In the coming couple of weeks I'll be trying out a few creekers in an effort to find the one that's right for me. Before I start these reviews I figure I should put in some basic reviews of the primary boat I learned on and still paddle, my 1998 Dagger Medievil, the other creeker I own which is now repaired again and about to go up for sale again, a 2003 Riot Magnum 72, and the boat I briefly paddled during my training course, a 2001 Necky Blunt.
One thing to note is that boat reviews are often by very good boaters and/or sponsored boaters. I am neither, at best I'd rate myself at the point of writing this article as a kayaker who's been going at it 6 months, and a decent class III+ boater, and I'm not sponsored. Most boaters who are looking for their first serious, focused boat aren't the best boaters in the world, and have learned maybe on a makeshift package of equipment put together without too much cost, not sure if it's something they'll really pursue, these reviews might cater more to those people. It should also be noted it seems, that since 2003 boat designs really seem to have changed and advanced.
There are 2 boats that really have my eye for purchase as front runners, but I may try a few others just in case, 2010 Prijon Pure and 2010 Jackson Villain S Elite Series. These boats are two of the strongest with the best warranty, and that is one of my biggest focuses for my next couple years of kayaking, along with comfort, which is always paramount in something you'll be spending a lot of time in. Before I try any boats, it should be said I am leaning towards the Prijon Pure because of it's milder version of The Magnum's lines, easy rolling and great boofing combined with good reviews, solid construction and a great warranty and good looking outfitting, it seems like my kind of boat.
2001 Necky Blunt:
This was Kay's boat that I learned my first whitewater kayaking on, I didn't know much at the time, but since trying a couple and getting a bit of experience, it seemed like a solid creeker. It wasn't very comfortable, but it made my Medievil seem very difficult to run, and I didn't have much difficulty on the class I+ water I learned on. Unfortunately that's about all I can remember about it.
1998 Dagger medievil:
I bought this boat before I started kayaking, for one reason, it was only 180$ and it looked cool, aerodynamic, slicey, like a kayak I'd wanna drive. Well let me tell you, it had a real learning curve with it. It took me some time to learn it and learn what type of boat it was, but I can tell you it was probably the best move I made. The boat was amazing, I grew with it, and it made it very difficult at times, amazing primary stability meant I'd be fine if I could stay flat, but as soon as I got on an edge I didn't have much time or flexibility to change it up or I'd be upside down fast! At 6'9" it was a longer boat but with very low volume 58 gallons, slightly more than lots of tiny playboats people use these days, but still definately more of a river runner. It has a long, flat front and back and you MUST maintain a positive paddling position in it, or down goes your stern, instantly and in anything. It's not the easiest boat to roll, but not too difficult. Overall I think learning in it really advanced me faster than otherwise because of the dynamics of the boat. There's also next to no outfitting in it except a basic plastic seat, adjustable foot pedals, and a floating backband, I still say it's the most comfortable boat I've ever been in.
2003 Riot Magnum 72:
The Steve Fisher creeker! That's what I thought for sure when I picked up this boat. I took a chance on it, at the time I was looking for the best deal creeker I could find, and I thought I found it. There was a welded Magnum for sale for a low price, and I jumped on it taking the chance that it wouldn't break again right away, anyway, the price was right and if it didn't work out I could always sell it and absorb some of my losses. It was a very interesting boat, at first it took a lot of getting used to, it would spin automatically, grabbing every current that touched it, eddying out was automatic and you better be ready! I found it easy to roll, and it boofed pretty good, but very hard to keep on line. It seemed forgiving despite it's aggressiveness though and once I got used to it I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I only got maybe 5 runs out of it before it broke open again. Those are the chances you take!
Riot Magnum 72