Whitewater Forum: Grand Canyon boat choice
Print Page | Close Window

Grand Canyon boat choice

Printed From: ProfessorPaddle.com
Category: General
Forum Name: Whitewater Forum
Forum Discription: Open Discussion Forum. Whitewater related subjects only
URL: http://www.professorpaddle.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9094
Printed Date: 23 Sep 2018 at 11:42pm

Topic: Grand Canyon boat choice
Posted By: jondufay
Subject: Grand Canyon boat choice
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2010 at 5:18pm


  Looking for beta.  Heading down the grand in a few weeks.  What type of boat would be ideal?  Anybody who has done it and has an opinion, let me know.  It is raft supported.

ahh, f--- it dude, lets go boating...

Posted By: Jed Hawkes
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2010 at 6:18pm
I'd take a Long boat of any kind. I think that the best boats for bigwater are always longboats, they have the speed to punch the big holes and I typically find them more comfortable than todays playboats. But if you playboat then there might be some good opportunities to surf. I've never been down there but if I was going I'd take my Dagger outburst.

The line will become apparent

Posted By: Kiwi
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2010 at 6:36pm
last summer I took a super hero, it was great for the big drops but I couldn't really throw wavewheels or stuff like that. if you have access to a pyranha S8 or their new GC boat. (can't remember what it's called) a super ego would be good too. just remember, it has to be really comfortable, there's a lot of flatwater, like around 200 miles of it. and if you go all the way down to meade add another 80 miles of "fast" moving flatwater.

Posted By: James
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2010 at 10:02pm
I have not done it but I have talked with plenty of folks that have and heard over and over that short boats can't catch the majority of the waves on the river. Most are big roller with out much of a pile so a spud boat ain't gonna get many aired out juicers where a nice green grinder will be at home running rapids, comfy and able to surf all over.

Have fun Jon, man I bet you get a nice winter tan down there still!

Posted By: Wiggins
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2010 at 11:23pm
I just got off a 18 day trip and took a 9 foot Dagger Axiom and couldn't have been happier with it. The two other kayakers in my group had a LL Airhead, and a original Jackson fun. I think we ran into 3 or four places in 225 miles where the Axiom was at a disadvantage to the short boats for playing on waves. I had a lot more opportunity to surf than the spud boats, had more control in the big rapids, had easier pushes through the flatwater, and, with the extra room, I was the only kayaker that did not have feet with sores on them at the end of the trip (for that matter bring a bunch of Corn Husker's Lotion).
I would say take a big boat.
Have a great time!

I smell bacon

Posted By: dragorossinw
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 10:23am
I sold several DragoRossi Pintails to folks last year, all wanting them for the Canyon due to speed, foregiveness,  comfort, and can still have fun surfing.
http://www.dragorossi.com/Pintail.html - http://www.dragorossi.com/Pintail.html

Tony Z

Posted By: explwhore
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 12:03pm
I went March of 07 in a 4 fun and was really disappointed in the amount of green waves I could not catch.  Go longer with edges if you can.  The dagger Axiom would be great, harder edge than an RPM.  That Drago Pintain would be sik out there too.  Barely any play for a spud boat compared with the options in a longer surf boat.   Maybe a foreplay, Score, or wavesport Z might work well too.

Enjoy, I am jealous

Posted By: SplashDaddy
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 1:48pm
I was lucky enough to bumble into a 16 day private trip last June. I paddled a creek boat(Embudo). It is comfy, which makes the flatwater easy.

The other 2 kayakers in our group were paddling a XXX & an original AllStar. The AllStar paddler was probably the most uncomfortable.

I expected the BIG water and the long stretches of flatwater, but what I did not expect was the epic eddylines. There's nothing quite like getting stern squirted around while paddling a creekboat. :-) I longed for a long n slicy playboat(ForPlay?) when I hit the crazy eddy lines.

I think the most important thing is comfort. You're pretty likely to be spending a bunch of hours per day in your boat. If you're uncomfortable, you're not going to enjoy it as much.

It's a Hell of a trip. Enjoy!!!

Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 3:59pm
Creekboats= lame on the canyon
DEFINITELY go with some sort of Longboat! Axiom (way to rock that one, Wiggins!), Outburst, Diablo (duh!), whatever. Make sure it has edges- not necessarily planing hull, just edgy on the stern. Even a Perception Pirohette would do nicely.
Big water has lots of geenwater waves that playboats CAN NOT CATCH. I saw this on the Selway. The playboats just blew by most of the goods. Bigwater waves with foampiles are also good for longboats, because the wave is big enough to fit them.


Posted By: Connor
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 4:15pm
I did the Grand in a Nomad and it was awesome! Definately no playboats: they are hell in the flat water and can't catch most of the waves anyway. Apparently one of the best boats to have is the Necky Jive. Haven't paddled in one but a good friend (who guides the Grand every year) told me they are great boats for it.

Posted By: SplashDaddy
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 5:42pm
JP... I would counter that with... for me, in the end, the Grand Canyon wasn't about the boating. Boats are a way, a means, to see the Canyon.

I've gotten to paddle all kinds of water and I didn't see any kind of water in the Grand Canyon I hadn't experienced before. I rode/rowed a raft more than half the time. Rowing the raft was more fun and challenging that I ever imagined. Next time around, I would be pretty tempted to not take a kayak at all. I could see way more of the Canyon from the raft and I would have at least had a chance of getting pictures of Condors we saw, but... I didn't even have a chance while I was in my kayak.

For me, the thing about the Grand Canyon is the magnificent views and the incredible side hikes. The boating is secondary, if not thirdary(new word, I'll have it copywritten shortly).

I wanted to take the XXX but I feared the pain and my girlfriend feared it would freak out our host when I went sub-surface through all the major rapids, if not most the minor ones. That and I would have had to stop every 20 minutes to get blood back into my feet.

I'll generally agree about avoiding short boats. You won't get to take advantage of their strong points and you'll get screwed by their weak points.

PS It should be noted that the Diablo was marketed as a creekboat. :-)

Posted By: ThrowYaMittsUp
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 6:21pm
After floating the Grand Canyon once, my boat of choice on a future trip is 14' self bailing raft with a center mounted frame and EVERYTHING that I'm gonna need (including enough extra beer to trade for whatever i forgot or ran out of) for the next 20 or so days.

Let me explain:

I LOVE whitewater kayaking, but The Grand Canyon of The Colorado is NOT a whitewater trip. In fact, its 90-some percent flat, and by flat I mean very flat. Granted, there are some big rapids between those pool, and I wouldn't advise any to take a craft unfit for such rapids.

Before I floated the GC, my river running had been almost entirely focused on whitewater, but being in that canyon opened my eyes to the broader world of car camping in the middle of F-in nowhere with you buddies, way too many cans of cheep beer, good food, a fire, the crochet course set, a 3 in poco on a cot under the stars, a sports coat to wear at dinner, and a gorilla suit to scare the backpackers; and when you take all that sh*t and load it in to a nice little 14 footer, you still get quite the sporty ride, and some might argue, a bigger challenge than plugin' everything in a kayak. Besides, it would be kind of outrageous to ask someone to row all that stuff for me.

What i'm trying to say here is that after that trip (my first overnighter) my focus went from strictly improving at whitewater kayaking to becoming a compatent boatman of whatever craft is best suited for taking me and my gear to where I want to go, and learning how to be very comfortable when I get there.

In my opinion, take the longest kayak that you feel good about running some big class IV, or row. If you are not carrying a good portion of what you feel you couldn't go without then you should be very grateful to the boatmen who are.

"Call on God, but row away from the rocks." ~H.S. Thompson

Posted By: ThrowYaMittsUp
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 6:27pm
Right on SplashDaddy and the word you are looking for is tertiary

"Call on God, but row away from the rocks." ~H.S. Thompson

Posted By: Kyle K
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2010 at 7:19pm
Hey Jon,
Having run the Canyon dozens and dozens of times, although mostly in a rowing rig, I wholeheartedly agree with the long boat assessments above.There are very few play spots for a spud boat but loads of opportunities for a long fast boat to play on green waves. As mentioned, the eddy lines at the bottom of the rapids are much harder to negotiate than the rapids themselves in general. I think you'll love them though!  
 The Dagger Axion would be great, as well as the new Pyranha Z.One. Other boats would be an old Necky Jive if you can find one.
Have a great trip! It's a very special place. Plan on a lot of hiking and looking up at the scenery in awe.

"I used to be somebody, now I'm somebody else." Bad Blake                  

Posted By: Camrun
Date Posted: 12 Jan 2010 at 8:40am
Any boat you can get in...
Just the fact you are doing the trip is what's important.
My son has done it twice in an All Star and had a blast. I did it in a Sniper and had fun. Spuds allow for different play options, there are so many options, bigger boats more comfortable and you do not have to be as on guard for the massive whirlpools and seams which are more likely to cause a flip than the drops.
Most trips being raft supported are not play trips anyway. Your rafting buddies will get miffed if you disappear on a regular basis to play. Usually in that big of a group you need to stay together or the entire trip turns into a "where is that SOB now!!" trip. To make for a fun, compatible trip, the kayaks are better for rescue and scouting out camps and lunch than for play.
I agree with the comments about the Canyon being the experience, being in a kayak is a GREAT way to experience the Canyon and more intimate than a raft. I have done both.

Print Page | Close Window