Comments in Sing’s post below about a ww all rounder, along with my search of the archives have given me some answers, but it would be reassuring to have some feedback specific to my scenario. Plus, Sing is an already experienced paddler moving up, whereas I’m a rank amateur, so the two situations are not the same. I thank you in advance for reading my LONG post!
I started paddling a little over a year ago and have gone crazy with it. I started with a Dagger Blackwater, and now have bought a used Capella for lakes, a Mohawk Solo 14 for river tripping, and an RPM because I want to learn to roll (figure I’d learn to roll ww and then move to rolling the Capella), and because I want to run some whitewater – meaning up to class III as far as I would imagine.
I took a roll class, but it was 5 hours away and I didn’t hit a roll during the class so I’m still trying to master that on my own. I can roll pretty reliably now with a slightly inflated paddle float, and feel like I’m very close to getting the roll (a sweep roll) with just a tad more practice and perhaps if I can find someone to critique me. In the class they initially had me in an RPM Max but I didn’t have good contact with the boat and hip snaps were hard because I slid around. Perhaps just better outfitting would have solved this, but when I switched to the RPM that felt much better, even though it was a royal pain getting in and out. I was able to pick up a used RPM for just a couple hundred bucks, and figuring it would retain good resale value, I went for it. I hope to get a roll over the winter and then take a ww class in the spring.
The problem is that the very thing that made the RPM feel better for trying to roll (tight fit), makes me nervous in it out on a river. Although I’ve practiced wet exits in a pool and quiet river water, I worry that in fast water with a quickly approaching strainer or rock that if I flip it will be too hard/take too much time to get out. This has made me more tentative in the boat out on the river because I don’t want to flip, which I really don’t like. I don’t want to worry about flipping because I don’t think I will learn if I’m not being somewhat aggressive with the boat and testing limits.
I also realize there are strong opinions about how good or not good the RPM and the displacement hull are for learning and general pros and cons, but I seem more concerned about fit issues.
Anyhow, there is a used Booster 60 for sale near me that is within my budget, so I’m considering checking it out. I know that the obvious advice is to try the boat out, but I feel like I’m so new to ww boats that I wouldn’t even know how to form a good opinion of the boat other than to say how comfortable the fit is. I’ve been encouraged to try it on moving water before I buy, which certainly sounds great, but I’m not even sure though that that would help me make a decision. Here are my stats: 5’8”, size 8 shoe, 190lbs.
So, some of my questions are:
- will some boats feel easier to wet exit from in an emergency than others, or will any ww boat that is fit right necessarily be a bit tough to exit from? (am I chasing an illusion with the fit thing?)
- I’ve only paddled my RPM twice on moving water, once for a short time at a little ledge and once down a 6 mile river stretch. Nonetheless, will I have a hard time adjusting to a planning hull? Will I be flipping every time I cross a strong eddy line? On the other hand, I’m not too afraid of there being a learning curve to grow into a boat, as long as it won’t be TOO frustrating to adapt to it.
- Fit issues aside, would I be happier in the longer RPM for long flat sections because it will track better than a shorter boat like the Booster?
- I want something very similar to what Sing described below, but down one notch. I want to graduate to class III (not IV), and I’m interested in getting through the rapids and not so much the play (okay – maybe a teeny, tiny, little bit of play, but no tricks). Maybe the Booster is good for a more advanced paddler already with class III experience (like Sing) – but how would it be for a newbie to ww (like me)?
- Forgive my ignorance here, but can someone also explain the concerns that some (not all) express about the Booster and purling/pearling/perling (I’ve seen it spelled all 3 ways and not sure which is right). I take it this is something like having the nose dive too much, but I’m not really sure.
Some of my questions might not even make sense, but thank you for indulging me in this long, rambling post. I really appreciate any input all you experienced ww paddlers will have.