WW kayak evolution

Hi, I’ve been recreationally kayaking for the past couple of years and am interested in whitewater kayaking. I’m 54, 6’1 and around 225lbs. I recently bought a Remix XP 10, and it’s a fine boat, but I think I want something more whitewater specific. I’m considering a Remix 79 (and there’s no place local to demo boats), but I know it’s an older design. I’m curious if kayaks are evolving by degree or in a more revolutionary fashion as with mountain bikes? I don’t need the newest model, but I also don’t want the equivalent of a 26” bike. The best of my 26” bikes couldn’t hold a candle to my 29” Evils, and the difference is very real and by a wide margin.

At this point, I think I’ll likely kayak class I - III rapids in Alabama and surrounding areas. I can also get a good deal on a Nirvana L which is another boat I’ve considered. Please let me know your thoughts.

Do you know if you want a boat that better enables running a river or one that better enables park and play? Latter is staying often in small distances and messing around on standing waves? Or a creeker that has higher volume to be able to manage higher class water?

Of you are not clear on what l mean, l suggest you do some research before buying. WW boats can be very specialized.

Not sure if this is your best site for those fine points, more long boaters here. Maybe check out Boater Talk

White water is one area I would definitely do classes first, buy boat later. There is a lot to learn both in how to do it and what you like in your boat that taking a coas where you use the school’s boat is very helpful.

Classes often seem to be weekend long deals. Learning to roll is an early skill required.

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What do you perceive you will be able to do with a more specialized whitewater kayak design that you can’t do with your Liquid Logic Remix XP10?

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Hi, thanks for your replies. I am learning to roll and plan to take additional classes. About the desire for something different, I don’t expect the new kayak to do anything the XP 10 won’t, and I want a river runner or creek boat, not a play boat The Remix 79 is narrower, lighter, and shorter than the XP 10, and without its leaking hatch, and I think I will appreciate these characteristics. That said, if it’s like buying an old-school mountain bike, then I’ll look elsewhere.

Try to address the leaky hatch and paddle what you have. Work on your skills and nail down your intended use. Take every opportunity to try other boats (fellow paddlers, rentals, loaners, etc.) to get a feel of what you like.

You could run quite a bit of Class I-III whitewater in the Remix XP 10. It is true that a boat with a hatch is somewhat less than ideal for running heavy whitewater but the hull itself is basically that of a river runner whitewater kayak. I would simply fill the hatch compartment with a flotation bag and start out.

As for “advancements” in the evolution of whitewater kayaks one that I would say is significant is the development of readily adjustable outfitting. Back in the 1980s and 1990s boats had to be fit to the paddler by adding foam hip pads and molding them. Thigh braces were fixed in position and most boats lacked back bands. Things were made easier with the introduction of readily adjustable back bands, hip pads, and thigh braces. But it is still important to find a boat that fits you.

Beyond that things really haven’t changed in a fundamental way since rotomolded polyethylene replaced the composite boats that were the norm in the early days of whitewater kayaking. Everything else has just been alterations in hull shape and size. Keyhole cockpits made entry and exit easier and safer. But virtually every whitewater kayak you buy new now will have a keyhole cockpit and adjustable outfitting.

So it really just depends on what your ultimate intent is. I have paddled the XP 10 a little. I do find it to be a bit of a dog, speed wise, although a decent river runner overall. I haven’t paddled a Remix 79 but it looks like a decent choice of river running kayak if it fits you well. Many people do find it easier to learn to roll in a kayak with a relatively soft chine, like the Remix 79, rather than the edgy chine that a lot of relatively flat bottomed play boats have.

So the advantage of moving out of the xp10 is that you will get a better boat-body connection. The depth of the xp10 makes it harder to engage your knees and thighs. Even the footpegs make it harder to be connected (as opposed to a bulkhead). The xp10 is a bit more difficult to drain with the side placement of the drain plug. In terms of boat shape I affectionately call it “boating for dummies”. It is big, stable and forgiving in ww. This is good because I find it difficult to roll. For large individuals who don’t fit in regular ww boats the xp is a good option. Smaller individuals can get lost in the enormous cockpit. While designed for class I, II, III I had success using the xp10 on class IV water (lower gauley, new river gorge).

What you will gain with a creeker or river runner is a boat that is more reactive to your movements. I like the hull designs and plastic durability on the Liquid Logic Boats. I’m not a fan of their backband. To me, it is not supportive, I have a harder time maintaining a forward posture, I tend to slump a bit in LL boats. Since both the xp and the remix use the same back support that is a pretty serious knock on both boats. The remix has a more reactive stern than some other similar boats tht beginners use- mamba, burn, etc. That is not a bad thing, just something to get used to and another reason to keep your weight forward.

If you can make it to wv I’ll be glad to hook you up with some free instruction. While private instruction is great also consider joining a local paddling club. Having a community to boat with is important on ww.

In terms of advancements, depends on the timeline you choose. One of our friends came up in a perfectly credible but older school boat. She really did not understand the newer, at least to her, hull designs favoring play purposes until she tried to attain in a fairly moderate current in my husband’s boat. Which was much more play/river than the other way around.

We tried to explain to her why this was not a plan. She finally got out, utterly exhausted, having failed. THEN she paid attention to us. And did a class to find out yeah, the full out play boats were a bit tougher to roll.

The other thing from far back ago is boats decently sized for smaller paddlers, and kids. There is now a robust choice, kudos to Jackson for much of that along with the shrimp sized boats in the Innazone line. But while WW folks got there faster than in long boats, there were still some yars of limited choices.

Thanks so much for your replies. I’ve installed the bulkhead kit for my XP 10 and stern bags are on the way. Weather permitting, I will work on rolling this weekend, and I’m ready to get started. I understand about the XP 10’s large cockpit, although it’s not overly so for me. About the evolution of boat designs, I’m glad to know that more recent models have not necessarily made older boats obsolete.

Finally, I live in Northport, Alabama, but I was born in Morgantown. I’ve got Ocoee raft guide buddies who make the annual trek for Gauley season, and I’ll touch base if I am ever that way. Thank you for the offer!

I would think the Coosa river would be a good place to start- reliable water (dam release from Jordan Lake). You can work on your strokes in the flatwater and run the ledges and practice ferries and peel outs at the base of the rapids. The lower flows would be a good learning environment. I know there are some active paddlers in your neck of the woods. They chase water after rain events to boat the local streams.

You might want to look into the Birmingham Canoe Club. They regularly paddle the Cahaba, Coosa, and the Mulberry and Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. Joining a club often offers an opportunity for inexpensive or free instruction as well as trying a number of different boats owned by club members.

I used to have an XP9. I loved it, but it was just too high volume and too wide for me. I also outgrew it skill wise so I sold it and got a Dagger Mamba 7.5 (which I also loved until I sold it). How cool that LL is making a bulkhead kit for those boats now. I hated the foot pegs, and they are a hazard.

Anyway, I agree with the advice to keep using your XP10 and develop your skills. It’s a fine kayak for learning WW. When you find your skills have outgrown your boat, then it’ll be time to look for a replacement. And that will also be the time to demo different models before buying.

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