Sunday, April 30, 2006

Do you really want a butt bouncing river runner?

or do you want something that is smooth, fast, and powerful that will allow you to use the ENTIRE river as your playground?

Slick smooth sexy fun in a fast short boat that edges effortlessly, allowing an infinite amount of fine adjustments and refinements as you play every part of the river that you are running with ease in a Pintail

CR stays flat, and that's that (or that's about all it does). A stretched ass (bouncer) that slows your speed down so you can sit at the top of the wave instead of surfing the entire face.

bouncing is good, if that's the RX thing you limit yourself to, and this stretched butt machine will bounce, a bit less than a dedicated playboat,but it will bounce. Forget about edging or speed here. It's a flat, square boat.

the Pintail is actually faster than both the RX and the CR, because of it's progressive rocker. Note the "kick" rocker or the "3stage" rocker (or whatever the marketing company decided to call it this year....) on those boats.
Ok. Admittedly Im' not a fan of this on playboats because there IS more to life than butt bouncing. BUT, it does help with ass bouncing on a certain small part of the wave. However, just by the fact that these RX and CR boats are stretched out ass bouncers, are longer than a playboat, means that the funny rocker is not going to bounce you very high, but it will still slow you down. Kind of the worst of both worlds. (also kind of funny how similar these boats are to each other...)

Notice the smooth rocker on the Pintail. This lets the water see the boat as a longer surface(allowing a shorter boat to act longer and faster), instead of 3 broken surfaces. Additionally, the smooth transition lets you rock up on your stern if you get stuffed down into the trough of a wave, or lean way forward to stay on the wave. Infinitely adjustable instead of just 3 random choices....

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Are you going to creek in a playboat or play in a creekboat? Neither are really a good idea, but we must admit that most of us have done it.

ARe you going to throw catchy sharp edges on your creekboat, or have round edges on your playboat? Neither option works very well. What if you could have both? (Stinger)

Hole Bait and bad play. If you try to have it all, you'll have nothing at all.

A playboat, an evolution of the Disco, good river running spud that surely some folks will take down low volume creeks. A playboat with a little bit of extra volume and a truely modern hull with both sharp and round edges in the all the right places.

another super short bouncing thingy from the conglomerate company that has made many versions of this thing before, again, the same...

Friday, April 21, 2006

round edges are better for creeking!!!

Speaking only in the context of edges, not chine, not angle, nothing else but edges, contemplate this for a moment...

Sharp edges are to allow your boat to release WATER from the trailing edge. In the world of creeking it might be a bit useful in the stern of a boat, but is completely useless on the sides. Kayak design has come a long way, and people are finally taking for granted the fact that nice sharp edges make for very playful and forgiving boats. But we have thrown out some of the traditional design principles that were actually good. Something like the use of a round edge so that the boat is less prone to tripping over rocks in shallow rivers. This is very necessary while creeking.

Imagine accelerating down a shallow slide, and you are a little bit sideways, either by accident or because you need some angle to set up that critical move at the bottom. Wouldn't you want a big round edge that just jumps over little rocks and cracks. It's like rocker for the side of your boat. You have lots of rocker in the bow and stern of your creek boat, why not on the sides?

Yes. Flat bottoms are the basis of a stable platform on modern kayaks. But, many people are paddling "creek" boats hard edges too. This is completely un called for! It is simply an added risk. A risk of tripping over the smallest stone and flipping in a creek. Not fun at all.

I understand that people want some kind of compromise, a "do everything" boat that can surf and creek. But ask yourself something........ would you risk falling on your head just so you can flatspin that one little wave in the class V creek? Or are you willling to accept a good old front surf if you could have a boat that can give you that added advantage when you need it in a hairy situation?

Here is a good compromise for low volume, class V- creeking. It has a hard edge on the bottom,but a round edge on the outside where it can bounce over small rocks. (again, think of it like sideways rocker...)
In a low volume creek, you might not need the speed of a dedicated creeker; you might not need the volume of a specific creeker, but you sure will need the forgiving edge in a low volume situation because you'll be bouncing off more rocks.
If you are running high volume creeks, then go with the dedicated creek boat with rounder/safer edges.
If youare running low volume creeks, then chose between the risk of a shorter/slower boat, or a longer/voluminous boat. But, BY ALL MEANS, chose something that has a round edge for creeking! Save the sharp edges for surfing. You can't have it both ways without taking a tremendous risk to your personal safety!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

real evolution

Notice the refinement, the progression, the movement towards better in these three boats.

The Squashtail is a surfing super star that happens to be able to run rivers well enough to get to the playspot. It's actually a bit suprising how well it paddles downstream. Take a moment here and really examine the rocker. The upturned nose makes it super friendly on waves and holes, and the low rocker tail gives it unparalleled speed. The overall PROGRESSIVE rocker lets the water "see" the hull as one long, continuous surface, so it acts like a longer/faster boat.

The Air 55 was a good attempt at gaining some speed out of a short boat (for its day), but it loses some speed because it leans more towards that "3 stage" rocker. It's a compromise between some speed and that grab/release process that creates some bounce (but slows things way down).

The Stinger takes big strides towards solving the speed/bounce paradox. There is an arguement that you have to have either speed OR bounce. This is somewhat true, but they can be closer than everyone will sell to you. The progressive rocker on the Stinger lets the water see the hull as one continous surface, thus letting it act like a longer/faster boat. The quick, but SMOOTH upturn of the tail lets you rock back, riding up on the tail, pointing the nose to the sky and gaining the bounce and air that you desire.
An added bonus is the huge bow rocker. It makes for an easy paddling river runner. Letting you leap over waves and small holes.
The Stinger is a highly rockered boat that is as fast (if not faster) than the Air. So you are getting the best of both worlds, and thus a much more fun boat.

Take a really close look at these boats. It's easy to tell which one is a pure surf boat. But also notice how boxy the Air is. Imagine the boxier corners when you try to edge your boat. The kind of trip things up a bit. There is a reason why surfboards have a continous curve in their template (the view you see here). As you lean a board on edge (or a boat) the continous curve creates a graceful bent line that can be changed by leaning forward or back. A staighter edge had a deflecting tendency that adds alot of drag to a turn,making for a choppy ride, a bit of unpredictable bounce, and killing lots of speed.

Why add uneccessary length to a boat just to gain speed, when there are much more effective ways to get faster. Template and rocker are basics of design and still two of the most important aspects for gaining as much performance as possible from your new kayak,... especially if you are going to go out and spend money,and want a GENUINELY new design.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Spring has sprung

this is Tim enjoying the Stinger. Good sized boat for many many situations.

A big hit of water in the face. (Good thing the water is no longer freezing) Power out of the hole and into the eddy that holds your waiting friends. That next rapid is a fun one, with multiple lines and a couple of surf waves. Take the creeky boof in the center, or the bigger water of the left line....

the river that ran so long into the fall has started running again, this time with fun to be had as it gets warmer and warmer.

Posing for the camera in his flashy new coordinated outfit of blue, orange, red, black? wait a minute. that doesn't work at all! Who ever said that boaters have good fashion sense. i suppose that fashion isn't the point. Can fun and fashion coexist, or are they mutually exclusive?

the need for speed was calling to James on this run. What better way to fly over the rooster tail at THE FLUME and power through the hole at the bottom than in a fast boat like the Pintail.

Holy backwash Batman! I hope I can find the seam in this thing. Good thing I have a red boat with racing stripes!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

DragoRossi insights

Darren Kirk has a really nice personal website with a section about DragoRossi from his own perspective. While I happen to think that the Fish is easy to paddle, there is not much else that I disagree with him on. So, read away and consider this independent, well thought out perspective from Darren.

  • here
  • Monday, April 03, 2006

    1997 planing hull kayak

    I had a crazy idea, in the fall of 1997. Actually I was super super bored at work and just needed a project to keep my mind occupied at home. Having seen Corran's "Fury", liking the idea,but thinking that it was too long for the small northeastern playspots, and also thinking that it needed more rocker in the ends, I set out to make my own kayak.
    this thing was designed just for me. It is about about 6' 9" long. High volume. "3 stage rocker" as the current industry buzz word would call it.
    One thing to note is the release chine. Notices how steep of an angle it has in the middle and how much different it is on the ends. This boat was suprisingly NOT grabby because the odd chine in the middle is so easy to control (because it's close to the body).
    I thought this boat had been thrown into the dump a long time ago. I'm very excited that I was able to visit it one more time this past weekend and get some photos. I designed two more boats after this, both with more progressive rocker,and a symetrical template. (both way more user friendly than this 3 stage crap we are being sold today)

    This is very exciting to remember how long ago that independent boat builders, progressive thinkers, and bored garage builders were making planing hulled spuds. It only took the industry 4 more years to catch up. he he he Ultimately I joined up with Corran in January of 1998 because I realized that he had some equally crazy ideas, and much more experience at making high performance kayaks that were more refined than my own efforts. And, I could get a boat that was similar to my own designs, but in PLASTIC.
    Enjoy the photos