This is a great beginner WW boat for larger paddlers. (I'm 6 foot, 230 lbs.) It is solid on both primary and secondary stability. It's pretty much bomb-proof. It will plow through wave trains, and it's rather forgiving of bad posture. Dagger has comfortable outfitting and the foredeck has lots of room so you don't have to take yoga stretch classes to prevent your legs from falling asleep. Daggers are infinitely more comfortable than old boats.
I recently bought a Dagger Axiom 9.0, which has better control than the Mamba, but the Mamba is less edgy, more forgiving, and infinitely easier to roll--at least so far.
Here are the negatives:
-The Mamba is slow, especially on flat water. You have to paddle hard to keep up with your friends.
-Steering is more like suggesting. The boar generally will go where the river--not you--wants it to go.
-The Mamba is great for practicing attaining and ferrying in that it is stable so you won't flip, but you won't get the requisite speed to attain even moderate elevator moves, and your ferrying will likely end up turning into an unintended peel-out. Forget the hairy ferry. -Dagger boats tend to be leaky. Also, due to the stern's large volume, you're going to want to have two stern float bags instead of one. It can be a challenge, especially after a swim, to drag the Mamba 8.5 out and onto shore when it is full of water.
I have used smaller kayaks that I rented before. I am 6'5" so comfort has always been an issue for me mainly in the bulkhead, except for this Dagger. I have plenty of room to spare in this even after adding some foam. I try now to go out every weekend and get a little paddle time in on a local river. I feel very confident in this boat safety-wise and comfort-wise. Not having a skeg is an issue on calm waters but that is not what I got this boat for.
This is a well made boat with almost infinite outfitting adjustments. It is the most adjustable boat I have seen, with very comfortable footrest, thigh pads, and seating. There is even enough front to back adjustment on the seat to make a significant difference in the trim of the boat. Spend the time up front and be picky about every aspect of the setup and you will be rewarded with as comfortable a ride as you can find anywhere. I set mine up to my preferences with standard adjustments without having to use any of the generous supply of padding and shims that come with the boat.
If you're looking for a solid boat to do big water down river, this is it. You're not going to do a lot of playboating, but surfing and hole shots are solid. Combine that with its stability and ease of rolling, along with its speed and turning ability and I got pretty much what I wanted. I can cover a lot of rough water, carry some extra gear, stay comfortable, and do some surfing and other fun things while I'm at it. Not a bad deal.