By Eric Jackson
Emily and I were on the Ocoee River this weekend and we had a ton of people wanting to see the MixMaster in action and try it for themselves. A Greenville, SC paddler, Wade Harrison grabbed my 7.5 demo, and Abby Holcombe tried my 7.0, while Emily and I had our own 7.0 MixMasters.
Something weird was happening on the river, from the put- in ramp, all of the way to the take-out.. At least 10 people said, “EJ, are you going to make a bigger size?” I said, “uh, no… but why?” and each of them said they don’t fit into the boat.
OK- what is going on, I thought, because, of course you fit into the boat!! When David Knight and I design a boat we don’t wonder who fits, we KNOW, who fits into our boats. Ergonomics is something we have done well since we started many years ago and have improved over the years as well.
However, I made a mistake and we put the Foam Foot Block into the boat in assembly and shipped the boat with that foam block to our dealers in the first round. The foam block is designed to work for a really short person and a medium or tall person can NOT get into the boat without removing it or pulling the pre-cut shims off. Unfortunately the way the block was originally designed and the foam wall was extended too far, you couldn’t get the foam all of the way our without removing the front wall (takes 2 minutes, but requires a screwdriver).
We fixed this challenge by changing how the foam footblock was cut. It is now cut down the middle as well into 2 pieces so you have a left and right side and they come out without removing the wall.
I was at Rock Creek Outfitters and watched a guy try to get into the 7.0 with the full sized footblock in it. He saw me walk in and said, “Bummer, I don’t fit.” 2 minutes later he was sitting comfortably in it and is going to take it for a spin before buying it.
On the water on Saturday, “Evil Dave” a former Team Pyranha paddler from the 90s’ was shredding up the river in an old “In-a-zone” and I was duly impressed! I asked him if he had tried the MixMaster yet and you could see he really wanted to try it. At Flipper, he said, he was told by “People” that he wouldn’t fit. Wade got out of the boat and while keeping the seat in the middle position, Dave got in and his first comment is, “Wow, I have way more room than I thought I would… I need to foam it out some to tighten up in it. “ Dave is 6’2” 220 pounds, size 12 foot, 32” inseam. Yes, he needs to have foam to tighten up. Dave immediately started throwing smooth, fast ends, into deep mystery moves at Flipper and was fired up!
Wade Harrison took that time to get into the 7.0 and try out the smaller one. Wade is 175 and 5′-10” 31” inseam, size 10 foot. He said, “Man, I want two of these… the 7.5 so I can run the Green in it better and the 7.0 for full on play.”
So, here is how you should look at the Sizing, fitting, comfort, etc..
- This is a “bootie boat” not a shoe boat. low profile wetsuit booties or just socks is what it is designed for. Why? because it is designed for you to paddle a low volume boat with a snug foot area to make it easy to get the bow down.
- “If you can fit into it, you don’t over-weigh it.” What that means is that for full-on play, the heavier you are, the easier to get vertical and boss it around. However, you may want to go with the bigger one if you want more river running prowess. If you are 220 pounds, you get great play and the river running is secondary, you’ll keep the boat on water you are comfortable on.
- You can always make the foot room a little bigger by stuffing foam into the bow and “puffing it up”.
- 100-190 pounds is feasible in it. The lighter you are the better the river running, the heavier you are the better the vertical play.
- 32” inseam, size 10.5 foot can fit and will be snug but “comfortable” in slicey boat terms.
- 36” inseam, size 12 foot is Maximum size with seat back but will be quite snug, with your feet at the ends of the foot bumps.
- 34” inseam, size 12 works great. Size 13-15 also fit but will be snug and snugger. You’ll need to take the occasional break to allow your legs and feet to move around again.
- 140-240 pounds is the functional weight range for this boat.
- 140-160 is a great river running play boat, but it takes more skill to flatwater it, or generally get vertical.
- 160-190 it does vertical and river running very well (awesome)
- 190+ it excels at vertical and the river running becomes more challenging. You’ll keep it on rivers that you are comfortable on and know the lines.
My personal time in this boat is making me so happy! I am really beginning to dial it in, linking 20+ ends with ease in technical holes, getting some controlled and deep mystery moves, getting the “Stone Cold Stutter” dialed in as well. This move is one that I created in 2000, I will tell you about it later, but both the name and the move have a cool history and it is not in any history books, but can be found in my 2000 version of “Strokes and Concepts” filmed in Ecuador.
So, now you know- the next time somebody tells you “I don’t fit in the MixMaster” you can correct them, unless they are bigger than 36-12..
The all New MixMaster… Yes, you probably Fit in it!!