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.


Risa said...

Hi Scott,
This could be wonderful for many people in DC who are not going to spend for a glass slalom boat and need a vehicle for O-Deck, practicing at the feeder canal and attaining. You must come promote it down here...maybe at the Potomac Festival July 11-12!

Scott Barnes said...

I agree that it's a good boat for the Potomac. But, I also hope to be sold out before July.

I'll get a demo down to Jeff McIntyre in the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Scott, may I obtain more information about design factors for paddler weight and height? We have actually conducted one the longest enduring slalom races in the US, in one of the most unlikely venues, SE Missouri. Not having consistent water levels, this would be ideal for our granite riverbed and slalom practice. Please contact me at

Anonymous said...

I've been paddling this boat for 2 weeks now and I absolutely love it. It's gotten me total hooked on slalom! Construction, build quality, and outfitting are very good. I love this kayak (so much so that I just ordered a 2nd to get a friend or two hooked). Man there is nothing like paddling a slalom boat to get your core work out. I have some things to learn about this particular kayaking style but I really look forward to it!

Scott's been really good to deal with to. Made the whole shipping thing easy.

Have had my SL350 out in flat water and some wind swell bump to and it's great. Very maneuverable and I was amazed at how stable it's been. Can't wait to increase my skill level and take it out into really rough conditions.