CKS Squad Review:The Liquid Logic Stomper Styles the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

CKS Squad Favorites, Whitewater Kayaks
bobby@coloradokayak.com

CKS Squad Review: The Liquid Logic Stomper Styles The Black Canyon –
By Josh Oberleas

Hi my name is Josh Oberleas; I am a kayak instructor at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center and a member of the CKS squad. I was given the opportunity to use the newest boat from Liquidlogic, the Stomper (90 gallons), for a 4 night 5 day trip through The Black Canyon of the Gunnison near Montrose, CO, and then also paddled 2 days on the Gunnison Gorge. After this experience, I would have to say I am thoroughly impressed!! The Stomper, in my opinion, is one of the best creek boats ever made!

The unmistakable walls of The Black Canyon of The Gunnison

I have paddled many boats throughout my years of instructing in Colorado, and the Stomper is like the Jefe and the Remix put together. The speed of the Stomper is comparable to that of the Remix but what is also great is it has the rocker and the volume of the Jefe for ease of boofing. One thing that makes the Stomper excel over all of the other boats out there, is the fact that it is almost unstoppable when it comes to crashing through waves or blasting through holes. The whole entire time I was in that boat I never had one moment where a wave slowed me down. In fact, when I landed a boof my speed would almost increase as though there was a rocket on my stern blasting me past the hole and off the foam pile for my next move.

90 gallons of juice to blast you out of Class V holes onto the next part of the rapid.

The Stomper was a great ride filled with grace and style. It was soft like a cloud as it rode nice and high on the water even with 30 pounds of gear and a 195 pound paddler. There was not a single moment where I had my stern caught, or I was endered backwards because of all the weight in the back. The momentum was always forward.

Handling:

The Stomper was great at holding a straight line, even at top speed. It precisely carved on its edges without resistance or spinning out which made for quick S –turns and technical moves during rapids. This truly is a high performance craft, Ferrari of creek boats, with speed, style and great handling.

The Stomper feels right at home on a Class V overnight run like The Black Canyon

Rolling:

Even fully loaded, the boat had a really nice snap to it, and it rolled very easily. Granted, I had no combat roll situation in the canyon, I did roll it a few times to get the feel, and it was really snappy and rolled with ease. However, I did have two awesome kick flips that snapped around really fast. It’s a great boat to roll even for beginners!!

Boofing:

WOW!! One stroke boof every time, and again it held its momentum so well on the landing that I just blasted off. The speed of the Stomper combined with its ability to pass through any feature without out losing speed is just unmatched for a creek boat. It takes just two strokes and this boat is at top speed every time blasting off like a torpedo, ready to STOMP!!

Auto Boof

The Edging:

Lead in to Ball Crusher (V+)

The primary stability is great, very well balanced and it locks you in to place. When you want to catch an eddy it turns on a dime and you’re in. If you need just a little more edge, the secondary edge is well balanced as it also locks you into place. It was amazing how long I could hold a 5 edge or how hard I could edge and not fall over. The edge to edge transition is very smooth and fast, when I went to switch my edges on flat water or during a rapid it was smooth like a hot knife slicing through butter!

Storage space:

Lots of space in the back of the boat for all of my gear, and there were great spots to put random things and still have everything rigged so that if I did swim I wouldn’t lose it.

Lots of space for gear storage
Unpacked
Loaded up and ready to rock.

For this expedition, there is a grueling mile long portage over nasty scree fields and massive poison ivy, and it’s not an easy place to hike a boat. Fortunately, I had time and was able to hike my gear to the cave camp and then hiked back for the boat. I shouldered the Stomper, and I was pleased that the weight of the kayak felt lighter than the Jefe Grande. Even though I still had some gear in the Stomper, I was able to shoulder it practically the entire way.

The Back band:

It is awesome how I can get my stuff out of the stern so quickly because the back band just lifts up. As a safety kayaker and instructor, it is very important that I have access to my dry bag so I can get my first aid kit or rope quickly and without damaging my bag or straining to hold the back band up. In the Stomper, it’s a breeze. The only issue I found with the back band was that when you tighten it, the side bars slightly squeeze in. Honestly, I did not even notice that the sides were slightly inward. Actually, to me it made for a better, snugger fit.

The Outfitting:

Well, what can I say? It has Liquidlogic’s signature lazy boy comfort, and the outfitting is nice, durable, and super simple.

Something that I did notice that can catch paddlers off guard is if you get lazy and you are sitting back looking up at the amazing canyon walls or watching your buddy run the rapid and a little side current comes along it has been known to window shape people. I felt it grab me a few times, but that is a minimal problem to have considering how smooth, fast, and easy this boat is to handle. Besides, stay in the moment and you won’t get thrown around.

To finish up, Shane, in creating the Stomper you gave the kayaking world a great thing. This boat will give paddlers the confidence to run rapids that they might not have considered running, I know it gave me the confidence to run Ball Crusher (V+) in the Black Canyon, even with the Stomper fully loaded. The Stomper is a great step up from any creek boat out there, and switching up from the Jefe Grande to the Stomper has been a drastic improvement for me. So to all paddlers, get out there and try one out! I guarantee that you will instantly fall in love with the Stomper.

24 thoughts on “CKS Squad Review:The Liquid Logic Stomper Styles the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

  1. Brayden St.James

    Every yak I have ever owned has been a Liquid Logic. I have never been disappointed in any or their performances. What you get… Quick response, maneuverability, fantastic speed, and excellent stability. First time I hit the water I thought “Where’s the work, this is too easy.” It was like a beach ball and nothing could take it down!

  2. Jack

    Ok… What does “window shape” mean? I’ve been kayaking a few years now and never heard of that term before. I even googled it… I’m stumped. Thanks!

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Hey there-
      Great question. The word you are thinking of is “window shade”. This means that you “catch an edge” and get slammed over when you are surfing in a hole or river feature (either intentional or unintentional). An example of “window shading” is when you are side surfing in a fluffy hole, and get too close to the green water moving into the hole (instead of the pile on top). If you catch the upstream edge of your boat on the green water moving into the hole, this will in turn flip your boat over with good force….This is a window shade. You can also use the word “flipped over” instead. They basically mean the same thing.

      I hope that this makes sense. Oh yea, one more thing. Boats with edges like the Stomper and Pyranha Burn have the ability to get window shaded. Rounded hull boats like the Jefe have less of an ability to get window shaded, which is why so many creek boats are displacement hulls, and not planing hulls. There is less edge to catch on rounded hulled boats that planing.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. Mark

        I live in Idaho and use have used a  Y for years for multi day trips and  for big water class 4 and for Class V down the lower 5 of the North Fork Payette.  What would one of these new boats offer that I am missing out on?   And strange question, but are any of these decent at front surfing, even when loaded with gear?

  3. Will

    I have the 2010 Burn. I never heard the window shade term either but am familiar with the feel of being flipped over.. However I liked that there is a little less paddling on the Pyrahna burn with the edge because it doesnt want to kick side to side as much.But when water does catch the edge it spins you fast which is good because quicker recovery time in getting turned around.On bad note when your surfing like he said the green water catches the edge and flips you hard when your not ready for it.. Rounded hulls without the edge tend to just let the water flow under the hull. The edge however produces really quick turns.
    It’s a constent battle between rounded versus the edge on the hull. I think you paddle more with a rounded hull and get less speed planing.There all fast sleds its really a responce time issue and knowing what to expect and being comfortable with your ride before it happens..I really hope this Stomper is gonna be worth it, because it really looks comfortable.

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Sick boat. Totally sick boat. That was my thought after paddling the Stomper. Yea, rounded vs. flat is something that will always be a choice. With so many people learning to kayak in a play boat, or planing hull river runner, it is nice to have a planing hull creeker out there.

  4. Stewart

    Hi Josh (and anyone else at CKS that has paddled the Stomper).

    I’m interested in the edginess (window shading) of the Stomper, as I currently paddle a pure displacement hulled boat and find planing hulls too edgy for my liking.

    If a Burn is, say, 10 on an arbitrary edginess scale and a Jefe is, say, 1 – then where would you rate the Stomper. And have you found any difference between the Stomper 80 and 90 in this regard? Could you post the range of opinions from he CKS team.

    Thanks

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Hey-
      I re posted this review for Josh. I will get in touch with him and see if he can answer your question too.
      I paddled both The Burn and Stomper 90 on a low water Numbers run here. Enough flow to tell the difference between the boats for sure. If the Burn is a 10 for edges, and the Jefe is a 1, I would say that the Stomper is a 5. It was really cool paddling both boats at the same time because you really could get a feel for the differences. When I first got into the Stomper I noticed that it didn’t even slow down at all punching holes. Tons of hull speed, and just tanks through holes. The edges were there, but did not seem too edgy. When I peeled out, I could tell that they were there. You had to lean down a little bit to get them to catch.Lots of rocker to slide over low water boofs and rocks. …After #5 I hopped in The Burn and could tell a difference right off the bat. To be honest I kind of liked having more edge on the Burn on such a low water run. When you put just a little bit of weight on the edge The Burn carved a super accurate line, which made it a little easier to paddle in 350 cfs of The Numbers with rocks everywhere. Reminded me of being on a racing snowboard….The Stomper had an edge, but was not ultra precise like The Burn. I also got semi window shaded once on the Burn…not paying attention. Forgot that the burn had edges just like my play boat.

      So yea, all in all the Stomper has edge for sure-kinda like the Remix. But there seemed like some room for error in there. The Burn has more of an edge that can be super precise when you need it, but you for sure have to be on your game all of the time….

      The 80 and 90 are the exact same boat so there will be no differences unless you are heavy and are paddling the 80. The parting water line will be lower, causing the edges to sit lower in the water….Just like paddling a smaller playboat; it will feel edgier. When my friend who is only 180 lbs hopped in the 90, it looked like the whole boat was out of the water. I could almost see all of the edges. So much rocker in that boat! I am 210 so I sank the edges of the 90 a little deeper in the water….

      1. Stewart

        Thanks Bobby – plan to demo the 80 and 90 soon. At 180lbs, it may be a hard call between them.

        I’d welcome any other opinions on the edginess.

        1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

          I will have another guy from work comment on this too. He’s paddled the Burn for years as his primary creeker, and paddled the Stomper once and bought it. He is 180 lbs and went with the 90.

          Guess it depends on what you are going to paddle. He likes big waterfalls and hard class V so the volume is good for him. Gets him out of trouble.

          Seeing that the 90 is only 8’6, and felt like an 8′ boat, I would go with the 90 if you are paddling class IV or V. The Stomper felt smaller than the large karnali which is only 80 gallons….

        2. bobby@coloradokayak.com

          Stewart,

          The Stomper is a good middle ground between the Burn and the Jefe. The edge on the Stomper is well beveled which allows you to use it when ferrying and getting in/out of eddies, but it is smooth enough that it won’t trip you up. Liquid Logic is calling this boat it’s planing hull creekboat, but the hull design is still no where close to the planing hull design of the Burn.

  5. сонник гости

    🙂

  6. Jim

    I like the Burn as a 10, Jefe as a 1 conversation you’ve started. I’ve heavily considered a Stomper 90 and liked it the once chance I’ve had to demo, and possibly a Remix 79. I thought about a Burn, but think I want to steer away from the edginess, but need to demo to be certain. I currently paddle a Mamba 8.5 and have been told to consider the new Mamba 8.6 creeker. Where would you rate the old and the new mambas (if they are different) on the 1 – 10 edginess scale? I also love the nomad, but heavy for that boat at 240, and I’m just a river runner anyway – NC, TN, AL mostly. I do plan on demoing a Karnali as well, at some point. Thanks!

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      The new Mamba 8.6 sounds like it could be a great boat for you. It jumped up to 89 gallons, which is certainly the volume that you would need to sit high up on the water. Without having paddled the 2012 boats, but talking to designers and team paddlers, I would say that it is a 5. It has a planing hull and an edge. There is no way of getting around that. Hobie (long time Team D guy and R and D) says that the thing is “foolproof”. Turns super easy, and is not “grabby” at all. Since the Stern is rounded and the bow has the edge tucked under, I would guess that it is way less edgy than a Burn or boats in that category.
      The only real way of knowing is by paddling it once dealers are stocking it. But from talking to loads of people in the know, it sounds right in between edgy high performance boats like the Burn, and soft boats like the Jefe and Nomad.

  7. Jim

    Thanks Bobby!

  8. Kevin

    Bobby-
    How does the Stomper compare to the Villain? I’ve been a Jackson kayaker since I started boating about 5 years ago (SuperFun, SuperStar, MegaRocker) and was considering replacing my mega with the Villain next season. Just curious if you’ve paddled both boats and what you thought. Thanks. Great review.

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Hey Kevin-
      They have the same volume, but different hulls. The Villain has a displacement hull with a bit of an edge on it, and The Stomper has a planing hull with a subtle edge. Little more crispness with the Stomper, and little more room for error with The Villain. 2 things that may help make the decision are:
      1.) Do you like Jackson outfitting. If you like it, you may want to stick with The Villain. Liquid Logic has awesome outfitting, and if you do not like the Jackson outfitting, it may be a good option for you.
      2.) What is your size? The Villain is huge inside, and The Stomper 90 is not (looks can be deceiving). The rocker and displacement of volume create a cockpit that is not that big. If you are paddling a Mega Rocker because you are very tall (over 6’4″) then you will
      want to sit inside of a Stomper before you buy one. There is so much rocker up front, that there is not tons of foot room for really tall paddlers. I am 6’2″ and 205 lbs and am a perfect fit for The Stomper 90. I actually feel like I have more room inside of a Pyranha Karnali 80 than the Stomper 90. The boat packs a TON of volume in the stern, which does not help big paddlers fit in the boat. It does however help with keeping the boat out of holes. In fact, you can feel the thing accelerate out of holes because it has so much room back there. It REALLY give you confidence on meaty runs.

      1. Kevin

        Thanks Bobby. Sounds like I’ll want to go ahead and demo both. By your description I should fit both but might like each for different reasons.
        I appreciate the insight.
        -k

        1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

          If you have the chance, demo’ing the boats is the way to go.
          Also, be sure to check out The Dagger Mamba 8.6. This is going to be another heavy weight contender for 2012. Sounds like we are about the same size. I can’t wait to paddle the dagger.
          89 gallons and a planing hull, but with really soft edges up front and in the stern. Here is a link to a review that we just did:
          http://cksblog.com/2011/10/2012-dagger-mamba-series7-6-8-1-and-8-6-review-with-andrew-holcombe-and-mark-snowy-robertson/

  9. Dennert257

    I currently paddle a Fuse 64, and I’m looking to get a new boat for bigger water and more comfort. I’m 6’3″, 190 lbs.. I’m seriously considering a Stomper. I will paddling mostly class 3+ and fours (Parkdale, Browns, Numbers,etc) with the hope of moving up in the future. 

    I have two questions. First, I tried the Fluid silo in the pool and loved it. What would be the biggest difference between the two? Second, do you think they are too much boat for me? I really want to be able to punch through holes. I’m tired of being caught up in them.

  10. Cmleavitt

    Hi could someone possibly explain the differences in the Stompers vs Shivas?

    Thanks

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      The Stomper and Shiva have quite a few differences. Shiva’s are a bit newer, so information is just beginning to come out. The main differences are that 1.) the Shiva utilizes a “swede form hull”. This means that the widest part of the boat is just behind the seat (sort of like a wildwater downriver racing boat). You can see this when you look at it. This does a few different things. For starters, the primary stability may be a little bit tippier than the Stomper. It is narrower up front. You can “slither” around the river because the boat is somewhat narrow up front, allowing you to place duffek strokes very close to the boat. ULTIMATE CONTROL. It is also really fast… The downside to this, is that you do not get that super stable feeling that you have when sitting inside of The Stomper. In the Stomper you feel like you are sitting lower in a wider boat. The other difference is that The Stomper hull is a little bit flatter, again giving you more of a planing hull, and primary stability. The Shiva hull is a little bit more rounded, and has less primary stability, but incredible stability on edge.

      The LL has Bad Ass Outfitting. It is awesome. The Shiva has Connect30, which is also great. The backband on the Stomper raises and lowers, so you can get gear in and out of the stern for overnighters…The Shiva does not have that feature.

      So the Shiva is more of a steep creeking machine, tailored for running the really hard stuff…Steep, low volume..The Stomper can run that stuff for sure, but may be better for class IV creeking, and and even learning to creek because of the primary stability.

      Hope that helps…We plan on reviewing both boats head to head when we have some good water.

    2. ckspaddler

       The main difference is the hull. The Shiva has more of a displacement hull with a subtle rail on the side, whereas the Stomper has a semi planing hull with an edge. They have similar volume.

      The Shiva is a bit narrower from the seat forward, allowing to take strokes closer to the boat.

      They are similar volume, both have great outfitting, and are both very fast.

      Stay tuned for a head to head shoot out review to come soon!

  11. terry bandy

    Hello! I realize this is sort of off-topic but I needed to ask.
    Does building a well-established blog such as yours
    require a large amount of work? I’m completely new to blogging but I do write
    in my diary everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers.
    Thankyou!

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