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Submitted: 06-11-2009 by Walt from NC
I own a Caper, Rival and a famed Prophet, all by Dagger. When I was much younger and stronger, the Caper would blast through any big water, (sort of like an aircraft carrier I was once told......)then came the Rival, (the R-Lite? version). Basically, this is my favorite boat to paddle all round. Sculling strokes work really well with this boat and it turns very quick IMO, especially if you are a power over technique paddler like I tend to be....(I did have a nice young lady spank me real well with her flawless technique paddling the Rival on some fairly big water) so if you are a by the book paddler, the Rival is simply perfect. I've had it on the NR Gorge, the Nolichucky at high water, French Broad and various TN rivers including the Ocoee. I get a lot of comments on this boat cause I've painted it solid Purple, and no one can tell what it is, but they do notice how well it performs against the Outrage, and others.
While the Prophet is a better hard core white water boat, the Rival is light, easy to handle, with much softer chines. I've played Fayette Station on the Gorge and the Falls on the Nantahala in this boat, pretty good, at least for me as a down river type paddler. Surfs very well, and again can take big water, although I took a real thrashing on Lower Keeney at 3 feet one year, that top rooster tail tossed that lite boat like a rag doll. (Prophet took it much better) I think Bob Foote had a hand in designing it and I rate it a 10-10 for it's intended purpose....good all round-LIGHT WW boat. Oh yeah, and you CAN epoxy (Concrete structural type) D-rings on this material which I advise....blow outs on the Chatooga section IV are not fun. Intermediate to advanced/Class IV boaters can all enjoy this boat. While I hate combat rolls, it does roll well, which I have down at the bottom of some rapids before, but never in "combat".
Again, when I look up at my boats to go paddlin', the Rival just feels right most of the time. Maybe it's because the Prophet is so rare, I don't want to marr it up....Crap, I'm paddlin' the Prophet this weekend!
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