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|Here are the first impressions from the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006 in Salt Lake City. Updated: Fluid Nemesis and Pyranha Speeder.|
Riot Thunder: The new word for this season is "play-creeker" and the Thunder represents Riot's take on this nebulous form. Still considered to be in prototype, the floor model shows considerbly more refinement than the printed catalog I took from the booth, most ostensibly in the structural corrugations running the length of the gunwhales - it's shaping up quite nicely. Think technical creeker for small, low volume creeks with a very forgiving planing foot and you're in the right neighborhood. Promises to be an interesting little boat.
Pyranha has been working hard churning out designs lately. It seems like we've barely gotten to know the 4Twenty and the Burn here in the states and now the Recoil and Ammo are in the chutes. The Ammo can once again be characterized as a play-creeker - enough volume to be considered a technical creeker but still playful, especially in volume dependant moves like Loops. The Recoil offers further refinement in a "freeride" or playful river-runner - more play, less volume, eats less, smells great. The tactical camoflage boat is a limited edition color called the Mission.
Pyranha has also taken their basic wildwater racing boat and put some new lines on it to come up with a whitewater racing kayak: the Speeder.
Liquid Logic Ronin - Liquid Logic brings some length and pop to their aerial line. The planing foot has been extended bow and aft to give more surface area for even bigger bounce and the decks have been sharpened up a bit edgewise as well. Width adjustments have been made for faster edge-to-edge transfer. Also, 5 boats were stolen from the outdoor demo here in Salt Lake City, so if your local kayak thief tries to sell you some suspicious looking Ronins, savagely beat the number for the police non-emergency into your cell phone and report them. Thank you.
Take the aeriability for which Dagger is known and make it comfortable enough to actually sit in for extended periods of time and you have the basic thrust of The Dagger Agent. There's a shot of me in here sitting in one, but what you can't see is that I'm still wearing my Adidas Sambas under that deck, and still quite comfortable. That's impressive for me as someone who is almost always too long-legged for the proper boat size. Mark "Snowy" Robertson has added a unique double-concave rail to the hull that should make this one very loose kayak indeed. So, more power to them.
Fluid is growing up fast. Since their OR debut 3 years ago they've managed to produce some very respectable kayaks. Now with the addition of Billy Harris in design and CAD support from Steve Horvath, the future looks brighter yet. The Spice will have a small model out soon, that's true, but the Nemesis looks like it could be their best yet.
H20 paddles: After a season of hard, independent testing, I can say with confidence that H20 paddles are virtually indestructable high-performance paddles. Rock on, Steve. The new feature for this year is an aluminum impregnated composite shaft.
Immersion Research - Well, you start talking to Kara Weld and where does the time go? Who knows. They're just great folks over at Immersion Research and judging by all the photos I took, I guess time got away from me. The big item is that they finally have a dry suit now which looks great as always. The more fashionable items made it into the article - Burmuda shorts, pink hot pants (James Brown would be proud) and a new backband. Also, they have a spray skirt coming out that has an anti-implosion bar / Over-thruster component in the front. Groovy.
More OR 2006 Reports
Part 1: Riot, Pyranha, Liquid Logic, Dagger, Fluid, H2O Paddles, Immersion Research
Part 2: Kokatat, Astral, Wavesport, NRS, Palm Equipment, AT Paddles, Camaro
Part 3: WRSI, Level 6, Stohlquist, Shred Ready, Sweet, Gath, Wrap Up