The Hammer is P&H’s contribution to the new line of kayaks that are slowly blurring the lines between maneuverable whitewater boats and fast, long-hulled sea kayaks. The Hammer (along with the Jackson Karma RG) has piqued the interest of both river paddlers looking for more speed and storage than creek boats offer and sea kayakers who like to play. While it’s still more common to find the Hammer among ocean rock gardens, Mike Kemp decided to step it up a notch and take the Hammer for a spin on some California Class IV/V while writing a review for Pacific Outfitters. We tracked him down to see what he was thinking.
C&K: Why made you want to paddle the Hammer in full-on whitewater?
Mike Kemp: I decided to take the Hammer for a run down the Burnt Ranch Gorge because I was impressed with its speed, maneuverability and versatility in the ocean. I was so impressed that I wanted to see how well it would handle some serious river rapids. Every year we have a race down the Burnt Ranch Gorge and I saw the Hammer as a candidate to be a winning boat in that race. I also have been dying to do some multi-day river trips for a while now. A few years back I did a 4-day trip down the Wild & Scenic section of the Rogue River in Oregon and my creek boat didn’t have enough storage for my gear or speed in the flats. The Hammer has both with the added benefit of “in-boat access” via stow-away hatches. I grew up taking week-long canoe/camping trips down rivers such as the Penobscot in Maine but I was disheartened that in the canoes we had to portage the class IV-V drops. Not in the Hammer.
–Read Kemp’s full review for Pacific Outfitters.