Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

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Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by swriverstone »

Hi All—Scott Wilkinson here—some of you may remember me from ages ago when I lived and paddled in the Mid-Atlantic region. I live in Eugene, Oregon these days (since 2017).

For those that don't know me, I was a slalom C-1er for many years back in the late 80's/early 90s. I've kinda grown away from C-boating, even though I still have the same Dagger Zealot slalom C-1 I bought from Chris and Trevor Soileau (River Elf Boats).

Two summers ago I suffered the classic disgrace of a C-boater who basically hasn't paddled C-1 in years—I went to a slalom race in Bend, Oregon (with zero training beforehand). I haven't lost the technique, but conditioning is another story, LOL. I made it down the course fine (and mostly clean) on a couple of practice runs. Then on my first race run, I cleaned the first 8 gates, then came screaming into an offside upstream and flipped. Tried rolling up and couldn't, and only after bailing did I realize I'd severely dislocated my shoulder. (Ouch.) That was a first for me! (It really sucked, LOL.) I still don't know how it happened, but I was extended way out on my offside and went over that way—and something just got torqued badly the wrong way.

ANYWAY...I'm fully recovered from that incident and been doing a lot of long-distance flatwater paddling in a 17-foot sea kayak. Now finally (to the point of my post), I'm missing C-boating and want to get back into it regularly. While my old slalom boat is still in great shape, it's too small for me. I'm very fit but heavy at 5'11" and 220lbs. (I've actually always been too heavy for slalom C-1's designed originally for 170lb paddlers.) And I kinda need a shoe horn to get into my slalom boat these days (and it's not very comfortable).

Chris and Trevor (River Elf), I know about your Storm Chaser XL C-1, and seriously thinking of getting one. I'm sure it would fit me really well and be fun to paddle! My only concern (which maybe you can address?) is length and speed. I'm still addicted to slalom-style paddling (meaning lots of hull speed and glide), and I've never been an Xtreme creek boater and don't have much desire to do that. My favorite whitewater paddling has always been on class 2-3 rivers (and I don't mind paddling in the ocean or on big open, windy flatwater like the Columbia River). I'm open to being sold on the Storm Chaser though! :-)

Other than the Storm Chaser, is there anyone left in the U.S. these days making composite boats (and more specifically, still has molds for older slalom C-1's)? I've had this dream for years that may be unattainable unless I decide to make a mold myself—which is to have a classic long slalom boat design (like the Zealot or Fanatic), except scaled up in every dimension to fit a 220lb paddler like the original boats fit 170lb paddlers. (Like I said, it's probably a pipe dream, LOL.)

Of course there are always overseas companies like Vajda and Galasport...but I'm pretty sure they only specialize in little boats designed to float scrawny little Olympic paddlers with toothpick legs who weigh 160lbs, LOL.

Finally, the other thing I've been seriously considering (but the cost is kinda scary) is an outrigger C-1. I've paddled them and yes—nothing like whitewater C-boating—but holy sh*t those boats are FAST. And incredibly fun to paddle on big open water. I don't even know if outrigger C-boating exists back East...but out here in the West, it's a pretty big deal and there are many who paddle them.

So all just the musings of someone who is still deeply connected to C-boating and wants to do more! :-)

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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by edg »

Find out whatever Tren Long is paddling and try to get one of those. I think he's pretty close to your size. OC-1 (Outrigger) looks very cool. My only gripe is that it takes those guys so long to get the things set up and assembled that I've finished half a wildwater workout before they get on the water.

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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by Sir Adam »

...and you may have also started a little something called the "C-Forum"...;). Nice to have you back with us!

If you are looking to paddle but not race I'd say you should definitely check out a Millbrook Amoeba - higher volume and fast. Kaz may have other molds kicking around... worth a call anyway. I'm pretty sure PS Composites still has a bunch of old molds as well if a full volume boat would work - in that regard the Viper may be worth considering as well. I've seen the original plug and there was a lot of volume in it that usually gets cut out.

The Storm Chaser is a great boat and fast for what it is - but a slalom boat for fast cruiser it isn't.
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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by River Elf C1s »

Hey Scott, as Adam mentioned, the Storm Chaser would be a very different experience than what you are used to (albeit a fun one nonetheless). You'd trade straight line speed and stern pivots for catching small eddies, surface spins, and bobbing over waves - it's different but quite satisfying in it's on way and a heck of a lot more comfortable. It still paddles like a C-1.

We do have a couple of long boat ideas (~10-11' length boats) on the drawing board but those won't be available in time for this season. I will comment (my opinion) that shifting to the shorter slalom boats back in the mid 2000's was overall an improvement - the losses in speed were minimal compared with the gains in turning radius/ability and not having to worry about the long pointy ends of a 13' 2" boat. Like you said though, the newest slalom designs are crazy small, they're fitted with narrow kayak style cockpits and most boaters use a 1-2" seat height just to maintain reasonable stability. If you're not less than 150 lbs, you're at a disadvantage. I think things have evolved in the wrong direction in slalom (moving away from natural rivers is #1 on my list) but I digress... :wink:

I believe the largest slalom boat currently available from Galasport or Vajda is the El Scorcho from Galasport designed by Robin Bell for the Sydney Olympics - he's a big guy - not sure how it compares to the Zealot though.

Sorry to hear about the shoulder dislocation but glad you have recovered - I've been there and totally understand...
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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by wildwaterc2 »

My observations as a 5'8", 180 lb 51 year old who has C1'd since a teenager but can't kneel as low as I used to.

1. River Elf Storm Chaser - nice and comfy but not fast. Great construction and a fun boat. One of few boats I bought new.
2. The Millbrook Hornet that I bought used is as fast as my old Fanatic, and fun to paddle - not super comfortable with the rounded hull but a really fun and fast boat.
3. My Valley Mill Magnet is pretty worn. Speed is only ok but really comfortable - Victor at Class 5 boats makes these. Comparison of the Hornet and Magnet at https://cboats.net/cforum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7970535
4. New Wave Viper is a lot of fun and has decent speed - built off the Cudamax. Really fun boat. You can find these around used. Decent comfort if you get a big enough cockpit rim as the Cudamax hull shape is wide and flat.
5. Modified Hahn - Victor at Class 5 is making a modified Hahn that he worked out with Charlie Walbridge - more rocker. Should be really comfy - don't know about speed as I've not paddled one.
6. Huki V1-R outrigger - I bought this new and owned if for about 6 years. It was a lot of fun at the ocean both getting out through the shore-break and going for long paddles in the open ocean, with some surfing bumps in the ocean. But it was not viable in rivers around me, and so it did not get a lot of use. I went to the darkside with a river layup S18S Stellar surfski that I can paddle on local rivers and in the ocean. The outrigger was a ton of fun. You will spend maybe 5 minutes on each end getting it rigged and unrigged. It was expensive but retained value well when sold. Definitely worth trying one out if you are near open water where you can paddle it easily.

I've not tried a Millbrook Wide Ride but it has always looked interesting. And Adam has always encouraged me to try an Amoeba which I may someday but not yet.

My Storm Chaser, Hornet and Magnet are all for sale, but you are a long way from me.
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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by Roy »

swriverstone wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:03 am
I've had this dream for years that may be unattainable unless I decide to make a mold myself—which is to have a classic long slalom boat design (like the Zealot or Fanatic), except scaled up in every dimension to fit a 220lb paddler like the original boats fit 170lb paddlers.
A couple points no one has mentioned yet.

Here is, maybe, what you want...but, there is only one:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7969106&hilit=grand ... c+1+slalom

Shaggy is working on a design which will eventually be for sale:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7970479&p=119084&hi ... gy#p119084

Addison will CAD you up your perfect C-1 shape and have one built just for you:

https://www.soulwaterman.com/collection ... ite-kayaks

Good Luck!

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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by Mike W. »

The only slalom boat I've been in is my 4 meter Vajda Nova. I'm down to 205 & it sits a little deep with me in it. It's very fast, but does not pivot anywhere near as smoothly as my Viper. I thought the Viper was fast till I paddled the Nova. The Viper is my go to boat for big stuff & ocean surfing. PS Composites has a Viper mold. I think he may be able to make a larger than standard cockpit opening.

The Storm Chaser is faster than it looks. It surfs better than I thought it would too. It's deep, so you can spread out under the deck. That said, it's way slower than a slalom boat.

Outrigger C-1's have a small following on the East Coast. They're super narrow, which makes them fast, especially if you're good enough to fly the ama.
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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by C1Be1 »

Last time I saw Tren Long he was paddling a Vajda demon 3 at the Olympic team trials in April
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Re: Long Lost C-Boater wondering: what to paddle?

Post by bigbru »

I'm about 205 and for years loved to paddle my zealot in gates in fairly mild water. I purchased a wide ride which I have loved as at 70 yrs old I like the stability in whitewater and find that I use the same leans to turn my boat and eddy hop. I also bought a used Hornet that has totally replaced my zealot in playing in gates. It feels like I use all the same techniques as in my zealot with far more stability. and the Millbrook construction is super!
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