Marc's WhiteWater Gear Reviews

Kayaks

I am a Non Pro Boater, 183 cm tall, weighing 84 kg and 60 years old. Like many kayakers of my generation, I prefer half slice kayaks. I am trying and testing most of them. So far my quest boiled down to a dilemma containing the Dagger Rewind, the Pyranha Ripper. If you are looking for slice and speed in a whitewater kayak, the Pyranha Ripper and Dagger Rewind are both great options. These whitewater kayaks offer a full volume bow and a low volume stern that makes it easy to get vertical on stern squirts and splats. When it comes to slicy river running kayaks, the Rewind and the Ripper are at the top of the food chain.
My first choice, for the moment, is the Dagger Rewind. Underneath I’ll share my thoughts on these boats. First the Rewind, second I’ll compare the Ripper to the Rewind.
The Waka Steeze and the LiquidLogic Mullet, excellent kayaks, are runners up because they are simply too big for me.


my Dagger Rewind

The Dagger Rewind has a planing hull rocker profile, making it ride up and over larger hydraulic features with ease. The sleek design is also fast and responsive while still feeling “forgiving enough”. Boofing the Rewind is super easy with the high-rise bow that quickly clears the drop and helps it to rise fast on rock-assist boofs. The stern has just enough volume and length to make it feel like a true river runner, but easy enough to bury in a squirt or pivot turn when you want to. The Rewind surfs short steeper features well by keeping the bow from pearling. The tapered edge profile starts at the bow, gets strongest right under the seat, then fades away at the very end of the stern, giving it a responsive feel. Initial and secondary stability seem to be spot on, stable and easy to roll. Its a really good design. And you can’t beat the Contour Ergo outfitting, with its ease of adjustability and immediate step-in comfort, and the Step-Out Safety Pillar. The low volume stern is just begging to be plunged underwater and is designed to allow the paddler to do stern squirts and get vertical on even the weakest eddy line. Lots of rocker. The boat tracks well and the stern could easily be made to do pivot turns and stern squirts. The extra volume in the bow feels extremely buoyant and resurfaces quickly.


Supplied by Kanocentrum Arjan Bloem.


Pyranha Ripper

The Pyranha Ripper at 274 cm is slightly shorter than the Rewind, hardly noticeable on the water. They are both very capable to carry speed over drops. The slight difference in width is noticeable though. The Ripper is 2,5 cm more narrow allowing for quicker acceleration than the Rewind. They roll equally easy.
The planing hull of these boats give them plenty of speed, awesome carving ability when surfing a wave on the river and skipping sticky holes. The Ripper has some more edge to carve in and out of eddies.
The Dagger Rewind has a volume of 254 litre and the Pyranha Ripper has a volume of 235 litre. The slightly lower volume of the Ripper will make it a little bit easier to get vertical however the higher volume of the Rewind will help it surface quickly after drops, punch holes easier, and provide more pop for big pirouettes.
If you want your river play whitewater kayak to have some serious rocker, you may favour the Dagger Rewind over the Pyranha Ripper. The Rewind features a much more aggressive rocker profile. Which, imho, makes it more suitable for class V passages.
I find the Ripper to be a narrower boat, very tight and unforgiving with a lot of edge. (I didn’t particularly like the outfitting, but I understand that’s improved.)


Available by Kanocentrum Arjan Bloem.


the Alternatives:

the Waka Steeze


Available at Kanocentrum Arjan Bloem.


the LiquidLogic Mullet


the Comparison

These are three very very well designed kayaks and arguably equally good, but totally different. There are little distinctive arguments to find. There are many differences, but not important enough for me. If I have to choose, these are the arguments that did matter to me:

Dagger RewindPlayful
Outfitting
Light & Small
Rocker
Pyranha Ripper
(wishlist)
Playful
Edgy
Light & Small
Waka Steeze
(wishlist)
Pod
Stability
Volume
LiquidLogic Mullet
(wishlist)
Modern version of Old School feel
Playful
Rounded ‘Slalom’ Hull speed

I find the Rewind and the Ripper to be a really playful and the Rewind’s outfitting is stellar.
The Steeze and the Mullet are a little bulky for my size/weight (84kg). The Steeze comes with loads of stability due to its very wide planing hull. The outsider is the wonderful Mullet with it’s rounded ‘slalom’ hull enabling fast and old school river running.


PeakUK Stern & Bow Airbags

I carry these for extra buoyancy and to clamp my spare paddle into the stern of my kayak. The bow airbag is a tough welded nylon PVC bow airbag for use in most modern whitewater kayaks, in front of the bulkhead. Eyelets fitted for security. Size when deflated: 60 x 35 x 35 cm
The stern airbags (pair) are tough welded nylon PVC split stern air bags for use in most modern whitewater kayaks with centre buoyancy. They fit on either side of the centre column. Eyelets fitted for security. Volume approximately 30L. Size when deflated: 45 x 85 x 20cm


Supplied by Kanocentrum Arjan Bloem.


Kayak Tool Kit

For my Dagger rewind, I assembled a toolkit which contains a Screwdriver with bits stored inside the handle:

  • a Torx 27, tamper resistant bit (for all grab handles,except one)
  • a Torx 30, tamper resistant bit (for the grab handle in front of cockpit)
  • a HEX4 bit
  • a PZ2 pozidriv bit
  • two generic small bits, because the handle had the space.

Next to essentials above, I have a very small 10mm wrench and an extension for the bit holder to get into hard to reach spaces.



My kayaks so far (history).

Prijon: T-Slalom / Avalanche / Stingray / Hai / Rockit / Performance
StipYaks: Verdon / Summit (multiple) / Ultra (multiple)
DoubleDutch: Fuego / Scimitar

Kayaks

The White Water River and Creek

‘Whitewater is formed in a rapid, when a river’s gradient increases enough to generate so much turbulence that air is entrained into the water body, that is, it forms a bubbly or aerated and unstable current; the frothy water appears white. The term is also loosely used to refer to less turbulent, but still agitated, flows. The term “whitewater” also has a broader meaning, applying to any river or creek itself that has a significant number of rapids.’

The Kayak / Canoe

There are five main “categories” in whitewater kayaking, and thus, Kayaks:

River running

A principal design characteristic of riverrunning kayaks is their comparatively longer length and narrower breadth. The longer length at the waterline not only helps to carry speed but the longer arcs thus created between stem and stern allow the boater to more efficiently and gracefully carve into, through and out of eddies and other currents.
(More on this topic can be found on this River Kayak page.)

Creeking

Creek boats usually have increased “rocker,” or rise, fore and aft of the cockpit for manoeuvrability.
(More on this topic can be found on this Creeking Kayak page.)

Slalom

Pro level slalom competitions have specific length (350 cm (140 in) for kayaks), width, and weight requirements for the boats, which will be made out of kevlar/fiberglass/carbon fiber composites to be lightweight and have faster hull speed. Plastic whitewater kayaks can be used in citizen-level races.

Playboating

Kayaks used for playboating generally have relatively low volume in the bow and stern, allowing the paddler to submerge the ends of the kayak with relative ease.

Surf kayaking
(‘out of category’, but relevant)

There are a number of speciality surf kayak designs available. They are often equipped with up to four fins with a three fin thruster set up being the most common. Speciality surf kayaks typically have flat bottoms, and hard rails, similar to surf boards. The design of a surf kayak promotes the use of an ocean surf wave (moving wave) as opposed to a river or feature wave (moving water). They are typically made from glass composites (mixtures of carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass) or rotomolded plastic. Many kayaks, such as those used in whitewater kayaking on rivers or tidal rapids, are used. Many whitewater designs can be fitted with fins, to assist in control on moving surf waves.