WW [mostly] play boat for tall guy?

-- Last Updated: May-29-09 3:00 PM EST --

I'm seriously thinking about spending more time in WW since it is so convenient to where I live and it is fun too.

Need advice on a playful but not extremely demanding boat.

No plans to do much of down river running in big water at all. So big boats like the Liquid Logic Remix or Pyranha's Burn or Karnalli seem like an overkill - too much volume, too heavy, not playful enough for the small surf/holes where I would imagine I'd be paddling and not necessarily easier to roll too than some of the other boats out there.

Until recently I thought I can't fit into the smaller more playful boats (6'4 at size 15 shoe and just under 190 lb before gear). But last night after returning a demo Karnalli, I sat in the "free style" WaveSport Fuse and it felt surprisingly comfy, at least on the paddle store's lot.

That boat in the 64 galon volume most likely, along with Jackson's 4Fun or SuperFun and the LL CR250 may be what I should be looking at as "free ride" or "rive play" boats that have some playfulness and some river running built into them.

So those of you that have walked that path before, what do you think? Would I want to edge on the side of more playful or on the side of more river running designs if the primary prupose would be surfing river waves and playing in the local holes/rapids without going much any distance? For a relative WW beginner like myself? I'm comfortable figuring out sea kayaks but my WW boat/design/paddling is very shallow in comparison so your opinions will help me narrow down my search.




From your description, it sounds like you’re in the river/play category, like the Fun series.

I should have mentioned

– Last Updated: May-29-09 3:12 PM EST –

I read some of the CKS blog on some of these boats and the one on the Fuse said if I recall 60% play, 40% river, while on the Jackson Fun was 50/50 and the LL CR was 40/60 if one can say so...

Secondly, the volume. The Fuse (just as an example, not that I have much of a preference at this point, yet) in the 56 gal size I fall in just under the upper weight limit. On the 64 gal size - just over the lower range. I will not carry any gear with me so my total weight should not be that much over 200lb. So, provided I physically fit in either, which one would you pick? From a sea kayak experience - the smaller the better for me (the Perception 13.5 Sonoma touted for "small people" has been a great fit for me for some months now and even that can use a little less volume above the water) -;)

same idea
as sea kayaks. If you’re at the upper end of the weight range the boat will feel more responsive, less stable, and have less reserve bouyancy.

Jackson breaks it down on their site, and the other boats are probably similar. For example, here’s the 4Fun:

Total Range 165-230

Ideal River Running 165-210

Ideal Playboating 190-230

Ideal Overall 180-220

I see, that helps
Thanks. Have not noticed this piece of information. If Jackson says playboating is towards the upper half of the weight range and river running on the lower, that helps me decide.

Your feet are a problem
For example, the largest boat in the Jackson star series only goes up to size 14. Otherwise I would have recommended one. The star series are fun boats that play well but are more forgiving than many play boats. Everyone I know who has one likes it very much. You would have no trouble taking one down river but it would be slow. You would probably have the same trouble with the fun series. Although you can write to EJ on the site and ask. He (or someone) will respond honestly.

Yup. Feet are a problem

– Last Updated: May-29-09 4:52 PM EST –

Size 15 combined with 36" inseam = I don't fit comfortably unless barefoot in many large river/creeker boats such as the Jackson Super Hero, Prijon Hercules, LL Hoss or Pyranha Everest, because I need to put the foot rest all the way down where they get low. And barefoot I do not want to be if I can help it (I use very lightweight almost sock-like shoes). I can sit in them but no wilggle room watsoever. The LL Remix 79 and the Pyranha Karnalli have enough foot room for comfort.

Hense, I was surprised I could comfortably put my feet in the Fuse though I have no idea if that position will be comfy over time - it did not feel cramped or odverly twisted out like some of the above mentioned boats do in the foor rest or knee area. Will paddle that one shortly. I do not think I have sat in the Fun series to check fit though.

The position of the feet (forward vs. more upright) is different in these play-oriented types of boats than in the river running boats, so that may open some unexpected possibilities for me to check.

All the boats you mention
like the fuse, CR and 4 Fun i either thought of buying for myself or i actually did buy. I ended up purhasing the Jackson 4 Fun but was also interested in the CR by Liquid Logic. The volume of both, their weight interested me. In other peoples hands these boats all make great play boats as does the Fuse.

For me the Jackson 4 Fun front surfs very well, great for rolling and light to carry. I have some issues with plastic but i leave that for another time.

For more playboat you might want consider reviewing Bliss Stick also.

If you are willing to modify
You can increase the foot room of almost any whitewater boat. For example:


Or you can put foam wedges in the nose and take out whatever foot support the boat came with:


Boats to consider that others might not
mention. I am sure you would fit in a Riot Grind. I used to own one and it was a fine boat. Excellent at surfing waves and good down river boat. For example:


Or the Riot prankster:


Both are somewhat difficult to find but they are quality boats and inexpensive when you find one.