Reviews

Liquidlogic Stomper Whitewater Kayak Review

There can be no denying that the Stomper, the new boat from American company Liquidlogic, is a fast boat: before it even went into production a prototype was paddled to victory in the Teva Mountain Games over there in the states, which would have required it to hold a line well through some very big water, as well has having the precision to make the fastest lines. We couldn’t wait to give one a go and see what we thought for ourselves; and by the sound of it we weren’t the only ones: we lost count of how many people stopped to talk to us by the side of the rivers we were testing on to ask what we thought. There is a lot of buzz around this new boat, and looking at it you can see why, it is a true river-beast and, with its high sides and massive rocker, placed side-by-side with any other boat its comparative chunkiness becomes apparent, and you soon appreciate the reason for its name. This boat truly looks like it’s made to Stomp!

RRP: £899.99
More Info: www.liquidlogickayaks.com

Features

  • Semi-Planing Hull = effortless turning in any situation Design
  • Chamfered Edges = carving edges that snap into eddies but don’t trip you up Design
  • Smooth Transition Rocker Profile = gives the Stomper its speed Design
  • Rounded side wall = incredible stability Design
  • Crowned Deck = quick and easy surfacing from under water Design
  • Big Bow Rocker = get your bow up and over anything Design
  • New Seat System = easier access to the stern of the boat for storage Design
  • Bad Ass Outfitting = the most comfortable outfitting in the industry Design
  • Aircraft grade aluminum security bars Design
  • Industry leading Aquatuff plastic

Specification

Stomper 80

Length: 249cm
Width: 65cm
Height: 38cm
Volume: 302L
Weight: 21kg
Paddler Weight Range: 50 – 95kg

Stomper 90

Length: 259cm
Width: 68cm
Height: 40cm
Volume: 340L
Weight: 21kg
Paddler Weight Range: 77 – 122kg

The Ride

The Stomper is a boat that you may have to paddle for a little bit to get accustomed to, and you’ll probably find that this takes a different length of time depending on what you’re already used to paddling – if it’s a Jefe Grande it will be less than if it’s a boat of a less similar design, with squarer edges and less volume etc. – and what style of boater you are: the Stomper requires an aggressive style of paddling, which you’ll have to learn to adopt pretty sharpish in order to be able to command this beast! Other things, like how deep the boat feels to sit in, can be perturbing at first, but persevere and you’ll cease to notice these things as strange and begin to relish the downhill power at your disposal.

This power comes from the large amount of volume in the stern and extreme rocker profile keeping the boat riding high and fast. All of our testers were incredibly impressed with how well this boat holds a line down big water, and it has amazing punching power through holes. The width of the stern and the very soft chines also make this craft a forgiving one; so long as you’re maintaining positive forwards paddling position you’re unlikely to find any of the edges, which are soft almost to the point of rounded, catch. Needless to say, this thing is incredibly fast, once you’ve got it going, and then not a lot is going to stop it.
The Stomper boofs well, and even landing swirling boily water from a height does little to encroach on the high waterline: this boat just continues to skip – well, stomp – over the surface. We can confirm that when you do end up either stuck or enjoying yourself side-surfing in a hole the Stomper is incredibly stable in there, but for when it all goes wrong it is also incredibly easy to roll! There are some really fantastic features to this boat, and in the big water you can be completely secure in the knowledge it will look after you, but we do feel the need to stress that this boat requires you to really boss it around or you’ll suffer the consequences.

On their initial runs in it, some of the testers were finding they’d turn and edge the boat to drive it towards an eddy, only to sail past it and drop into the next bit sideways. The answer is to really get your weight over and aggressively engage that edge, body forward and really dig in or you will miss eddies that would be far easier to make in a hard-railed boat, and find yourself still in the flow but set up badly for what is to come. The problem is that this boat wants to do what it excels at power downstream. If you don’t really assert yourself, you’ll find that that’s exactly what it does. Be dynamic and the Stomper will respond!

Fixtures and Fittings

There can be no arguments with the ‘Bad Ass’ outfitting employed by Liquidlogic boats: is it a kayak seat or an armchair? No need to differentiate, it’s got the practical use of the former and the comfort of the latter: more than just a lot of cushioning, once you’ve adjusted the outfitting specifically for yourself you’re extremely snug with excellent contact between your hips, legs and the boat, meaning edging is incredibly responsive. This gives you more control and helps with ease of rolling, as well as making these great boats for long days out on the water. With the five metal grab handles mounted one on the nose, one on the stern and three around the cockpit there’s plenty to grab or clip, making the boat easy to rescue and haul around.

Conclusion

The Stomper is very much a product of the country of its birth, where big water and bigger waterfalls are, if not the norm, not difficult to find. Down river this boat is astoundingly fast and buoyant; paddling it it’s easy to see how it won a competition to get down a chunky section of river in the fastest time. It can certainly handle drops, too, that very ample rocker gives it lift, and the boat resurfaces quickly or, more often, stays afloat completely.

Not only this, but it’s stable and forgiving to boot, handles well in a hole and is easy to roll. But will it be everybody’s boat of choice for eddy-hopping down classic UK runs every weekend during the winter? Possibly, some people, especially if you’re less confident, will really appreciate how much this boat looks after you and how effectively it will get you from the get-in to the get-out without incident. We feel that others, though, may find that for blasting down UK water looking for micro-eddies and tight sneak lines the Stomper’s enthusiastic zeal for powering in a resolute downstream direction is a little bit more than is needed for an average weekend on British water. But get the Stomper on the big volume steep creeks where it was developed and we’re fairly sure it won’t let you down.

What the Designer Says: Shane Benedict of Liquidlogic

The Stomper is a reaction to demands of our own team paddlers and our friends on Facebook of all things. Everyone wanted us to do a boat that was a blend of the Jefe and the Remix series that had a flatter hull design. Right away that combination gives you a very nimble shape that maintains speed, boofs like a champ, and is easy to use. We also upgraded the outfitting with more storage in front of the seat and better access to storage behind the seat. You
gotta love Bad Ass Outfitting.

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