LIQUID LOGIC STINGER XP REVIEW: GRAND CANYON SOLO SELF SUPPORT TRIP REPORT

Boats/Boards, Cross Over Kayaks
bobby@coloradokayak.com

LIQUID LOGIC STINGER XP REVIEW / CUSTOMER LETTER

Josh is a customer of CKS, and recently purchased a Liquid Logic Stinger XP. He bought the boat specifically to paddle down the Grand Canyon on a solo self support. When He returned from his trip, he emailed this to us. We all knew that the Stinger XP was going to be a cool boat, and reading this letter just confirms our opinions!

Hey CKS,
I thought I’d take a few minutes to sing the praises of the Liquid Logic Stinger XP you sent me. I recently had the opportunity to properly test this boat on a Grand Canyon self-support trip. I’ve always wanted a boat for self-support trips that would handle any grade of whitewater I might paddle and also be fast on flat water. I’m so glad I went with this boat! The Stinger is LL’s Green River Narrows race boat concept similar to Dagger’s Green Boat. The XP version has a rear hatch and spring loaded skeg. It seems like cross over boats have really taken off lately as most kayak companies offer something with a rear hatch. Upon closer inspection, I believe the Stinger XP currently stands alone.

Liquid_Logic_Stinger_XP_Review_Training
Finding open water in December for a test paddle wasn’t easy…

Many of the crossover boats are marketed for flat water through class III paddling. I have seen a few that are proper class V creek boats w/ rear hatch like Fluid’s Big Bang, and would deal with hard whitewater well, but would then have to plow through the flats. LL also has the XP 9/10. These boats make for a very comfy ride with plenty of storage space, but from what I’ve gathered, they aren’t very nimble and are still pretty sluggish. The Jackson & Pyranha boats look somewhat similar; a stretched river runner/creek boat with a hatch. With these designs you have to choose between calm water efficiency and river running ability. The Stinger XP gives you both!

Liquid_Logic_Stinger_XP_Review_Camping
Camp 2- All the comforts of home, better views…

The Stinger is long (12.5 ft) and narrow. The length provides stability, and the narrow width makes for impressive agility & easy rolling. Because of it’s length and the hatch, it will hold more gear than you probably ought to bring. I filled all my extra space with cans of Ska Brew’s Euphoria. The hull shape is a nice combination of designs ideas. It has lots of rocker in the front with soft chine. This is nice for boofing in more technical rapids. Behind the cockpit, the hull becomes completely planing and stretches way back to a narrow stern. This makes for great carving and surfing, and the length helps to carry speed punching through waves and holes. When I first jumped in the cockpit I looked forward and saw a sweet looking creek boat. I turned over my shoulder and giggled at how far away the stern was. The drop down skeg was amazing at keeping the boat on line in the swirly flat water in the Canyon, and definitely saved me lots of paddle strokes along the way.

Fresh out of the box, I was a bit concerned about the skeg durability. There is a small amount of play in the skeg from side to side. Once on the water this is completely unnoticeable. It’s also spring loaded so it retracts when you push it in (run over a rock) then pops back out. There is a handy lever that makes it easy to have the skeg in or out. Once or twice I forgot to retract the skeg before landing and dragging the boat onto shore. It didn’t cause any damage. Obviously you can keep the skeg in if you know you’ll be bouncing off rocks or making quick turns.

I’m really looking forward to another trip in this boat. I’m thinking of all the possibilities of long, fast, self support trips. I can only imagine how much fun this boat will be empty on a day trip or raft support trip. It surfs glassy waves like the long boats of yesteryear! Anyone who’s been thinking about a crossover/self-support boat that handles flat water as well as challenging whitewater should definitely check out the Stinger XP. She’s Fast!

– Josh, Flagstaff, AZ

2 thoughts on “LIQUID LOGIC STINGER XP REVIEW: GRAND CANYON SOLO SELF SUPPORT TRIP REPORT

  1. Bill

    I’ve paddled the regular Stinger and absolutely love it. I wanted to know: with the XP, how would you feel about taking it on more boulder stuff? I’ve paddled the regular Stinger in fairly tight and rocky rivers with no problem, but I am wondering how the skeg would hold up. Also, being me, I occasionally spend more time in holes than I would like. How do you think the gear hatch would hold up to a good thrashing? Would it stay secure?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Taking the Stinger XP on scarier and more technical water is no problem at all. I feel like you can totally push your limits in it. On low water Gore and Bailey the boat maneuvered almost like a creek boat; once you put the boat on edge it turns on a dime and can carve really well. The skeg on the boat is spring loaded so it will pop in when you slide over a rock and then re-deploy itself. You just need to be careful when ferrying in mankier water because there is a slight chance you could chip the skeg off if you hit a rock sideways. When I’m paddling the Stinger XP in more technical water I typically do not deploy the skeg. When I paddled it in bigger water (Grand Canyon and high water Numbers) I liked to keep the skeg down and that allowed me to track very well in more swirly water and eddy lines. I had plenty of opportunities to get the XP into quite a few holes on the Grand Canyon and the hatch performed flawlessly. I never once considered an implosion from the hatch. The stinger XP has quickly become one of my favorite boats. It’s fast, boofs like a dream, can haul as much gear as your want to carry, turns quickly, is easy to roll and is super stable. You can’t ask for much more in one boat.

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