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Reviews for Approach 10.0 Kayak by Dagger


Rated: 8.04/10 Based On: 27 Reviews


Approach 10.0 Kayak by Dagger

Length: ' " - Starting at: $
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03-20-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     8 Month review. First 3 trips: hated it, but then after a few seat adjustments and sitting properly loved it. Still do. She will nose down in bigger water Class 2-3. A few bucks for some extra flotation and she is keeps her head up. The skeg is great for tracking on flat water.

Overall a great cross-over boat. This is a paddlers boat.

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12-14-2011
Submitted by: Rob CSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought this boat in January and used it many times over the summer. I absolutely love this boat. I use it mostly on a local creek with class I-II, but have had it in class III on the Shenandoah. Boat is very stable. Drop down skeg is great for the clam parts on the river in between rapids.

If you are a serious whitewater enthusiast, this might not be your boat. But if you enjoy leisure days on the creek or river and the occasional thrill of class III, this boat is just for you.

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08-09-2011
Submitted by: jmSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     I bought this kayak from a local fellow paddler about 3 months ago. The boat was almost new with very few scratches. When running the Nantahala after a few trips on the lower green, I noticed I was having to bail a lot and at first thought it was a crappy skirt. After looking at it closely I realized one of the seat post had punched thru the bottom of the boat.. When looking at the bottom of the boat there are 4 dimples where the seat is mounted and it cracked on of the front ones. Although the boat is less than one year old I am screwed as far as the warranty is concerned because I'm the second owner. I have owned lots of kayaks but none so short lived.
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05-30-2011
Submitted by: Bill Feedline - Rating: 8 of 10
This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com

     I have had my Approach since the spring and it has become my most used kayak. I do mostly Class I & II streams with a little Class III thrown in when the water is up. I like this boat very well. It is excellent for WW streams with long flat sections. It has a nice low cruising speed and with the skeg down tracks effortlessly. It performs well in whitewater and surfs quite nicely for its length, just don't expect to do any tricks with it. It's 46 lbs, a little bit of a tank compared to most WW boats, but for a larger person like myself (265lbs) it works out very nice. I would like it better if it had a planing hull like my H3, but one can't have everything. All in all an excellent boat for where I spend most of my time on the water. It's also a good buddy loaner boat.
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05-30-2011
Submitted by: AL - Rating: 9 of 10
This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com

     I have this boat in waves and tricky current water and it preforms really well. A spray skirt is a must for waves breaking over the bow. The boat does great riding waves and can turn on a dim with the retractable skeg up. The boat has no problem in very shallow water (3") and up. I needed a cross-over boat for calm and turbulent water. I have the boat filled with 8 inches water and kept a float just fine (took a few set waves over the bow and filled the boat with out a spray skirt on). As for paddling speed its not that fast because of it being a crossover but it can keep up with boats just fine in the same size. I have been out in several different boats and I would buy this one again with in a heart beat.
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05-28-2011
Submitted by: qascatSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have had my Dagger now for close to 2 years and would not trade it for anything. I made a few changes to the seat in the beginning but since have changed then back because of the type of water I use it on. I still have a second seatback I change out when I am on flat water or not going to be in fast water. I changed the footpegs out and put in a wider peg just because I have big feet.

Many of the complaints I have seen in the reviews are things that simple modification can rectify. The seat back in it is made for a high stance and proper form in the boat so the complaint of the seat back goes away if you learn the proper sitting stance for the boat. I have taught over 10 people how to kayak in my approach all complained about the seat till they learned proper form and paddle technique.

I upped my rating from a 7 to an 8 just because of the fact that this is one of the best cross over boats on the market and perfect for teaching novice paddlers. I can go from flat water to playing in class III to ClassIV without a problem and recently had it on a few class V without problem, although it did flood the back hatch area as the cover is not exactly tight enough for that kind of pressure and volume of water pounding on it.
Happy paddling.

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04-05-2010
Submitted by: AlSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had my Kayak for a while now and use it for ocean/inlet/whitewater... The kayak is a well made kayak for the most part, there were a few cosmetic blemishes for it being a new kayak. The blemishes you could tell where made from manufacture, I checked the date made and it was made almost a full 2 years ago. Hopefully by now they have corrected the small problem, because its rather a moot point because all kayaks end up with scrapes on them. The only other grips I have are the stainless steel hardware have some slight rust/corrosion since my boat spends most of its time in salt water. Not a problem since its easy to swap out the few bolts for a higher grade marine stainless. Next would be the seat, I had to add foam for added back support. The seat only supports your lower back and supplies almost no mid support. I am not sure how to go about fixing that problem with out more foam but I will figure something out. My wife's Wilderness Systems boat has a much nicer seat (made 2010) with full back support. The only other problem is the dry hatch leaks, and is more of "kinda wet hatch". Dry bags are a must.

Now for the good, I have this boat in waves and tricky current water and it preforms really well. A spray skirt is a must for waves breaking over the bow. The boat does great riding waves and can turn on a dim with the retractable skeg up. The boat has no problem in very shallow water (3") and up. I needed a cross-over boat for calm and turbulent water. I have the boat filled with 8 inches water and kept a float just fine (took a few set waves over the bow and filled the boat with out a spray skirt on). As for paddling speed its not that fast because of it being a crossover but it can keep up with boats just fine in the same size.

I have been out in several different boats and I would buy this one again with in a heart beat. It just needs a few tweaks to the dry hatch and seat to make it a solid 9.

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03-04-2010
Submitted by: Approach OwnerSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I wanted to get this review out before the spring purchase season to advise anyone looking for a multi-purpose kayak. About the reviewer; 5'11", 180lbs. I have been an avid paddler for 8+ years now and this is my 4th kayak (Dagger Blackwater, Perception ARC, WS Tarpon). I have owned my Approach for 3 years now and have done dozens of runs in her. Most of paddling in this kayak is in class I-III, I have never gone beyond that due to my own comfort level, not the boat.

In moderate whitewater she behaves beautifully, you can safely catch any eddy you want and can negotiate/play anywhere you feel like in the rapids. With that being said, she is truly a river runner, not a play boat. Yes, you can lean her on her side (great stability) without worry. I disagree with other reviewers on rolling, however. She pops back up with little effort, and remember, it's hard to flip this boat in the first place. This leads me to another point, the GIANT cockpit is a great idea for beginners or those who do not want to roll as wet-exiting is very simple and you won't hit your knees on the cockpit rim while exiting. So for river running safely, and with a good bit of fun, I would give her a solid 8.

Now for the flat water portion of my review. Yes, she will do flat water. VERY SLOWLY, but she will do it. I find it best to lean back, with a straight back, and paddle that way to get the bow out of the water. Due to the lack of sharp entry on the bow, it can also be a very wet ride. Any ripples in the water will make for some good splashing. Very nice on a hot day, but it just ticks me off in the winter, and there is simply no way to keep your sunglasses clear of water drops. I have nicknamed this "hull-slap" due to the sound it makes. While it is some-what annoying, it does not seem to slow me down at all. Now, if a motor boat or a windy day drives waves at more than 1', you are plowing the bow right through it, or at least cutting into the wave halfway up. With a spray skirt (I use the Seals extreme-they will make it into a 2.2 for no extra charge, you just have to wait 30 days-ish) this is no problem, but it will stop you dead in your tracks. But, I offer 2 pieces of advice about this, #1, quarter the wave or have it behind you (you can surf her to the beach!) #2, do not take this boat out into a situation where large waves will be present. Consider this boat more for moving water or protected waters. You should have no issue if you run into large waves, but you should not seek them out either with this kayak.

Now to comfort, this boat has none. The seat cushion is thin and flimsy, the back band is better than most, but is still a back band with little support for longer paddles. I have taken mine on 2 overnighters and both times my lower back paid for it. Speaking of overnighters, they are easy to do with this boat. Plenty of room in the rear hold and in front of the foot pegs. I can easily pack an overnighter with all the comforts of car-camping in her. That being said, most of my camping gear is backpacking gear, so that may be to my advantage.

Now on to fishing; she fishes like a dream. I sit on the hull behind the seat with my feet in the seat. Yes, she is that stable. Takes a minute to realize you are not going to flip, but you get used to it quickly due to the rock-solid stability. I believe I will fall off her rather than flip her. But I find that this position enables me to see farther and to have more casting and reeling room. Do not sit up there while moving!

So overall an 8. Used for moving water, light to medium WW, and calm lakes/ponds, it is a great boat. I would also highly recommend this boat to anyone with a child that is interested in paddling due to its stability and general-use appeal.

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05-19-2009
Submitted by:
Rating: 10 of 10

     The greatest kayak I have ever had, excellent stability, better than any other kayak I have ever been in. The Approach 10 rocks!
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04-17-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     As nothing is perfect THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN EVER GET A 10 from me.
I have been paddling for many years and have tried many styles of kayaks. The Approach yes is a tank but if you know how to paddle keeping the nose from diving is quite easy. It is very stable and takes a very stupid user mistake to roll it I personally have had mine at an 80* to 90* pitch and been able to recover it. You can try and blame the boat for many things but in the end it is the user that is at fault.

This is not a racing kayak so thinking you can go 8 to 10 knots in it - good luck - and if that if what you are wanting this is definitely the wrong boat for you. This boat is great for teaching the novice but yet performs well enough to keep an experienced paddler like me happy. I have had the boat on class 2 and 3 rapids and even tried some mild class 4 it does like to dive a bit but if you learn how to read the rapids and learn from your mistakes this problem is easy to overcome.

I purchased the Approach spray skirt and find it to be amazing, after rolling the kayak 20 or 30 times I found maybe a pint of water in the cockpit with me. This boat is a tank to roll and recover, but once you can roll and recover it you can do it in any boat. I give the skirt a 9 and that is very rare for me.

As for the trackability of the boat with or without the skeg I find the boat tracks like a dream. For those that are having this problem in the many reviews on this boat I have read, my suggestion is take some paddling lessons.

The one thing I will agree with and one of the reasons for the 7 in my rating is the seat. The seat becomes very uncomfortable on long paddles but then this is a crossover you can not have everything. I have made major modifications to the seat and if I could have bought the boat the way I have it set up now I would have no problem giving this boat an 8.5 as a 9 is as close to perfect you are going to get from me.

The other complaint I see in many of the reviews is about the foot pegs - I agree there also. This is also part of the reason for the 7 but yet again it is easy to fix as you can easily change out the pegs.

Dagger has a winner in this boat from the novice like my wife to the experienced paddler like me its a great all around kayak. Outside the seat any modifications I found fairly easy. and like any sport you get what you pay for and the Approach is well worth the the $680 I paid for it then the extra $100 for the spray skirt made custom just for the Approach.
Ok I am off to the river for a nice little class 2 and 3 fun.

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03-02-2009
Submitted by: L BSend Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     This boat really is a tank, very stable in faster water, but even with the skeg down it really doesn't track very well. I guess it would work well for fishing but overall for paddling I wouldn't recommend this boat.
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11-07-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     First, know that I'm a hard grader. 7 is a good score from me.
I have had an Approach for two years. My primary purpose for it is fishing in wimpy whitewater areas. I had a Wave Sport Diesel 75 - Waaaaaaaaay too much boat for my intentions. I was like a Piper Cub pilot trying to fly an F16. I sold the Diesel to a friend (who loves it) and bought an Approach. Good plan.

The Approach is, as far as I'm concerned, the ideal Sit-In Kayak for fishing bumpy rivers. The rivers I fish are narrow to moderately wide, shallow, with lots of rocks and exposed to barely submerged ledges. Mostly Class 1 water with occasional 2's. I have used it in up to easy 3's and technical 2's and it's been GREAT. I have mounted one rod holder, carved out a place in the support beam to strap in a small tackle box, put in a line to tie in a small tackle bag held in the cockpit, and added front deck rigging. Those few modifications has made it ideal for this kind of fishing.

I do not consider the Approach to be a true whitewater boat. I consider it an aggressive recreational kayak. I am 6'3", have size 13 feet, and weigh 240#. I am at the upper end of the weight range for this kayak, but it still performs just fine. I feel as if I have complete boat control in swift water and rough water, it's in slack water where I feel less control without dropping the skeg. That's directional control. No worries or dangers about flipping. I have flipped this kayak a few times, but that has always been user error (read: boneheaded mistakes) and not the fault of the kayak.

There are a few things that would make the Approach better. First, the dry hatch isn't dry. There is so much flex in the bottom that with me in the seat, the hull pulls down far enough to breach the seal. I will be repairing that, but remember that the dry hatch is really a "mostly dry" hatch. It won't fill with water the moment you flip, but it's not going to keep your lunch dry without using a dry bag either. Second issue is that the seat cannot be trimmed out at all. That's one reason I consider this a recreational kayak rather than a true whitewater. An adjustable seat would go a long way to improving performance. Third concern I have is that the back band is not good. I intend to replace it with something more easily adjustable and which holds it's position better. Unlike another poster, I think the thigh braces are fine, but that's because I'm not trying to be hooked in constantly. The way they are, I have the ability to wiggle a bit in the seat, and then when I get to the roaring part of the river I can tense up my legs and be firmly secured. This is not a "boat that you wear" like a true whitewater kayak. This is a recreational kayak that allows for far more solid connection to the boat when you want it than you'll get with any other recreational kayak.

I bought it for fishing, and love it for that purpose. I borrowed one from a friend for a "fifteen minute test." I brought it back to him after two hours of surfing and running some 1+ rapids nearby the campground. He took the rental price out of my cooler, upon which I found him seated with a small pile of empties nearby when I returned. Anyway, as soon as I sat in his boat, I knew I wanted one.

The foot pegs, though definitely recreational in design, are just right for how I use this boat. When I get to rough water, I can shorten them up to have my knees bent more and really hook into the thigh braces and solid foot placement. Then for the slow water, I can release them to get myself some wiggle room. It's a nice "bridge the gap" feature.

I always use a skirt with his kayak. I have a nylon skirt that does OK, and even holds in place when I flip. But I intend to replace it with a neoprene in the near future. I bought this boat for fishing mid-Atlantic karst rivers, but my first use and now my favorite use is for the mid-Atlantic's small creeks. It is perfect for the Class 2 creeks we have around here.

There are some problems. When you lean forward to attack a wave train or drop, the nose dives DEEP and submarines. With the volume of this boat, that's not a big problem, but it can be a little annoying. Without the skeg down, you have to pay close attention to paddle technique - far more than with a Perception Swifty or other similar sized recreational. The boat has essentially zero glide. That's good for a river fishing boat. Slow is good - it allows for accurate casts and long drifts. Just be aware, you aren't setting any speed records in an Approach. The material could be stiffer - especially on the bottom. But stiffer material would carry a higher price. And, by the time you're looking at a higher price then you're likely looking for a real honest-to-goodness WW kayak.

If I were going to be doing class 3 or technical water consistently rather than every once in a while, and if I were planning to be a hot-shot WW guru, I'd want a different boat. But, for class 2 creeking and fishing, it's tough to do better than the Dagger Approach. I have been very pleased with my Approach. It puts a smile on my face every time I use it. There are some minor, easily overcome issues (except for the seat not adjusting), but overall an excellent choice for a medium to large sized person (up to 260# or so) for mild river and creek paddling and fishing.

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10-10-2008
Submitted by: ordinaryguySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the Approach 10 against the recommendation of the sales guy at a local demo day... not sure what they thought I wanted, but every time I tried this boat my face erupted into this huge grin!

Skeg up, it will turn circles in it's own length, skeg just partly down it tracks just fine. Have been out on a local lake with huge holiday powerboat wakes, no problem - extremely stable. I added hip pads to make me fit a little tighter (6'1", 180 lbs), and replaced the foot pegs with the easier to adjust ones from my Tsunami 140.

Recently had it in the gulf at South Padre Island, TX, in 10' swells and had the time of my life - totally stable, drinking beer and watching the tour and fishing boats turn back because the conditions were too rough. Used a seals Sea Sprite skirt, perfect! Cruising down the beach just outside the break zone, I got surprised by a really big swell breaking just before it got to me, thought I was going to die, as I was sideways to it, but it just pushed me sideways, then the Approach rode up on top of the breaker, then it was gone and I was trying to figure out why I wasn't upside down.

I love this boat - have had it out in winds gusting to 30mph and could make decent headway, while my buddy in a OK Prowler 13 was dying. This is a sit-in that is good for everything but long distance. Cockpit roomy, easy in and out, even figured out on my own how to climb out and back in over the stern, no big deal.

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10-03-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I am 6'2", 245 Lbs. This boat is ideal for the large paddler although I should have tried the 9 because I am now adding foam for a tighter fit. This boat is very good for class 3 rapids and surf around 3 feet max. I find the bow really dives when you paddle hard. Ideal speed is around 4 knots. Overall a fun boat to mess around in the surf. Very stable and spins on a dime.
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08-30-2008
Submitted by: chrisSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Approach is a great boat for whitewater beginners or people that want to do flatwater and some whitewater. I learned in this kayak. I have the 10 and roll it with no problem. It did take me about a month to learn and its harder than most whitewater boats, but when you can roll a boat you can roll any boat. my bulkhead does leak a little bit and that's annoying. The footpegs don't bother me at all, I've done class 3 water with no problem. It's a good stable boat for big rivers.
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08-25-2008
Submitted by: L BSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I haven't taken the boat to the water yet I will in a few hours, I couldn't. Where the strap for the backrest is attached, there is no way to adjust it so it is in alignment with the seat. So, with a little bit of drilling and screwing looks like it will work.
The thigh braces are useless, they are way too high they need to be replaced.
The foot rests look more flimsy that the Costco special kayaks ($350) I have.

The lines look really good on it though, so far I am still glad I bought this boat. Dagger does need to do a little bit of a better job in quality control. For example get someone to sit in the kayak to see if there are any obvious problems.

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08-22-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I own two Approach 9.6 kayaks and a Blackwater 10.5.
The Approach is more stable and maneuverable than the Dagger Blackwater and Element recreation kayaks, both of which are faster. The seats are more comfortable, too. The two issues I've had with the Approach were the skegs and the leaking "dry" storage area. The skeg would hang up. I fixed the skeg problem and use dry bags. I refitted the braces on one of the kayaks for shorter people. Friends who've compared my Approach with my Blackwater like the Approach for it's stability in rough water & ease of turning, while others, mostly lighter kayakers, like the Blackwater for its speed.

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08-21-2008
Submitted by: KDSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This boat is what it is - A hybrid Rec/whitewater boat. More or less a Rec boat for class 1-2- maybe 3 if you learn to roll it. I have owned my boat since early spring and have paddled it a lot! I have paddled it from lakes to class 3 rapids at the New River WV. You really need to size yourself for the 9 or 10 footer before you buy and decide if you are headed toward more serious boating. I now wish I would have bought the 9 footer because I am too loose in the cockpit for rolling. YES- I do roll my 10 footer at will. It does take a lot of strength though. I can roll my friends 9 footer so much easier.

The skeg is nice for easier running/the so called dry hatch does and will leak, so a dry bag is necessary. The foot pedals are pretty flimsy and cheap but fine for cruising. The Approach skirt Dagger makes is Ok, but the velcro will not get you a tight seal. Three different dealers told my buddy that same skirt fits the 9 and 10 footer- THEY ARE WRONG! It will not stay on tight on the 9 after a few months.

The seat is pretty comfortable/ the backrest does not stay in place and will need to be tugged on periodically. I have seen three of these boats get the oil canning flat spots on the bottom. I ran a class 3 over and over again and felt really stable in this boat.

Really decide where you are wanting to head in boating before your purchase. This is a nice casual class 1-2 cruiser with some surf ability that can be rolled with lots of effort!

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08-13-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just purchased my Approach 10. I took it for a test on flat water, which was pretty good. The skeg is a must on open flat water for tracking, but the overall control was great. I am 6'1" 170 lbs. and this yak fit me great after tweaking the adjustable thigh and foot braces. Dagger has fixed the "leaking" bulkhead problem by placing grooves in the top and bottom for give when boat flexes. I can't wait to see what this will do on a class 2 or 3 river this fall/winter. From what I can tell so far, it will be easy to control in bigger water.

The only drawback, it is hard to find a neo skirt to fit (deck length is 38). Seals makes one that fits great, but you won't find a neo skirt made by NRS or other popular suppliers. All in all, this is a great boat. Plenty of storage, flotation built in, comfortable and able to tackle flat water or class 2/3 rivers.

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04-10-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I loved the Perception Axxess, but could never get one used that was in decent enough shape. When the Approach was released, I borrowed one from a friend. We were camping on the New River together, and he offered to let me take his for a fifteen minute test drive. Two hours later, I returned his now well scuffed Approach knowing that I had to have one.

My purpose is for fishing. I had a Wave Sport Diesel, which is a far better whitewater boat, but not a good boat for fishing. I sold the Diesel and bought an Approach. I put on a single rod holder, some deck rigging, and bought a nylon skirt. That's all the modifications needed. I feel like I have complete control of this kayak in the Class III or lower waters that I fish.

I can surf, others with skill can surf better. I can turn well. I have only wet exited twice in it, and both times were user error not a problem with the boat. It is roll-able, I just don't have a solid roll.

It does go nose down under power. I'd like an adjustable seat, but the footpegs being adjustable from the seat is a nice feature. I'd prefer a better backband, but the one that comes with it is OK.

The dry hatch is what I call a "mostly" dry hatch. Mine leaks around the bottom of the bulkhead. I could reseal it, but it's not a big deal to me. I use dry bags in the hatch anyway. It's nice when it doesn't fill with water and I don't have to mess with stern flotation.

I'm about 245#, which is the upper limit for this boat. I weighed less last year and it did better when I weighed 230#. Again, user error - not the boat's fault that I like pizza.

I rarely use the drop down skeg, but it does make a big difference, especially when attaining. It's a slow, slow kayak, but I mostly float downriver through the slow stretches seeking fish so I don't really care about paddling speed.

Control through rough water is terrific. A skirt is a necessity, but also a preference for me so not a big deal. The boat's responsiveness is allowing me to step up my paddling skills from the sloppy recreational kayaking skills I've been using. Eddy turns are far easier, ferrying is well controlled and nearly effortless, and it is roll-able to someone with that particular skill. Something that you don't see in a recreational kayak.

That said, I consider this to be an aggressive recreational kayak and not a true whitewater boat. But that's what I want, so for my needs and my skills, this boat and I see eye to eye.

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08-30-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I'm a heavy guy (5-10 and 230 lbs.) but so far I've found the Approach to be a great all around boat. I bought an Approach and 2 Blackwaters (10.5 and 12.0) a couple years back. Plan was for me to use the 12.0, my wife the Approach and the kid would use the 10.5. Liked the Approach so much that I bought another recently. Even have the Blackwater 12.0 up for sale now.

As others have said, it is a bit of a tank, but it supports my weight very well, maneuvers predictably and can do lakes and streams. I've had it in II+ water and it did well. Not a playboat mind you, but at 44 years old and overweight, that's not what I'm there for.

Everyone else that has tried my boats over the years agrees that the Approach is the one they would choose. So do yourself a favor, if you want a good all around boat, take an Approach out at a local dealer. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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07-24-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I test paddled the Dagger Approach on Saturday and liked it well enough to buy two of them, one for a friend. Stable, easy to turn, comfortable, dry hatch, not easy to roll, not especially fast. The dry hatch cover is tight, foot pedals are good quality, foam piller in front is solid. Seat is molded plastic with a thin seat pad and the back band is typical less expensive Dagger outfitting, useable but not especially comfortable so I bought a NSI Reggie to replace the stock backband.

We tested it yesterday on the 5-mile section of the James River at Balcony Falls. I was impressed with the stability and ease of turning. It is slower to accelerate than a typical recreational kayak or whitewater kayak. It handled the rock gardens well but it tends to dive into the wave trains for a wet ride so the spray skirt is a necessity in Class II-III. The Seals 2.2 nylon spray skirt with adjustable tunnel tends to leak a bit, but the Mountain Surf neoprene skirt is just fine.

I ran a dozen Class II and two Class III rapids yesterday and felt secure and in control all the way. Now that I have a little time in the boat I won't hesitate to use it in bigger water such as the Upper New River Gorge in West Virginia. I would say the boat is not heavy duty enough for the New River Gorge Class IV-V.

I weigh 215# with my pfd and paddle and the Approach rides low in the stern. I could pass over rocks with the bow and midsection and scrape at the stern. This could be corrected by either weighting the front end or moving the seat forward which will not be easy because it is molded into the boat.

I carried 5# of gear and 8# water in the dry hatch which probably affected the stern load. On the way out I put the water and gear in front of the foot pedals and that made a little difference, not much.

The boat surfs very well, front, side rear. Edges are not grabby. It's too big to spin on a wave as a WW kayak will. Tends to pearl in bigger waves. Carved turns into and out of eddies are smooth and effortless. Attaining is a bit more difficult than in my white water kayak, but not a big thing.

On the lake at the end of the run I could only go 2.5 miles per hour with the skeg up. Pushing beyond that speed kicks up a bow wake that pushes the bow off line and requires extra attention to steering.

By putting the skeg down I could push the boat up to 3 mph before the bow wake became troublesome. This is about the same cruising speed that is comfortable for the Dagger GT 7.5 whitewater kayak and the Esquif Paradigm whitewater solo canoe that were paddling beside me. We were able to carry on an easy conversation while maintaining 3 mph with a steady, easy cadence.

At the end of 4 hours of playing in rapids and practicing ferries, peel outs, eddy turns, back paddling and attaining I wasn't sore anywhere, which means the boat fits me reasonably well and there are no pressure points. There is a lot of room in the cockpit so I could move around and stretch my legs for comfort. Overall it is a very nice little boat and I'm pleased with it. I will use it as a introductory level student kayak on rocky rivers.

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03-19-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Well i have only been paddling for a year and i have been thru several yaks looking for the perfect boat for my size and use. I am 6'3" 275 pounds and most of what i do is class I and II with slow moving or flat water in between and sometimes their is alot of flat water in between.I really like the way this boat handles. It paddles great, stability is outstanding. It turns good.I havent learned to roll yet so i cant comment on that but i expect i will turn over eventually so i will have to learn. God knows i turned over enough times in my other boats. Speed is real good for a 10' boat and it tracks really well with the skeg down. Storage is better than i thought , although the opening could be larger. I have a 2007 model so i havent had enough time to develope any problems with the boat.

Most of the boats i tried didnt float me high enough in the water but this boat seams to be a perfect fit for my size. The max load rating was 330 pounds. Bottom line if your a large boater like me with similar boating interest and your in the market for a new yak; unless you want to haul your 16' yak thru the whitewater and haul your ww boat thru the flatwater , you should give this boat a test drive. I feel like this boat was made for me. Good look.

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09-06-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I have owned it for 4 months and used it on twisty wooded creeks and Class III ww. The thigh braces are useless and caused me to loose an edge once coming into a cross current and flip. They are useless for edging and rolling. I replaced them with the agressive freestyle braces from an RPM and now I can hold an edge and brace at 80 degrees easy. Rolling is still difficult but better. AT least I can roll it now although you have to have one powerful hip snap. If the technique is off even a little it won't roll up. I find it really maneuverable, even more with the different thigh braces and have had tremendous fun all summer. Never used the skeg as it goes perfectly straight with a nice vertical power stroke. leaky bulkhead, useless thigh braces, terrible cheap footbraces (also replaced), but very maneuverable and lots of room for day trips and overnighters. A good beginner boat for me but because it is so hard to roll it does not bring allot of confidence to ww running. Prepare to swim allot or perfect your technique.
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07-18-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had my Approach for 4 months now. This is my 22nd kayak over the last 30 years. After 15 trips on easy class II-III like the Elkhorn in KY and the New in WV, I find its a great boat for old-school, nutritional over-achievers like myself. For those that grew up with displacement hulls this is an easy yak to transition to. It is pretty high-volume and I feel you need to be at least 190 lb or maybe even over 200 lb to get the best performance out of the boat. I tip the scales at 260 and the Approach could handle another 20-30 lbs easily.

I've got mine rigged for fishing and it allows me to surf across waves to grab the small eddies where smallmouths can be found. I could see when I first bought it that the skeg extended too far down and could easily catch on rocks etc if it was forgotten and left extended while in a rapid. I knotted the cord so that the maximum extension is about 45 degrees and have had no problems at all. I expected the rear foam wall to leak as the constant flex on the hull bottom soon breaks the seal and allows water to pass under the wall on most yaks used in WW. I cured this by my normal method - cutting a 2X4 to a length about 1/2" longer than the depth of the boat, jamming it in so the bottom is flexed down and then filling the gap with marine goop. So far its been working well and my gear has stayed dry in the storage compartment.

For large paddlers looking for an all-around river boat that can handle easy WW, this is the ticket. The storage area easily holds enough gear for an overnight trip, the drop skeg helps while paddling through the long pools or positioning the yak during fishing and the boat easily handles class II-III rapids while carrying a lot of weight.

As no yak is perfect, a 9 is as high as I could rate it.

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06-22-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This is my first Kayak and possibly the second review I've seen on this boat. The skeg is nice WHEN IT WORKS. As stated above it falls out of its slot and moves up and rear making it so it wont fully retract. The metal tube used to pivot the skeg had no plastic bushings on the ends and it scraped the plastic on the hull till it fell out. I repaired it with some plastic bushings I found in the furniture section of Home Depot. What a pain! The dry storage bulkhead leaks making everything back there a little damp if not totally wet even after a little rough water. There is a piece of plastic on the bow left over from making the boat that was just left there.....wheres quality control??? I had to trim it and its visually an eyesore. The boat handles well, stays upright and paddles fine. Good first boat but not for just cruising or just whitewater. Good all-around fun boat. I think Ill get a Pyranha Master TG next.
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06-16-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have had my Approach Kayak for 3 months and it has mostly preformed as advertised. It is a good kayak for mild WW and flat sections of rivers. Itís a bit of a tank, but that is to be expected. Like any crossover type boat it doesnít perform best in either world. My Blackwater 11.5 tracks better and is more stable for new kayakers and my Pyranha H3 is much better at class III+ WW. For what I do most of the time, creeks with Class II and below rapids with considerable flats between them this boat is excellent. Like my Kids Pyranha Master TG the new type of flexible skeg is wonderful when working. I have had some problems with the skeg, but the boat I bought is a pre-production prototype that I got at a good discount, so assuming Dagger has fixed the problem with the skeg popping out of the slot, this is a nice boat. My only issue, besides the skeg, is that itís a displacement hull. If Pyranha made a larger Master TG that I could fit into I would prefer itís type of planning hull (both the Approach and the Master TG have the same type of skeg). The Approach has a nice little rear hatch that will store a small dry bag, or cooler and it doesnít seem to throw it out of trim. It surfs OK, but donít expect to do any tricks with it. If it were available 4 years ago I probably would have bought this over the Blackwater. This kayak is perfect for the easy Midwestern WW stream that I have near my home. Now that I have retro-fixed the skeg this is my favorite everyday kayak.
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