Which boat over drops?

-- Last Updated: Apr-10-10 6:53 PM EST --

I'm entering a river race tomorrow that includes mixed flatwater and whitewater. I've paddled the course once in a VCP Avocet (poly version). The Avocet worked well. The river is not very technical except for 4 Class III drops. River flow tomorrow will be moderate; level will be fairly shallow, and bony in places.

Do I run with the Avocet, or do I go with a Point 65 Rocker (a moderately v-hulled boat with a longer waterline, pointier ends, and less rocker than the Avocet)? Overall length/ width of the Rocker is very similar to the Avocet.

I'm trying to get my head around the physics of taking a drop in a boat with less rocker and a finer bow. Will it make much of a difference? The Rocker will likely be at least a minute faster in the flatwater, so I'd like to paddle it as long as it can handle the drops. Info on the Rocker at

If you're not sure, vote anyway! I'll report back after the race.

My vote
To me it looks like the Rocker has more volume up front than the Avocet.

I think that means that the Rocker will put less of it’s nose under water, and that you’ll be supported by the narrower cross section when the bow splashes down.

That means less righting moment, so I think the Rocker will be twitchier.

It sounds like
they’re “relatively” similar. Which one are you more comfortable in? In whitewater?

I like using my long boats in whitewater, their speed adds a whole 'nother dynamic. They work better when the current runs fairly straight, if it’s swirly it can make it more difficult.

Also, in my experience with the boats I have, you have to work them down the rapids.

But it’s a hoot to turn them around and surf.

Of course, when you peel out to turn back downriver, you can take out a passle of those playboats!

And, if there’s flatwater in between the whitewater sections, long boats make it easier to get to the next section.

Now, I didn’t try this until I’d been kayaking for several years. It’s definitely not easy.

Thanks for the replies. I took both boats to the start. A couple of guys showed up with kevlar wildwater boats, so I went with the Rocker boat, which I thought was a riskier and faster ride. I managed to stay in sight contact with the wildwater guys through several miles of flatwater, but running the whitewater in the Rocker proved to be a challenge. It handled the drops ok, but the v-hull of the Rocker made it difficult to manage in terms of avoiding rocks. I bumped and slid over more than my share. Next year, I’ll know what to expect.

Other kayak choices?
I don’t know about your ability to acquire other boats or what the river paddling is like overall. But you might want to consider other boats. One option is a longer old school WW boat. If the class III drops are significant features of the race then that might be a good choice. Another is wildwater race boats like the green boat from Dagger. My initial thought is that a flatwater boat that can deal with rapids is not going to be as good as a whitewater boat that can deal with flat water. But it obviously depends on the distribution between the two.

Pyranha Speeder?