Sunday, November 30, 2008

DragoRossi Mad Boy first look in U.S.

Here's a glimpse at the new river runner (probably be used as a creeker by many) from DragoRossi.
This boat will arrive in the U.S. some time this early spring.

The new outfitting includes an adjustable rotomolded seat with pad.
The new ratcheting backband is larger and set up for easier adjustment. Everything is attached to the seat so no matter where you move your seat the set up for the back band is how you like it.

Traditional thigh hooks and a new adjustable bulkhead foot brace system. Move the black plates (which are on top of the main white plate) to fill in the space and prevent any slipping past the bulkhead. It's a safety feature that many are incorporating into their standard setups these days.

a quick shot of the hull. Not the best photo. Flat light and unscratched new plastic don't make for the best contrast. But, you'll get the idea...

Where does the Mad Boy fall in the DragoRossi creek boat line?
Check out these photos for quick comparisions with the Critical Mass and the Mafia.

blue CRITICAL MASS (left), yellow MAD BOY (center), green MAFIA (right)

My First Impressions...

I paddled the boat for the first time on Friday after Thanksgiving at Bulls Bridge. First impression was the stability. Big flat spot on the bottom makes the boat sit flat and confident. The edges are rounded enough so it's still easy to put up on edge for ferrying and it transfers edge to edge in a familiar way.

The boat is fast. I actually had to back off a bit on the approach to this boof move that I normally do when the river is at 1'. Typically I am in either the Mafia, or my Fish so have to paddle a bit harder to make the cross current move. The Mad Boy is very fast for it's length; probably a hair faster than the Critical Mass. But, the nice thing is that it's not TOO much faster. The adjustment is easy. I'm sure it will be a good big water boat too.

A note on the new outfitting. It took me about 5 minutes to get the bulkhead, thigh hooks, hip pads, and seat where I wanted them. Probably would have taken a bit less time if I was not distracted by talking with a friend who I had not seen in several months. All in all the outfitting is very easy to deal with, very "industry standard" and familiar.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reaction vs. Lazer

because of the contrast, there is a white line at the bow of the Lazer. The old black ender cap blended in with the roof a bit too much to see well.

I'm sure the Lazer is faster in the flats and super easy class III, but the added rocker of the Reaction lets it keep up some speed in the heavier water and makes turning a bit easier. The deck is just a bit higher too for your knees.

If anyone has an Excel that can be compared, I'd love to have pictures.

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex
Reaction vs Dancers
Reaction vs Lazer
Reaction vs AQII

Thursday, November 27, 2008

new plastic slalom boat

the straight-on shots are at the bottom as well as my impressions for the first day of paddling this boat

The SL350 weighs 14kg with all the outfitting. I'm sure if someone wanted to save weight they could take out the seat and shave at least 1.5kg off. But, weight saving is not really the point of a plastic slalom boat. Having a boat for teaching people how to paddle a slalom boat IS one of the reasons for having a plastic slalom boat. Also, it makes a great, durable cruiser for slalom boaters who don't want to beat up on their $1500 composite competition boats. So, the ready-to-go outfitting is nice.

It has an adjustable ratcheting backband and traditional style footpegs.

The SL350 is a completely modern slalom design, made with the design concepts with which current slalom athletes are accustomed.

It measures just barely over 350 cm,and is within the competiton dimention requirements.

here is a nice shot of it next to the Reaction so cruisers can get an idea of the size of the boat

I let James Capozi take the boat for it's inagural run down Bulls Bridge at just over 1/2' on the gauge. He is well over 6' tall with long legs and big feet. He fit very well in the boat. I don't know his weight, but he is super thin. Still, he looked like he was at the boat's max weight. It was James' first time ever in a slalom boat and he found it stable. While he complained about not being able to turn it (ha ha ha slalom boat newbie!!!) he was making it look good and nobody in the group could tell that he had not paddled in a 3.5m boat before.

Second run was my turn, and first time in the SL350. I weigh 170lbs and feel that the boat would be an acceptable size for me to compete in C/D racing, but I'd probably be better off with a larger bow if I were to race in the higher ranking race with more difficult whitewater. I was fine in cruising mode, but I just always preferred a larger bow. Some current competitors my size might argue otherwise.

The stern felt small. So, it's probably the boat that I envision, but if I was 150lbs. I'm anxious to have Ted or Devin try it out and get their impressions. Devin is lighter than me, but about the same height. Ted is much lighter than I am so will be a good indicator for some different paddlers.

I have paddled a couple of the new 3.5m boats briefly in the past. This plastic boat feels exactly like the contemporary boats and is a great improvement over the old Reflex and Fox.

Honestly, I need to get into my old slalom boat for a better comparison. I'm going on a bit of memory and have been paddling fat creek boats for the past couple of years.

Check the blog later because I will get some more people in the boat and get some more comparative runs in different slalom boats myself; probably ask to borrow one of the Vajda or Galasport models from this year.

Reaction vs. Dancers

the orange DragoRossi Reaction, red Perception Dancer, blue Perception Dancer XT

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex
Reaction vs Dancers
Reaction vs Lazer
Reaction vs AQII

Monday, November 10, 2008

Old School fun in the Reaction

way back in ancient times (1990's) I remember doing enders and corner spins in my old long boat. I brought the Reaction down to Tville to recapture some of that fun for a moment before breaking out the hot dog freestyle boat. I ended up spending the entire session in the Reaction.

special thank you to John Wallace of KayakPsych and Eskimo for taking photos.

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex