5.22.2010

Prijon Pure First Impressions

I've spent a couple of days demoing a Prijon Pure, first at Confluence Park through some pushy eddylines, then on the Black Rock stretch of Clear Creek at low flows (275 cfs).  As for background information, I weigh around 175 lbs, and past creekers include a Perception Phat, Dagger Nomad 8.1, and a Liquid Logic Jefe.  Most of my comparisons will be relative to the Jefe especially, since it was my most recent creekboat.  Note that the Pure is longer than the Jefe, but has a similar volume (assuming that the companies calculate their volume similarly, which is doubtful).  My favorite style of boating is IV+ to V- boulder gardens, with the occasional big (to me) drop thrown in for good measure.

Performance: the Pure feels like a sports car.  Between the Nomad and the Jefe, I always felt like the Nomad was better in a straight line but hard to turn, and the Jefe was turn-ey but didn't have the same ability to hold a line.  The Pure is faster than the Nomad and turns quicker than the Jefe.  I still need to get used to all of the speed it carries.  The chines make eddy turns snappy, as long as you use your hips.  The combination of nimbleness and speed rewards someone who is paddling hard, but I think you can run into trouble if you're not paying attention, needing to throw in a big draw or rudder in order to correct a bad line and work against all of the speed.  Likewise, the edges can get caught in eddylines if you're not actively driving the boat.  Because of the speed and agility, I don't know that I'd recommend the boat to a beginning creeker, since I think the boat will punish you if you enter rapids without driving the boat where you want it to go.  If you decide where you want to go though, the boat GOES.  

The boat boofs well, and the big upturned bow gets on top of the water quickly.  Though I'm near the middle of the suggested paddler weight range, I had a fair bit of boat out of the water, and rode high for the most part.  The boat seems to have more rocker in the water than it does on photos; on flat water the tip of my bow was probably 3 inches out of the water or so.  A little bit of boof stroke goes a long ways.

The bow and stern are both slightly peaked, which makes resurfacing and rolls easy, though I haven't rolled it in heavy whitewater yet.

Design/Build:  One of the big reasons I was interested in the Pure was the plastic.  Blow-molding makes a much more durable boat than rotomolding, but the molds are expensive and it takes the blow-molding companies (Prijon, Eskimo) a long time to recoup their costs on a boat. As a result, most blow-molded boats on the market are a few years behind the design curve; take a look at the Prijon Hercules as compared to the Nomad.  The Pure is the most modern blow-molded design.  It has no pillars, which makes it comfortable and easy to load for overnighters.  The plastic is tough, and warrantied for 5 years.

Outfitting:  Prijon took pains to make the outfitting easy to adjust, and used a lot of moving parts to do so.  The backband is the standard snowboard-ratchet setup found in many modern boats, and works fine.  Hip pads are held in place by a ratchet system as well, which seems overly complicated, and which I'll probably replace with foam and duct tape.  Knee/thigh braces are comfortable and adjustable.

The footbrace system is particularly complicated: the brace slides forward and back on metal railings that move freely and are attached to the sides of the boat.  It's held in place by a 2" piece of webbing on each side, which is slack when you're out of the boat, and tightens against the pressure of your feet.  You can easily adjust the position of the footbrace by tightening or loosening the webbing straps.  The downside is that the whole system feels loose in the boat, is overly complicated, and is topped off with an aluminum footbrace, which feels heavy (though tough).  I'll likely try replacing the system with the guts of a Nomad, ad I don't need to adjust it once I have the footbrace where I want it.

Overall: At my weight and ability level, the Pure is the sportiest boat I've ever paddled, and I think it will perform well if you tell it where you want it to go.  It's my new creekboat, so look for another review down the road after I get a better feel for its performance.

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