Thursday, January 04, 2007

Liquid Habitat

Okay, been a while here. School is an ass-kicker, but I keep telling myself that it'll be good in the long run. But in the meantime, winter break allows for a trip home to the Pac NorthWet and nothing but kayaking. Did I say playboating? nope. Been home for 3 weeks and in a playboat twice. Yes, it's creeking season!

So for the last couple weeks I've been paddling the Habitat 74 and noticed that there's a lot of people out there wanting a review of this thing. And here's one for y'all! (good lord, did i just use the phrase "y'all"? man....)
First off, big props and thanks to Alder Creek for being so supportive for the last few years and letting me snag this boat for 3 weeks and give it some love. If you're in the NW, be sure to check them out, or just head to their website.

Some background first- me, 5-6, 130, maybe 135 soaking wet, paddling for 10+ years now, former pro now turned professional grad student (wo-HOO!), no manufacturer affiliation at the moment.
The Habitat- damn, that's a sexy looking boat. plenty of room to pack gear into (did someone say cali overnighters? i'll take a couple!)
For a 74 gallon boat, it definitely doesn't handle or feel like something that big. did a good job at floating over a lot of stuff (okay, at my weight i tend to float over most stuff), and kept its speed well plowing through hydraulics.
The defined edge from the seat to the stern digs in and holds nicely carving in and out of eddies, able to snag those necessary 1-boat eddies at the top of class 5 drops with ease. Once in said drop- predictable, easy to keep the bow up and easy to control the speed. Hit the brakes when you want, or hit the gas and accelerate quickly (holy crap, that's a big hole! gotta speed up!)
I was impressed by the soft landings. Boof the crap out of a drop or 45-it, the semi-displacement hull takes the impace and softens it out, keeping the back of the paddler feeling a bit better.
If you end up plugging the drop, the habitat resurfaces quickly, actually accelerating away from the base as it does. Nice.
Don't know how familiar you are with Canyon Creek, WA, but landing Champagne with about a 30 degree angle sent the boat flying away from the drop, 2 strokes later and I was set up perfectly for the next boof at hammering spot.
And comfy. But- again, the only boat I'm not comfy in is EJ's Fun. The little one. As in the one that's only 5-4.
Hopefully the student loan fairy comes soon and I'll be able to get a Habitat. Anyone want to buy a Java?

Oh- here's some pictures. Sorry about the poor quality, I pulled these off of video footage with an older editing platform.

Hagen Gorge, WA

Sweet Creek (gotta love that name), OR

Now, I gotta be at the airport in a few hours to fly back to NC. Ah, school. Does it ever end?



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