I was all set on a Riot Edge 11 but then I saw a Dagger Axis 10.5. Now I am stuck, since there is no chance of an on the water trial. Currently paddling a Pelican, which has served me well, but it zig zags, so I would like something that will paddle straight. We mainly go on lakes and easy rivers, no rapids. Not really wanting a longer boat. Have paddled a Sorrento, loved that and a Pungo…not impressed. Any input will be helpful. Thanks.
They look like two peas from the same pod. I’ve seen Dagger rec kayaks in action and they were impressive for their size. Never seen a Riot.
Riots are made in China. Daggers are made 2 miles from my house in Greenville, SC.
All short kayaks will wander with each stroke to some extent. I don’t have direct experience with that model Riot but paddled an older 11’ kayak that was comfortable and handled well. I own a Dagger Stratos 12.5, which is a bit different from the Axis. Dagger’s outfitting is well done and most people find it quite comfortable since everything is adjustable. Being primarily a whitewater boat company their boats tend not to be super hard tracking but the skeg will limit that. What might be the deciding factor is size; from the specs the Riot appears to be a lower volume boat than the Axis (which from my memory is a medium to higher volume kayak). Not sure of your size but if you’re a smaller person the Riot might be a better fit while larger would flip more towards the Dagger. It is a tough call to buy a kayak sight unseen - I hope whichever you choose works out!
KMDW, Brodie makes good points. Short boats just do not track as well as longer ones. I can make a short boat track as I’m sure most experienced paddlers can but it takes time and practice.
I suspect that the Pelican has taught you some bad habits that may be subtle.
Look at the hull of the boats. The flatter it is, the worse it will track. The more pronounced the keel, the straighter it will paddle but the harder it will turn. A skeg solves tracking issues.
I can’t give any input on the actual kayaks, but I can say that Riot customer service is essentially nonexistent. Over the last 6 months I’ve called, e-mailed, signed up for their online support, emailed again and then repeated the whole cycle, and have yet to get a single response about getting a replacement part for my Riot Brittany.
You might try ballasting the Pelican if you want to continue to use it as a “loaner”. A local friend with whom I often paddle has a Riot Edge 15 but had kept her first boat, a Pelican (older 10’ model). We did a long day trip on a large river with a lot of wind with her fairly athletic adult son borrowing the Pelican. I could see in the first few miles he was really struggling with its poor tracking and exhausting himself with corrections – kind of embarassing trying to keep up with two “old ladies” (though we were both in 15’ touring kayaks so we had an automatic advantage). Watching the boat’s behavior I could see it was too light in the stern, especially with a nearly 6’ guy who was probably 190 pounds. When we stopped for a shore break I suggested we fill the rear hatch with rocks and we stashed several pounds of flat shale in it. The kayak straightened right out and he had a much better time of it.
You guys have been so helpful. I am leaning towards the Dagger Axis, because it is a higher volume. I like the fact it won’t get as much water in, if out in a few waves or power boat wake. I do tend to have a low but long stroke, but get higher and deeper when I want a bit more speed. It would be nice to have a bit of glide, and not to turn when I get my camera out. Thank you all so much.
Let us know what you get.
I went for the Dagger Axis 10.5. Picking it up Wednesday. I’ll sit in it in the living room and dream. Now just have to wait for the ice to melt. Also booked some camping today, lucky to get a few places booked since there are so many new campers out there. We have a 20ft trailer, so we’re comfortable. I’ll probably wait until May 24 to take it out. Hopefully the water warms up fast. Last year we had a snowstorm May 10.
Will definitely give that a try. Planning on keeping it as a loaner.