Last month, C&K profiled legendary designer Corran Addison, whose new company, Soul Waterman, is making waves on social media. Our expert boat tester, David Spiegel, paddled two of Addison's new boat designs during a trip to Québec.
While there’s been plenty of hype around Corran Addison’s new kayak designs, few paddlers have had the opportunity to paddle them. If you're considering ordering the Booty Call, Soul's creekboat, or the Super Sic, an aggressive carbon freestyle boat, I have some thoughts about how each boat paddles. These two boats are some of Soul’s more conventional designs.
This boat lives up to its name--I had a super sick time on the Habitat 67 and Big Joe waves. That being said, it was a different type of experience than I've had when paddling other modern play boats. Boats like the Jackson Rock Star or Pyranha Jed are built to throw a lot of tricks quickly. In those boats, I can bounce off my butt and throw a variety of moves in a fast sequence.
In the Super Sic, on the other hand, I needed a perfectly lined-up pass down the wave if I wanted to catch big air. It requires a precise and aggressive edge transfer. When that did happen, I felt a ton of acceleration and caught some of the biggest air of my life on airscrews and blunts.
The Super Sic will be more difficult to roll than your average playboat, probably because of the high seat and deck. This will probably not be an issue for most expert playboaters, but beginning and intermediate paddlers should be aware. In general, its aggressive feel will be a big shock for paddlers who are not used to paddling a carbon boat.
The Super Sic, in my brief experience, likes to throw front-side tricks and requires a bit of work to get set up. Its strength is in its rapid acceleration and its weakness is that it can be tricky to land in control, especially in back surf. If you want to have a blast carving on the waves and throw the occasional huge move, this may be boat for you. I certainly enjoyed it.
I did not paddle it in a hole or on smaller waves, so I cannot comment on those aspects of performance.
The built quality was excellent. It is a well-made product with no loose ends.
The all-carbon outfitting fit me like a glove. I am 5'10" and 165 lbs with narrow hips and short legs. I could have added just a smidge of hip padding, but overall I felt great paddling the boat with no adjustments.
Another interesting aspect of this boat is the price point. For an all-carbon boat to be $1,999, just $750 more than a plastic Rock Star, that's a huge performance increase for the price. As carbon playboats in general, not just the Super Sic, come down in price, I think we will see a larger section of the market opting to purchase carbon/composite hulls.
The Booty Call is Soul's creekboat. I paddled it on the Talayarde River near Québec City, a continuous Class IV-V creek, and on a big water run right in town.
Upon sliding into the water at the put-in, I quickly noticed a few things about the Booty Call. First, the outfitting is comfortable and I felt locked in place. The Velcro seat system and adjustable hip pads were easy to use to achieve a good fit. Second, the boat floats noticeably lower than the other popular modern creekboats that I am used to paddling, like the Pyranha 9R and the Waka Tuna. The bow rocker is also less substantial than the boats I am used to.
In terms of performance, the Booty Call reminds me of the ZET Raptor, a low profile torpedo that is fast, fun and playful, if not particularly forgiving. The smooth rocker profile carries a lot of speed out of drops and into eddies, and the low/narrow bow punches through foam piles without losing speed or getting knocked around. The bow does not, however, ride over the top of every wave. You'll spend more time going under things and less time riding on top. That's not to say you can't keep the bow up, but you won't automatically stay high and dry over every feature.
The low volume definitely gave the boat a "squirrelly" feel at times, especially in big water. It felt more at home on the creek than it did in a high volume boil fest.
It was easy to turn while moving at low speeds, but was challenging to turn when I was moving faster than the speed of the water. That can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the situation and on your paddling style.
Overall, the Booty Call was a fun creekboat for a day on a low volume creek, but would not be my boat of choice for longer trips or higher volume rivers.
These two boats are some of the most conventional designs in Soul's lineup, but they still manage to break the mold and to be different than other boats within the same market categories. Whether or not their aggressive style works for you is a matter of personal taste, but Addison is out there designing hulls that perform in unique ways rather than chasing after popular trends. While these two are slight departures from established hull-types, I am excited to try some of the boats in Soul's lineup that are far more radically unconventional.
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