To put Wave Sport's new creek design to the test, we pulled two C&K staffers from both ends of the size spectrum: 6'5" creek-lover Nick Hinds, and 5'2" fireplug Charli Kerns.
2013 Whitewater Kayaks: Wavesport Recon
70 / 83 / 93 -- L: 7'9" / 8'3" / 8'8"; W: 25.5" / 26.5" / 27"; 49 / 50 / 54 lbs.
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella. When the glass slipper fit, the prince knew he'd found the real princess. Well, if Cinderella were a kayaker, the Recon 70 would be the pair of stiletto heels that Prince Charming doesn't know about. This boat gives a healthy dose of swagger to anyone who can fit inside.
The Recon 70 is not just a downsized version of its larger stable mates; Wave Sport designed this boat specifically for lighter paddlers. The displacement hull is stable and easy to roll, while the steep rocker and upturned bow allows you to ride over waves and holes instead of punching through them. The soft chine toward the stern allows it to carve easily and snap into eddies. At 70 gallons, this Recon has as much volume as many standard-sized creekboats, but with well-thought outfitting that allows smaller paddlers to dial in that perfect fit. The wrap-around thigh hooks provide a secure fit and also support your legs from below, while optional foam inserts at contact points really lock the lower body into the boat. When I took that last left-boof off Carson Falls on the Forks of the Kern, I was able to transfer all my energy into the boat, sending me down the drop and lining me up for the rest of the rapid. Try that in a pumpkin. -- Charli Kerns
I'm no Prince Charming, but I was certainly impressed by the Recon 93's king-sized dimensions. Though the cockpit keyhole is smaller than those on some other large creekers, the plus-sized Recon has more interior legroom than a '65 Cadillac. Even with my 36-inch inseam and size 13 dogs I had space to spare. The outfitting is superb: aggressive and very adjustable. I too liked the supportive thigh hooks, which couple well with a new height-adjustable seat. Wave Sport didn't spare the plastic on this one, giving it a super-rigid reinforced hull. The tradeoff for a bomber layup and amazing outfitting is weight; at 54 pounds, the Recon 93 weighs more than most.
First impressions on my favorite Class IV canyon revealed a stable, predictable, and performance-oriented ride. Catching eddies at first took some adjusting with the lack of a pronounced front chine. The edges are fairly rounded and start a little farther back, running from your knees to the stern. They provide effortless ferries when engaged, and had me peeling eddies with confidence. The Recon's well-paced volume, front rocker and hull speed allowed me to punch holes with impunity. The boat felt nimble, spinning and accelerating with ease. Wave Sport seems to have produced a true cross between a displacement hull and an edged planing hull, ideal for all-around whitewater four-wheeling. After a couple more test-runs, I was riding high and dry on a full-on, 5.5-foot (medium) run on Robe Canyon of the Stillaguamish. -- Nick Hinds