I brought my Katana from new, going for the action spec over the river spec as the shop told me it was really quite unnecessary. I think they were right. Once the boat was set up, it fitted really well and let both relax and really lock in.
That said, I’m a size 10.5 foot and on the upper end of the weight scale, while being quite short (5’9”) and found that it’s only really comfortable with paddle shoes. While I’m happy with it, it didn’t seem as rigid or well made as my wife’s piranha crossover, but make no mistake, its very well made. I feel comfortable and confident in it, and it’s really a very versatile boat.
I’ve used this for about 6 months now on slow moving water and flatwater and would feel really happy on proper moving water. While I haven’t used this in whitewater yet, I have used a loaner dagger on the local course and feel that the katana would be more than enough for its intended use, if a little large for smaller sections. It’s obviously quite a long and wide boat for WW.
If using it for camping, it could be a bit limiting. The hold is large but would put a lot of weight in the backside. The nose IS accessible, but it can be a chore. I’d be inclined to only use it if you have to. Airbags would be the priority if you wanted to use it on moving water, I think.
The rear hatch on mine leaks a little from new... It’s not major, but it’s there. And because the things not as stiff as its counterparts, id be a bit worried about the hatch blowing off from a hard hit, but that’s easy to safeguard against.
The rigging is good, but I’ve had to remove some bungee so I could add some dyneema lines to make self rescues viable. I’d happily use this for touring shorter trips, any 1 day paddles, WW, and I think even limited coast exploring. Its only really on the extremes that you’d want a different boat.
I’d say its overall limited areas would be thin whitewater stretches, long trips (without support) and a lot of sea work. Chances are though, you’d reach your own limits before you reach the boats.
Overall it’s a really nice boat with only some minor niggles.
This kayak is a true hybrid making it great for both whitewater and flatwater. It's rounded hull allows it to turn on a dime and the drop-down skeg allows for straight tracking over a large expanse of flatwater. The skeg is like the one in the Dagger Axis and is a huge improvement over the old Dagger Approach.
I'm really impressed with the Katana 10.4. It is quick to turn and very nimble for a boat so large and heavy. With the skeg dropped down, I'm amazed at how well it tracks a straight line. It's easy to surf small waves, ferry, eddy turn, etc. It's speed is quiet fast, allowing me to easily keep up with others in 10' recreational boats, even though I get to have a lot more fun in the rapid areas. The outfitting is comfortable and versatile, though I wish there was a little better back support.
I have been a whitewater paddler since the late eighties. I got out of the sport for 10 years due to an injury. This year I had an itch to paddle again but didnt want to take out my rodeo boats. Just too hard to roll after my back surgery. So, i thought about a creek boat but also wanted to do some flat water paddling and camping. Didnt know dagger made these crossovers. As soon as I sat in the 10 4 i knew this was my boat. Bought it and new skirt and hit the lake. First thing i tried was a roll and it was effortless. Took it again on the lake next day in high surf,(lake ontario) caught waves so easy ,easy carving ,had a combat roll and popped up with no problems. ( Been ten years). The skeg makes it super easy to punch smaller waves whike paddling out. Of course big waves you have to roll through. I surfed w the skeg up and down, skeg down kept me straight. Skeg up and the carving was tight. Flat water w skeg down makes paddling a breeze. This is my third dagger boat ive owned over the years and will stay w them. I think i ll be getting a creek boat next. The boat is a bit heavy, but price to pay for durability and quality. So enough of this good job dagger, im going to paddle. Peace!
It's been a joy to find a kayak that crosses over (That's why they call it a Cross Over style kayak) into almost every paddling condition I go out in. Paddling in Alaska is always an adventure. We have changing weather and water conditions constantly... Silty fast moving glacial flows, chaotic wind chop, and intimidating swells that will make most men's butt holes pucker up. I enjoy owning a kayak that I can take out for a river run or throw gear in for a multi day adventure. So far I've taken the Katana 10.4 in the Ocean, up to the face of a glacier, leisurely floats across lakes, and floated several rivers. I'm not a "hardcore" whitewater guy just yet, but this boat will hopefully bridge that gap and lead me more into that direction. What sporty water I have ventured into, it has handled beautifully.
Not only does the boat handle well in every condition I've taken it out in (thanks to the included drop skeg) but it has some excellent curb appeal. I felt like I was riding in a new corvette by the responses I was getting. The boat on flat water and ocean swells doesn't paddle terribly fast like a longer touring boat would, but that's not why I bought it. It does go faster then most smaller boats I've paddled.
I love having a smaller boat that I can throw up on the roof rack or directly in the back of the pickup without much fuss. I'm finding the Katana is becoming my new go to boat for just about everything.
The size fits me great! I loved the larger size of the Katana 10.4 which fits my solid 6' 235lb. body well. Smaller guys have tried it and enjoy it, but they said they'd be better suited with the smaller version. I have friends that paddle the Liquid Logic Remix series and it piqued my interest to move to the Katana. The fact that several people use it to float big water and do long excursion trips through the Grand Canyon was very appealing. After searching High and Low and being patient for some time, finally a very gently used one, popped up on Craigslist that I pulled trigger on.
I'm grateful for a boat that's super adjustable down to the smallest detail, has a drain plug in the cockpit area (haven't needed it yet), the large rear hatch has stayed bone dry, and I'm actually a huge fan of the drop skeg, which has made the transition into whitewater, a bit less intimidating and forgiving. After my first day on the river I stopped using the drop skeg after getting a feel for the boats capabilities and carving with the current.
Good job Dagger. Yes, I'd recommend one to my growing list of jealous friends.
***The only drawback is that my pup is too big and can't ride along anymore... She's devastated
The Dagger Katana is an awesome kayak that is very forgiving and versatile. I’ve been paddling it on rivers, lakes and whitewater for just over a year. There are 7 kayaks between my family of 3 and it is by far my favorite and the most useful. All my kayaking friends who have tried out my Katana have been impressed.
-It is a great river runner particularly in winding rivers with rock gardens, rapids and sweepers.
-It turns easily, and yet it is very stable. I often say it’s like a tank on the water because it goes through holes and rapids with ease.
-There is a lot of room in the back hatch for storage.
-Riding lake waves is a blast! -My Katana survived in a nasty hydraulic for over 40 minutes before it was fished out. It’s badly scratched but otherwise undamaged.
-At 56 Lbs (dry) it is very heavy. Add some gear in the back and it can be difficult to portage. -I started to roll in my katana first, but because it is such a high volume kayak I needed to practice on my smaller playboat in order to perfect my roll. Now that I am more confident I can roll my katana with ease.
-Having a drain plug is great, but it’s not in the easiest spot to use.
-The hatch is a little leaky so use dry bags in the back that can’t get a little damp
-The Katana is a wide kayak, I needed a longer (200cm) paddle to feel comfortable.
-Stick some airbags or beach balls in the front to make recovering the katana easier after a swim.
-Make sure you tie off your drain plug, I lost mine and use a cork now to plug the hole.
Fun boat, can turn on a dime. With the skeg down paddles like a much longer boat.
For a boat this size there is a lot storage space in watertight compartment. Have seen zero leakage. It is a heavy boat for 10.4, but I suppose it has to be for whitewater. I'd recommend a float bag for bow. After a wet exit before I had one I found the boat very heavy boat to get to river's edge filled with water. Overall I am pleased with my purchase of this boat.
Overall, fantastic kayak. Love the diversification of switching between white water and long river or beach trips. Brought this kayak to over 10+ states and it handles all water well. I even use this kayak to race standard marathons. Awesome work Dagger!!!
Good experience, Paddles well. turns a dime. Skeg makes a big difference in paddling a straight line, with its aid paddles like a much longer boat. Cockpit and seat comfortable. Comes with padding to custom fit to your liking. Have really enjoyed this boat.
I love Dagger's approach to design. Takes practice to get into, but easy out and that's great. It is heavy. but man, it's awesome. I'm reviewing like you've already decided to buy, but thats because you should, if you're considering, do it. It is more a moving water boat. Axis leans more to flat water/lake/class I-III There is no paddle holder but thats okay because you wont stop. The drain plug doesn't work all that well but, there is one.
In short, a great Crossover that leans toward moving water that will adjust to you and become your boat and you'll be a better paddler for it.Comes at a price but what doesn't. It's gone down the Colorado!!! 26 days unassisted with one resupply at day 17"
I wanted tripping room for overnight group camps, a creek style ride for river class 2-3, and flat water ability for paddling on a lake we live on for fitness and stroke detailing. I don't need speed per say but skeg help tracking is nice for the 2 mile "out to the Island and back" run. Way back in my white water days improving stroke and refining bracing I spent hours doing and enjoyed it tremendously.
Today I took the boat on a local river hole and put it through its paces and I'm truly convinced this is the correct boat for my needs. It has plenty of speed and tracking for a 10 foot boat. With the skeg up it spins on a dime, surfs great, and sins into eddies with ease. 1st stability is good and 2nd is good enough. After initially riding skirted locked in getting my bearings back for two hours, I was very happy with how comfortable I was feet and all. Then I took off all gear and just paddled flat water with knees between the thigh braces and was very comfortable doing that for an hour working on the subtlety's of stroking and edging.
I'm fired up about this boat and while no boat can please every situation, I'm glad I went this route for sure.