Which rec/day-touring boat for Class II+

I had a Necky Manitou 13 for a while and, as a skilled hardshell Class IV whitewater boater with a good roll, I took it down some nice Class II once, plenty stable and nice, BUT it was of course slow to maneuver due to its long water line and knifey vertical bow and stern, but good enough with some serious stern back sweeps :slight_smile:

What would be a similar boat that gives up some speed in exchange for maneuverability? – 13ish-feet, sporty and not wide or bargy, near/under 50 pounds and plastic, comfy seating, one hatch is OK (I have a big float bag for up front) but two would be great. THANKS!

I have been thinking and can come up with nothing that fits all those specs. A Remix xp 10 is close, a I think Dagger makes a crossover river/ flatwater called the alchemy that may work… LL coupe sot would be a great class 2 boat, but is not near 12 feet… this one is hard man…

How about some
Wildwater boats? Almost 15’ long and made for big water. I believe that the Perception Wavehopper is plastic, but it’s available in the UK. Just noticed on the USA Wildwater web site http://www.usawildwater.com/equipment.html

that someone has shipped 25 of them to the US.

For Sale: Perception Wavehoppers (Posted - December 5, 2011) Zoar recently brought in 25 Wavehoppers from Perception UK. 16 are spoken for and the 9 remaining are still for sale. The price is $950 and we can ship them for $80 to anywhere in the US. Contact Bruce Lessels at Zoar Outdoors – bruce@zoaroutdoor.com if you’re interested.

My understanding is that the wildwater boats are very tippy but very fast.

Not sure if would be sporty enough and not sure they are being produced any more, but there are lots of used ones around. This boat is 13’ x 24" and comes with a removable skeg: Dimension Kayak R5 River Runner

dagger axis 12 or dagger green boat?

Current Designs Kestrel 120?

Prijon Yukon Expedition
Might be closer to 14’ long, but will be way more maneuverable than any day tourer/rec boat. People use them for self support Grand Canyon trips all the time.

second the axis 12
I recommended the Dagger Axis 12 to a friend looking to upgrade from a 9’ rec boat (he was eager to join new buddies teaching him to paddle whitewater creeks up to Class III.) He snagged a nice condition used one for a decent price and so far he has had it for 6 weeks and been out every weekend – just excitedly sent me photos of his first Class III runs. He is an older and not very athletic paddler but seems to be negotiating the fast water quite handily with this boat – I’ve been very impressed with what he has taken it through without dumping or getting hung up and how maneuverable it seems to be. He reports it tracks well with the skeg deployed.

Crossover boat that is like a WW boat
Crossover boats are not that long but what do you care. If you are a class IV boater then you don’t care about going straight. You can already do that. They all have a rear hatch. And a skeg, but you won’t need that. So maneuverability. That is, WW boat capability. Two boats. Jackson Rogue and Pyranha Fusion. On the scale of rec boat to WW boat the Jackson is at the WW end and the Pyranha is a close second. Both have comfy outfitting. You can easily do a lay back roll in the Jackson but not in the Pyranha. If you want to add fast then you are out of luck without giving up something.

not sure it exists…

– Last Updated: May-22-12 10:32 PM EST –

the Axis 12 comes close but weighs 55 lb and will feel very loose in the cockpit unless you're a big guy, not unlike its predecessor the Approach (especially coming from the snug fit of the Mannie).

I paddle a LL Coupe which is tons of fun in moving water & Class II-III rapids (hull shape is based on the XP10) but doesn't glide as nicely as I'd like on the flats, has limited storage and is not good at attaining. For a more general-purpose river tripper including overnighters I like my Tsunami 120, which is noticeably rockered (the Manitou 13 is a hard-tracking boat for its length from what I recall), and has the volume to punch through easy rapids/wavetrains and holes.

I am taking a hard look at the Jackson Rogue, also a 10' boat but has a full planing-style hull with a skeg. I would also recommend checking out the Venture Flex 11 and see if that would meet your needs; the bow/stern are fairly narrow though, and might tend to hang up on rocks, not ww-oriented. if they modified the Flex with rounded ends and a pillar that would be one kickass river runner. The Pyranha Fusion is the Flex's cousin for that purpose but a foot shorter.

Looking for more speed than Axis 12
I think a Fusion, Rogue, Axis 12 woud be appropriate if I was seeking to run Class III, but II+ is easy enough in mellower flows with a knifey 13’ day tour boat, so I am looking for a more sea/touring-orietented 14+’ boat … just one that is not as vertically slicey and tracking-dominant as the Manitou 13.

I know the Necky Looksha Sport might be a good option – very maneuverable and sporty, maneuverabilty-wise, but it is heavy – that was my first sea kayak and I sold it shortly after I started my whitewater addiction :slight_smile: … maybe I will find another.

Thanks for the Prijon recommendation, tough plastic makes it an interesting option.

longer option

– Last Updated: May-23-12 3:29 PM EST –

I took my "British style" rotomold Easky 15LV (at 15' and 22" wide) down some Class I and II runs last summer (streams that were more waves trains and chutes than rock gardens) and enjoyed them immensely. At 44 lbs its easy to haul and is a super boat for straight tracking and glide on the flats as well (mine has niether skeg nor rudder, by the way.) I already knew it was a terrific boat for playing in open water waves and boat wakes, but I was surprised at how well it took to mild whitewater. Naturally it doesn't turn on a dime, but its more responsive to body language than you would think. Of the 7 kayaks I have access to, its the one I go to the most for the widest variety of waters (I've got everything from high-end folders and an 18' SOF to a Dagger RPM.)

Sapien (above) mentioned the Venture Flex -- if you look into that one also include the Easky's. I think they are versatile boats for the price and nicely outfitted. Has a very comfortable and adjustable seat too.

Jackson Journey – very intruiging!

Short touring boat, but here’s a review from another whitewater crossover boater crazier than me :wink:


the smaller Journey could meet your specs and should be a playful hull coming from a whitewater company. (I initially thought you were looking for under 13’) only downside is it’s not available with a skeg.

I did read somewhere that the production Journey hull design is somewhat different than the prototypes that some of the early published reviews are based on, so see if you can find one to demo and draw your own conclusions.

If you’re going 14’ then the Dagger Alchemy (51 or 54 lb) and the new Venture Islay (official weight not published but it should be ~50 lb) would be worth a look too.

For a longer sea kayak with similar maneuverability, the Zephyr 155 (52 lb) will put a big smile on your face whether on the river or in open waters.

Yup, the Zephir is a good candidate
And the 15.5 is indeed just over 50lb - much lighter than the about 60lb P&H Delphin, which would be another good candidate if you can live with the weight. The Z is not the fastest for its length on flat water but not a dog either, plus it’s comfy, rolls great, and handles currents fine. Won’t break the bank either, though certain (less desireable IMO) recreational boats can be had for a smidgen less than it.

Sapien has got his hands on my Zephir and is not letting go any time soon, from what I can tell -:wink:

Cobra Revision seems OK
If you can find one it might be just the thing.

The Jackson Rogue does not have
a “full planing style hull” because Knight is a great naval architect, not an idiot. No crossover boat would be acceptably fast if it had a full planing style hull.

The reviewer is pushing the boat
to do things, using his high ability, that most people could never achieve with it.

I was also confused— he’s running the Lower Canyons and he’s finding class 4 slots to boof? There’s no class 4 rapids down there, and one does not usually rate individual slots. As for the class 3, with his ability he can force the maneuvers, but kids, don’t try this in Lesser Wesser. Just run straight down so you’re upright for the camera shot.

Yeah, I’ll push it too …
… but not THAT much :slight_smile: It will see some Class II-III and some interesting sea caves and rock gardens – and I’ll probably make a skeg for the rudder mounting hole for longer flatwater paddles.

Found a Journey 13.5 used for 700, so I think I’ll go for it.