It’s true that whitewater kayaking is a male-dominated sport, and due to this, kayaks are often built for, marketed to, and sold to men. Case in point: when we built the Braaap, it was based off Pat Keller’s desire for a hard-charging creek racing machine. At first, this might give the impression that the boat is only for the super hard core dudes. But we wanted to set the record straight, by showcasing a few of our female friends, all hard-charging in their own way, with their Liquidlogic boat of choice. Just as you don’t have to look too long or too hard to find women out on runs from the Nantahala to the Green Narrows, you don’t have to look too hard to find women paddling Liquidlogic boats. So we did just that, then we asked them to tell us what they liked about their boats.
Do you already paddle a Liquidlogic boat you love? Share it with us! We would love to see the Liquidlogic boats the ladies are paddling, so tag us on Facebook and Instagram @liquidlogickayaks and #liquidlogicladies to show us how much you love them.
Charlie Kerns: For me, the Braaap is the ultimate teacher. Its rounded, slalom-style hull makes the boat really responsive, so taking the correct paddle stroke or hitting that wave with the right angle means fast and near perfect lines. I think it is THE river runner/creek boat to get for women and smaller paddlers, too. At 5’1 and 110 lbs, I bought the Braaap for creeking.
The first time I took the Braap out on the Cheoah, I was nervous about the slicey-looking stern getting caught in holes and getting me back-endered, but it has more volume and rocker that I thought. Just leaning forward would shoot me out of a hole like a watermelon seed, and I didn’t have to muscle my way back on line. And oh how that bow’s rocker and volume make for the sweetest boofs!
As a teacher can badger you to pay attention in class, the Braaap will remind you to keep it on an edge or actively paddle. Otherwise for me, its stern can sometimes catch and stall me in a current, at times flipping me. It’s a super easy boat to roll, though, and overall it’s pretty forgiving.
I would recommend anyone who’s my size and looking for a new boat to try the Braaap. It took a friend badgering me to try it; else I would have missed out one of the most dynamic and fun kayaks on the market.
Emily Powell: This is the boat I’ve been waiting for. I’ve paddled a Remix 59 for years as my go-to teaching and big-water boat, and although I never felt like the Remix was missing anything, now that I have 50+ days in the Braaap, I’ve realized that this boat is what I always wanted the Remix to be. A true high-performance yet incredibly friendly sports car of a kayak.
It’s been said, but it’s true – the Braaap is FAST, in both acceleration and sustained speeds. It’s also much more than just a race boat, however. The (short) length, rocker profile, and edge shape make the Braaap super responsive to its paddler, giving you a ton of control moving in and out of eddies – want to whip in? Go way up on edge. Want to hold your angle and ferry out? Less of an edge and 1-2 strong strokes and you’re ferrying until you disengage. The hull shape also allows you to catch and use micro-currents to your advantage as you navigate a rapid, meaning it’s even easier to work with the water, rather than against it. Needless to say, the Braaap has amazing secondary stability, and rolls almost easier than the Remix. It also LOVES to front surf anything from big glassy waves to not-too-steep foam piles, and it boofs like a dream – one good boof stroke will send you flying! Because it’s so responsive (yet also forgiving) to micro shifts in weight, edge, and angle, I’ve starting to develop a control and a level of accuracy I didn’t know was possible.
At ~135-140 lbs, boat weight has always been top of mind for me, so I was a little skeptical of buying yet another 44 lb boat, but the Braaap is so nimble, it paddles lighter than the Remix 59 or Stomper 80. I paddled it for 7 days on Middle Fork of the Salmon last summer, and as we only had minimal raft support, I had 30 lbs of gear in the back. I moved the seat forward an inch or less, and I honestly couldn’t tell there was anything in the back of my boat!
Rebecca Cramer: I like big boats and I cannot lie. At 5’4” and 120lbs when I first started paddling a creek boat I went for one of the smaller boats on the market. Small person, small boat — it made sense to me. Plus, a lot women I knew were getting the same boat. . . popular with the ladies? Count me in.
As I progressed in my creeking and starting running bigger drops a few people told me to consider the larger version of that boat, but that seemed ridiculous to me. That boat would be WAY too big, I mean small boat for a small person, right? How would I be able to handle all that volume? I didn’t know what I was missing.
One day on the green I was talking with Erin Savage and she convinced me to hop in her Flying Squirrel 85. The Squirrel has about 15 gallons on my previous boat and we are about the same size so I decided to entertain her crazy idea. I admit it, with that big boat I thought I would be a total jangling chunder-fest BUT it was amazing… I felt invincible! The larger volume instantly increased my confidence. Not only was I impressed by the speed of the boat, but also it’s ability to handle holes and resurface. I sold my boat and bought a Flying Squirrel 85 the next week. I was always jealous watching big dudes plow through big features, well I’m still not big dude, but I have a big boat.
Erin Savage: Several years ago, I told my boyfriend Toby that I wanted to paddle a Stinger. He laughed at me. I was a little discouraged, but the boat looked so fast and awesome, that I didn’t give up on the idea. I slowly worked my way up the long boat world, starting with an old school “play boat”, a Pirouette S. Then I moved up to a trusty Prijon Tornado. The Tornado served me well for at least a year, until I finally got up the confidence to try out a Stinger.
I asked Shane Benedict if I could demo one for a fast lap down the Chattooga. On the way to the river, I mentioned that I hadn’t paddled a Stinger before (a fact I thought he knew). His response, “maybe you should have brought your Tornado. . . “(I was kidding! Jeez) But one fast lap and only one eddie spinout later, I was hooked.
Contrary to what I was lead to believe by some well-meaning men in my life, the Stinger was neither too large nor too difficult for me to paddle. In retrospect, while I learned a lot from my time in boats like the Pirouette S, I’m not sure that I needed to “work my way up” to the Stinger at all. It is now my favorite boat, and the boat I feel most confident in. At 12’5” in length, it’s not the right boat to take down steep creeks I don’t know very well, but staring down the Notch at Gorilla, there’s no other boat I’d rather be in. As a pretty petite person, paddling the Stinger gives me a taste of what it’s like to be big and strong!
Moriah Heaney: The Remix 69 is my go to creek boat – from high volume runs with big drops, micro creeks, or long slides. At only 5’5, with short legs, I’ve still decided to go with the medium size Remix. This boat is awesome because of the volume and length of the bow, which allows me to boof and accelerate over low angle holes or steeper boulder gardens. With other creek boats I’ve paddled in the past I’ve felt like I needed to bully them along to make the moves I wanted. When I hopped into the Remix it felt much more like I was dancing with the boat. Ideally I like to paddle using forward strokes, and capitalize on torso rotation to direct my boat. The Remix is a pro at that. However, there’s always a last minute eddy to catch or a total redirection you need to make with new beta. Due to the boat’s quick reaction time I’ve been able to deviate rather than get locked into the wrong line. The Remix excels on boily water making me feel like a ballerina as I glide over the aerated pools at the bottom of Grace and Pummel on the Great Falls of the Potomac. I’ve found this boat to be a great overall creek boat.
Judy Ranelli: The Stomper 80 is a damn fun boat. It paddles smaller than its 80 gallons and is one of the lighter creek boats on the market. It is very quick to turn, effortless to boof, and easy to maneuver. I had the boof of my lifetime in the Stomper on lower Big Creek, and I still grin thinking about it. To me it feels like driving a sports car. It is nimble, so I don’t have to muscle the boat around to get it to go where I want to. I also love the Bad-Ass outfitting, which fits me like a glove at 5’6″ and 165″. The Stomper has more of a planing hull than some designs, and requires driving, rewarding good forward posture and keeping an active paddle in the water. It’s a boat that allows me to change my mind mid-rapid and quickly get to where I want to be, but isn’t so fast that I end up going places I didn’t intend. Once I assess my line, turn and drive, the Stomper comes alive and I fly. For the class III-IV creeks I run, it’s perfect, runs like South Sauty, Greenbriar, and Sinks to Elbow of the Little. Being lighter weight than some boats means the hike out of Town creek isn’t quite as hard. And it’s silly-easy to roll. I also have a Remix 69, which I find better for big water, but the Remix sometimes locks into a line and I have to persuade it to change course. This is why I prefer the nimble Stomper for creeks – it’s just easier for me in the tight rocky lines on creeks. I love it.
So if you’ve ever thought of trying a Liquidlogic boat, but worried that it will be too big, too aggressive, or too manly, we suggest you put your worries aside and give one a try. Stop by a Liquidlogic Demo Center to try one out, or befriend a lady on the river who already paddles a Liquidlogic boat.