2016 Dagger Axiom 9.0 Review – By Atom Crawford

Boats/Boards, Gear

Dagger Axiom 9.0 Review – Bigger, Better, Bolder…

Back in the mid-late 90’s the Dagger RPM was everywhere. Every river was swarming with them. It was such a fun boat to stern squirt, surf, cartwheel (yup, I learned to cartwheel in a RPM), and run rivers in it as well – fun, fast and responsive. Over the next 20 years, kayaks got shorter, fatter and slower. The new designs favored vertical moves, hole rides and air time.  You could reach forward with your hand and touch the front of the boat. The concept of speed and grace was lost. Don’t get me wrong, these short play-boats have their place, and it’s amazing to see the tricks that folks do in them.
The old school designs are making a comeback. Certain kayak companies are once again coming up with designs based on the original RPM.

I recently bought a new Dagger Axiom 9.0. I call it the RPM’s new and improved big brother. It is super comfy – I’m 6’4, 200lbs, size 13 feet and fit perfect in it. Dagger’s outfitting is by far the best in the industry. The boat stays dry. Yup, the boat stays dry…
It is fast and feels like a race car carving in and out of eddies, especially coming of your coming from a little spud boat.
The Dagger Axiom is also a fun and dynamic surfer. The planing hull vs. the RPM’s displacement hull makes the boat a much more versatile surfer. From front surfs to flat spins, the Axiom does it all, it really is a great river runner. Catch any eddy, and carve the river features up. Once you have the boat dialed in, stern squirt downriver all day long. The Axiom 9.0 will be my boat of choice for river running. From low volume to big water, I’d take it on my local class 3-4 runs and then have a blast kayaking the Grand Canyon.


  • Great outfitting and all day comfort
  • The length combined with the planning hull make it zip around rivers.
  • Fantastic surfer
  • Very stable (I was surprised by this) and rolls easily
  • Makes running rivers fun again
  • Dry. Yup, it stayed dry



  • The 9.0 is a big boat. Hard to stern squirt unless you have great technique.
  • The planning hull will catch on rocks if low water creeking. I use a creek boat for creeking
  • It is really well built. Quality equals weight. The 9.0 is heavy….



I’m loving the Dagger Axiom 9.0. It comes in a bunch of different sizes for every one.Remember, demo when possible. A review is just one persons point of view….

2 thoughts on “2016 Dagger Axiom 9.0 Review – By Atom Crawford

  1. Allan Wood

    Indeed, I have an Axiom 8 (I am 120 pounds, 5.9 ft). I really like this boat; even though when I was a novice it would punish me for leaning back. Great to run rivers, wonderful to surf, quick, and of course the slicey stern is great for squirts, maybe easier than my play boat. I will not part with it. A real keeper, excuse the phrase!

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Thanks for the comments. Glad that you are enjoying the boat. Nothing like squirting a 8 or 9 foot long boat…
      Happy Paddling!

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