Sunday, June 29, 2008
A long, long time ago a little company called Riot took a chance on sponsoring a no-name kayaker who had no money, no real prospects, and no paddling resume to speak of. Actually, in the beginning I owed Riot a boat because I demolished a demo boat on Eagle Creek.
I realize that no matter what I say, people will write this off as a completely biased review. For those neigh-sayers, skip to the video for proof that the boats actually perform. For everyone else that's curious about how the boats perform, read on.
Astro 54: I'll be honest, at first I looked at the Astro's kick rocker and assumed the boat was going to be a pig on the wave. Usually the more rocker on a boat the slower it's going to be on the big wave. I had seen Fisher paddle the Astro 58, but that man could Air Blunt a dugout canoe.
So to give the boat a real test I shoved it into the back on my trusty Subaru and headed up to Skookumchuck for some big wave testing.
Once I had the Astro out on the wave I absolutely fell in love with it. It's surprisingly fast. I'm not saying it's a rocket ship, but I was really surprised that I could stay on the wave even when it completely greened out. It also holds speed so you have a better chance of doing combo moves - like bread and butters or KY's - without getting dragged off the wave.
The big flat area under the seat also makes for a really large landing pad for big blunts and airscrews. I had a lot of fun doing past verts and landing in a green grind without catching my edge and getting completely destroyed. The biggest down side to the Astro is that with the bow rocker you really have to pump the boat to do Flashbacks.
In all I was really stoked with how the boat handles on a big wave, and I only thing I regret is leaving Skook.
The plan was originally go to Skook for a few days and then go creeking in the Squamish area. Unfortunately we were banking on cold weather keeping the snow melt to a minimum. What we got were warm sunny days at Skook, and nothing but ridiculously high water for the rest of the trip.
Shut down on Plan A, we switched to Plan B which involved paddling anything remotely doable so I could finally get some time in my Magnum. I ended up paddling Icicle Creek, and another creek that I can't remember in, Washington with my nomadic friend Morgan Koons.
The Magnum handled everything like Muhamed Ali; "Float like a butterfly, and punch through everything that stands in your way." Even without properly outfitting the boat I was stoked with how nimble it was on the water. It turned easy and still held it's line through a hole. I didn't get a proper chance to run the Magnum through it's paces so I'll just reiterate what Spencer said to me. "This things the sh!t"
I'll post more when I get the chance to take the Magnum back out on the water, but for now it feels good to be home.
Check out the video of Skook at Rapid Transit.