09/13/2022 at 3:00 pm #19601Ty WagnerParticipant
Wife and I tested the new NRS Star Viper yesterday at Cedar Hill on the Big River. There is a dam breach there that creates a strong current class II wave train with decent eddies that make it easy to paddle back up river. To me it’s a great place to practice ferries, s-turns, eddy ins and outs. Stay away from the edges of the dam breach. There is exposed rebar.
Overall: If you are looking for a sporty inflatable kayak. The Star Viper is the ticket.
-Mary thought it was tippy at first and not nearly as big as the outfitter duckies on the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin. She hasn’t run any fast water like this in nearly 2+ years so it felt unstable at first. She got her sea legs back fairly quickly and never swam.
-I found the Viper had great secondary stability. It does lean 10-15% or so initially, but once you hit the secondary stability, you would really have to work at getting it to flip over.
-Used a recreation type 220cm Dicks aluminum/plastic paddle. Perfect length for both Mary and myself. A 210cm paddle probably would have worked.
-Mary found it easy to make it go straighter than her Nomad. This is a big deal and a source of major frustration in the Nomad.
-Easy to ferry. Water seems to slide pretty easily under the Viper as long as you have a good angle to the current. In many ways, it was easier to ferry than my Machno. I basically paddled it like the Machno and had a great time.
-Fast. Actually much faster than expected. Takes a couple of strokes to get it moving, but once it is moving, it didn’t feel slower than the Machno. I found it easy to paddle. Pleasantly surprised!
-I was able to fairly easily surf the top wave in the Viper which I was not able to do in the Machno.
-Perfect size for Mary at 5’4″. Will move the front and rear thwarts to create more leg room for her. I created more room for my long legs (I’m 6’1″) by removing air out of the front thwart.
-The foot and back rest thwarts are held on by velcro. I’ve moved them further apart to create more leg room after I got home. I report on it this helps the next time we go out this weekend.
-No issues handing 210+ lbs. I’m 210# plus the gear I’m wearing. The Viper is rated for up to 200#. It had no issues with my weight. I’m certainly a little long with my height but I made it work by reducing air in the front thwart. I may even try removing the front thwart and creating a custom foam thwart or use a dry bag that gives me the right amount of leg room.
-To initially inflate, I used an electric high volume low pressure pump to save time. Then I used the NRS Super 2 pump to finish the inflation. This is a very nice pump that has a pressure gauge and the end of the hose that threads that lock into the Leafield – C7 valves. Eventually, I’ll like to get a smaller pump that I can carry on the Viper for on river inflation.
-Raft does come with thigh straps, a decent repair kit and a very nice carry bag. I’m going use the Viper bag as my kayaking gear bag in the future.
-Viper is light at 33#. Nice and easy to carry. Carried both my Machno and the Viper at the same time back to the truck.
-I’m super please with the initial performance and quality of the NRS Star Viper.
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