I picked up two of these new/retro boats this week on my way out to Colorado. Tony had sent them out with Jason, from Stony Boater paddle wax, who was nice enough to meet me out on the highway near Pittsburgh on my way west. (thank you Jason)
Tony Z. had a few of these on the latest container of DragoRossi kayaks that he had imported. Currently, he has all the new boats for the U.S., so be sure to check his site DonkeyFlip.com
Since many people are paddling retro boats for fun, the discovery of this old mold at the DragoRossi/Eurotank factory was fortunate.
The mold is in excellent shape, so Corran decided to spin up a few boats. This yellow one is the first one out of the mold. Minor imperfections, but since I wanted the first one, I don't care about imperfect.
What IS perfect about this boat is the fact that it is a retro design, but in brand new, super strong fresh plastic. I had been eyeing an old Pirouette, but who knows how brittle the plastic is, and just how long the thin spot under the seat was going to last. New plastic give me confidence.
These days, most of the hype around long boats centers around the Green Race. It's a fantastic event, and the resultant boat (which bears the same name) is a nice design that rides high and dry.
But, the reality of the much larger paddling community is that most people don't run long boats down the Green. And, in fact, most people don't run the Green at all. There is still an appreciation for long boats, and the speed and fun that they bring to boating. Old-schoolers who still paddle their beat up long boats, and new-schoolers who are looking to do something exciting on their local runs (find a change of pace).
How many people are looking for long boats (that are not rec boats) for their trip down the Grand Canyon? Longer water lines make easy work of all that flat water, while true whitewater designs make the surfing fun, and the rapids easier to handle.
I can only imagine the number of people who have old, long boats in their yard, sun faded, getting increasingly brittle, who wonder what it would be like to get back into that boat. Take it on easy water at first to make sure that it will hold up. Or, if you have any doubts (like I did) then (to be sure) consider getting something in new plastic, like this Reaction.
Of course there will always be people who run long boats down the steep and crazy. Rocker and volume will help with that (among other design features). But, the point is to have a good time no matter what boat you are in. Making moves in a long boat is a completely different sensation than making moves in short boats. Not better. Just different (and exceptionally fun)