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Name: paddler208092

Most Recent Reviews

For me it is actually a 10 but I'm not a whitewater boater and I really don't use the boat for serious whitewater so I give it the 8.

I bought this boat used in the winter of 2002. I have used it for light duty white water - Hiawassee River, TN; Etowah River, GA; Cahaba River, AL; Current River, MO (not really white water). Mostly Class I, but a couple of Class II Rapids thrown in.

As the others have stated it is a very forgiving boat. I paddle it on camping trips also, minus the floatation bags. It handles well loaded with gear. I've considered getting a "touring type" solo boat but since most of my paddling is downriver this boat does just fine. I have to work a bit harder in the "flat stretches" but find the boat paddles well in a straight line when leaned. I use my own combination of "c" strokes and "j" strokes to keep it moving along.

I'm upgrading my rating due to excellent service from the company. I wrote an e-mail to Bending Branches from their website. They are now making arrangements for me to ship my paddles to them (no charge to me) and they will reglue the blade into the shaft. They were very quick in responding to my e-mail and offering their help. I appreciate a company that stands behind their product. The paddle is a very good paddle for distance paddling. I will continue to use it for lakes but will retire it from rocky river use.

I bought the aluminum shaft as a second paddle (first is a Seaquel) after my boyfriend raved about his being so wonderful. It is a very good paddle but both of us have had problems with the glue holding the paddle into the shaft coming loose. Both paddles had to be reglued. His came apart on the 4th or 5th outing and mine did it on the second. We both paddle Dagger recreational boats and do run some pretty rocky rivers in addition to paddling on lakes. I don't think the paddles are designed to hold up to the rocks.

Update to my review of 5/28. I still give it a 10 for what it is! It is a recreational boat.

This summer I have fished a lot, done 2 camping trips and run several rivers with sections of class II rapids. I am using a nylon spray skirt in the rapids. The boat has performed well. On rivers I go mostly with folks in solo canoes and have no problem keeping up. I must be lucky because my bulkhead doesn't appear to be leaking. Once I swamped the boat ( 5 inches of water in the cockpit) when I got jammed between two rocks while ferrying across the river and it still didn't leak. Regarding comments about the speed and cruising, I will admit that on flatwater (non-flowing) you do have to keep paddling - it has very little glide. However, for me this isn't an issue as I'm not paddling long distances on flat lakes. My longest distance has been 3 miles and it took me an hour and 20 minutes - no wind that day.

I find the boat very easy to turn and very easy to paddle in a straight line. I am 5'5" and 145 lbs and paddling with a 220cm Seaquel paddle. The skeg helps me tracking on flatwater but I rarely use it on moving rivers. Some have complained about the skeg line holder being in the way. On my very first trip I had a horrible bruise on my right arm just below the elbow from constantly bumping it. However, after advice from other paddlers and a bit of reading on paddling technique I have not had any problems since. I do not lean back in the seat when I paddle. I sit up straight and my back doesn't even touch the seat back and my arm never hits the "holder".

The boat has stood up well to abuse in rocky rivers. I did one trip where we did a 2 mile long shoal area of very shallow water bumping over many rocks. The hull has multiple scratches but in my opinion they give the boat character. If you want a serious touring boat this isn't it and if you want a serious whitewater boat this isn't it. . . but if you just want to get out and enjoy the water and nature and get a bit of exercise in the process it is a great boat for the price.

After years of tandem paddling in the bow of other people's canoes, I decided I wanted a boat of my own. I also wanted a solo boat. When I started shopping I found that solo canoes to meet my needs were beyond the price I could justify. My dealer asked where I would be using the boat. I said I wanted to do river float trips (which here in Alabama usually involve at least a little whitewater - up to class II) and an occasional overnight camping trip. I also enjoy fishing.

He suggested a recreational kayak. I thought there were only whitewater kayaks for the "hardcore" whitewater people and sea touring kayaks. After researching several models that he had available I chose the Blackwater. Since purchasing the boat in mid-March I have done two river day trips, one overnighter and two lake fishing trips (with my boyfriend in his Dagger Delta that he purchased a month after I got my Blackwater).

The first time I ever put the boat in the water was for the overnight river trip. I'd never paddled a kayak before in my life. I fell in love with the boat. It was very responsive and easy to handle. A couple of whitewater kayakers were on the trip in their canoes and gave me some paddling tips.

I have had no problem with leaking of the bulkhead - but haven't taken on a lot of water either (I used a nylon sprayskirt). On the lake I had no problem paddling into the wind or with cross wind. One trip we had a lot of jet skiers and water skiers in the area and even in their wakes the Blackwater handled well.

For fishing the cockpit is large enough that I was able "fiddle" with the equipment without much difficulty. (A Velcro strap attached to the bungee cords on the front deck held the paddle nicely while I fished.

Regarding the "plowing" some people have mentioned I did experience that the first time I was on the lake but found that it was related to my posture in the boat. If I leaned forward and really "dug in" with the paddle it plowed but if I relaxed a bit and paddled less forcefully the boat just glided over the water.

I am very pleased with the boat so far. I haven't done much "whitewater" yet (are that isn't my primary interest) but the little I have done has not been a problem and it is good to know the boat can handle it.