Great cruising C1, designed to front surf, be it ocean waves or river features. Stern squirts easily.
From John Frachella, the designer:
"The plug and 1st mould were made by Dale Cotrell formerly of Winterport Boat Co. in Maine. Later, the plug was shipped to New Wave and they made a 2nd mould which is now owned by Paul Schreiner of Paul Schreiner Composites (custom kayak.com, 717.944.1752)".
Article appearing in AW journal (circa 1991-1992, with 2001 edits) by John Frachella-Thanks again, John!: "The prototype of the Viper was fabricated using the hull of an old Cuda-max (the only part worth salvaging from an old wreck). I cut 1 3/4" from the depth of the stern third of the hull and 3/4" from the depth of the bow third. The depth of the center third was left uncut to allow for a deep cockpit with comfort to accommodate larger paddlers. The deck was fashioned to squirt appropriateness out of pieces from old busted-up boats. Humble beginnings. The end pours were done on the unfinished prototype using a hot batch of resin that melted a gentle curved rocker into the whole thing. The end result was a hull that semi-resembled that of a Vampire (Designed by John Lawson)(a respectable surfing machine, even if it is a kayak (the year was 1989). This prototype was rough, but we paddled it, refined it, broke it, repaired it, re-refined it, paddled it some more… for a full season. When we were satisfied, a plug was made with diligent additions and subtractions of resin, body putty, and hours and hours of we sanding. ("We" included Davey Smallood, Mark Rideout, Paul Nicholazo, Peter Tuell, and a lot of help from Jeff Snyder). The final plug and mold is full volume but with a sharp chine in the bow and in the stern for easy squirts. The length is 11'6" and the width is a stable 28" (just like the good 'ole Cuda). Out of the mold, we've made full volume Vipers plus 1/2", 1", and 1 1/4" chops. Very basically, the heavier the paddler, the larger the boat and the lighter the paddler, the smaller the boat. Custom chops are suggested. So, how does the Viper perform? Well, the hull speed is somewhat decreased over that of the original Cuda due to the decreased length and the increased rocker. But it's not a dog by any means. The more time you spend in the boat, the more you learn to use the sharpness of the chine to your up and downstream advantage. Even novice and beginner-intermediate C-1 paddlers begin to pick this up right away. In surfing, the Viper excels. It surfs far better than any C-1 I've ever been in. It simply doesn't pearl due to the extra bow rocker and the boat's shortness. The widest part of the hull is just behind your hips. This, and the sharp stern chine keep the stern implanted deep in a wave face with the hull horizontal, bow out of the face. At the trough you can easily lift and redirect the front half of the boat using a strong back lean to prevent the deck from loading. In this position, the chine acts like the rail of a surfboard in directing slices across the wave face in either direction at the top, mid-face, or in the trough. The big water stability of the Viper is incredible. It's predictable, not squirrelly like other squirt C-1's (Aerobat, Acrobat, and Edge). It won't automatically stern squirt going downstream into big holes, nonetheless, if you want to squirt downstream into holes, the move can be executed with stability and control because the Viper is so wide Squirting in the Viper can be very easy. I'd suggest studying Jim Snyder's The Squirt Book (A Manual of Squirt Kayaking Technique). In squirting, kayak and C-1 hip/boat angles are the same. C-1ers need only transpose paddle moves from a double to a single bladed coordinate system. If you get a change to take a squirt clinic from the likes of Jim or Jeff Snyder, do it. They helped me a lot in designing the Viper and eventually squirting it. Actually, the Viper performs a simple stern squirt so easily that it's almost obscene. If you get anywhere near a squeeze in strong current and if you lean upstream, the boat goes vertical and over backwards, unless you activate spin to stabilize the thrust. Upstream Must Moves and Wave Moves and downstream Rocket Moves in big or small water are a cinch to learn. Bow squirts are more difficult; stronger current and / or pourovers are helpful. I could have designed the bow with lower volume to make bow squirts automatic but, in my opinion, that sacrifices a C-1's big water stability too much. Uncontrollable bow squirts with a single blade in a big rapid are a bit unnerving not to mention the potential for bow pinning. I hate that, so I left the bow volume full. The Viper blasts pretty well but it must be a fairly steep pourover. Small pourovers won't allow the stern to pull down far enough (high cockpit volume being the limiting factor here). Narrower boats with lower cockpit volumes blast better (but they also have the nasty habit of cartwheeling uncontrollably in big rapids). I've paddled the Viper all over the North East: New England, Quebec, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia…. C-1'ers of various ability levels have paddled Vipers and the feedback can be condensed into one word-FUN. I brought a Viper to Quebec's Tewksbury Section of the Jaques Cartier River with some top Canadian paddlers. No one was surfing the waves I was surfing unless they were in my boat. We donated a Viper to the Gauley Festival in 1991 and it was the only boat among a bunch of kayaks that attracted any bidding to speak of. We just got a call from the winner of the auction and he wants to order another Viper because his friends keep borrowing his. Folks that say it in action on the New and on the Gauley were impressed and we picked up a lot of new orders. Even Nolan Whitesell said he wanted to try one because it "looked like such a fun boat"
The VIPER C-1 is known for it's ability to dance on waves with fluidity and grace. This cruising/squirting canoe has a gently curved rocker running the length of the hull which allows easy blasting yet keeps the boat from pearling. John Frachella designed the stern to sink on demand. Lower cuts enable bow squirts and transitional moves. The VIPER C-1 can be paddled by boaters of all ability levels and its deep cockpit affords greater comfort. The VIPER's stable, predictable handling make it a preferred choice for C-1 paddlers who ply the big, technical waters of the Gauley River.- From the New Wave catalog.