Spring rains are here in the Southeast! Sunday Dane, Clay and I got on the Bear in Georgia. Bopping down the run, taking our time and really enjoying the combination of a 14″ water level (medium), a zillion boofs and moves over the 3 mile 900 feet of gradient. With most of it in one mile. Dane was the only one who ran Stairway to Heaven on this day and styled it like he has every time so far. I am sure he’ll load up the head cam footage at some point. My first run down this creek was in 1990 with Brian Homberg and Eric Giddens. My second run was many years later when I moved back to the SE in 2004. It is the closest of the top quality class 5 creeks in the area. It was my first time with the Hero on it. What a treat! Coming out of a playboat into the Hero is an immediate and easy transition. Short, nimble, lightweight, stable, uber easy to boof and steer. It really is a great boat for people who spend alot of time in playboats.
The slow and low technique into the drops and boofs are very easy to do as the late boof rewards you every time and the boat accellerates out of the landing if you drop the bow between 30-45 degrees. Landing dead flat is easy too. Charging and flying off of drops is also easy and rewarding as the boat accellerates quickly and the top speed is surprisingly fast.
The only downside I have found to the 7’4″ length (same as a Stubby was!) is that when you go deep there is less length in the stern to hit bottom and flatten you back out or to keep from backendering. While Nobody on our trip went over the top backwards, we plugged a few and both Clay and I came up vertical or almost vertical once each. We would have done the same in the 8’8″ Villain or any other creekboat- but at a lesser angle. This trade off is the “easier to keep the bow up, but easier for the bow to go up” deal and I am liking it so far!
The overall confidence the boat provides is very apparrent in a few rapids as you feel balanced and stable due to the massive amounts of primary and secondary stabililty.
Personally I really like the immediate reponsiveness you have with a short boat like this. quick turn, run a slot, boof, smile, turn, eddy out, peel out, keep going. Awesome.