’t think about unless you experience them (may be too late at that point) or someone teaches you…

XP boat…
…having owned a XP10 for the last couple of yrs…the 1 thing I have noticed is …it tends to plow in calm / slightly choppy water when you try to paddle " fast" …it is not a fast boat by any standard,despite LL claims. It seems heavily biased towards the WW side of use… using it in the Class 1-2-3’s…Having said that …there is a youtube video of a group doing the Grand Canyon / Colorado R. in them. With the skeg down the boat tracks well but it’ll get squirrely on you with the skid up. If U decide to get the XP …U may as well get the 10 footer. I have no idea why LL made a 9 and 10 ft …makes no sense to me.

For larger folks, the XP9 sits too
deep in the water to carry gear, cover ground, and for light play in whitewater. I would need the XP10, but my smaller son would be much better off in the XP9.

I use a cab-forward, high angle style in kayaks, and don’t need a skeg to keep a ww kayak cruising in a straight line. A skeg can reduce the amount of attention needed while cruising, and one advantage is that if one pulls out a waterproof camera and starts shooting, the kayak won’t veer badly while one is shooting.

Of course, ww kayaks need to be squirrely to fulfill their funtion. Very bothersome tendency at first, but we learn to control it, and then to make full use of it.

Crossover’s a nice notion but…
Speaking from experience, Crossover kayaks lack engineering quality with their skegs. You just can’t put a skeg (even a hide-away one)where so much impact on rocks occurs.( If your not hitting some rocks your not paddling whitewater) Wish I could post a photo of my Dagger Approach 10, which appears to be most like the new Katana. Wimpy Drop= Big ol’ crack… I’m sawzalling it up tomorrow and trashing it. Already repaired it once back there as well as significantly re-enforced, to no avail. I’ve heard the same of the remixe’s for what it’s worth. The concept is good, but not well executed. I believe most paddlers would agree, no one boat does everything well.

I’m not even sure that the concept of
a skeg on a crossover boat is good. On a sea kayak, a skeg makes real sense. On a crossover, technique will overcome the need to have a little blade back there, keeping the boat straight.

To me, the big thing against a crossover in serious whitewater is the vulnerability of the skeg setup and the skeg box to a truly massive hit. An unskegged poly hull can take a massive stern hit and bounce back. I’m less certain with a skegged boat.

Two applications
Using the skeg in place of good paddling technique doesn’t make sense to me in most paddling situations. However, on huge, deep whitewater, it can provide some directional stability, especially at the foot of a drop. The Liquidlogic crew that recently ran the Grand Canyon noted that. The other application is when you use it for ocean style surfing. These boats don’t have much edge so the skeg gives you some bite.

Dagger Katana 10.4
Hey there!

I picked up a Dagger Katana 10’4. I’ve used it in a pool session thus far and am hitting up a white water kayaking school this weekend with it. It’s my 5th kayak, and most of my other stuff has been flatwater/touring kayak stuff for overnight camping trips. Here’s some general stuff thus far on the Katana:

1- Outfitting (seat, etc) are awesome on this boat. Feels amazing, very customizable fit. I think you’d be hard pressed to beat it. Beats all of my rec stuff by far!

2- Drop down skeg tucks away without any issue. For those who cite it as not being a replacement for paddling form, they’re right… but when you’re a long distance into a trip, when you’re starting to get tired, and little bit sloppy your form fades. When that happens, and you drop down that skeg, it makes your life just that much easier. I have it on my 13’ rec boats and it’s immensely helpful on longer trips.

3- At 10’4 this boat is a bit of a behemoth compared to every WW boat I’ve seen, but it turns pretty damn fast still as observed by me and an instructor trying it out. Instructors had no problem rolling it, and with a bit of help (paddle placement) I was able to roll it.

I personally need to spend more time with it before I can say more, but I do think that the 10’4" size may be a bit large. On the flip side, I managed to find this boat barely used for $700 with a bunch of nice stuff with it (skirt, cover), so I couldn’t help but jump on the hefty discount!

The WW kayak school I was a part of had the Dagger Approach around for students. It’s very similar to the Katana, although the approach has noticeably less volume and the approach has rails on it. I’m probably going to seek out one of those kayaks for my friends to join up on beginner trips on quickwater. Seems like a solid enough basic boat to start out with.