Research Kayaks in the Buyers' Guide!
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
The seating and hip pads and thigh hooks are among the best I have ever been around, all-day comfortable. The foot board adjustments are a little wide spaced causing me to drill new holes for perfect placement. I installed a waterproof bulk head behind the seat to seal off the large rear storage area. The rear hatch seal (and my bulk head) are waterproof under moderate water exposure. The skeg operation is easy to manipulate and seemingly robust enough to be considered a much better design than Piranha and Dagger skegs.
The boat is advertised as being fast, it is faster than any WW boat I have ever paddled, but compared to other 12 foot kayaks it seems about average, it does accelerate and plane out very quickly.
This is not a beginners kayak as without the skeg deployed it will point out every bad habit or lack of paddling skills by running wild. Proper strokes and form make the boat track very well for a boat that will spin like a top when asked to do so. Due to my lack of skill quartering waves did catch the long tail making me slide sideways on waves, but I think that is my issue to overcome, not the boats problem.
I have not had the boat on big WW or narrow fast WW so I cannot advise on those characteristics or give the boat a 10, so far I like what the Stinger is capable of. In my opinion, a seasoned paddler should be very happy with the boats capabilities.
The XP9/10 was derived by adding length, beam and volume to the Remix and making it a bit more flat water oriented and user friendly. The goal was to produce a docile boat for still and moderate white water. The Stinger added a lot of length and rocker to the Remix, while narrowing beam to come up with a radical creeker specifically designed to win the Green River Narrows Race (steep whitewater). There weren't many compromises in its mission.
Starting with this single minded design, the XP adds a skeg and hatch to make it more adaptable to wilderness tripping. This context is provided to give the review some perspective.
The hull, outfitting and fittings are of typical Liquidlogic high quality. Bear in mind, this was designed for steep creeking and incorporates the commensurate quantity of plastic (not a lightweight). The unique seat is extremely comfortable, even for long duration. The holes for the foot board adjustment are widely spaced, making fine tuning a bit of a challenge. Not a whole lot of grab bars and those provided are rigid, bare metal.
The skeg operates smoothly with a simple lever control. The hatch cover parts ways with the XP9/10, being designed for duty on rougher conditions. However, somewhat paradoxically, there is no bulkhead. Right behind your seat is a foam pillar for support, pushing the cargo area aft. This weight distribution wasn't dialed into the original hull design and affects performance if you're packing gear. It can be compensated for, to some extent. The cockpit opening is a little larger than I like although not in a league with the cavernous XP9/10.
The boat is very fast by whitewater standards. And, it will surprise many by how quickly and easily it spins. The skeg is effective when your priority is not spinning, such as in the funny water at the foot of a drop. It draws, ferries, leans and rolls with ease and, it almost goes without saying, punches holes and eddy fences like they weren’t there. Yes, you can pull enders, but that's about the extent of the play. It surfaces quickly from drops, but be sure to nail your boof and go down fairly straight or you could encounter issues.
The bottom line is that it's a nifty design for a whitewater paddler. Some of the extremes in its base configuration demand that it be driven under many conditions and not given its own head. It will reward those in control. Casual paddlers will feel more at home with the other XPs.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!