Not only was I excited to check it out being as it seems a logical boat to like as I currently run a Pyranha Burn M 2010, but also gave me an opportunity for my first try at Liquidlogics outfitting, of which I've always heard so much about and has looked so inviting to me. Western Canoe and Kayak has, for the first time, brought in Liquidlogic boats just as of September, giving me my first exposure to the brand.
In the past I've heard or seen bad things about their plastic quality, but after seeing some of the people I heard that from either purchase or become extremely interested and even intent on purchasing these boats, it signals that something has potentially improved.
First off there's the commonalities between the 2 sizes, that being the outfitting. I simply loved the way the couch seat was formed for comfort and to hold a person in. It felt great. I'm not sure the rubbery backband, as opposed to cloth behind the cushioning was as good, it seemed to want to form less to the shape of my back a little bit. The hip and thigh pads, once properly adjusted were awesome and gripped me right in. The padding between your knees and the boat is the best I've ever experienced. I'd heard some issues regarding the new backband system, where it would pop up and not be properly held in place, however on the boats I tried this had been remedied.
The one issue I did have with the outfitting ended up being a big one unfortunately, I might be able to overcome it, but I'm not totally sure. I wear size 11 Teva Gnarkozi creek shoes in my boat, which take up a good amount of space. My Burn has a centre pillar that leaves a large gap of space between it and the toeblock allowing room for me to stick my heels together (while still having ingenious foam attached in the nose for security and some boyancy), I even encounter issues with this sometimes. The Stomper's centre pillar ran all the way down the centre of the boat, maybe adding more rigidity and security, but at the sacrifice of a couple inches of space for my heels. In the 80 this was an issue for me, in the 90 there was enough room that is wasn't. I know...I'm finnicky when it comes to comfort, that's the way it is, lots of boaters are.
The boat was a thrill to take down the river! First to the 80, very comfortable for the most part, boofs like nothing I've ever boofed before, the perfect rocker it seemed like! Felt a lot smaller than it is...very stable, little edge grabiness. Seemed to self propel out of holes at the bottom of drops instead of sticking around, surfs well. A bit harder to keep on line than the Burn...though this may be because the seat was all the way forward in the 80, the 90 seemed much better off in this regard. Very stable on edge as well, and not as fast as the Burn but more maneuverable.
As for the 90...a sometimes wise man once told me if you can handle a big boat well, there's lots of advantages to one. Considering that, the 90 was great, more stable than the 80...felt like it could just float through anything with ease. It was harder to boof and get the nose up than the 80 for me which I really didn't like. Overall I'd definately go for the 80 for my 170 lbs if I could get comfortable in it.
Final observation I'd say it's a well rounded boat that marries the gap between the Burn and Nomad in a good way, though maybe not as groundbreaking to the point that I expected. If I had to pick a boat tomorrow for the next year at this point besides a Burn this would be a front runner...though I still haven't tried that new Mamba...
I recommend the Stomper, but not sure there's other boats I wouldn't recommend more. For lots of people this will be the perfect boat!
|Ryan Bayes, Stompin'|