Dagger Approach

 I have read the reviews on this site but was just curious if there are any updated opinions about this boat?

can’t say first hand on the Approach
I’ve watched them in the water and they go along pretty good. I wonder though if you aren’t ready for a sportier boat. You have two good rec kayaks both of which will outrun the Dagger Approach hands down. If you want to do whitewater I’d encourage you to move up to a white water hull, something simple and straightforward like the Dagger RPM or Mamba, or the Wavesport Diesel 65 or 75. If you’re leaning more towards fast on flatwater I’d encourage you to look at Wilderness Systems transitional touring, or if you want to do rocky parts of the James consider a Liquid Logic Pisgah. I had one and sold it to a friend who uses it on the Rivanna and James.

on what you want to do. If you want a river tourer that’s better in whitewater than what you have, it might work well. If you want to learn to play in whitewater it’s not a good choice. It’s a big boat by whitewater standards – it makes most creek boats look small. Something like a Mamba would be a forgiving boat for bigger whitewater.

If you’re looking for a fast tourer with whitewater capabilities, the Pyranha Speeder might be worth a look. It’s sort of a mild plastic version of a wildwater racing design.

My GF thinks I’m Nuts
I sold my canoe and purchased the OT Loon 120 to go with my Acadia 12.5. I’m happy with both of these boats. They deliver as advertised.

I am already thinking about what should be my next boat. Guess you could say the yak bug has bitten me or perhaps my GF is right. LOL.

This is my deal…I am 6’ 220#'s. The sections of the James I float are mostly slow moving with a few small rapids mixed in. I would like to move further upstream on the James where there are still slow sections but that have a little more I’s and II’s in the mix. It is doubtful that I would go any higher than the II’s with the possible exception of small Class III, Balcony Falls. I think my rec boats are pushing it on water like this. I would like a higher performance boat that would be a better fit for this type of water.

Almost forgot!!
I like to fish too.

A couple of posters have been very helpful and patient with me on this. The Tsunami 125 and Manatou 13 are a few boats that have consistenly popped up. The M 13 is too narrow for me and the TSU 125 is better but still kinda tight. The other concern that I had is the keel on the TSU 125 is rather large. With my limited experience on the II’s, it seems that large keel could be a problem catching on the rocks.

The Pisgah seems like a nice boat but at 14’, is a bit longer than my pref and at first glance seems like it might be a little cramped for my size.

After being hard headed for too long, I realize one boat is not going to be the perfect boat. I am still in search of the boat that is a step up from a rec boat, and will continue to challenge me, be the best fit for the majority of my floats, even if it is not perfect for all situations.

Here’s a review from playak.com
from a guy 6’2 and 260 pounds, he loves the Approach


I’m intrigued by the possibilities of the Approach. I have people ask me all the time for a recommendation for an entry level boat for the James River. The Approach might be it. I’ll test drive one at Appomattox River Company next chance I get and let you know my thoughts


Buena Vista

Here’s a thread from RiverSmallies.com

Scroll down to read Dirty Ed’s review of the Appraoch. Sure sounds like a big guy boat to me.

You really don’t need to paddle it to
know how it will behave. It is an “old school” design that would have appeared conservative even in the late 70s. It will track OK, it will turn OK, and in experienced hands it will hit all necessary eddies in class 3 (Nantahalal Falls) and get through class 4 using conservative routes and approaches. Obviously it would be great for overnighters. But it is about as far from being a playboat as one can get while still having whitewater capability.

Thanks Everyone!!
Great feedback. I was just at the ARC Demo Days back in May. I test drove quite a few boats but I did not test the Approach. So many boats, so little time. Next time around, I will be much wiser in my test drives. Anyway, the Approach surely looks like it warrants further consideration. I plan to be over in Farmville in about 3 weeks and will stop by ARC and kick the tires on it. Maybe if I ask nicely, Tom will let me demo it over at Wilck’s Lake. :slight_smile:

In my search
for the right yak I test paddled the Approach several times. It was a nice boat - but again it is a boat trying to be good at more then on thing, so it doesn’t excel at either. It doesn’t have the full WW feel, fit, outfitting, or sturdiness of a true WW boat. It was originally marketed by Dagger as “WW Rec hybrid” type of boat. Tracking is in my experience little to no nothing, while test paddling in a slight wind and small chop I was constantly correcting course - as one would expect from short WW boat. It did turn very easily, and handled very responsively, and had decent stability, though I never pushed it up on edge much as I was getting used to kayaking period so not sure how its secondary is. The outfitting is minimal, and I found it not very comfortable at all. It has adjustable thigh braces that are nearly identical to the ones in the Tsunamis, but different foot braces (not as easy to adjust). Not really much dry storage space it in either. And both demos that I paddled the skeg was already malfunctioning. If my main focus was only to paddle lighter WW and I wanted an entry level WW boat I may have considered it further, but ruled it out early on as it just didn’t meet my needs.

You already know my thoughts on the Tsunami, so hope this helps in comparison.

Got one for the wife…
She wanted something that would be good for river trips. With the skeg down it tracks perfectly, with it up, it turns easily. We’ve taken it down class I/II water so far and it was a dream. The hatch is great for daytrips… it’s just a classic hybrid design.

Most importantly, the boat fit her well. And actually, it fits me better than my Carolina too. At 230lb (me), it sits pretty high in the water. I defintely want something smaller when I get a river running/play boat which seems unavoidable considering I seem to head to the largest waves I can find on flatwater =)


Good to hear
both sides of the story K…thanks. I still haven’t ruled out the TSU. It was cozy but not unbearable. I’m still tossing around different ideas about which direction I want to go. Heck, I may end up with 4 or 5 boats before it it all said and done. Like I said previously, my GF thinks I’m nuts. She just looks at me like I am some kid getting ready to hit the toy store. LOL. We are going to paddle a section of the James next weekend with some I’s and II’s. We’ll see how the rec boats do.

Don’t get me wrong
the Approach is a nice boat for its purpose. In my opinion it was definitely not intended for long paddles from the comfort standpoint. I realize my earlier post may have made it seem like I was really making it sound awful, and that is an unfair statement. It just wasn’t really intended to excel in the situations I wanted to paddle, and it really can’t be compared well to a boat like the Tsunamis. That’s kind of like trying to compare compare a Jeep Wrangler to a Chevy Suburban, both 4x4 suv’s, but I wouldn’t take a Suburban on trails I would a Jeep. And if I had to tow a large load, or wanted highway comfort I’d take the Suburban over the Wrangler.

You’re gf is wrong, you aren’t nuts, everyone on Pnet seems to have at least 3 boats. So based on a standard sampling of the Pnet population you are pretty normal. :slight_smile:

It’s funny…

– Last Updated: Jul-02-07 1:30 AM EST –

I figured I'd be set with one kayak... boy was I wrong. It's pretty easy for me to see how people can acquire "flotillas" of boats rather quickly. I could see at least 2WW boats (1 creek/river, 1 play), an open water touring boat (~17ft/glass), and a river touring boat (~14-15ft/plastic) in my fleet.

That would be my ideal setup...


That’s the kool thing

– Last Updated: Jul-02-07 7:58 AM EST –

about this site. You get a variety of feedback. That's a good thing.
If the average is 3 boats, then I am currently one behind. And who wants to be average? SOOOO.....I am going to head on over to ARC and get an Approach and a TSU. What the heck, might as well get a SOT to make it an even 5 boats. LOL. I AM kidding.....sorta! :)

Kinda gets in your blood
doesn’t it? My ideal “flotilla” would be the two rec boats I currently have, one WW/rec boat that is a more at home on moving water but still fishable, one touring/rec boat 13’ or less (may sell one of my recs at this point), and maybe one SOT with the fishing set up. Doubtful I will ever get too much into hardcore WW. I just turned 44 and not sure I want to go there at this point of my life. If I were going to get into WW, I should have started some years back when I was still ten feet tall and bulletproof. LOL

Funny story: Finally got my GF on the James last weekend. We took turns in my Loon 120 and Acadia 12.5. I just sold my OT Scout canoe a few weeks back and bought the Loon. First thing she sees on the river is some guy paddling a canoe with his GF in a bikini sunning herself. I knew I was in trouble. Two seconds later she says…“see, that is what you should be doing for me instead of making me paddle my own kayak.” I told her “no, by you having your own yak,we can float together or when you get mad at me, you can just head to the other side of the river.” It is the best of both worlds. LOL

Isn’t a 14’ boat
a little big for the Rivanna? I’m not totally familiar with the capabilities of the Pisgah nor with the specifics of the Rivanna. My grandparents lived in Columbia for many years near the confluence with the James. My memory of the Rivanna is a little fuzzy but it seems a little small for that size boat.

I think I Have
decided that the Dagger Approach is the next boat I am going with. Anyone have any suggestions on a paddle that would be a good fit that is reasonably priced? I currently have 220 and 230 Manta Rays and have had pretty good success with them. Thought that maybe it was time to upgrade to a little nicer paddle.

Also, can anyone suggest a good video that’s main focus is teaching paddling skills to a low level intermediate paddler who’s main focus is slow moving water with Class I & II rapids? Thanks.

i have a dagger approach and love it!!! this boat has really helped me get my feet wet with ww and learn some new skills. I use a Werner RIO Paddle. Its is an entry level ww/rec paddle. I went with a 197cm. hope this helps

Thank You
Almost all feedback on this boat has been positive. I’ll check out that paddle.