Lots of you have been asking about our new boats, so I figured this might be interesting to some folks.
We have 2 new whitewater boats this year, the Astro 58 (larger cut Astro) and the Thunder 65 (river-runer).
We just got some Thunders in, so here are some photos from various angles of a shiny new one, plus some info on how the boat paddles.
I paddled the Thunder prototype a lot this summer, mostly using it to instruct out of. I really enjoyed teaching in it. It has enough space to carry lots of gear, and enough volume to be effective when rescuing. Also the playful hull makes it able to surf well, and carve on a wave. Although the boat is very playful, it still retains a good amount of speed for making moves. I like the manuverability of the boat, it does not feel bulky at all, it is very responsive, but very stable. It surfaces well off of drops, and boofs nicely.
Here are a few shots of the deck.
The lines on the deck look really cool
and here is a shot of the hull, notice the stepped rail.
Heres a shot of the rail, made to help the boat be forgiving and playful.
This angle gives an idea of the rocker profile.Here is a shot of the stern
One thing I really like about the boat is that the deck is relatively low on it. This will be helpful to people who feel like they can't "see over the deck" of big creek boats, particularly shorter and or smaller folks.
This boat is going to be great for a variety of paddlers....someone who wants a forgiving river runner thats more playful and less bulky than a full-on creeker....smaller paddlers who want a responsive creek-able boat.....beginners all the way up to advanced paddlers looking for an all around good boat.......instructional programs looking for a good fleet boat.....and many more.
Here are some shots of me on the Green in the Thunder proto.
Heres a shot of the cockpit, see the new blue thigh braces?
Also new in the outfitting department this year are the redesigned hip pads.
These are easily adjusted. They are attached to the seat by webbing attachment points, undo the webbing and you can flip the hip pad up and add foam behind it. You can raise and lower the plate that backs the hip pads by simply losening some screws. The webbing attachment points are firmly attached to the seat, so theres no worries about having to fiddle with them when readjusting the hip pads.
The boats are still shipping with a nice fit kit, including the following:
Bulkhead pads that are scored to be easily trimmed for your setup
Padding for the knees with super sticky backing
And knee wedges. These should go underneath your knees to give you something to rest them on. These are really helpful to gain more control of the boat. Make sure they do not impede your exit from the boat though.
It helps to put a little contact cement on these before sticking them, and I suggest installing these and then putting the other knee pads on top of them.
The Thunder 65 and the Astro 58 are available now. Check with your local dealer to demo. Soon we will have a full report on the Astro 58.
If you'd like to check out the Thunder in action, visit Ken Driscoll's site where he has posted his own review with photos.