Reviews written by Ironbutt
|18 results - showing 1 - 15||1 2|
Let me start by saying that I am a geat fan of the cheap Lomo Paddle Jacket. It's just that I seem to have trouble with the latex-gaskets in seawater. This started last autumn and I wanted to get a neoprene fitted jacket for sea paddling. Langer offers XXXL (yes, triple-X) size for the Smooth and Shred jackets, so I went for it. It's VERY comfy, easy to don and I have never had a single drop of water inside. So far the neoprene gaskets are exactly as tight as the latex stuff on my other gear. More so: I am thinking of getting my dry-suit retrofitted with neo-gaskets. It's a lot less hassle in the locker room before and after boating. As a result, I am now using this jacket on rivers as well ...
* absolutely watertight - the neo gaskets are as good as the latex ones
* two color schemes: signal orange and navy blue
* wide cut for normal paddlers - suits my beer-tummy
* everything feels "top quality"
- the scratch lids that tighten the outer layer around wrist and belly are more than a tad too stiff
- no elbow reinforcement - can't use this jacket in Corsica without buying additional protectors
After a long time with a hard and heavy paddle, the Robson Lady Lotus comes as a real relief. I got mine about two years ago and I am very, very happy with it. The smaller blades and the thin shaft make for stressless paddling; no burning forearms or aching shoulders after two hours on the water.
If you have "above average" hands (my glove size is 8), the shaft is even on the brink of "gee, this is REALLY thin", but as I am a tad above average (1,75m / 5'9") most women will perfectly love it that way. It's a quality product, everything looks and feels solid, and it might well live for decades. Plus it looks gorgeous!
- "easy" on hands and arms
- precise handling in the water
- "shock absorbing" shaft
- hefty price (you pay for the quality)
I honestly think that Robson should discontinue this paddle. First of all, you can also buy the same blades without the Robson "sun" logo from Ainsworth for half the price. And both - the Robson and the Ainsworth - have been bought by members of our club and didn't last one season. A total of THREE of these paddles left us within one season, two with broken blades, one with a broken shaft at the shaft/blade interface...
Robson makes great paddles. There are quite a few old STUDs out there who haven't suffered a bit over the last ten years, and my wife is a total fanatic of her Lotus Lady, but the Combat is cheap as in "cheap". Hands Off!
- large surface blades
- a tad heavy
- looks awful
The Robson Puffin is an old (and truly tested) beginner kayak with rather big cargo compartments. The latter - and the very dry ride - qualify the boat for expeditions or longer touring. It comes with a very simple rudder system and a lot of primary stability and, despite the shallow U-bottom, turns quite well when put on an edge.
The rear cargo bunker is huge and they copied the Prijon hatch covers (neoprene deck, covered by a plastic top with belts). It's watertight! The front features some sort of "easy open" handle, which is comfy, but not all that waterproof (put the sleeping bag, the tent, the pasta and rice in the back!).
A lot of these boats have been sold to kayak-tour-operators and rental companies, because the hull stable and the wide seat suits a lot of first-timers. Robson has replaced the boat with the new Titris 16 in 2010 (2011?), but I have recently seen NEW Puffins for 600.- Euro on eBay (there seems to be some NOS - new old stock). Again: the puffin is neither fast nor beautiful, but it's worth 600.- € any day and the boat is a true bargain at that price! If you find a new one for that price (or a used one at 400.-) and don't want to break the speed record, you might consider buying the Puffin.
- lots of volume
- comes with rudder
- safe feeling when inside
- OK plastic quality
- splashes "over" the waves instead of piercing through
- suffers badly from lateral winds
- not the fastest kayak of it's size
- non-profiled rudder blade
The Prijon Marlin is a beautiful and very responsive boat for experienced paddlers up to 1,90m / 6'3" and 90-95 kg. I am too tall and too big for this kayak (that's why I bought a Kodiak), but I have always been a fan of the fast tracking Marlin. My wife and a good friend of our kayak-club own HTP Marlins and I have done several hundred km in them, though always with an empty hull (no baggage/cargo in the boat).
While 58cm may seem large, the Marlin is way more tippy than most other kayaks. Prijon favors a hull design without any primary stability, which turns about all and every beginner off! The edges help to turn the boat, but they do not add any stability - the Marlin is not for your first hours or days in a kayak!
It is an excellent performer at sea, allowing the experienced kayaker to paddle for hours with waves coming directly from the side, but you need to develop some balance and confidence first. If you get there, you can let any wave pass underneath you, because the hull stays easily rectangular to your upright body position; a more "stable" kayak will stick rectangular to the water/wave surface - and that will (not even "could" or "might") lead to capsizing.
The boat has a tendency to pierce waves, rather than ride on top of them; this keeps the pace up, but you have to get used to the fact that about half the boat in front of you disappears under green water every few seconds, when paddling in waves. You might not need the rudder on rivers or lakes, but should add it when paddling on the sea.
- comfy seat
- easy to turn due to sharp edges
- proven performance
- best hatch covers in the market
- not for beginners
- glove box not watertight
- thigh-grips don't work for tall/big paddlers
- discontinued (only available in ABS/Prilite today)
The Z.One (I pronounce it "Zee One", others say just "zone") is a classic river runner and/or river playboat. It turns the smallest 6" waves into a "Nile Special" and lets you surf in places where you haven't actually SEEN any wave at all. The sharp rails and long, thin tail make for a slalom-boat like handling, allowing stern-stalls and dive-turns à gogo. About the same applies to the sharp, low-volume nose, made for bow-stalls and ultra-slow cartwheels (a slow super-clean cartwheel looks so much more classy than those quick turns in modern rodeo-boats).
The boat offers substantially more volume around the paddler than the legendary InAzones of old, resulting in a more relax, high-knee position and some added safety when going through waves. I would not use this boat in anything above WW III+, though. When piercing the foamy part behind a hole, the bow will cut in easily, but the big volume around the cockpit will - all of a sudden - slow the boat violently down. And then the roll grabs the low-volume tail!.
Now I am not the best paddler in the world, and when it comes to holes, I prefer a full-creeker every time. With the Z.One, I get stuck in holes that I can pass without even boofing in my Karnali. This makes the Z.One a WW I - III boat for me and I wouldn't use it in "big volume". But up to class III, you can do everything in style and "old school".
The boat seems to be made of thinner PE than my other two Pyranhas. It feels weaker and suffers more from torsion - but maybe it just feels that way.
- easy to roll
- lightweight for its size (2,65 * 0,68!)
- excellent Pyranha outfitting
- old-school playboat for old-school moves
- lots of legroom
- allows slalom-like maneuvers
- a bit unstable
- thinnish plastic by Pyranha standards
This book has become a standard over the years, and I am happy to own it and check things from time to time. It was well recommended by my kayak-teacher and a has become my "kayak bible" of sorts.
No book can replace a teacher on the water, but this one is about as good as paper gets and I actually find myself quoting lines from this book when running rivers like for example saying "go with the V and you'll be free" when I looking for the way out of a cataract ...
I think this is the first time that I give the full score - it's that good!
- lots of explanatory photos and diagrams
- easy to understand language
- exists in German and English
- not a "reading" book, rather a practical support for learning
I couldn't agree more. Good review!
The Stream is a BIG paddle and comforts paddlers with big hands who prefer a low paddle-technique and a strong pull at low frequency. It is about the exact opposite of a wing-paddle. The Prijon blades have a distinct W-profile and will help to "lock" the paddle in the water, even when you cut the surface in a less than perfect angle. They are also remarkably "wobble-free" at any pull.
You pay these advantages with some added noise; while some paddles allow for very silent propulsion, the Stream is always bubbling and gurgling. No prob on the sea, but quite audible on a "not-so-silent-anymore" trip over a quiet lake in the autumn morning mist.
The paddle is neither heavy nor lightweight - I'd rate it in the middle, but between 210.- (glass, straight shaft) and 380.- Euro (carbon, ergo-shaft) I'd like to see more of an effort. But then the weight probably comes with the rock-sturdy quality.
If your hands are small to mid-size and you'd like to go for a big blade, check the Prijon BORA. It's exactly the same blades, but in Nylon-fiber and it comes with a smaller diameter and more flexible shaft. The Bora feels a lot alike, but is easier to handle.
- "Smart Shaft" system allows for easy change of feather
- looks good (translucent fiber blades)
- big blades for maximum pull
- W-shaped blades guarantee a perfect "grip" in the water
- shaft pretty thick (big diameter) - difficult for small hands
- stiff price tag
Let's start positively: this boat is a bargain and if you are shopping for a BIG boat on a tight budget, you will land here sooner or later. I had the chance to paddle one when I was looking for a new boat about a year ago.
The fish-form makes for a very stable ride, and beginners will feel safe in this hull from day one. Another benefit of the swede form is the great tracking and high speed. The smaller hull around and in front of your knees and feet let you put the paddle in the water closer to the middle line; perfect for a good technique. The downside is a hull that will always sty pretty flat on the water/wave surface, so when the waves get higher, you might not be able to counterbalance the hull. I could NOT verify this, because I tested the boat on a calm day.
There's not a lot of rocker, so the hull is rather piercing the waves than bouncing up and down and this way the front hatch cover gets a lot of exposition to water and spray. While the boat tracks beautifully, turning the boat without the rudder is hard work. The Expedition was designed with a rudder and it should be used with one.
The boat is not well built. I saw cracks in the gelcoat of the two month old boat I paddeled, and the owner asured me that some of them have been there from the start. The edges of the cockpit were rather sharp - I feared for my spraydeck; another minute of sanding would have done good here. Same with the front hatch cover: it only fits so-so and paddling the boat for two hours on a rather calm sea (50cm waves, building up to 1m in the surf) added around 3 liters of water in the front cargo compartment. That's inacceptable!
A serious kayak builder would not let a boat like that pass the quality control, but that implies you HAD quality control in first place. And while you might say, that it's all just minor points, I will answer that sanding the gelcoat down and start a repair will take two to three weekends and around 100.- Euro for the material. But the real killer is the water in the front hatch. That's safety critical and I do not tolerate it.
Add 150.- Euro for a new hatch cover and a bucket of gelcoat and 20+ hours of work (cockpit rim, hatch rim, gelcoat) to the initial price, and the boat is not a bargain anymore.
- huge rear cargo bunker
- comfy cockpit for big and tall paddlers
- quite fast
- easy to handle with the rudder
- metal parts rust away
- hatch covers not watertight - everything gets soaked inside
- turnig without rudder nearly impossible
- tricky in hevy weather
Heavy pull-over vest made of tough and long lasting materials with all the necessary safety features. Mine has so far done somewhere in between 300 and 500 days on the water (river and sea mixed) and still looks like fresh out of the shop. I had to change something, though: the D ring for the leash's carabiner is above the big buckle of the rescue belt. This way, there's a clicking noise at every move you make. I took that ring off and put it on the belt under the front pocket.
- thick foam layers protect ribcage and backbone quite well
- good visibility / signal colors only
- sizes are rather big - fits the tall and heavy boys
- excellent shoulder padding for kayak transport
- not very flexible due to thick foam layers
- carabiner "split D ring" in wrong position
If you are shy and/or like to stay under the radar, this helmet ain't for you. The look and size of this "military" helmet attracts the attention of everybody on the river and make you look somewhere between "Bad Boy" and a total fool, I have never been to a spot without someone asking me "hey, what's that helmet?"
Behind the flashy optics hides a quality piece of gear. This is a very solid carbon helmet and it has saved my head more than once. Twice I got shocks so hard on the rear of my head, that the helmet slipped partly over my face - and on one of those occasions it broke my nose! This is not the helmet's fault, as I did not fix the rear strap correctly, but you can see how violent some rock contact can be under water - and apart from a few scratches there are no traces of any abuse on the surface. Your ears aree very well protected, too. While it seems fashionable to wear nothing more than an eggshell at any given playspot, I prefer a totally enveloping protection in rivers or creeks.
There's also a downside to the size and shape of the helmet: it "catches a lot of water" when you hang under your boat. You sometimes feel the helmet tear and pull on your head, when streaming water catches the gap between the helmet and your ears. This is pretty uncomfortable and may be a safety issue in real tough white water, but that's not what I do. The helmet would fit better with wider straps.
- very good protection
- covers the ears
- reasonable price
- fast transatlantic delivery
- complete fitting set
- turns with the stream under water
- straps too thin
The Kodiak is the very large crude carrier in the Prijon range of boats and my dimensions and displacement especially qualify me as an owner - so I bought one. As the keel line is comletely straight and the hull is pretty round in "diameter", the first two things you will notice are:
- this boat is incredibly tippy for 59cm hull width
- this boat is incredibly fast.
The former will pass (the boat becomes a lot more stable when doing two knots or more and you will get used to it), the latter stays true. Prijon makes their plastic boats by inflating a plastic tube inside a negative form/mold. The plastic feels different and is WAY harder and more resistant than any classic rotomoulded kayak, and the stiffer hull makes for a faster ride! So the Kodiak stays among the fastest boats in any given paddler group, beating every greenland-style fibre-hull and losing only against surf-skis. The long water-line sees to that, but the lack of rocker also means, that the boat provides a pretty wet ride when in waves.
The small and low nose pierces into waves and the first meter of the boat is often under green water. Luckily enough the two-piece hatch covers fit tight and keep the water away from the payload. Another point is the sheer volume of the boat and the effect of lateral winds. You wish for the rudder at 1Bft and you will desperately need it at 3 Bft. This should be no problem - the Kodiak was designed for use with a rudder and it performs best, when you put the blade into the water.
- carries lots of gear
- very fast
- indestructable HTP plastic
- quality outfitting
- best hatch-covers in the market
- difficult in lateral winds
- needs the rudder
- not a bargain
- looks a bit fat (well, what do you expect from a supertanker?)
An allround River-Runner with a lot of freestyle-potential built in. The Recoil L will not help you win the air-superiority over your local spot, but it will let you spin and turn in style. I personally am a bit too heavy for the boat and my feet suffer badly under the very small foredeck, but that's not really Pyranha's fault.
The Recoil lets you surf every wrinkle on the water and the sharp edges and flat bottom provide solid "grip" when curving into eddies. On top of that, the boat rolls like a dream; because there is not a lot of volume behind the seat, you can actually lie on the water and "hip-kick" the stern of the boat under your back. Very, very assuring and an extra helping hand for those, who still improve their rolling skills.
It's not a beginner's kayak, but any club-boater can take tihe Recoil series into class III rivers and/or sections. Above this, the boat simply lacks volume and you might find yourself fighting in a hole, that you would have boofed without problems in a creeker. Since the Varun is out, a lot of shops sell their Recoil stock for incredibly low prices - I got mine for half of the Varun's list price - a bargain!
- Pyranha plastic
- very loose bottom
- everyday boat for light to medium white water (cl I - III)
- drain bung only on one side (sorry leftie's)
The Karnali is a creeker - not an allrounder. If you search for a do-it-all boat, the Burn may be the better choice. But if you want a very confidence inspiring and easy to roll hi-volume boat, the Karnali will be the weapon of choice. I have taken mine to about twenty rivers so far, and as I own a smaller river-runner, too (Pyranha Recoil L), I can pass on the inexistant play-potential of this boat.
The Karnali feels more like a Prijon Pure, Wavesport Habitat or Fluid Big Bang, not so much like a Wavesport Diesel or Pyranha Burn. It's "slower" turns and reactions may turn the pros off, but help me to stay upright when the river becomes all of a sudden narrow, rocky and fast.
- long, wide and roomy for the taller and/or bigger paddler
- in-between bottom - I'd say "trapezoid"
- Connect 30 outfitting
- proven quality of Pyranha plastic
- surprisingly low price tag
- turns and spins slower than the Burn
- discontinued in Connect 30 outfit - only Rapid and Club available
I got this one two years ago and it is still my #1 paddle. The blades are huge and it takes some degree of fitness to use the paddle correctly, but you will be rewarded with a perfect power transmission and some additional pounds of lift, when you have to make that roll in white water.
Beware of the paddle's edges, though. When they wear off, small chips and splinters of carbon fiber come unglued and they can cut your skin like razor blades. I personally stick a strip of duck tape around the edge; it lasts about half a season for me.
- very light
- wide spaced grips (ergo-shaft-bends)
- very effective transmission of force in the water
- suits nearly every style from alpine creeking to slalom competitions
- big foam core for additional lift when rolling in white, bubbly water
- low feather at 35° (feels natural)
- not really a freestyle/rodeo paddle
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